Dragomirna Monastery

Just 12km north of Suceava is the village of Mitocul Dragomirna. The humble monastery here was founded in 1608-09 by the scholar, calligrapher, artist and bishop Anastasie Crimca. The intricate rope lacing around the side of the main church (1627) represents the unity of the Holy Trinity and the short-lived unification of the principalities of Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania in 1600. The church tower is 42m high.

Dragomirna’s museum of medieval art in the monastery grounds has several stupifying treasures, including a carved candle made by Bishop Crimca himself, an ornamental carved cedar crosses mounted in silver-gilt filigree, and an arresting collection of missals and religious scripts.

Dragomirna remained inhabited during the Habsburg and later the Communist purges on the Orthodox church. Crimca’s dying wish was that a day should not pass without prayers being said in his monastery. Thus seven elderly nuns defied Communist orders (don’t mess with nuns!) and remained at the monastery throughout the 1960s and 70s. Today about 60 nuns live here.

It’s possible for travelers to stay at the monastery. It’s best to hitch or take a taxi from Suceava; there are no buses.

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