Sucevita Monastery

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The winding, remote mountain road from Moldovita to Sucevita (27km) offers breathtaking views across the surrounding fields and is reason enough to make the trip. It climbs 1100m and passes small Alpine villages. Yet the prize at the end of it is golden too: Sucevita is the largest and perhaps all-around finest of the Bucovina monasteries.

The church inside the fortified monastic enclosure, built between 1582 and 1601, is almost completely covered with frescoes. Mysteriously, the western wall of the monastery remains bare. Legend has it that the artist fell off the scaffolding while attempting to paint the wall and was killed, leaving artists of the time too scared to follow in his footsteps. The exterior frescoes – predominantly red and green – date from around 1590.

Sucevita Monastery was first inhabited by monks in 1582. During the Communist era, only nuns over 50 were allowed to stay at Sucevita. Today, it is a relatively flourishing place.

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