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Churches & Monasteries - Moldavia

Agapia Monastery

Location: Agapia village, 45 km far from Piatra Neamt, in Neamt Depression.
Description: The monastery’s name derives from the hermit Agapie who founded initially a wooden hermitage in the place called “Parents’ Orchard” at the end of the 14th century (The Old Agapia). The monastery was restored by the ruler Petru Rares (1541-1546), when it was built the first Princely Church and after that it concerned two other rulers Peter the Limp and Duca Voivode. It was during the 16th century when the Old Agapia was moved to its actual place (New Agapia). New Agapia Monastery was built by hetman Gavriil, brother of Vasile Lupu, the ruler of that time. Between 1858 -1862 the monastery was repainted by the famous Romanian painter Nicolae Grigorescu, who was 20 years old at that time. The monastery houses a valuable museum which displays icons, embroidery, religious objects and a precious crucifix carved in cypress wood.

Bistrita Monastery

Location: Viisoara village , 9km far from Piatra Neamt, somewhere near the confluence of Viisoara River with Bistrita River , at the feet of Cetatuia Hill.
Description: It was built during the rule of Prince Alexander the Good. Along the time the monastery was consolidated and some new buildings were added during the rule of Stephen the Great (when the steeple and the chapel were built; he also gave a bell on which Moldavia’s coat of arm appeared). In 1554, the monastery was consolidated totally by Petru Rares who brought numerous talented painters from Venice. The monastery also houses a valuable museum which conserves precious religious objects, icons and other original art objects. (This is where the first Manuscript of Moldavia was written). One of the attractions of the monastery is the making miracles icon of Saint Ann (who is also the protector of the monastery) offered in 1401 by the Emperor Manuel Paleologul to the ruler Alexander the Good. Here, at Bistrita Monastery, the princely family decided to bury some of his members: Prince Alexander the Good with his wife, two children of Stephen the Great (Alexander and Ana ) .

Neamt Monastery

Location: in Vanatori-Neamt village, 16 km far from Piatra Neamt in an aria covered by forests and orchards, situated at the feet of Plesu and Debreanu Hills just at their contact with Stanisoara Mountains, somewhere next to the confluence of Neamt (Ozana) River with Nemtisor River.
Description: This monastery was built under the reign of Peter I Musat (14th century). In 1467 the monastery’s church was destroyed by a fire and after that it was restored under the rule of Stephen the Great. In 1471 the church was seriously damaged by an earthquake so Stephen the Great financed the construction of a new one. This new church is today considered to be a monument of Moldavian architectural style from Stephen the Great’s era. Neamt Monastery houses also a valuable library (18.000 volumes, many of them being written in Greek and Slave), one of the oldest in Romania. Here was also founded a School of penmanship and miniature, typography and a School of Painting. The Old Art Museum still keeps many manuscripts, paintings (one of them belonging to Nicolae Grigorescu and being realized prior to those from Agapia Monastery), printings, embroidery and golden and silver religious objects as well.

Secu Monastery

Location: Vanatori-Neamt village, Neamt County, at north-eastern feet of Stanisoara Mountains, on the Secu river bank.
Description: In 1602, Nestor Ureche, the famous chronicler Grigore Ureche’s father, built this monastery, whose decorations remind us about the Wallachian architectonic style (southern side of Romania). In 1821 the monastery was set on fire by the Ottomans. Between 1821 -1825 followed a period of restorations. After Tudor Vladimirescu’s Revolution, it became an important centre of the fights sustained by the Greek people against the Ottomans. The painting was restored in 1850. The Art Museum houses a collection of embroidery, carpets, religious objects, a wooden cross brought from Mount Athos, manuscripts, printings, including the Homily of Bishop Varlaam, the first book printed in Moldavia. Here, at the Secu Monastery, the Bishop Varlaam and Nestor Ureche found their resting places.

Sihastria Monastery

Location: Manastirea Neamt village, 25 km far from Targu Neamt, on Secu Valley.
Description: Sihastria Monastery was founded around 1655 by the Bishop from Husi and was restored in 1734. In 1821 it was invaded and set on fire by the Ottomans, being repaired in 1824.

Varatec Monastery

Location: Varatec village, 45 km far from Piatra Neamt, in Neamt Depression.
Description: Between 1781 -1785, the Nun Olimpiada settled this monastery, on the foundation of an old hermitage set up by noble Ieremia Movila. The present church was built between 1808 -1812 and represents a marvelous architectural achievement combining Neoclassicism elements with features of the Moldavian style from the beginning of the 19th century.

Bogdana Church

Location: Radauti , 38 km far from Suceava.
Description: Is the oldest religious monument made of stone from the entire Bucovina. Built in 1360, on the place where a religious settlement already existed, the church seems to have been founded by Bogdan I, the first ruler of Moldavia. There were other rulers who contributed to the enlargement of the building, for example Alexandru Lapusneanu (who added the porch in 1559) and Stephen the Great. The inner painting is the result of several repaintings made in different periods. The church shelters the Musat family’s graves, the first family of rulers in Moldavia.

Arbore Monastery

Location: Arbore village, 32 km far from Suceava, on Solca Valley.
Description: Arbore Monastery was built between the 2nd of April and the 29th of August 1503 by Luca Arbore and it was conceived as the chapel of the landowner’s court and as his family’s resting place. The church has a rectangular shape and it has no steeple as it was built by a landowner (only the princely churches had the privilege to have a steeple). The painting was realized later, in 1541 by Dragos Coman and its background is green. The monastery’s painting repeats themes become classical: The Doomsday, the Constantinople Siege. The church shelters Luca Arbore’s grave, the most important Gothic funeral monument from Moldavia. The church is a UNESCO protected monument.

Dragomirna Monastery

Location: Mitocu Dragomirnei village, 12 km far from Suceava.
Description: Dragomirna Monastery was built between 1602 -1609 by the future Bishop of Moldavia, Anastasie Crimca. Between 1627 -1635 during the rule of Miron Barnovschi, because of the frequent Turkish assaults, the monastery was strengthened with defence walls and towers which contributed to its present fortress–like appearance. The stone carved belt with its three branches, alternately twined, which surrounds the church in its median part and the church’s steeple with its rich geometrical and floral ornamental motifs draw the attention.

Humor Monastery

Location: Manastirea Humorului village, 5 km far from Gura Humorului, Suceava County.
Description: Humor Monastery was built in 1530 by the chancellor Teodor Bubuiog, replacing an old one. In 1535 the mural painting was realized by Toma from Suceava, a famous painter of that time and has as its central motif Constantinople Siege. The dominant colour is brick-coloured red. In 1641 the ruler Vasile Lupu added the belfry. Humor Monastery houses a valuable collection of icons dating from the 16th century. Humor Monastery is a protected UNESCO monument.

Moldovita Monastery

Location: Vatra Moldovitei village, in Campulung Moldovenesc aria.
Description: Moldovita Monastery was built between 1402 -1410 by Alexander the Good. At the beginning of the 16th century the monastery fell down because of a landslide. In 1532 the ruler Petru Rares built a new monastery 500 m south from the old one. At the same time he surrounded it with a strong defence wall and guard towers. The outside painting was realized in 1537 by Toma from Suceava. On the southern wall we can admire the Siege of Constantinople, the Tree of Jesus and the group of some famous ancient philosophers. Moldovita Monastery houses a valuable museum which proudly displays the Golden Apple, a prize presented by the International Journalists Association to all five Moldavian monasteries with external mural paintings for highly recognized artistic and cultural value. Moldovita Monastery is a UNESCO protected monument.

Putna Monastery

Location: Putna village, 72 km far from Suceava.
Description: Putna Monastery was the first monastery built by the ruler Stephen the Great. The actual construction took place between 1466-1469. In 1481 the monastery was fortified (now were added the defence wall and the Gate Tower). In 1484 it was badly harmed by a fire but in 1498 Stephen the Great financed the restoration. Destroyed during an assault in 1653, the monastery’s church was rebuilt between 1654-1662 during the rules of Vasile Lupu, Gheorghe Stefan and Eustratie Dabija. The only building left from Stephen the Great’s era is the Exchequer Tower. The church shelters Stephen the Great’s tomb, those of his two wives: Maria Voichita and Maria de Mangop and also those of his descendants up to Petru Rares. The icon brought from Constantinople by Maria de Mangop is considered to be miracle-making. The museum of the monastery has a vast collection of manuscripts and other religious books, icons and religious objects.

Sucevita Monastery

Location: Sucevita village, 49 km far from Suceava.
Description: Sucevita Monastery was founded by Gheoghe Movila, Bishop of Moldavia between 1581-1584. Later, his brother, Ieremia Movila fortified the monastery by adding the defence wall and the towers. The painting was realized by two painters, Ioan and Sofronie between 1595-1596. The external painting has as its dominant colour the dark green. On the northern wall it is depicted the Ladder of Virtues, which symbolizes the fight between the right and wrong and on the southern wall appears the Tree of Jesus. Sucevita Monastery is the resting place of Movila family. The monastery’s museum is one of great value and displays among other things some pieces of embroidery made of golden and silver threads, silk threads and pearls dating from the 15th or 16th century. The most important are the portraits of Ieremia and Simion Movila and an epitaph made of pearls. Sucevita Monastery is one of the five monasteries which were awarded with the Golden Apple by the International Journalists Association for it’s highly value.

Voronet Monastery

Location: Voronet locality, 38 km far from Suceava.
Description: Voronet Monastery was built only in 3 months and 3 weeks in 1488, being founded by the ruler Stefan the Great. In 1547, under the supervision of the Metropolitan Bishop Grigore Rosca, the porch was added. The inside painting was realized between 1535- 1543, but the international fame of the monastery is due to the outside painting realized in 1547. Voronet is considered to be the “Sistine Chapel of the East” due to its magnificent frescoes, especially the ones on the western wall, a representation of the Last Judgement. “Voronet Blue” has been added to the world’s lexicon of art alongside colours like “Titian Red” of Rubens and “Veronese Green”. The steeple has two ringing bells which were given to the monastery by Stephen the Great and when they are pulled they seem to call the founder’s name. The monastery shelters the tomb of Grigore Rosca, the Metropolitan Bishop and the one of Saint Pious Daniil the Hermit. Voronet Monastery is a protected UNESCO monument.

Cetatuia Monastery

Location: in Iasi, on Cetatuia Hill situated in south-eastern part of the city.
Description: Cetatuia Monastery was built between 1668 -1672 by the ruler Gheorghe Duca in worship of the Holy Tomb from Jerusalem. From the beginning the monastery was fortified, being surrounded by defence wall and towers. First thing that strikes you is the fact that the entire monastic architectural ensemble is totally preserved. Within the monastery’s walls we can find the princely palace, a typical fortified building dating from the 17th century. On the southern side of the monastery are situated the wine cellars which preserve the wonderful wines obtained from the monastery’s vineyard. On top of the tower called “The pilgrim’s dinner” we can admire a beautiful view of Iasi city. The inner painting of the church was made by Mihai, Gheorghe and Toma from Ioannina (Greece) in post-Byzantine tradition. The Tree of Jesus and the Final Judgement representations are almost unspoiled. In 1682 Duca Voda installed a printing press at Cetatuia Monastery which produced books for Orthodox Christians for the East.

The Galata Monastery

Location: in Iasi, on Galata Hill.
Description: Galata Monastery was founded by Petru Schiopul (Peter the Limp) between 1582 -1584 and was named after the famous Constantinople’s quarter, where the Moldavian princes stayed during their visit to the Ottoman Court waiting for the Sultan’s approval of their rule. Surrounded by a strong wall with an imposing belfry, the monastery’s church is an exceptional architectural achievement, a synthesis of Moldavian style with elements of Byzantine style. In 1762, due to a fire, the church’s original painting was destroyed. The church was repainted in the 19th century. The structure of the ground floor and the cellar are the only things left from the old church. The restoration works from the 70’s have revealed some princely tombs (Despina and Vlad, two children of Petru Schiopu and Maria Amirali, the prince's wife).

Golia Monastery

Location: in Iasi.
Description: Golia Monastery was founded by the great boyar Ioan Golia in 1564. The church was rebuilt on a greater scale by Prince Vasile Lupu between 1650 -1653 and finished by his son, Stefanita. The church is made of white stone. The Golia tower is 30 m high. The painting restored for several times, preserves few original frescoes. Damaged during the fires in 1687, 1732, 1822 and seriously affected by an earthquake in 1738 the monastery’s church underwent numerous restorations. In 1786, because the princely courts were burnt, Golia became metropolitan residence and Prince Gavriil Calimachi moved here and spent the last years of his life. Gone to ruin after the secularization (1863), the monastery was closed between 1900 -1947, until 1992, when it eventually became a missionary monastery again.

Probota Monastery

Location: in Dolhasca village, 20 km far from Pascani, Suceava County.
Description: Probota Monastery was first built by Stephen I Musat and after that rebuilt by Stephen the Great. In 1465 Stephen the Great buried his mother, named Oltea and his wife, Evdochia de Kiev, in 1467. In 1530, ruler Petru Rares built a new church on the ruins of that old one, known as “from the glade”. The monastery was fortified in 1550 and became the resting place of ruler Petru Rares and of his family. The painting dates from 1532, one of the best representations being “the Apocalypse”. The monastery has a valuable collection of icons dating from the 16-17th century. Probota Monastery was an important cultural centre. This is where some famous well-read men were educated: Dosoftei, Grigore Rosca and Gheorghe Movila.

Razboieni Monastery

Location: in Razboieni village, 18 km far from Piatra Neamt, Neamt County.
Description: The church was built by Stephen the Great between 1495 -1496, in honour of all the soldiers lost during the battle from White Valley ( the 26th of July) when he and his army were defeated by the Ottomans led by Mohamed II. The church has no steeple and the ornamentation was realized with disks made by pottery.

Tazlau Monastery

Location: in Tazlau village, 34 km far from Piatra Neamt, Neamt County.
Description: Tazlau Monastery was founded by Stephen the Great between 1496 -1497. In 1497 were added the defence wall and the two towers. The church preserves the original ornamentation made by bricks and stoneware. Extremely valuable is the wooden carved door made by master Cozma, door which is considered to be a masterpiece of the ornamental art.

Pangarati Monastery

Location: in Pangarati village, 15 km far from Piatra Neamt, Neamt County.
Description: The monastery was first built by Stephen the Great in 1461. Destroyed in a fire, the church was rebuilt by Alexandru Lapusneanu in 1560. The church has no steeple. The monastery houses a collection of old art.

Durau Monastery

Location: in Ceahlau village, at the feet of Ceahlau Mountain, one hour away from Duruitoarea waterfall.
Description: Durau Monastery was founded by a daughter of ruler Vasile Lupu. The present church was built between 1830 -1835. Between 1935 -1937 the church was painted in wax by the famous painter Nicolae Tonitza.

Rasca Monastery

Location: Rasca village, 21 km far from Falticeni, Suceava County.
Description: Rasca Monastery was built in 1542 by Petru Rares and was painted in 1552 by the Greak painter Stramatello Cotronas.

Muntenia Monasteries >>


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