Pătrăuți Monastery, founded by Stephen the Great in 1487, records the oldest presence of the Moldavian authentic style in architecture. It also holds other records, such as being the oldest monastery founded by Stephen the Great still preserved, the church with the oldest interior and exterior painting, as well as the oldest Orthodox church in Romania to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This was the only nun monastery Stephen the Great built, and it was initially destined to house soldiers injured in wars. It was built in Moldavian style, characterised by a harmonious and original combination of local, Byzantine, Gothic and Latin elements. The monastery was abandoned until 1711. In 1775, with the annexing of Bucovina to the Habsburg Empire, the monastery became a simple parish. Although it underwent different changes in time, until today the architecture of the monastic monument has not suffered essential modifications.
This church of modest dimensions, but admirably proportioned, has wholly preserved its original murals. Some of the paintings inside the church were painted immediately after the church’s construction, while others were painted later in Byzantine style. The frescoes show faces of the saints as being portraits of contemporaries or images of Turkish invasions painted with a high artistic quality. Particularly impressive is the votive painting, an exceptional artistic achievement, and the depiction of the Cavalcade of the Holy Cross, which alludes to the military and political situation of the time – the Ottoman menace and the Christian crusades. On the exterior, on the western façade, have been discovered under the coating several fragments of mural painting from the second half of the 16th century, representing the Last Judgement.
How to get there:
Pătrăuți is situated 10km north-west of Suceava, on the road which leads to Rădăuți.
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