Built between the late 15th century and the late 16th century, the eight fresco-painted monasteries in Northern Moldovia were inspired by Byzantine art. The frescoes covering the walls of these monasteries depict religious figures such as angels, saints, prophets, and some scenes from the Bible. The siege of Constantinople is also an important theme in all the eight churches. Seven of the monastery churches have been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1993, while Sucevita is on the waiting list.
Built in 1532, Moldovița Monastery is an Orthodox Church in the village of Vatra Moldovitei. The frescoes covering both the interior and exterior walls worked like a protection charm against Protestant and Islamic provinces that bordered Romania. Moldovița also has the best-preserved Siege of Constantinople-themed fresco among the eight monasteries.
Sucevița is a fortified monastery complex founded in 1581. Perhaps the most impressive fresco of its church is the Ladder to Paradise which consists of red-winged angels in orderly rows. In this scene, the believers climb up the ladder while the sinners fall into hell.
Also known as the “Sistine Chapel of the East”, Voroneț Monastery was founded in 1487, following a victory of the Turks. Following an interruption period between 1785 and 1991, the complex continued to function as a monastery. Today, the nuns also run a painting workshop and give guided tours to visitors.
Humorului or Humor Monastery
Pătrăuți Monastery, built in 1487, is the oldest of the eight monasteries. Unfortunately, most of the frescoes deteriorated over the centuries. Only the church and a wooden bell tower of the monastic complex could survive until today.