Voronet Monastery

Voronet Monastery lies at walking distance from Gura Humorului town. An old Romanian chronicle records that Stephen the Great founded the monastery in 1488 to fulfill a pledge to the hermit Daniil, his spiritual adviser, who encouraged the ruling prince of Moldavia to keep fighting the Turks. After having won the battle against the Turks, Stephen erected Voronet in three months and 21 days, on the spot where Daniil had his small wooden hermitage. Metropolitan Grigore Rosca enlarged it, by adding the porch, in 1547. Later its interior and exterior paintings were made.

Voronet is probably the most accomplished sample of artistic achievement in Moldavian architecture and painting. The Church has a trefoil form proper to the medieval Moldavian architectural style, predominantly Byzantine. The doors of the porch have a Renaissance framing, while the stone carvings of the broken arches at doors and windows belong to the Gothic style. The existence of exterior buttresses shows the Romanic and Gothic architectural influence in the strengthening of constructions.

The artistic approach of painters has a warm humanism, as religious scenes depict Moldavian living people of those times. The angels of the frescoes have the sweet faces of Moldavian women, the archangels play a Romanian shepherd's musical instrument, the souls carried to heaven are wrapped in Moldavian towels, whereas the souls doomed to the fire of hell wear turbans just like the Turks - Moldavia's fierce enemies at the time. The "Last Judgment" painted on the western wall of the church is probably the finest composition among the painted monasteries of Bucovina.

The monastery was closed in 1775, by the Austrians. It was used as the village church, later, after 1990, the monastic life beginning again. The paintings were restored, the unique Voronet blue being as fresh and vibrant as hundreds of years ago.