Fascinating article in the nyt.com about monasteries built by Moldavian Prince Steven the Great, who, every time he won a battle he built a monastery.
What he left in his path is a treasure trove of monasteries.
From the article:
The result of his victories — 46 in all — was an unprecedented building spree within the densely forested terrain of the Bucovina region in modern Romania. The tradition was embraced by his son and successor, Petru Rares, and their vassals. Many of the mural-covered monasteries and churches survive, nestled in a valley, having withstood the withering summer sun and winter winds for centuries. What started out as Stephen the Great’s war trophies have become some of the world’s most stunning works of art.
They exist now as the present-day Monastery of Voronet, about three miles south of the Romanian village of Gura Humorului, and its sister sanctuaries, scattered within a radius of some 25 miles and collectively recognized as Unesco World Heritage sites.
Pinpointing the area that contains this trove is not easy. The region, which became the eastern outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is now divided between southern Bucovina, in northeastern Romania, and Chernivtsi Province, in present-day Ukraine. To further complicate matters, some Romanians also refer to it as northern Moldavia, not to be confused with the independent Republic of Moldova, which borders northeastern Romania. But there is good reason to make the trek, geographic confusion and pothole-pocked roads notwithstanding, as I did last summer.
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