Chapter 11: Voronet Blue. Hmmm, Wasn't That a TV Series With Frank Converse?

The painted monasteries are all surrounded by stout walls, and bear more than a passing resemblance to military forts, and for good reason. They were mostly built during a time when Moldavia was suffering frequent Turkish invasions. The fortified monasteries were built to house local armies in a reasonably secure enclosure, and the walls were painted with scenes of religious stories to educate and entertain the largely illiterate soldiers and peasants.


The Last Judgement

A nun sweeps up

The first monastery we got to was Voronet, perhaps the most famous one of all. Indeed, it is widely referred to as "the Sistine Chapel of the east." Voronet was built in 1488 in only three months, the painted frescoes were added starting in 1547. It is known as "The Blue Monastery" for the dominant blue color of the paintings. This blue, derived from lapis lazuli, is unique in all the world, and is even known to the art world as "Voronet blue."

"The Last Judgement" mural, which occupies the entire west wall, is considered to be the most famous from all the painted monasteries. On the left side, St. Peter escorts the believers, while on the right, Moses is pointing a group of nonbelievers towards the long, red chute to the Nether Regions. The group that makes up the "sinners" reflects the politics of the time it was painted. It is made up of Jews, Turks, Tartars, Armenians, and Africans.

Visitors to Romanian monasteries are not allowed to wear short pants or short skirts, and so those who show up in such clothing are required to don a sort of wrap-around skirt that ties on at the waist

Monastery chic. Didina, Radu, and Lucy in their monastery skirts.

Ironwork on the gates to the Voronet cemetery

Woodwork on the main gates of Voronet.
The buffalo is the symbol of Moldavia.


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