Sucevița Monastery is the most strongly fortified monastery complex in the whole of Moldavia, situated in a particularly picturesque setting. It is the last built and biggest monastery in Bucovina, very well preserved. It was founded by the Movilă brothers in 1581 – 1601: Gheorghe, who became Metropolitan of Suceava, Ieremia and Simion, who later became rulers of Moldavia.

Built on the spot of a 15th century wooden church, the monastery is the last representative monument of the architectural style that first crystallized in the epoch of Stephen the Great. The monastic complex, almost entirely preserved in its original shape, consists of a fortified enclosure with high walls and corner towers, a gate tower and several monastic buildings.

The edifice, which includes two open porches by the entrances, is impressive for its well balanced proportions, in particular the energy of its formal and decorative and architectural details, but above all for its monumental exterior murals, painted in 1595-1596. The exterior painting here was preserved best among all the churches in Bucovina, Sucevița being the only one which keeps the frescoes on the northern side. The northern wall is entirely covered by the scene depicting a unique Ladder of Virtues, which shows the thirty stages the mortals must pass in order to receive the divine redemption, while on the south façade there are scenes from the Akathistos Hymn to the Virgin Mary and a marvellous Tree of Jesse. The colour green is dominant, similar to that in the surrounding woods, and is known as “Sucevița green”.

Inside the church there is an ample votive painting depicting Ieremia Movilă and his family. The iconostasis, sculpted in yew wood in Baroque – Rococo style, dates from 1801.

The monastery museum houses a priceless collection of old ecclesiastical artefacts and objects of artistic and cultural value: crosses, manuscripts, miniatures, religious books, gilded silverware, tombstones, 15th-16th centuries embroideries, portraits of Ieremia and Simion Movilă, a pearled epitaph etc.

How to get there: Sucevița Monastery is situated 52km from Suceava. Take E85 and DN2H to Rădăuți and then turn right on DN17A to Sucevița Monastery.