The legend has it that an old woman had been working there for thirty years, carrying in her ox wagon, stone for the construction of the monastery. This is the reason why a female head is carved in black stone in the monastery's yard.
But the reality is another. In fact, this monastery was raised by the Movila brothers, successors of Stefan the Great, by maternal line. For them, building and painting a church similar with the edifices that their ancestors founded decades ago, it was a way of declaring themselves part of the great leaders family.
The exterior paintings of the walls are the finest from all monasteries; thousands of paintings in purple red and blue on an emerald green background.
The fortress that surrounds the church has a double role: a defensive one, against enemies, and the other one is to protect the mural paintings from damaging, as it happened with frescoes of other painted monasteries. The paintings of Sucevita were best preserved, outside and inside. This monastery has not only the most beautiful paintings, but they outnumber the pictures of any other monastery. Still, the western wall is white. According to the legend, the artist fell off the wall and died, so it remained unpainted.
The most remarkable and famous painting is The Ladder of Virtue. It presents the angels who are assisting the righteous enter in Heaven, while sinners fall down in Hell. The ladder presents the honorable and right path that the faithfully must follow to reach Heaven. There are angels on each side of the ladder: the ones from one side whisper words from the Scripture to the heaven seeking souls, while the angels on the other side wage battles against the demons who trying to deceive the weak victims, and estrange them from the path of truth.
In the beginning, the monastery was inhabited by monks, but today it is a nun monastery, where the nuns lead a simple life, in prayer. The museum of the monastery holds precious objects, among which manuscripts and embroideries donated by the Movila family.
Sucevita, Suceava, Romania
0040-230 417 110
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