Saturday, 17 November 2018


Outside our bedroom window was a field of good produce: tomato’s, apples, faggots of kindling wood, gourds, green peppers, all basked in an early light. Fecundity was to be a characteristic of the entire week as we raced through the Romanian countryside.

Through villages, up hill and down dales and low hills we visited two painted churches; Voronet and Sucevița. 

Round these parts you’d build a church to celebrate a victory (Voronet) or for defensive purposes (Suceviţa) to help protect the land from invaders, the Ottoman hoards. 

Either way the nobles who sponsored this activity also hired the very best of decorators to cover almost every inch of the church with wonderful characters and objects to depict every story in The Bible. Languages were not established and certainly not the written word so these wonderful portrayals was the way to go.
It is remarkable that these places were decorated inside and out.  And God’s work has stood the test of time. Seeing all these paintings and have them enthusiastically explained by Tour Guide Alex was a blessing. Inside each was an almost pungent atmosphere of Holiness that even the ungodly tourist hordes with cameras and smart phones could not banish into the outer darkness. 

Both establishments, Voronet and Sucevița were policed by nuns who took your 10 lei for a permit to use your camera, sold you post cards and ensured that you did not take photographs in the interiors of these treasured places. People did.

So these were the churches of Moldavia. A land that has been ruled by Dacian, Romans, Hungarians and Ottomans all before finally forming a country from three principalities; Walachia, Transylvania and Moldavia itself. 

Tomorrow, Tuesday, we would be travelling west through the Carpathian Mountains to Transylvania proper.  

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Thank you very much for your comments - Tim