Bucovina monastery tours

Arbore monastery

Arbore monastery is one of the smallest churches and predominantly decorated in green. It was built in 1503 by Luca Arbore, a general in Stephen the Great's army, and consecrated to the beheading of St. John the Baptist. Since it was built by a landowner, it has no steeple.

The two heavy slabs of stone preserved near the church have fifteen small holes which used to serve as containers for the mixing of colours, thus providing the large display of shades used by Moldavian painters. Inside the monastery are the tombs of the church founders, Luca Arbore and his wife, Iuliana as well as an ethnographic museum with a rich display of the region's most valuable assets.

Arbore has remarkable exterior and interior frescoed paintings against a predominant green background. The green is in five shadows and 47 hues, combining red, blue, yellow, pink and ochre. The Moldaviabn master painters took the secret of combining the colours to their graves and is now lost.

However, scientists were able to identify thirty substances, including animal products, vinegar, egg, gall and honey. Restorers cannot hope to duplicate the paint: they can only stabilise what has been left of the frescoes.