Voronet monastery, the "Sistine Chapel of the East" is considered the jewel of Bucovina and was built between May and September 1488 by Stephen the Great. He fulfilled a pledge to the hermit Daniil who encouraged the prince to chase the Turks from Wallachia. After having won the battles, Stephen built Voronet in three months and 21 days, on the very spot Daniil had his small wooden hermitage.
The paintings, done in 1534-1535, adapt classic Byzantine art to Moldavian realities. The archangels trumpets take the shape of the local shepherds' horn ("bucium") and the souls doomed to hellfire wear the turbans of the Turkish enemy. Daylight illuminates the colours and give the famous "voronet blue" a unique clarity.
Afterward, we drove the few miles south to Voronet, the oldest of the monasteries. It has been dubbed the "Sistine Chapel of the East," and the comparison does Michelangelo credit. Swathed in a satiny indigo known as "Voronet blue," it was the most beautiful church I'd ever seen.
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