were advantages and disadvantages in taking a tour. On the plus side,
I never would have been able to find them on my own. Perhaps I would
have found some, but it was so much easier to be delivered to the
doorstep. However, when you take a tour to many different locations
in one day, it doesn't matter if the tour is in Romanian or any other
language. Destinations blur together.
I knew nothing
about the monasteries in advance. Yes, I should have read the guidebook
before hand. Lesson learned. But, surprise was also good. I knew the
monasteries were built in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but
I had no idea that many of them were painted inside and out. That
was the inspiration of Grigore Rosca as a means of educating the illiterate
of biblical events. Painted in a Byzantine style, the art also had
a healthy infusion of traditional folk art and lore. Thankfully, they
were built with large eaves that helped to protect a lot of the art.
Of course, the interiors were much more protected and preserved, but
some of the exteriors were in amazing condition.
weren't just churches. They were built as fortresses to protect the
Orthodox church from invasion by Turk and Tatar infidels. There were
dwellings for the monks and nuns (who still lived on the grounds),
guard towers, elegant walls and now each had a museum to share its
history. The fortresses were usually set at the head of a valley to
create a defensive bottleneck. The exact locations were determined
by shooting arrows from atop a mountain. The first arrow was for the
water source; second arrow for the altar; third for the belfry, and
so on. It certainly eliminated arguments with architects.
I'm not sure
how many monasteries I saw on the tour due to the blur effect. But,
I did visit Voronet Monastery,
Sucevita Monastery and Putna