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Voroneţ Monastery/Romania

Introducing Voroneţ Monastery

Built in just three months and three weeks by Ştefan cel Mare following a key 1488 victory over the Turks, Voroneţ Monastery is the only one to have a specific colour associated with it worldwide. 'Voroneţ Blue', a vibrant cerulean colour created from lapis lazuli and other ingredients, is prominent in its frescoes.

A 2011 restoration of frescoes in the church's entryway has revealed the incredible quality of these paintings even more clearly. Today Voroneţ is home to a small community of nuns.

The wondrous size, scope and detail of the Last Judgment fresco, which fills the entire exterior western wall of the Voroneţ Monastery, has earned near-universal accolades as being the most marvellous Bucovina fresco. Angels at the top roll up the zodiac signs, indicating the end of time, while humanity is brought to judgment in the middle. On the left, St Paul escorts the believers, while a stern Moses takes the nonbelievers on the right. The Heaven and Garden of Eden is on the bottom left, the Resurrection is on the bottom right.

On the northern wall is Genesis, from Adam and Eve to Cain and Abel. The southern wall features the Tree of Jesse (King David's father) with the biblical genealogy. The first three rows portray St Nicholas' life and miracles. The next two rows recount the martyrdom of Suceava's St John the New. The bottom row, from left to right, features the monastery's patron saint, St George, fighting the dragon, St Daniel the Hermit with Metropolitan Grigorie, a Deisis icon, and the 1402 procession of St John the New's relics into Suceava.

In the narthex lies the tomb of Daniel the Hermit, the ascetic who encouraged Ştefan cel Mare to fight the Turks, and then became the monastery's first abbot.

The monastery is a 4km walk from the turn-off or 6km from Gura Humorului.