1400AD-Present-Modern Era Europe Romania Churches, Cathedrals, Basilicas, Monasteries UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Sucevita Monastery: The masterpiece of eternity in the heart of Bucovina

Sucevita Monastery, Bucovina
With the Carpathian hills charmingly embracing it, the Sucevita Monastery rises charmingly like a medieval fortress, transporting you back in time. Its exterior paintings, with a wealth and monumentality that takes your breath away, stand as a testimony of artistic mastery and are undoubtedly the best preserved and stunning frescoes in the whole painted heritage of Bucovina churches.

Tourist Information

TypeMonastery, Religious Site
Architectural StyleByzantine, Gothic

Getting there

18 km from Radauti
53 km from Campulung Moldovenesc
50 km from Gura Humorului
90 km from Vatra Dornei
51 km from Suceava
104 km from Targu Neamt
Car – from Radauti (18 km)
There are daily buses between Rădăuți and Sucevita.
Airports nearby:
Suceava (SCV) – www.aeroportsuceava.ro
Iasi (IAS) – www.aeroport.ro
When to visit Every Day, Day time
Other tourist objectives nearbyThe Marginea Black Pottery
LocationSucevita, Suceava County, Romania, Europe


Why is Sucevita Monastery famous?

The monastery resembles a fortified medieval fortress.

Sucevita monastery has been inscribed by UNESCO on its list of World Heritage Sites, as one of the Painted Churches of Moldavia.

The church also has a tower with a star-shaped base, this being a symbol of the fact that the church had been built by a reigning family, and not by an ordinary man.

In the tomb, room are buried Ieremia and Simion Movila brothers

What are the most remarkable frescoes of the Sucevita Monastery?

  • Ladder of Virtue: The Ladder of Virtue, represents angels helping the righteous enter Paradise, while sinners are punished by a grinning demon,
  • The Last Judgment: The Last Judgment fresco conveys the fundamental message of the final judgment and divine rewards or punishments, reflecting the religious beliefs and spiritual value of this theme. The vivid and rich colors of the fresco, especially the blues, greens, and gold, add a strong visual impact and bring the representation to life. The fresco covers a significant area of the nave wall, attracting visitors’ eyes from the entrance. This fresco remained unfinished because the painter fell from the scaffolding and died.
  • Apocalypse: Outside the porch is seen the terrible vision of the Apocalypse, displaying the two-headed beasts and the traditional rivers of fire.
  • Tree of Jesus: On the south wall, there is a Tree of Jesus, which shows both the human origin of Jesus, in the form of His tree, and His divine ancestry, as the scene of the Prayers to the Blessed Virgin is also painted in proximity.
  • The Prayer of All Saints: The largest of all Moldovan murals is found here, the Prayer of All Saints, covering the entire height of the eastern facade, with detailed religious hierarchies rendered in vivid colors, almost perfectly preserved over time. The frescoes of the Sucevița Monastery are among the best preserved of all the painted monasteries of Bucovinia and were made at the beginning of the reign of Ieremia Movila, between 1595 and 1596.

The frescoes are in brilliant red and blue on an emerald green ground and must have been magnificent when freshly painted.

Museum of the Sucevita Monastery

The cells are bordered by the eastern wall, and there is also a museum with embroidery, manuscripts, religious objects, and icons inside the cult. 

The largest and most precious collection of medieval art in Moldova can be found at the Museum of Sucevita Monastery. We mention some valuable adornments: the roofs of the rulers of Ieremia (1606) and Simion Movilă (1609), the masterpieces of embroidery, among the most successful secular portraits of the time: the 10,000 pearl epitaph (1597) Mrs. Elizabeth, the wife of Ieremia Movila. All these include objects representative of medieval art from the 15th and 16th centuries, combined with religious, monastic, painting, wood, and stone sculpture, embroidery, miniature manuscripts, and silverware.

On the east side of the enclosure, located in the former boardroom, there is a collection of embroidery from the time of Jeremiah and Simion Movila, made of gold, silver, silk, and pearls. The portraits of the two are displayed in the same room alongside other exhibits, such as an epitaph with pearls, tetraevanghelia, locked in gilded silver, and an ark given by Metropolitan Gheorghe Movila.

What legends and mysterious stories are hidden behind the walls of the Sucevita Monastery?

  • The Legend of the Rising Tower: It is said that the Sucevita Monastery was built during the reign of Ieremia Movilă, and the legend says that the ruler had a dream in which he was shown a tower rising above a monastery. Following this dream, he ordered the construction of the monastery with the rising tower so that it would be visible from afar.
  • Legend of the Monk Painter: Another legend says that Sucevița Monastery was founded by a monk who was also a talented painter. This monk is said to have received a divine vision in which he was shown how to paint the frescoes of the monastery, and angels guided his hand during the painting process.
  • Legend of the Hidden Sword: It is said that a sacred sword that once belonged to a valiant knight was hidden within the walls of the monastery. This sword would have been hidden to protect the monastery from any danger or invasion.
  • Legend of the Wall Painted with Milk: According to this legend, the frescoes of the monastery were painted with milk instead of water. Milk would have been miraculously brought in during construction to be used in painting and would have given the frescoes great durability and luster.
  • Legend of the Stones Brought at Night: It is said that the stones needed for the construction of the monastery were brought at night by angels, thus making possible the rapid completion of this architectural complex.
Sucevita Monastery, Bucovina
Sucevita Monastery, Bucovina

About the author


I am Catalina, and my passion for travel, mysteries, legends and archaeology drives me to explore the world and uncover its hidden wonders.