Putna Monastery

Putna is an orthodox monastery in northern Romania, Moldavia region. Dedicated to the Dormition of Holy Mary, it is one of the most significant religious, cultural and artistic centers in Romania.

author:Mircea B

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Construction of the monastery started in the second half of the 15th century under commission of ruler Stefan the Great. The fortification walls, the precinct, manor house and entrance tower were finished in the same century, but the church itself needed reconstruction after an assault and was only finished in the 17th century. After this, it underwent two renovations.

The entrance tower bears Moldavia's coat of arms. Th belfry tower dates since late 19th century. The church features elements of Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The conventional Byzantine layout consists of porch or exhonarthex, pre-aisle, aisle and altar. The walls are supported by polished brick buttresses. The entrance through the porch is marked by tall stone portals. The portals and windows feature Gothic pointed arches and Gothic tracery.

The facades of Putna monastery feature a simple decoration of arches and medallions with the Coat of Arms and depictions of soldiers, and the wreathed cordon as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. The spire tower over the altar is more richly ornamented, with twisted columns and scrolls, a Baroque influence.

The monumental iconostasis is a baroque work of art with gilded wooden stuccoes and tempera painting, depicting biblical scenes, such as Christ in the Ghetsemane garden, Judas' kiss, Christ with Pontius Pilate, archangels and grapevine patterns. The altar also houses a luxurious silver incensory. The interior frescoes on the walls and the vaults, sectioned in medallions and stars, irradiate in dominant shades of gold which receive the dim light streaming down through the narrow windows of the tower.

As an important cultural center, Putna monastery has produced valuable manuscripts and precious miniature artworks. The complex houses a rich museum with embroideries, splendid manuscripts, valuable pieces of calligraphy, silver works, religious items, embroidered votive portraits, icons, stone and wood carvings, pearl, gold and silver thread woven iconograhpies on silk or linen, the epitaphs of princesses Euthymia and Eupraxia, a Serbian and Byzantine work of art.



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