Strange way to the monasteries

Trip Start Nov 15, 2005
Trip End Aug 15, 2008

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Flag of Romania  ,
Monday, December 5, 2005

On the train to Cluj-Napoca, I happened to meet an autralian couple, Geoff and Sue, on their way to the World Heritage listed painted monasteries of Southern Bucovina, in the north east of Romania. Being important enough to be recognised Unesco, of course they made almost no appearance in my lonely planet guide. Sue and Geoff were kind enough to let me tag along with them, though I had I known what the journey would entail I might not have been quite so quick to join them. It took almost ten hours by train to Gura Humorului, and we turned up before sunrise, in the freezing cold and with nowhere to stay. Fortunately, there was a reasonable motel very close to the station willing to let us share a room, so it all worked out fine.

Using Gura Humorului as a base, we went to visit the monasteries of Voronets, Moldivita and Humor, all within easy reach. The unique aspect of these buildings is the vibrant and detailed paintings covering literally every available surface, interior and exterior. Depicting religious teachings, these were used to educate the illiterate peasants of the 16th and 17th centuries, and (in some cases) have survived remarkably intact for the past 400 years. These three monasteries in particular (there are over a dozen in the region) have dominant colours of blue, yellow and red respectively, the colours of the romanian flag. Well worth the journey up here.

Heading on to Sapanta tomorrow (I hope), looks like the journey is going to be as interesting as the one here. Updates soon (still haven't found anywhere to upload some pictures, sorry. Got loads to come).
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