Moldovita Monastery stands in Vatra Moldovitei village, situated in Obcinile Bucovinei Mountains, on Moldovita river valley. There are about 70 km from here to Suceava, the capital of the country of Moldavia in those times, and about the same distance separated the monastery from the Hungarian and Polish borders, so is was meant to play a double role, to protect the locals against attacks coming from the west and north, as well as to protect the ruler from the Turkish and Mongols.
The first monastery erected on the site was the one built by the Moldavian ruler Alexandru cel Bun between 1402 and 1410, but it collapsed at the beginning of the 16th century because a land slide, its ruins still being visible today.
Moldovita Monastery we see today dates back to 1532 and it was built by the ruling Prince Petru Rares (1532-1546), one of Stephen’s sons. It has, like Sucevita, the aspect of a fortress, with imposing towers and high, thick walls (6 m high, 1.2 m wide).
According to the architectural tradition set by Stephen the Great, the church has a three-cusped plan, as well as an open porch. The frescoes were painted by Toma of Suceava, in 1537. Among the most interesting one is the Siege of Constantinople on the southern facade, related with the Romanians’ fights against the Turkish invasions. The painting combines scenes of the siege of Constantinople from 1453 with others referring to a previous such attempt made by the Persians, in 626.
The Last Judgment is also depicted, depicting apocalyptic images of noblemen being taken along by Satan to Hell. Another valuable fresco is that of the Customs of Heaven, also present at Humor, Arbore and Voronet monasteries, inspired by folk legends.
On the right side of the nave, there is a mural painting of Petru Rares and his family, presenting the monastery to Jesus.
Moldovita’s frescoes along with the ones at Voronet have best preserved their colors which are astonishingly fresh and vivid.
The two-storey princely residence, with a circular tower houses a rich museum with 17th and 18th century books, as well as other monastic treasures.