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The Romanian Orthodox Churches
- Arrival/Departure by plane
- 10 days
- Focusing on the orthodox regions of Romania
The Romanian Orthodox Church is an independent church with a patriarchate rank. Historical reports, archaeological and linguistic evidence assert the early spread of Christianity in this region. The Romanian Orthodox Church followed the Romanian people through its history and had a significant contribution in maintaining the national identity and unity.
Day 1: Flight to Cluj – Satu Mare
Scheduled flight to Cluj. Meeting the local guide and transfer to Satu Mare. Dinner and accommodation in Satu Mare.
Day 2: Maramureș – Bukovina
After breakfast, we go to Săpânța, a Carpathian village near the Ukrainian border, where we visit the Merry Cemetery. The cemetery comprises over 300 tombstones with paintings cheerfully depicting scenes from the lives of the deceased. The paintings were made by the local artist Stan Ioan Pătraș. In the afternoon, we drive to Maramureș, a region where traditional lifestyles are still predominant. Wood has been one of the main construction materials for centuries here and wooden churches are representative for the architecture that developed in this area. We visit two typical churches (Rozavlea and Bogdan Vodă) and we talk to an Orthodox priest about the different churches and religions. After crossing the Prislop and Mestecăniș passes, we arrive in Bukovina, a former Crown Land of the Austrian monarchy. Dinner and accommodation in Gura Humorului.
Day 3: The Moldavian Monasteries
Today, we visit the Moldavian Monasteries. Bukovina, a small but beautiful region, with a charming landscape, wonderful mountains and forests, is considered to be the cradle of the Romanian orthodoxy. The monasteries are adorned with rich fresco-cycles that decorate the inner walls but also the outside walls. Thus, the scenes create a vivid, imposing image of the Christianity at that time. We visit the Humor Monastery, in a red background tint, Voroneț – ‘The Sistine Chapel of the East’- in basic background tint and Sucevița, founded in 1581, also known as the ‘Pearl of the Moldavian Monasteries’. Afterwards, we drive to Marginea to visit the local black pottery center. In Câmpulung Moldovenesc, we attend an audition of a male choir singing religious and Romanian songs. Dinner and accommodation in Gura Humorului.
Day 4: Iași
Today, we see Iași, the capital city of Moldavia, one of the most important cities in Romania. We visit the Metropolitan Church, the Palace of Culture, the theatre; the highlight of our tour is the Church of the Three Hierarchs. Here, we attend an Orthodox mass together with the Orthodox monks. If possible, we will have a meeting with representatives of the Orthodox Church. Dinner and accommodation in Iași.
Day 5: The Agapia and Neamț Monasteries
We drive to Agapia and visit one of the largest orthodox nun monasteries in Europe (almost 500 nuns). The imposing monastery complex from Neamț – our next stop – houses a calligraphy and miniature painting school that is known worldwide. This is the oldest monastery in the Moldavia region. The imposing monastery church possesses no outside paintings and that is why the facades are decorated with small ceramic discs. In the Middle Ages, this monastery was one of the most important cultural centers of our country. Dinner and accommodation in Piatra Neamț.
Day 6: Natural Monuments and Saxon Culture
In the morning, we see two of the most visited natural monuments of Romania – the Bicaz Gorge and the Red Lake. Afterwards, we drive across the Szekler region (the Szeklers are a subgroup of the Hungarian people) to Sighișoara. In Sighișoara we admire the most beautiful medieval townscape in Romania. We visit the Clock Tower, the Church on the Hill, the Citadel, the fortified walls and towers of the town and also the birthplace of the Wallachian leader Vlad Dracul, who later became known as Count Dracula in Gothic literature and film. We then visit the fortified church in Biertan that used to be the bishops’ residence for more than 300 years. The fortified church is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Dinner and accommodation in Sibiu.
Day 7: Wallachian Monasteries
After breakfast, we take a city tour of the 2007 European Cultural Capital. We visit, among others, the Evangelical Church, the Council Tower, the Large and the Small Square, the Liars’ Bridge, the Peasants’ Market, etc. After driving along the picturesque Olt valley, one of the oldest passing routes in the Carpathians, we reach the Cozia Monastery with its beautiful frescoes from the 14th century in the narthex of the church and frescoes from the 16th century in the small chapel. From here, the Horezu Monastery is not far away. This monastery, which falls under the competence of UNESCO, represents one of the most impressive monastery complexes in Wallachia. Afterwards, we drive to the former Wallachian capital city, Curtea de Argeș, where dinner and accommodation have been arranged.
Day 8: Curtea de Argeș – Bucharest
In Curtea de Argeș, among bishops’ churches and royal churches, we find two of the most important churches in our country. The construction of the first church in the 14th century reflects Constantinople and its image. The splendid frescoes date back to the time of the final Byzantine ‘Renaissance’. The beautiful counterpart is the Bishop’s Church. Filled with lavish grey-gold-green decorations, the church paintings establish a connection between the stories from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights and Bible stories. So, it comes as no surprise that Paul of Aleppo considered this church to be the eighth wonder of the world. Afterwards, drive to Bucharest. Dinner and accommodation in Bucharest.
Day 9: Bucharest
On our city tour of Bucharest we see the Athenaeum, the former royal palace, the Kretzulescu, Enei and Stavropoleos churches, but also Ceaușescu’s megalomaniac legacy, the House of the People. We also see the ruins of the former royal court built by Vlad the Impaler in the 15th century. The controversial ruler of Wallachia is alleged to be the founder of Bucharest.
Day 10: Return trip
Transfer to the airport and return flight.
– All 9 overnight stays with half board;
– All entry fees;
– Transport with bus according to the program;
– English speaking tour guide;