The Humor Monastery is located in the former village of Manastirea Humorului, now part of Gura Humorului. It is just 6km (3,5mi) from the center of the city. The village boasts some interesting houses. After the collapse of the communist regime many locals built their own guest houses or small hotels as it is a good base for a tour of the painted monasteries.
In 1530, the great chancellor Toader Bubuiog and his wife Anastasia built the Humor Monastery on a former site of an older church which had been built during the time of Prince Alexander the Kind. It is dedicated to the Assumption of the Holly Virgin. The monastic life was interrupted in 1775 after Bucovina had been annexed to the Hapsburg Empire; the church lived on with its parish duties, till 1992 when it regained its status as a monastic place, but this time as a convent. It is being part of the UNESCO world heritage since 1993.
The church of the Humor Monastery has a trilobated (with 3 apses) plan without a tower, as it was built by a nobleman and not by a ruling prince. An interesting element is the open arched porch, the first of this kind in Bucovina. The church, beside the common rooms such as the exonarthex, nave and altar, has a burial chamber where the founders are buried. From this room a spiral stair goes up to the treasury room where the monks held the valuables in time of danger. These two rooms, the burial chamber and the treasury room, together with the open porch, appeared for the first time in the Moldavian architecture at the Humor Monastery.
The exterior paintings, made by the same Toma in 1935, are characterized by a reddish background and they represent the oldest outdoor frescos in Bucovina. While the paintings of the northern wall, more exposed to the rains and sun, vanished almost completely, the southern wall exhibits a cascade of frescoes. The upper register depicts several angels while the niches in which the angles are painted are flanked by Seraphs (Seraph means the burning one and represents a celestial creature with 6 wings flying around God).
The column of the southern facade shows 4 military saints, from top to bottom: Saint George, Saint Demetrius, Saint Mercurius and Saint Nestor. One the other side of the archway one can see the Hymn of the Annunciation (24 scenes). Below it, there is the Siege of Constantinople. It is placed right below the Hymn of the Holy Virgin in order to underline her protection of Moldavia as she had done the same with Constantinople during the attacks from 626.
Next to the Hymn of the Holy Virgin lies the fresco of Saint Nicholas presented in 20 scenes on four registers. Each scene represents different moments from the life of the saint while the last one in the right-lower corner shows his death. Bellow it, one can see on two registers the Parable of the Prodigal Son while to the right lies the Prayer of All Saints.
The Last Judgment fresco, painted on the western wall and protected by the open porch shows Jesus flanked by Adam and Eve. Below him, the God’s hand is holding the scale to weigh the souls. In the same register Archangel Michel fights with the demons to protect the pure souls. The left side of the wall is covered by three registers where righteous, different saints and prophets, are invited by Saint Peter to Paradise where Mary, the mother of God, together with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, waits for them.
The interior paintings were made partially by Toma the painter of Suceava. The most interesting of them are the Last Supper, on the shrine apse, the Votive Picture of Prince Petru Rares, flanked by Lady Elena, his wife, and one of his sons. The burial chamber is the place where the founders are buried. Their graves are marked by two mural paintings which show Toader Bubuiog giving the church to Christ and his wife, Anastasia, kneeling in front of the Holy Virgin.
The gilded iconostasis dates back to the 16th century. The top part shows Jesus crucified being flanked by Saint Mary and Saint John the Baptist. They flank Jesus again in the lower paining which represents the Deisis icon. It is flanked by the Apostles. Bellow them one can see different scenes of the Great Feasts; they date back to the 19th century. The doors of the wooden screen are flanked by several icons representing, from left to right, Archangel Michael, the Holy Virgin with the Child, Christ and the Assumption of the Holy Virgin.
In 1641, Vasile Lupu, ruler of Moldavia, fortified the church by adding walls and a watch tower. Today, only the last one can be seen.
The Schedule for the Humor Monastery:
Daily: 08:00 – 20:00
Entrance fee: €1.5
When to visit the monastery: the best period to visit the Voronet Monastery is in spring or autumn when you could have the entire place just for you. The worse moment would be the period during the Easter celebration.
Pictures of the Moldovita Monastery
Tours of Romania
Let yourself impressed by some of the most known tourist attractions of Romania for 9 days. The tour starts in Bucharest, once known as the Little Paris. Then you’ll cross into Transylvania where you’ll enjoy the medieval town of Sibiu or Sighisoara – UNESCO site. You’ll reach the gentle hills of Bucovina where the amazing painted monasteries had been built. The tour continues with the medieval town of Brasov, the famous Bran Castle – also known as the Dracula Castle, and the Peles Castle.
This tour of 12 days covers many of the most interesting landmarks from Romania. Discover famous cities such as Bucharest, Sibiu, Brasov or Sighisoara. Take a break in the rural areas from Transylvania, Maramures or Bucovina. Enjoy cultural experiences with the local and discover the crafts from different parts of the country. With this tour you really become a traveler.