Moldavia / Bucovina Bucovina, the Northeastern province of Romania, dates back its name to the annexation by the Habsburgs in 1774. "Bucovina" means a land covered by beech forests. This part of Romania is especially beautiful, having an extensive countryside of forests and hills, with many lesser-known delights to discover. It is a territory with clean unspoiled nature. It has a unique landscape: thick forests and imposing crests ("obcine"), branching off from the Carpathians, which allow a wonderful panorama of valleys, with houses scattered here and there, with large gardens and farm yards inviting one to lie down by the haystacks and look up at the blue sky with its marvelous hues. You might even catch a glimpse of a buffalo, a species that is being reintroduced into a natural reservation. There are hiking routes and camping facilities, as well as good hotels in the main towns. This is the land where the painted monasteries, which now hold a place of pride among world cultural sites, were built. Sucevita Monastery Sucevita Monastery complex - set in a beautiful green valley - is fortified like a citadel with watchtowers at its four corners. The monastery was erected in 1581 by Gheorghe Movila, Bishop of Radauti and consecrated to the Assumption in 1584. Ruling prince Ieremia Movila, Gheorghe Movila's brother, added to the church two open porches (to the North and to the South); he also built massive houses, thick surrounding walls and defense towers. Paintings at Sucevita were best preserved both on the outside and on the inside. Thousands of pictures decorate the walls of the church; in fact they outnumber the pictures at any of the other monasteries. Yet, the Western Wall is blank. Legends say that the artist fell off the wall scaffolding and was killed, so it remained undecorated. Frescoes are painted in purple red and blue against an emerald green background. There is plenty of gold too taken from the art of miniature. They belong to Romanian masters of the Moldavian Painting School - Ioan the Painter and his brother Sofronie from Suceava. Outside the porch, is to be seen the terrible vision of the Apocalypse displaying two-headed Beasts and the traditional rivers of fire. On the South wall, there is a remarkable Tree of Jesse displaying both the human origin of Jesus, under the form of His family tree and His divine descendants, as the Prayers to Holy Virgin scene is also painted nearby. In the nave, on the right side, one can see a faded votive painting of Elisabeth, Ieremia's wife, together with her children. After her husband died, she had a rough life since she never saw her children on the throne. Elisabeth died in a Sultan's harem, far away from her country. Ieremia and his brother Gheorghe are buried nearby. The museum of the monastery holds precious objects, among which manuscripts and embroideries donated by the Movila family.