The Maldavian prince Stephen the Great won his first big victory over the Turks more than 500 years ago, and he celebrated by having a monastery built and hiring artisans to cover it in beautiful murals.
According to Peter Wortsman in Sunday’s New York Times travel section, Stephen kept erecting monasteries and filling them with great art — 46 were built in total, hidden in the dense forests of the Bucovina region of modern-day Romania:
The tradition was embraced by his son and successor, Petru Rares, and their vassals. Many of the mural-covered monasteries and churches survive, nestled in a valley, having withstood the withering summer sun and winter winds for centuries. What started out as Stephen the Great’s war trophies have become some of the world’s most stunning works of art.
If you’re interested in reading more about Wortsman’s trek to see these stunning old monasteries, read about it here. (Judging from the pictures in the article, these Unesco World Heritage sites would be a worthwhile trip to make when traveling to that part of the world.)
[Image: Cristian Movila for the New York Times]