I arrived at Putna on a hot summer day, but the heat was wasted on the pathway surrounded by maple trees that leads you to the first and most important monastery founded by Stephen the Great. The road here has been full of the suspense of seeing one of the most famous monasteries in Bucovina. My expectations were not deceived. The presence of Stephen the Great was felt through the walls of the monastery as if recalling his victories and all the stories woven around the ruler.
This "Jerusalem of the Romanian people" as Eminescu called the monastery, is an oasis of greenery, flowers and beauty. Unlike other monasteries in Bucovina this one is not painted on the outside, but compensates by the values that it shelters.
The monastery is a royal necropolis, hosting Stephen the Great's tomb and the tombs of two of the prince's wife and two of his sons.
Its construction begins in 1466 and lasts three years. Right from its inception, Putna was the largest monastery in Moldova, sheltering impressive material and spiritual values. Throughout its existence, Putna was put to hardships fires, earthquakes and foreign invasions.
The construction site was elected by the ruler, pulling a bow from the Hill of the Cross, "... he stopped at Putna and after the custom of the time, decided the site by pulling a bow himself from the point where the gate bell had to be. The altar would be where the arrow would stop. " (M.Sadoveanu, '' Life of Stephen the Great '')
IThe interior of the church has five rooms (porch, narthex, the tomb room, nave and altar). The ruler's tomb is in the southern part of the crypt. Oak leaves, bented stems that take the form of four medallions in the shape of heart and the Bull head, the Moldavian at that time, decorates the funerary slab. Alongside is the tomb of Lady Maria Voichita, the last wife of the ruler. On the opposite side is the tomb of the second wife, Maria of Mangop - having a slab with oriental influences and the tombs of his two sons - Peter and Bogdan.
In the church yard there is a museum worth visiting, the exhibits are hundreds of years old. Here you can see a piece of maple in which it says that Stephen's arrow has stuck , a replica of the sword of ruler, the grave covering of Stephen (1504), the grave covering of Mary of Mangop (second wife of Stephen), icons from 1500 and many more.
They say that being angry about the foreign invasion Stephen came one day to Hermit Daniil for advice. Daniel made the ruler to put his ear on the hermit's left leg. Listening, the prince heard many crying and unhappiness. "It is the cry of the country" the hermit said. "But on my right foot what do you hear?" "Beautiful songs" replied the ruler. "Where you hear these songs, raise a monastery" the Hermit Daniil said.
The hermit told him to go up on the hill near his cell in the next morning, and to shoot with arch. Where the arrow stop he will hear the songs, and there to raise a monastery.
The next day Stephen did so, and the arrow stopped, in an old maple tree. In that place Stephen built the Putna monastery, confident that God will protect the country from defeat.
Today the first monastery that was built by Stefan, is one of the most beautiful in Romania. Here is also the tomb of ruler.
Tourist season (May to September)
Monday - Sunday: 8:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Off season (October to April)
Monday - Sunday: 9:00 to 5:00 p.m.
How to get there
Putna monastery is in the village with the same name in Suceava.
In terms of distance, it lies 97 kilometers from Gura Humorului, 100 km from Campulung, 127 kilometers from Vatra Dornei and 68 kilometers from Suceava.
Access road: - the DN2E - Fălticeni - Paltinoasa - Marginea - Vicovu de Jos - DN2H - Putna Monastery;
- On the DN17A Campulung - Vatra Moldovitei - Sucevita - Marginea, Marginea DN2E - Vicovu de Jos, DN2H - Putna Monastery; - DN2 Bucharest - Buzau - Focsani - Bacau - Roman - Fălticeni - Suceava, DN2H -Rădăuţi - Vicovu de Jos, DN2H - Putna Monastery.
Rail access: The nearest train station is in the town of Putna. From here you can get some buses to the gates of the monastery.