Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Putna Monastery

The beautiful Monastery Putna

Putna Monastery, raised between 1466-1469, the first fortified construction of Stephan the Great, was designed to be the necropolis of the ruler's family and his descendents, including Petru Rares. The story goes that it was built in a general area picked out by Stephen's advisor, Daniel the Hermit. The exact position of the church was left up to God when Stephen went to the top of a hill and fired an arrow— wherever it fell the church would be built. A section of tree trunk containing the arrow hole is still kept in the monastery museum and a cross marks the spot from which the arrow was shot. Apparently, a forest was cleared for the building of the monastery.

Putna has known earthquakes, fires and invasions for 5 centuries, the only construction from the 15th century still standing is the "Treasure's tower". According to the plaque, it was built in 1481 and it was conceived as a two-floor building, with a terrace at the top, with a crenellated parapet. Today it has a sharp roof. Light comes in through narrow windows, decorated with frames of sculpted rock in a laic manner reminding the late gothic. The monastery was restored several times. Only a few years after the completion of the buildings and fortifications, a dreadful fire destroyed most of the church, the outer walls and the princely home. The following years, the prince and founder rebuilt the church that soon recovered its former lofty appearance. In 1536, another conflagration seriously damaged all the buildings; there followed a new restoration completed in 1559, on the initiative and at the expense of Prince Alexandru Lapusneanu (1552-1561; 1564-1568). In 1653, the church was pulled down to its foundations and replaced in 1654-1662 by a new building which, with slight alterations, has lasted to this day. In this period, the princely residence and the precinct walls were also enlarged and repaired. However, this important restoration did not last more than three quarters of a century, for in 1739, Putna Monastery was destroyed by a powerful earthquake, which made it necessary to start ample restoration work between 1757 and 1761, upon the initiative and with the endeavors of Metropolitan Iacov Putneanul.

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