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Holy Murals of Blue: Churches of Moldavia

Language: English
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(Narration Text)
Church walls entirely covered with colourful fresco paintings - a feature unique to the region of Moldavia in Romania.

Moldavia has long been called "the land where God lives". Many of the churches have frescoes here; seven of them have been inscribed as World Heritage. The Principality of Moldavia fought against Ottoman invasion in the fifteenth century and a church was built with each victory. The outside walls of the churches and monasteries were covered with Bible story paintings, so that people who were illiterate could understand the Biblical message. These pictures were painted by local peasants. Jesus, held in the arms of Virgin Mary, wears traditional peasant clothing. And here he is holding a cobza, a musical instrument of the region. The holy atmosphere in Moldavia attracts nuns from all over the country to serve God. Labour and prayer, reminiscent of medieval times can still be found here.

This is the village of Voronet. They adopted the name from the monastery. Horse drawn carriages are still a main means of transportation. This is the Church of St. George in the Voronet monastery. People celebrate the spring festival of St. George, the village's patron saint, with the Saints drawn on the wall looking on. One of the special characteristics of the Moldavian frescoes is the vivid blue colour known as "the Voronet blue".

450 years have passed since these murals were painted, however the walls still retain the vivid blue colour to this day. "The Last Judgement" is considered to be the best mural in Moldavia. This wall mural depicts Heaven and Hell. Sinners are thrown into Hellfire. The Saints are in Heaven. Pious and righteous Moldavian people are here held in the arms of the Saints. The fresco churches have always been the heart of village life.

on this subject: Romania - International support for the restoration and preservation of the Probota Monastery (

Topics and Tags
Place/region: Romania, Europe
Series: NHK World Heritage 100
Type: Documentary
Production and personalities:
Publisher: NHK; UNESCO TV
Coproducer/sponsor: UNESCO WHC

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Original: Video.MPEG
Location: EV only
UMVS reference: AVFONDS-NHK-07.372
Rights holder: NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation
Additional info: MPEG: Russian; others: WMV