The impressive number of churches to be found in Bucovina, Romania, with their fine exterior and interior frescoes, have been preserved and handed down from mediaeval times, and because of their uniqueness and artistic value, were added to UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage List in 1993. There is, indeed, no other place in the world where such a group of churches, with such high quality exterior frescoes, are to be seen.
The churches were founded, in most cases, as family burial places of princes and high nobles. Each painter, although following the canonical iconographic programme, interpreted the scenes in a slightly different way. Using colors like the famous Voronet blue, the green-red of Sucevita, the yellow of Moldovita, the red of Humor and the green of Arbore, the painters (most of them unknown) described the biblical stories of the earth and heaven, scenes from the lives of the Holly Virgin and Jesus Christ, stories of man’s beginnings and of his life after death. The scenes were first painted on the interior walls, and then extended to the exterior ones. The reasons for such vast scenes were both religious and didactic: to promote Orthodoxy and to educate the illiterate.