» » The Humor Monastery, a Wonderful Aristocratic Establishment
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  • Date: 27-02-2015, 13:57
27-02-2015, 13:57

The Humor Monastery, a Wonderful Aristocratic Establishment

Category: History / Moldova / Humor

The Humor Monastery, a Wonderful Aristocratic EstablishmentHumor is one of the most interesting monasteries in Moldova, founded by the great chancellor Toader Bubuiog. The church of the monastery was included on UNESCO’s list in 1993. The church is dedicated to both the Assumption of Mary and St. George, because it took over the patron of a prior place of worship. In the early Middle Ages, near today's Humor monastery, there was a monk hermitage which had a wooden church. During the reign of Alexander the Good (1400 - 1432), Humor’s feudal lord, the magistrate Ivan, built a stone church, and in 1473, Stephen the Great gave the church a Four Gospels Book, on which the prince is painted, while Mary offers him this book. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the church collapsed. In 1530, 500 metres away, the great chancellor Toader Bubuiog began construction of the current stone church. In 1535, construction was completed, and Toader Bubuiog hired four artists to adorn his church. He also built cells for the monks. A century later, the Prince Vasile Lupu raised a defensive wall around the church and a massive tower with a ground floor and three stories, but a few years later, the monastery was plundered by Cossacks led by Timuş Hmelniţchi. In 1775, Humor entered the Austrian Empire, and the monastery was closed in 1783. The church continued to be used as a parish church, and the cells were used for a school, then as deposits, and eventually fell into ruin. The monastery re-opened only in 1991, this time with nuns rather than monks.

Architectural Innovations

The church is built in the Moldavian style, without towers, but with a triconch, namely, with side apses carved into the wall. For the first time in Moldavian architecture, an open porch was used instead of a closed one. From this porch, the faithful followers may enter into the narthex, which is separated from the burial chamber by a wall, then followed by the nave and the altar. Also for the first time in Moldavian architecture, a secret room lies above the burial chamber concealing the treasure of the monastery. The three apses of the nave and the altar are decorated with elongated alcoves and under the alcoves there is a row of small niches. The interior is lit by six windows. The porch has four large arches, separated by square pillars, while the entrance to the nave is marked through a Gothic portal framed in stone.
The interior doors and windows are also Gothic. The church was decorated on the inside and outside with beautiful frescoes showcasing spectacular shades of red. The best preserved are the paintings on the south wall, depicting topics such as the Akathist of the Annunciation or the Council of the Virgin. The tombs of Toader Bubuiog and his wife, Anastasia, can be found inside the church. The monastery ensemble is rounded off with a wooden bell tower put together in the nineteenth century.

Travel info: The distance Bucharest - Humor is 457 kilometres, and from Cluj-Napoca Humor it is 294 kilometres.
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