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CARPATHIAN MONASTERY (50 photos) Send this reportage Send this reportage
Close to the frontier with Moldova and the Ukraine and beyond the fearsome and fabulous realm of Vlad Tepes or Dracula, as some prefer to call him a succession of monasteries emerge between beech forests, rivers, valleys and a number of plains.
© E. Scagnetti./
Categories: Art, History, Human & Ethnology, Religion, Tourism, Travel, Culture, Social, Big Story
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Four hundred kilometres of winding roads that skirt around the Carpathian Mountains separate Bucharest from the edges of Bucovina and the magnificent frescos that adorn the outer walls of its churches.

Religious symbols have earned special significance here, in a region that was for centuries both an imaginary and shifting frontier between Islam and Christian Orthodoxy, a region isolated for so long from the West. It is not only the stunning architecture of the monasteries but also the secrets locked within that bear testament to this.
‘I feel at home here in the cemetery, because they—the deceased monks—have been what I am now and remind me of what I will become’, Father Calisto tells us with an enigmatic smile, as we wander amid the crosses that stretch out beside the church in the Secu monastery, on the first leg of our journey. His smile seems to come from another time and, as I am starting to believe, another world. The sun is setting in this far flung corner of Romania, although it remains in the grip of a temperature of 40°C and a pitiless sun that relentlessly beats down on both dead and alive. Among them is Raluca, our spiritual guide and key to unlocking the mysteries amassed by ageing Orthodox monks in the famed region of Bucovina. (For the complete texte please contact The Reportage)