November 7, 2009Read Full story
Where Art and Faith Embrace in Gura Humorului, Romania
By RUTH ELLEN GRUBER
GURA HUMORULUI, ROMANIA — The Bucovina region in the far north of the country, wrote the Romanian scholar Silviu Sanie, is “one of those blessed realms where sacred and secular monuments have enriched the enchanting natural landscape. [...]”
Here are Romania’s famous painted monasteries, built in the 15th and 16th centuries when the region, a stronghold of Orthodox Christianity, was threatened by Ottoman invaders.
The vividly colored frescoes on their exterior walls, masterpieces of Byzantine painting, tell the tales of saints and heroes, and portray in epic imagery the cataclysmic struggle between good and evil at the end of days. [...]
Here, too, however, are religious sites far less known and rarely visited that also form important components of the region’s deeply rooted spiritual patrimony. These are the centuries-old Jewish cemeteries, whose weathered tombstones bear extraordinary carvings that meld folk motifs and religious iconography into evocative examples of faith expressed through art.
Romania -- My Travel Piece in NYTimes online explore painted monasteries and Jewish cemeteries
The International Herald Tribune and NYTimes online runs my travel piece on the Bucovina region of northern Romania -- in which I write about both the painted monasteries and the Jewish cemeteries. The headline writer and photo caption writer unaccounably attributed everything to Gura Humorului, but that is just one of the places I mention in the story -- chosen as the dateline as it is the hub for two monasteries (Voronet and Humor) as well as the historic Jewish cemetery -- I posted a video of the cemetery in September.