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July 20, 2002

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More fun at the monasteries! The painted churches in Romania's Bucovena region, being world famous (at least in the minds of Romanians), kept us occupied for another morning. The outside walls of these monasteries retain their detailed frescoes after 500 years of exposure to the elements because the paint must have otherworldly characteristics. Our guide claims duPont offered millions of dollars to obtain samples of the paint - the churches refused to have chemical companies tamper with their murals (or they're holding out for a better offer). After lunch we drove west, back into Transylvania, driving through northern Romania before stopping in Cluj-Napoca. Tonight we go to Budapest.
Sucevita is this region's largest monastery. The central dome signifies that a prince built it. Walls surround the grounds of these monasteries, and from these fortresses the people waged war against the Turks. Great popular armies gathered inside the monastery walls. The illiterate people learned bible stories from the painted frescoes before praying and riding out to battle.
At the Humor monastery, the most famous frescoe is the 1453 Siege of Constantinople.
The bowler hat is an old Romanian fashion.
Romania isn't all Romanesque villages; some Communist architecture lines the streets of many villages and mars the skyline.