While the Voronet Monastery is well known for its frescoes dominated by a distinctive blue color, the Humor Monastery is renowned for the reddish color (obtained from oriental madder pigment) used to paint the biblical scenes on its outer walls.
The master painter responsible for Humor's frescoes, which were painted in 1535, is one Toma of Suceava.
Humor Monastery is located in the village with the same name, Mănăstirea Humorului, about 5 km north of the town of Gura Humorului. It is a monastery for nuns dedicated to the Dormition of Virgin Mary. It was constructed in 1530 by Voievod Petru Rareş.Petru Rares and his wife are both buried in the monastery church as well.
The monastery was built over the foundation of a previous monastery that dated from around 1415. The ruins of the first church of Humor can be found at a distance of 500 meters from the new one.
The monastery, located on the Humor river, is surrounded by hills with forests. The beautiful site attracts thousands of tourists every year. There are numerous accommodation possibilities in the village or even in the Gura Humorului town. The accomodation prices start from 20€ for a double room.
This is a great spot from which you can visit all the famous monasteries from the north of Moldova region of Romania.
The small church, with a wide open porch arched on three sides, has a vault which is similar to the one at Moldovita except that the one at Humor seems to be floating, a sample of Byzantine art highly appreciated by architect experts. The open porch is separated from the nave by three columns connected through broken arches which have crossed vaults. The windows frames are Gothic. The open porch with arcades was the first of its kind to be built in Bucovina, an innovation influenced by both the local building tradition (veranda, terrace) and the foreign Renaissance (the lodge found later in the Brancovan style). Another innovation is the tainiţa (a hidden place) above the burial-vault, precious objects were kept there, especially in difficult times.
The defense tower was built by Vasile Lupu in 1641.
Humor was one of the first of Bucovina's painted monasteries to be frescoed and, along with Voronet is probably the best preserved.
The Last Judgment, placed on the wall beneath the unusual open porch, is similar to the Voronet one, but, unfortunately, the Tree of Jesse has been effaced by erosion. The significant difference is that the Devil is portrayed as the Scarlet Woman, though this patch is now so faint, that it has become nearly invisible. Such misogyny had its counterpart in the peasant conception of Hell, assumed to be a cavern upheld by seven old women who had surpassed Satan in wickedness during their lifetimes. Since the women are mortal, the legend goes, the Devil (Dracul) must constantly search the world for replacements - and he never fails to find them.
Another famous exterior painting, Hymn to the Virgin, has been inspired by the poem written by Patriarch Serghei of Constantinople, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is reputed to have saved the city during the attack of the Persians in 626. The Persians are, however, depicted as Turks which is a common device in these monasteries, their paintings being used in part for political propaganda in addition to their spiritual meaning. The Siege of Constantinople, displayed on a large surface, in a central position, also suggests Moldavians’ wish to defeat their enemies, the Turks.
If you pay a visit to the monastery you can also admire or even buy the handicraft objects sold by the locals just outside the monastery walls. Wooden carved icons, colorful carpets, regional costumes, wooden kitchen cutlery and many more handmade objects can be purchased as a memory of this beautiful place.