Bistrița Monastery

The Bistrița Monastery (Romanian: Mănăstirea Bistrița, pronounced [ˈbistrit͡sa] (listen)) is a Romanian Orthodox monastery located 8 km west of Piatra Neamț. It was dedicated in 1402, having as original ctitor the Moldavian Voivode Alexandru cel Bun whose remains are buried here.

The church is historically and archaeologically valuable. It shows features of Byzantine architecture, is richly ornamented, with a 15th-century entrance door of fine craftsmanship and detailed frescoes.

The monastery is surrounded by 4 meter high stone walls built during Petru Rareș's reign (1541–1546), the original ones being destroyed in 1538 by Suleiman the Magnificent's army. Also from the same period dates a chapel located north of the monastery. The inner court bell tower had already been erected in 1498 by Ștefan cel Mare. With his extensive restoration of the monastery in 1554, Alexandru Lăpușneanu is also considered to be a ctitor. Thus, the monastery is considered to have been donated by 4 voivodes of the Mușatin dynasty (Alexandru I, Ștefan III, Petru IV, Alexandru Lăpușneanu).

Bistrita Monastery 0037
The miraculous icon

A remarkable item preserved here is the miraculous icon of Saint Anne given as a present to the monastery in 1407-1408 by Voivode Alexandru I's wife, Lady Ana. According to tradition,[note 1] the icon was given as a "patronage gift" to Lady Ana by empress Jelena, wife of Manuel II Palaiologos, emperor of Constantinople. The icon was restored in the 18th century and in 1853 was placed in a new section, made of carved and gilded wood, of the kliros.

During the year 1855 the monastery underwent major reconstruction under the lead of the famous architect Carol Benesch.

The monastery was an important cultural center for calligraphers, miniaturists and chroniclers. The monastery's museum hosts an important collection of medieval art.

Bistrița Monastery
Mănăstirea Bistrița
Manastirea Bistrita11
Church of the Bistrița Monastery
AffiliationEastern Orthodox
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusFriary
LeadershipMetropolitan of Moldavia and Bukovina
PatronDormition of the Mother of God
LocationBistrița, Neamț County, Romania
Geographic coordinates46°57′28″N 26°17′21″E / 46.95778°N 26.28927°ECoordinates: 46°57′28″N 26°17′21″E / 46.95778°N 26.28927°E
Architectural typeClassic Moldavian
FounderAlexandru cel Bun
Completed1407 (first documentary attestation)
1498 (bell tower)
1546 (defense wall)
Direction of façadeSouth
Length40 m
Height (max)45 m[1]


Bistrita Monastery has a very high historical and archaeological value. It is built in Byzantine style, richly ornate, with the entrance door kept from the moment of construction being worked with a lot of art. The most remarkable is the icon of St. Ana, the mother of the Virgin Mary. According to tradition, in 1401, this icon was given as "the patronal present" to the lady Ana, the wife of Alexander the Good, by the Empress Irena (Ana), wife of the Byzantine Emperor Manuil II Paleologus (1391-1425) and Patriarch Matthew, of Constantinople. Subsequently, the Voivode (Prince) family gave the icon to the St. Ana the Bistrita Monastery.

In the church of the monastery are buried: Alexandru the Good (Cel Bun), his wife Ana, Alexandru - the son of Stephen the Great, Chiajna - the wife of Stephen V of Moldavia, Anastasie – the Metropolitan of Suceava.

Bistrita Monastery is the place where one of the oldest monuments of the Romanian medieval culture was created: Pomelnicul de la Bistrita. The pomelnik offers the most interesting data about the beginning of the Moldavian voivodal and church history.

The monasteries are the most important category of monuments that survived the weather of the times, many of them being mirrors of the past. Around the monasteries both the religious life of the community and the culture of the nation have developed. They, monasteries, can also illustrate a military dimension, many of them being real fortresses and playing an active role in the defensive system of the country, given the restrictions imposed by Ottoman domination, especially after the middle of the XVIth century.

The monasteries and hermitages built by the voivodes and boyars, endowed with a rich heritage and important privileges, are the storage of a rich treasure of Romanian culture and civilization. The historical message is made of mural paintings, ancient memories, cult objects, printed books, funerary monuments and stone-preserved inscriptions, as well as the glorification of the voivodes who built them, a part of these monuments representing a gesture of thanksgiving God for help in battles.

Other burials


  1. ^ "Mănăstirea Bistrița (Neamț, România)". OrthodoxWiki (in Romanian).
  1. ^ And an 18th-century manuscript by Metropolitan Gheorghe of Moldova and Suceava, now kept at the State Archives (Arhivele Statului), Piatra Neamț

External links

Alexander I of Moldavia

Alexander the Good (Romanian: Alexandru cel Bun pronounced [alekˈsandru t͡ʃel bun] or Alexandru I Mușat) was a Voivode (Prince) of Moldavia, reigning between 1400 and 1432, son of Roman I Mușat. He succeeded Iuga to the throne, and, as a ruler, initiated a series of reforms while consolidating the status of the Moldavian Principality.

Alexandru of Moldavia

Alexandru (died on 26 July 1496) was the first-born son of Stephen III of Moldavia and his heir apparent. He participated in his father's fights against the Ottoman Empire and Wallachia from the late 1470s. He had his own court in Bacău from the early 1480s. He was made Stephen III's co-ruler in or before 1490. He predeceased his father.

Archdiocese of Râmnic

The Archdiocese of Râmnic (Romanian: Arhiepiscopia Râmnicului) is a Romanian Orthodox archdiocese based in Râmnicu Vâlcea (or Râmnic), Romania, in the historic region of Oltenia, and covering Vâlcea County. Established in 1503-1504, although with a bishop residing there from the previous century, it is a continuation of the medieval Metropolis of Severin. Initially covering all of Oltenia, it saw a flourishing cultural and religious output during the 16th to 18th centuries, both in the see and in the monasteries of the region. The area of the diocese began to fall in 1939, reaching its current proportions in 2008, a year before it became an archdiocese.


Bacău (Romanian pronunciation: [baˈkəw] (listen); German: Bakau, Hungarian: Bákó; Latin: Bacovia) is the main city in Bacău County, Romania. At the 2016 national estimation it had a population of 196,883, making it the 12th largest city in Romania. The city is situated in the historical region of Moldavia, at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, and on the Bistrița River (which meets the Siret River about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) to the south of Bacău). The Ghimeș Pass links Bacău to the region of Transylvania.

Bistrița (disambiguation)

Bistrița is a city in Romania.

Bistriţa may also refer to several other entities in Romania:

Bistrița-Năsăud County

Bistrița Bârgăului, a commune in Bistriţa-Năsăud County

Bistriţa, a village in Hinova Commune, Mehedinţi County

Bistriţa, a village in Alexandru cel Bun Commune, Neamţ County

Bistriţa, a village in Costeşti Commune, Vâlcea County

Berești-Bistrița, a commune in Bacău County

Bistriţa Nouă, a village administered by Piatra-Olt town, Olt County

Bistrița Monastery, Neamţ County

Bistrița Mountains, mountain ranges in northern central Romania

Bistrița Monastery (Vâlcea)

Bistrița Monastery (Romanian: Mănăstirea Bistrița, pronounced [ˈbistrit͡sa] (listen)) is a Romanian Orthodox monastery located in Bistrița village, Costeşti Commune, Vâlcea County, Romania.

Initially build between 1492 and 1494 by the Craiovești boyars, it was destroyed in 1509 by Mihnea cel Rău and subsequently rebuilt between 1515 and 1519 by the Craiovești.

The monastery was rebuilt for a third time between 1846 and 1855, following the damage sustained during the 1838 earthquake. The new church was painted by Gheorghe Tattarescu.

Bistrița Monastery (disambiguation)

Bistrița Monastery may refer to two Romanian Orthodox monasteries:

Bistrița Monastery (Neamț)

Bistrița Monastery (Vâlcea)

Carol Benesch

Carol Benesch (January 9, 1822, Jägerndorf, Austro-Hungarian Empire, today Krnov, Czech Republic - October 30, 1896, Bucharest, Romania) was a Silesian architect of Historicism and Eclecticism orientation established in the Kingdom of Romania.

He was the father of Oscar Benes (1866-1925), chief architect of Bârlad.In different documents his name is spelled Carl Benesch, Carol Benisch, Carl Benisch, Carol Beneș, Carl Beneș, Carol Beniș, Carl Beniș.

Founding of Moldavia

The founding of Moldavia began with the arrival of a Vlach (Romanian) voivode (military leader), Dragoș, soon followed by his people from Maramureș to the region of the Moldova River. Dragoș established a polity there as a vassal to the Kingdom of Hungary in the 1350s. The independence of the Principality of Moldavia was gained when Bogdan I, another Vlach voivode from Maramureș who had fallen out with the Hungarian king, crossed the Carpathians in 1359 and took control of Moldavia, wresting the region from Hungary. It remained a principality until 1859, when it united with Wallachia, initiating the development of the modern Romanian state.

Iuga of Moldavia

Iuga of Moldavia (born 14th century - died July 19, 1400)(known also as Iurg or Iurie in Romanian literature, Yury in Ruthenian, Jerzy in Polish; the epithet Ologul means "the Crippled") was Voivode (Prince) of Moldavia from November 1399 to June 1400. According to one hypothesis, he may have been the Lithuanian prince George Koriatovich. Other hypotheses posit him as the son of Roman I of Moldavia (1391–1394) and an unknown wife, possibly of Lithuanian extraction from descendants of Karijotas, confused with the Lithuanian prince because of the similar name and background. The nickname "the Crippled" can be found only in the chronicle of Putna Monastery, drafted in the first years of the 16th century, but its origins are unknown. The reasons why he has remained in history with this nickname are not known precisely (probably suffered from a disease that makes it difficult to move).

List of Romanian Orthodox monasteries

A list of Romanian Orthodox monasteries, predominantly located in present-day Romania.

List of churches established by Stephen III of Moldavia

Stephen III of Moldavia (or Stephen the Great), Prince of Moldavia, established a number of Romanian Orthodox churches and monasteries as ktitor. The tradition that he built one after every battle he won is untrue, but he did build certain ones in honor of victories and in memory of his fallen soldiers. Based on the carved inscriptions placed contemporaneously to his reign, Stephen built the following churches, plus an additional two that were added later based on local tradition, without indicating the date of construction. He almost certainly established additional churches (at least seven others are attributed to him), but these are the ones for which there is clear documentation.

Mihail Moxa

Mihail Moxa (Romanian pronunciation: [mihaˈil ˈmoksa]; after 1550–before 1650) was a Wallachian historiographer and translator. Nothing is known about his family, but Moxa was probably from the Oltenia region, and was a monk at the Bistrița Monastery. He knew Old Church Slavonic well, translating religious texts in a colorful and fluent style. He compiled the first extant chronicle in Romanian.

Moldavian style

Moldovenesc style or Moldavian architectural style is a type of architecture developed in Moldavia during the 14th through 19th centuries.

The period of maximum flowering of this style was in the period of Stephen III of Moldavia. The Moldavian monasteries which belongs to the UNESCO heritage are made in this style.

Nativity of St. John the Baptist Church, Piatra Neamț

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist Church (Romanian: Biserica Nașterea Sf. Ioan Botezătorul), located at 2 Piața Libertății, Piatra Neamț, Romania, is a Romanian Orthodox church. Established by Prince Stephen the Great of Moldavia, it was built in 1497-1498 as part of his royal court in the town. The bell tower dates to the year after the church was completed, and is a symbol of the city. Both church and tower are well preserved examples of late 15th century Moldavian religious architecture.

Neamț County

Neamț County (Romanian pronunciation: [ne̯amt͡s] (listen)) is a county (județ) of Romania, in the historic region of Moldavia, with the county seat at Piatra Neamț.


Piatra-Olt is a town in Olt County, Romania. The town administers five villages: Bistrița Nouă, Criva de Jos, Criva de Sus, Enoșești and Piatra. The town is an important railway station and road intersection.

Piatra Neamț

Piatra Neamț (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈpjatra ˈne̯amt͡s]), German: Kreuzburg an der Bistritz, Hungarian: Karácsonkő) is the capital city of Neamț County, in the historical region of Moldavia, eastern Romania. Because of its privileged location in the Eastern Carpathian mountains, it is considered one of the most picturesque cities in Romania. The Nord-Est Regional Development Agency is located in Piatra Neamț.

Zizi Lambrino

Joanna Marie Valentina "Zizi" Lambrino (3 October 1898 – 11 March 1953) was the first (morganatic) wife of the later King Carol II of Romania. They had one son, Carol, born in 1920, in Bucharest.

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