The Mysterious Monastery of Barnova

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Barnova Monastery is no doubt one of the most beautiful in Moldavia, a region well-known for its religious affinity and many churches. While other parts of the country will charm you with their palaces, fortresses and castles, Eastern Romania is by far the best option, alongside Bucovina, for those who’d like to discover old Orthodox churches and monasteries.

Barnova Monastery

Rare fortified architecture

What makes this monastery one of the most impressive from the many Moldavia has, is the original architectural style and its mysterious look, conserved intact since the mid-17th century. Its remoteness and almost complete isolation rather give rather the impression of an abandoned fortress than of a monastery.

Barnova Monastery

The monastery was named after its founder, the rich boyard Miron Barnovschi who during his time as Moldavia’s prince built this religious edifice, between 1626 and 1629. He died, however, decapitated by the Turks, before finalizing it. Only two decades later the monastery was completely done by Eustachie Dabija who is buried inside the church. The fortification walls, the tower and the ramparts were later added by Prince Grigore Ghica who also built in the court of the monastery a small house, a refuge in case of enemy attacks.

Barnova Monastery

These fortification elements make Barnova Monastery a rare presence in Moldavia where very few similar monuments still exist from the troubled times when the Romanian provinces were a victim of Russian, Ottoman or Tatar attacks.

Travel tips

Barnova Monastery is only a short drive away from Iasi.

The monument still serves as an active monk monastery. It’s best to dress appropriately.

If you’d like to explore more centuries-old monasteries and churches around Iasi, contact us via

About the author

Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer, focusing on sustainable tourism practices and destinations. You can find Diana Condrea on Twitter and Google+

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