Suceava isn’t one of Romania’s most populous cities, but for those who like smaller urban centers with plenty of opportunities for day trips, Suceava may fit the bill. Located in Moldavia, the eastern region of Romania
, Suceava once held the position of capital city of the state of the same name. The city preserves monuments from that era within its bounds, but those who want to venture into the Romania countryside will find many surprises. Present-day Suceava occupies a position in the historical region of Bucovina, a land of beautifully decorated churches, fortresses, and traditional wooden architecture. It’s for these monuments that many travelers find themselves planning a trip to Suceava.
Suceava’s history dates at least to the 13th century. It is associated with the Moldavian prince, Stephen the Great, who built churches to commemorate military victories. Suceava ceased to be a capital in the 16th century and was eventually absorbed into the Hapsburg Empire. Romania gained the region after WWI.
Sights in Suceava
- Mirauti Church: Besides being Suceava’s oldest church, Mirauti is also famous for being the location where Stephen the Great was crowned.
- Church of St. George: This UNESCO-listed church with elaborate frescoes dates from the early 16th century.
- Church of St. Demetrius: This 16th-century stone church contains tombs of local nobility.
- Fortress: Suceava Fortress, also used by the regions princely notables, was eventually damaged so badly by Ottoman Turks that it was abandoned. However, its ruins are now interesting to explore and offer views of the town below.
- Bucovina Ethnographic Museum: The Ethnographic Museum is located in the so-called Princely Inn, a medieval structure that once entertained royal parties.
- Bucovina Village Museum: The Village Museum is an open-air museum recreates traditional life and architecture of the region.
- Bucovina History Museum: Step into the court of Stephen the Great when you enter the History Museum with its artifacts and imitation throne room.
- Bucovina Painted Churches: Bucovina’s painted monasteries require careful planning to get to, but these colorful churches are certain to astound. The colors used on their frescos, in particular “Voronet blue (named for one of the churches), are bold and brilliant even after five centuries. They’re one of the major highlights of the region and are remarkable testaments to religion, art, and history.
- Marginea Black Pottery Center: A regional specialty is the black pottery produced from a traditional technique. If you’re looking for a special souvenir with which to remember your travels, black pottery represents well the rich culture and strong traditions of the region.
- Cotnari Vineyards: Taste local wines and tour ancient cellars at Cotnari Vineyards.
- Campulung Moldovenesc: Campulung Moldolvenesc offers museums of wood carving and an Orthodox church. It’s a good home base for hiking the nearby mountain trails.
Getting to Suceava
The Stefan cel Mare International Airport is the nearest airport, approximately 9 miles away from Suceava. Service is sparse during the off-season, but connections to Bucharest can be made about twice a day during the summer season.
Trains connect to Suceava via other large Romanian cities such as Bucharest and Brasov.
Festivals and Events
Suceava and Bucovina are the center of annual celebrations and festivals. For example, in May, Marginea holds the Black Pottery Fair to recognize its traditional craft, and Suceava hosts a pottery fair in August. In November, the Young Craftsman’s Fair comes to Suceava, and in December, a photography festival. Music and folklore festivals are held throughout the year in villages throughout Bucovina, so if you’re visiting the city it may be possible for you to attend one of these events.