Buhalniţa Monastery


Religious & cultural monuments

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Many of the holy places located on the homeland hills have a troubled history; however the history of Buhalnita Monastery seems to be on top of such classification.


In order to learn its story you must go 50 kilometres from Piatra Neamt City on DN 15, after Bicaz, in Hangu Commune. The Monastery has two patrons, “Presentation of the Virgin Mary” and “Saint Joan the New of Suceava”.


The history of the monastery starts from 1629, being founded by Miron Barnovschi Voivode, but the holy place is certified since 1458, when it was elevated according to the wish of Stefan the Great Voivode, who gave it to Neamt Monastery.


After Barnovschi rebuilt over the wooden building a stone one, the monastery enjoyed its golden period. The first gift that the Voivode made to the monks was a brewery, the first in Neamt County.


Then the monastery was entrusted with many estates, mills and ponds. But together with the wealth the troubles came along, a true rivalry having been caused between monks and Cantacuzino princes, masters of Hangu estate, rivalry which ended with many law suits.


The blooming period ends as of 1715, when Nicolae Mavrocordat Voivode entrusted the monastery with all its income, to Patriarchate of Alexandria. Since then the lease system of the abbots began to be applied, namely the one who promised to pay more to Patriarchate of Alexandria was to be anointed abbot (superior of the monastery).


But, as the abbot-lessee was not directly preoccupied with the capitalization of monastery estates, appealing to intermediaries, in most cases, interested in profit, the result was a series of abuses.


The situation was balanced during the reign of Alexandru Ioan Cuza (Alexander John Cuza), the secularization of 1863, when the monastery was transformed in the parish church.


Then the monks’ cells of Buhalniţa began to be used as classrooms, the children learning the Latin letters even from the very first lessons. The improvised school was moved to another building in 1900, due to advanced stage of degradation of cells.


However in 1958, the entire church was carefully demolished and moved where it can still be found today, due to the building of the reservoir of the Bicaz-Stejaru hydroelectric station.


From the original furniture there were still kept some pieces of wood which can be admired today, such as the bishop’s kliros, where zoomorphic motifs are encrusted inspired by the masks used in popular theatre specific to Bistrita Valley.
While you’re in that area, within the territory of Hangu Commune there are some wooden churches, such as Saint Apostles Peter and Paul, Saints Constantine and Helena, Saint Nicholas of Chiriteni village, worth a visit.

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