This monastery can be rightly considered the “lavra” of Moldavian rulers. The Moldavian rulers made large donations here. It preserves the documents relating to Moldova. It has a lot of objects pointing to close relationships between the medieval Athos and Moldova: Stephan’s personal banner with the image of the ruler’s protector, the icon donated by Stephan, church objects, a lot of inscriptions inside the monastery.
The banner donated by Stephan the Great
to Zographou monastery on Athos in 1502.
The wharf in the monastery was built by Stephan’s son, Bogdan III. Moreover, according to the recent scientific data (Nicholas A. Merdzimekis), Stephan rebuilt this monastery after it had been subjected to serious destructions by pirates. Besides, during the Ottoman invasion Stephan granted lands to this monastery in his country. Particularly, these were the possessions of Chipriana and Dobrovet monasteries.
St. George Monastery on Athos
Here Stephan was titled the second ktitor (curator) after the founder of the monastery. According to some data, after the destruction almost all buildings were entirely rebuilt by the Moldavian ruler. Numerous inscriptions and objects are still preserved, pointing to considerable help from the Moldavian rulers at the time of the Ottoman invasion.
Vatopedi Monastery on Athos. Internal yard.
Stephan builds a defense tower here, its bas-relief depicts the ruler holding a model of the temple before the Mother of God. The library of this monastery holds a great number of documents from Stephan’s Chancellery.
Chelandari Monastery on Athos.
Documents preserved in this monastery mention Stephan among the first ktitors after the Serbian kings. Besides, the libraries there still keep numerous documents pointing to Moldavian presence here.
By his policy towards monasteries on Athos Stephan the Great founded the tradition of numerous grants by Moldavian rulers, who tried to create here a peculiar “lavra of Moldavian lands”.
- Crimea (Mangoup Plateau)
The fort of Mangoup is one of Stephan’s outposts to withhold the invasion of the Turkish army on Moldavia. The fort was defended by Alexander Palaeologus, the ruler’s brother-in-law, helped by the Moldavian companies. Stephan’s wife, Maria Palaeologus, also came from here. Here is the beginning of the Moldavian ruler’s connections with the oldest Byzantine dynasty of Palaeologus, which allowed him to be titled the king of Moldavian lands.
- fortress Cetatea Alba (Belgorod-Dniestrovski)
Fort in Belgorod (Cetatea Alba)
- fortress Chilia
These two fortresses are the main outposts of Moldavia of the time. The Turks considered them the key points for conquest of Poland, Russia and the whole of Eastern Europe. These two fortresses can be called the gate of the Christian world.
- Putna Monastery.
This is the place for Stephan’s and his family’s tombs. At his time this monastery used to be the main cultural and religious center of Moldova.
- Voronet Monastery
A fresco from Voronet Monastery
It is the best one to represent further development of Byzantine iconography. The frescos in this monastery show convergence of iconography of the pious monarch and the bravest warrior. It was the second important cultural and religious center in Stephan’s time. Georgi Atanasov, a Bulgarian historian and scientific advisor to the project says that here, in Moldova, the Byzantine iconography receives its further development.
- Suceava. Gospodar’s Throne Fort. Moldova’s capital at Stephan the Great’s time
- Yassy. Gospodar’s court at Stephan the Great’s time