Frumoasa Monastery

The Frumoasa district is the result of communist systematization in the 1970s and 1980s. It consists of groups of 4-storey blocks arranged around common spaces near the Frumoasa Monastery, which was established with the Galata Monastery in the 16th century.

In 1729, the monastery remained in ruins, but Prince Gregory II Ghica restored it. He supported the construction of the bell tower, the wall and two palaces, one for the rulers and boyars, and the other for ladies, the latter being placed in a beautiful flower garden with artesian fountains. Through the barrage of the Nicolina River was also possible to arrange an artificial lake with fish, the lake being used also for boat trips. This is why the place was named “Frumoasa” (“the Beautiful”).

Between 1812 and 1842, the entire ensemble was restored (because in the meantime it was ruined again), when the present architecture of the church was adopted. Thus, the tower was erected and equipped with ionic columns at the level of the bells room, and with a “onion bulb” roof according to the Russian model. Next to the church the marble funeral monument of the Sturdza family was installed (one of the first of its kind in Moldova), and the “Palace on the Walls” was built, a neoclassical building with the entrance from the courtyard and the opposite façade opening towards the former garden.

The church is an architectural masterpiece, with four false towers arranged in line. The entrance is decorated in neoclassical style, with a high Doric portico consisting of four columns. The façades also have Doric pillars. Although the longitudinal plane is preserved, the interior is treated as a unique space, contrary to the Romanian medieval churches. The ceiling is supported by eight marble columns with gilt blue stucco caps and is richly decorated with frescoes in vibrant colours. They illustrate the family of Prince Gregory II Ghica and the seven ecumenical synods, along with the Iaşi Synod in 1642, presenting the old city in the background.

On the eastern side of the enclosure walls, there is a wooden gate, “The Hangman’s Gate”, which opens to the place where the public executions of thieves where held between 1820 and 1845. From the mantles of the executioners comes the name of the nearby neighbourhood, “Manta Rosie” (The red Mantle). Until the secularization of monasteries in 1863, Frumoasa Monastery was one of the richest monasteries in Moldova, with 16 properties in Moldova, Bucovina and Bessarabia. After the secularization, the State turned the princes’ residence into barracks for various cavalry regiments and military prison, and installed a military hospital with ophthalmology specialization here. After 1945, it functioned as a parish church, and since 2003 it has become again a monastery.

Photo by Argenna – Wikipedia

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