- geographical situation-in the north part of Romania, to the north-west of Moldavia,
it comprises a region with harmonious relief;
- neighbours-to the east-Botosani, Iasi; to the south-Neamt, Harghita, Mures; to the west-Maramures, Bistrita Nasaud; to the north-Ukraina;
- surface-8,553 square km (respectively 3.6% of the country's territory);
- population-710,000 inhabitants;
-the capital of the county (117,000 inhabitants, situated
on the right bank of the river with the same name, at the crossroads of some important commercial roads which linked Central and Northern Europe with the Black Sea, it has a pleasant and interesting aspect, it is an important touristic center because of the old monuments reminding the glorious capital of Moldavia province in the Middle Ages; having calm and subtle natural beauties, it is a region full of charm and tradition-Dornele Land-having hunt and fishing areas-Putna Valley, Moldavia Valley, in the Rarau and Giumalau Massifs, a huge history museum, wonderful monasteries in Bucovina, real jewelry of Moldavian feudal architecture-Voronet, Humor, Moldovita); Campulung Moldovenesc; Falticeni; Gura Humorului; Radauti; Siret; Solca; Vatra Dornei.
- relief-it has an unrivalled beauty, it descends from west to east slowly, each level is endowed by nature with beauties, the relief has the characteristics of a mountain region, more than half of the county-the northern group and the central part of the Oriental Carpathians represented by
the Bucovina Mountain Range-1,483 m, charming mountains which close between their ridges picturesque depressions-Dornele Land, with carbon gas waters and mofettes used for treatment, with beautiful villages having valuable ethnographic resources and developed rural tourism; the Rarau, the Gimalau Mountains-1,653 m and 1,887 m, lofty peaks watching the serene landscape; the Stanisoara-northern ridges formed of sedimentary rocks; the Bistritei-formed of crystalline rocks; the Bargaului, the Tibaului, the Caliman-with Pietrosu Peak, 2,100 m, volcanic rocks; and the hilly region-to the east, between the Bucovina Mountain Range and Moldovia Valley and the Siret Valley-Suceava Plateau (460 m, having the character of large, structural plateaus with landslides, Neamtu Sub-Carpathians are represented by Plesu Ridge), Vatra Dornei Depression seems to be inserted, is watered by the Bistrita river.
- climate-it has a continental character with great differences between climatic elements in relation to the relief, irregular rainfalls and winds' direction-mainly west, north-west;
- watercourses-the Siret river, at the boundary with Botosani county, the Suceava, the Moldavia (half of its superior course), the Bistrita (superior course).
- The Rarau and Giumalau Mountains-two massifs close to which other, situated to the north of the Bistrita valley, where the river takes the first big turn passing across the crystalline area of the Eastern Carpathians. There are a few conditions in favor of mountain hiking: their moderate height (the Rarau-1,653 m and the Giumalau-1,857 m), the beauty of the landscape (karst relief, forest and geologic preserves), numerous paths with easy slopes for hiking. The Rarau is a touristic symbol for Bucovina, about which O. Goga wrote: "Other places may have higher mountains or longer rivers, sea or ocean; here the Rarau Mountain represents the world's fundamental dimension, the cosmic elements of life and history".
- Calimani Mountains-they represent the most grandiose volcanic complex of the Romanian Carpathians (Pietrosul Calimanilor Peak-2,102 m) and the youngest mountains of our country. There is a complex preserve aiming at protecting alpine landscape, flora and fauna represented by numerous rare species (edelweiss, ure ox, capercaillie, bear, lynx, wolf, Carpathians' stag).
GORGES AND VALLEYS
- The Bistrita Valley and Gorges-it springs from the Rodnei Mountains, this pearl of the Romanian Carpathians form a very picturesque valley. There can be admired the most impressive area of this mountain region, impressive for the narrowness of the valley (from 150 m to 20 m) as well as for its depth (from 900 m to more than 1,100 m in comparison with the Rarau or Giumalau Mountains). This narrow area, named Zugreni Gorges (or Bistrita Gorges), is at 20 km distance of Vatra Dornei and forms a geological and geomorphological preserve (160 ha). The spectacle offered by natures (rocks having strange forms, waters "symphony" fighting against the hard rocks) justifies the legends on the old rafts way;
- Superior Valley of Moldavia-it crosses longitudinally the Bucovina Mountain Range; downstream Breaza, the river sometimes seems a gorge;
- Devil's Mill Gorges-geological and morphological preserve in the Rarau Mountains, impressive for the hight of the walls;
- Lucava Gorges-in the Calimani Mountains with sulphurous springs and edelweiss.
PRESERVES AND MONUMENTS OF NATURE
- Lady's Stones-(at 14 km of Campulung Moldovenesc), in the middle of the beautiful landscape of the Rarau, these splendid "Gothic towers" formed of alpine limestone rise. Because of wild landscape, rocks with strange forms, this region is wrapped in the legend's mister. The Lady's Stones are 70 m high, situated at an altitude of 1,634 m, in the proximity of Rarau chalet. The Lady's Stones together with the surround area form a complex preserve (890 ha) attracting year after year numerous nature lovers.
- Secular Forest from Slatioara-forest preserve on the east side of the Rarau Massif, between 800 m and 1320 m. It is one of the oldest secular forests of Romania and Europe, some trees are 350-400 years old. The main species are: spruce fir, fir, beech;
- Poiana Stampei
-(at 18 km south-west of Vatra Dornei) a floral preserve represented
by different floral species growing on the Dorna river meadow. Besides the interesting flora (tourists can find here a carnivorous plant, monument of nature, named "The sky's dew"), the mud is famous for its therapeutic efficiency.
- Secular Slits from Bosanci Frumoasa-(at 9 km of Suceava), floral preserve with complex vegetation of dry steppe and wet marsh vegetation. It grows numerous plants original from Asia that cannot be found elsewhere in Europe;
- Putna Valley Forest-(at 26 km of Vatra Dornei), forest preserve under Giumalau Peak, rich fauna;
- Poiana Tibaului-geological preserve, situated at the confluence of the Tibaul Valley and the Bistrita Aurie Valley, it has impressive abrupt walls of approx. 75 m high lending a special charm to the landscape;
- Todiresu-floral preserve, next to Secular Forest from Slatioara, in summer the bloomed meadows form a splendid natural carpet;
- Twelve Apostles-(at 14 km of Vatra Dornei), geological preserve situated to the north-west of the Calimani Mountains; the "Twelve Apostles" are high rocks of 8-12 m, a real gallery of figures.
RESORTS AND SPAS
- Vatra Dornei
-(at 112 km of Suceava and at 42 km of Capulung Moldovenesc), one of the most picturesque spas of Romania, situated at an altitude of 800 m, at the confluence of the Golden Church with the Dorna, in a beautiful tectonic volcanic depression of the Eastern Carpathians, also named Dornele Land. The spa is surrounded by mountains covered with coniferous and dedidous trees: the Giumalau and the Rarau, the Bistrita (to the east), the volcanic wall of the Calimani Mountains (to the south) and Suhardul Ridge (to the north). This geographical situation influences the climate, which is a mild, invigorating and stimulating sub-alpine climate. The spa is sheltered and there are no strong winds, the atmosphere-full of aerosols and volatile fir essences. The annual average temperature is 5.20C (the average temperature of July is 150C and for January the average temperature is-60C). There are more than 120 snowy days, this is an important aspect for the winter sports, Vatra Dornei being a center of nation interest from this point of view. It is an old place (the legend says that Dragos Voda gave the name to this region in memory of a beautiful shepherdess, whom he met here), Vatra Dornei appears mentioned for the first time in the documents at the end of 16th century and in 1845 it is mentioned as a spa. In Vatra Dornei the tourists can be subject to different therapeutic procedures benefiting from a large range of facilities: baths with heated mineral water, mud treatment, facilities for physiotherapy, pneumotherpy, mofettes, sauna, medical gym rooms. This "pearl of Bucovina" offers favorable conditions for hiking, being a starting point for trips to the Ousoru, Calimani, Pietrosu Bistritei, Giumalau Mountains. The region offers favorable conditions for hunting. The spa can be reached: by railway-station Vatra Dornei Bai on Bucharest-Suceava-Vatra Dornei line or Cluj Napoca-Ilva Mica- Suceava line; by road-DN 17 from Suceava, DN 17A from Radauti, DN 18 from Sighetu Marmatiei;
- Moldavian Campulung-(at 69 km south-west of Suceava), the resort is situated at 630 m in a splendid scenery, bioclimate stimulated by the mountain; starting point for trips to the Rarau Massif;
- Dorna Candrenilor-touristic center and mineral watering spa.
- Citadel-Suceava, former capital of the Moldavia province in the Middle Ages, situated in the east part of the town, on a high plateau, having a dominant position. The citadel was constructed in 14th century by Petru Musat, developed and strengthen by Alexandru the Kind and later by Stefan the Great, who transformed it into a bastion against the country's enemies. Today there can be admired only its massive walls, some parts of the towers and interior constructions.
- Royal Inn-Suceava, one of the oldest laical buildings of Moldavia, constructed at the beginnings of 17th century. For a long time, the inn served as a venue for the princes' sons coming back from hunting in the thick forests of Suceava, for this reason its name was "Royal Inn". Today the former inn houses the Bucovina Rural Art Museum.
- Monasteries from Bucovina-Voronet, Humor, Moldovita, Sucevita and Arbore-the outdoor walls of these monasteries are painted in intense natural colors, the paintings seem the pages of an open book. The art historians compare their artistic value with the mural paintings of San Marco church of Venice or the church of Orvietto. The visitors admire the human character, the power of expression and the nobility of the represented figures, they are impressed by the original freshness of the colors that have conserved their qualities for almost half a millennium. The secret of the Moldavian painters who prepared the colors and the techniques that made the paintings incredibly resistant are still a mystery. Different kinds of people: tourists, architects, art critics and photographers around the world come in pilgrimage to these masterpieces, whose artistic value is unique in the world.
- Voronet Monastery-(at 39 km of Suceava and at 47 km of Gura Humorului), also named "Eastern Sistine Chapel", it seems to be painted on the sky, the visitors are transported in a fairyland. It was founded in 1488 by the Moldavian ruler, Stephan the Great, the monastery's church, also named "Bucovina's jewelry", was constructed in the Moldavian style of that period, the paintings were made in1547 (during the reign of Petru Rares). The daylight makes the colors more beautiful, especially the famous "blue color of Voronet". "The blue of Voronet" became an idiom that defines an essentially Romanian color. "The sky was painted on other walls too, but never they remained so fresh and bright as Voronet walls did, irradiating the charm/spell around them". The Byzantine art received here the interpretation of Moldavian painters: the angels have the beautiful face of Moldavian women, the archangels blow the "bucium" (a traditional instrument, approximately like an alphorn), not the trumpets, those going to heaven are wrapped in traditional Moldavian house-woven cloth;
- Moldovita Monastery-(at 94 km of Suceava and 36 km of Gura Humorului), founded by Petru Rares in 1532, the mural painting was made in 1537. It is the biggest church raised during the Moldavian style flourishing period. Moldovita mural painting together with Voronet one represent the most valuable treasure from Petru Rares reign. The very well preserved fresco presenting "the siege of Constantinople" impresses through its force and dynamism, expressing patriotism and concern for the country's fate. Inside the monastery there is the "Royal House", where there is a feudal art museum organized by the monastery's nuns;
- Humor Monastery-(at 41 km of Suceava and 6 km of Gura Humorului), built in 1530 by the great chancellor Teodor Bubuiog helped by Petru Rares. Unlike other churches this one does not have a spire and the porch is open. The painting dates from 1535;
- Arbore Monastery-(at 32 km north-west of Suceava and at 37 km of Gura Humorului), built in 1503 by the court noble Luca Arbore, who was buried here. The painting was made in 1541 by Dragos Coman, it predominates the green, a fresh brilliant green with many shades;
- Sucevita Monastery-(at 52 km of Suceava and 6 km of Gura Humorului), built between 1582-1584 by the brothers Gheorghe and Ieremia Movila, it closes the series of great outdoor mural paintings of the 16th century. It is a fortified monastery, surrounded by a high wall with defense towers. It was painted by the Moldavian painters: Ion and Sofronie who proved their unrivalled talent. The predominant color is green with many shades. Every tourist arriving in Bucovina has the feeling of being among the greatest treasures of the Orient, which the painter transposed into art and the art got its one life;
- Putna Monastery-raised between 1466-1469, during a period of glory and peace, it is the first fortified construction of Stephan the Great, was designed to be the necropolis of the ruler's family and his descendents, including Petru Rares. Putna has known earthquakes, fires and invasions for 5 centuries, the only construction from the 15th century still standing is the "Treasure's tower". Within the monastery there is the tomb of Stephan the Great. The monastery is famous for its patrimony of embroidery, woven work, manuscripts, silver objects and cult objects;
- Dragomirna Monastery-founded by bishop Anastasie Crimca, in 1602; fortified precincts that cover the spire, it is a valuable museum;
- Bogdana Monastery-Radauti, the oldest church in Moldavia, founded by voivode Bogdan I in 1365; here are the tombs of the first rulers of Moldavia;
- Zamca Monastery-Suceava, the most important building constructed by the Armenians from Suceava in1660, taking the form of a fortress-monastery;
- Probota Monastery- Dolhasca, (at 64 km of Suceava and 31 km of Falticeni), constructed in 1530 by Petru Rares, who was buried here together with his wife; it sill preserves some of the original frescoes of 1532;
- Rasca Monastery-(at 18 km of Falticeni), built in 1542 by Petru Rares; in 1840 Mihail Kogalniceanu was banished here by the ruler Mihail Sturza;
- Slatina Monastery-(at 25 km of Falticeni), founded by Alexandru Lapusneanu in 1561;
- Mirauti Church-Suceava, the oldest church in town, constructed between 1375-1391, it was the first headquarters of the Moldavian bishop. It was here that Stephan the Great was declared ruler over Moldavia after receiving the bishop blessing. The church was restored between 1898-1901, but he the design of the former church was respected;
- "Saint George" Church-Suceava, important medieval architectural monument, founded by the voivodes Bogdan the Blind and Stefania (1514-1522). It is an elegant construction with interior frescoes and interesting exterior decorative elements;
- Wooden Church-Putna, (at 33 km of Radauti), founded by Dragos Voda in 1346, restored in 1468;
- - "Saint Dumitru" Church-Suceava, founded by Petru Rares in 1535, near it there is a tower built by Alexandru Lapusneanu in 1561; it is sculptured the Moldavian escutcheon: an aurochs head;
- Church from Reuseni-Udresti (at 15 km south-east of Suceava), the construction works began during the reign of Stephan the Great in 1503;
- Alba Church-Baia (at 9 km south-west of Falticeni), raised by Stephan the Great following his victory over Matei Corvin in 1467;
- Roman Catholic Church-Baia, built in 1410, the founder is the wife of Alexandru cel Bun, Lady Margareta, now it came to ruin;
- Hermit Daniil's Cell-(at 1.5 km of Putna), the 15th century, the legend says that Stephan the Great often sought the advice of the hermit Daniil.
- Wood Museum-Campulung Moldovenesc, set up in 1936, has more than 15,000 artistically made wooden exhibits, the museum offers an image of the former professions of the inhabitants of this region;
- Bucovina National Museum-Suceava, archaeology, history, art, ethnography, nature sciences;
- Ethnographical Museum-Solca;
- Gallery of Outstanding Persons-Falticeni;
- Water Museum-Falticeni;
- "Ciprian Porumbescu" Memorial House-C. Porumbescu (at 25 km of Suceava, on DN 17), in memory of the great musician, author of the first Romanian masterpieces;
- "Nicolae Labis" Memorial House-Malini (at 10 km of Falticeni).
- The ethnographical and folkloric fund of Suceava county emphasizes the inclination to talent and sensibility for beautiful things of this region inhabitants. There are numerous ethnographical elements in Dornele Land, where the inhabitants are still preserving the old occupations and customs, as well as authentic rural clothing which are artistically made, the artistic inclination is obvious in choosing the models and colors to be used. Some of the most famous places from this point of view are: Marginea (at 10 km of Radauti) renowned center for its black ceramic polished with stone, the Gaeto-Dacian technique was transmitted from generation to generation (which proves the continuity of the aboriginal population in this region); Dorna, the architecture specific for Bucovina with beautiful external decorations with geometric or floral motifs; Ciocanesti (at 22 km of Vatra Dornei), renowned for the carpets made here; Cacica, important ceramic center; Vama (famous for the singlet and sleevless sheepskin coat); Fundu Moldovei (the folkloric musical instruments are made here, also famous for artistic wood exploitation); Carlibaba (folkloric clothing and woven cloth for the interior of the houses); Arbore (house-woven cloth).
Source: Romanian Travel Guide / Publirom