The Principality of Moldavia, situated in the northeastern part of modern-day Romania, emerged as an independent state in the 14th century. Within the sphere of influence of Byzantium, Poland-Lithuania, Hungary, and, after 1453, of the Ottomans, this region of the Carpathian Mountains gave birth to a unique form of religious architecture that combined the iconography of Byzantium, the construction technologies of the Gothic, and the rituals of the Orthodox faith. What is now designated as “Moldavian Architecture” manifested itself in a body of hundreds of monasteries throughout the Principality of Moldavia erected from the 14th-17th centuries, most notably during the reigns of Stephen III (1457-1504) and of his son Peter Rareș (1527-1546. This module covers key religious architectural monuments through which rulers of Christian lands after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 expressed their princely aspirations and sought for legitimacy. The numerous churches erected during their reigns have received attention mostly from art historians, because of the rich interior and exterior murals and their elaborate iconography; they are also, however, meaningful architectural productions that reveal cultural connections between Europe and the far-flung regions of Byzantium, and the importance of cross-cultural exchanges in a frontier region.
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