The Fortress and the Abbey

The dark and unstable first decades in the 17th century have led to the building of a surrounding stone wall around the monastery, one that cannot be seen at any other monastery in Romania. Thus, the monastery has gained the aspect of a fortress, due to the defensive walls built in 1627 the ruler Miron Barnovschi. This fact is known to us through the inscription with the sign of Moldavia on the wall of the belfry. The walls contain the belfry tower and four defensive towers placed on each of the four angles of the construction and are called: Barnovschi, Gheronchie, Silvestru and the Arhimandrit’s.

Built from carved stone, the walls are impressive and have a hight ob about 11 m, strenghtened by powerful piers and on the upper part by ramparts. Toward the inside of the area, the walls have an ambulatory so as to permit a jackstay. 

The towers intensify the impression of grandeur and can be depicted through their size and hight.At the groud floor each tower has an entrance door, some having a stone frame and a vegetal element-oak tree leaves. The belfry tower has an artictic value, through its austere decorations.

 It is the most important element of th whole sanctuary and hold at the first floor a small beadle, a bells room, resembling a gazebo, with open doors on each side. At its lower part the tower contains a conduit with a Gothic arch and vegetal elements. The elements that enrich the bricks are ispired by flowers, very elegant, none identical to the other.

Next to the tower, on the right side of the entrance is one of the most interesting chambers of the whole complex, the refectory, a large hall, with elegant domes supported by an octagonal pillar. Built according to the late Gothic style, of great purity, the domes are ribbed beginning from an octagonal pillar and form a stone fan.

Following the same pattern the ribs are enriched with floral and carvings elements from place to place. The refectory is of great beauty and importance to the Dragomirna complex, alongside Crimca’s church.

   This example will later be replicated by the Moldavian style in the well-known Gothic chambers at the Three Saint Hierarchs and Cetăţuia churches.

On the western and northern walls of the sanctuary there can be seen the monks’ cells, consisting of a ground floor and a first floor, changed by the Austrian rulers. On the northern side the cells end with a small beadle, built in 1976 for the church services during the winter period. Its titular feast is the Birth of Jesus’ Mother.

The whole assembly: the small church, the big church, the fortrss and the abbey are truly outstanding through their style and architecture, obeying geometrical patterns, with tendencies in elevation, from which we can depict a great way of thinking, a brilliant mind and an iron will, all belonging to the founder and architect.