A great number of fortresses and monasteries were built during the reign of Moldova’s greatest ruller “Stephen the Great” ( 1457-1504). It was during his time that the Moldovan architectural style, of great originality and stylistic unity, developed, by blending Gothic elements with the Byzantine structure to the church. The style was continued in the 16th century, during the rule of Stephen the Great’s son, Petru Rares ( 1527-1538, 1541-1546).
In a picturesque forest area, only 40km north – west of Chisinau, lies Capriana monastery – one of the oldest in Moldova . For a long period of time it was the headquarters of Moldova’s bishop. The first significant reference dates from a document issued in 1429 that gave Căpriana the status of royal monastery on behalf of Alexander the Good. In this deed the holy abode was referred to as “mănăstirea de la Vâșnovăț unde este egumen Chiprian” (the monastery of Vâșnovăț where the hegumen is Chiprian) and was given in the possession of Alexander’s wife – princess Marena. After a period of decay, the monastery was rebuilt at the behest of Petru Rareș, from 1542 to 1545. Originally constructed completely from wood (1429), later, in 1545, a summer church called “Assumption of the Virgin Mary” was constructed from stone. In 1840 the “St. George” and in 1903 the “St. Nicolae” churches were built. The biggest convent library in Moldova was situated here in Capriana, it was endowed with precious gifts by different leaders. Closed and dilapidated during the post-war period, it was only reopened again in 1989. The final reconstruction was made in 2008 and since that moment it is open for visitors.