Bukovina (Romanian: Bucovina; German: Bukowina;) is a historical region in Central Europe, currently divided between Ukraine and Romania, located on the northern slopes of the central Eastern Carpathians and the adjoining plains.Historically part of Moldavia, the territory of what became known as Bukovina was, from 1774 to 1918, an administrative division of the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire, and Austria-Hungary. After World War I, Romania established control over Bukovina. In 1940, as a result of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the northern half of Bukovina was annexed by the Soviet Union, and nowadays is part of Ukraine.
The territory that forms the Romanian (or Southern) Bukovina is located in northeastern Romania and it is part of the Suceava County (plus three localities in Botoșani County), and is along side the Maramures county one of the most important touristic region –the authentic ethnografic and cultural inheritance of the Romanian spirituality is clearly to see and feel. From an ethnic point of view, the Bukovina is a multinational melting pot, situation that paradoxically enhanced the strength and vigorous passing on of Romania tradition in architecture, gastronomy, traditions and lifestyle. During the 19th century the Austrian Empire policies encouraged the influx of many immigrants such as Germans, Poles, Jews, Hungarians, and Ukrainians (at that time referred to as Ruthenians) from Galicia, as well as Romanians from Transylvania. The echoes of all those minorities that had to learn (and succeeded very well) to live and work together can be seen and felt in the mentalities and hospitality of todays proud locals of the Bukovina region.
The Bukowina is also cultural and religious blessed – it is the homeland of the word famous painted monasteries. Eight Romanian Orthodox Churches of Moldavia listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site are located in Suceava County, in northern Moldavia, and were built approximately between 1487 and 1583.
One of the most beautifull painted churches is the Voroneț Monastery – a medieval monastery in the Romanian village of Voroneţ, now a part of the town Gura Humorului. It is one of the famous painted monasteries from southern Bukovina, in Suceava County. The monastery was constructed by Stephen the Great in 1488 over a period of 3 months and 3 weeks to commemorate the victory over the turks at the Battle of Vaslui. Often known as the “Sistine Chapel of the East”, the frescoes at Voroneț feature an intense shade of blue known in Romania as “Voroneț blue.
Besides historical monasteries and great landscapes, the Bukovina offers very good roads – and a lot of them are mountain roads, perfect terrain for bikers. Main or secondary road – you can almost everywhere expect good and very good asphalt, and all riders should have some great routes to enjoy curves and the postcard – like scenery.
Bukovina is a well-loved tourist destination for romanian and foreign visitors alike, and it would be wise for any biker to reserve at least 2 days for exploring this great part of Romania.