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Builder and Prince Petru Rares

Under the reign of Stephen the Great, 1457-1504, Moldavia flourished. The economic and cultural gains made in this period faltered after his death. Not until Petru Rares came to power did the upsets in Moldavia's social, economic and spiritual life calm. Rares ruled between 1527-1538 and 1541-1546. He was the most able of Stephen the Great's sons, and the one closest to him in civil spirit.

The votive picture of Petru Rares and his family
in the naos of the Probota monastery church

Stephen the Great had been the great defender of Christianity against the aggression of the Ottoman Empire. In 1526, just one year before Petru Rares ascended to the throne, Suleiman II the Magnificent won the battle of Mohács and conquered the Hungarian Kingdom. Petru Rares took part in Hungary’s internal power struggle. He lent his support to those who could advance his ambitions.

Between 1538 and 1541 Petru Rares was in exile in Transylvania. Meanwhile, a puppet prince installed by the sultan ruled Moldavia. Even after the return of Rares, Moldavia paid high taxes to the Turks. Rares’ son was held hostage by the sultan. During his second reign Rares was more prudent and only conducted military campaigns to reconquer citadels lost in Transylvania.

Ironically, the legacy of Petru Rares is not his political intrigues, but the famous "Painted Churches " executed in his name.

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