Beginner’s Guide to Mongolia’s Magnificent Monasteries

Beginner’s Guide to Mongolia’s Magnificent Monasteries

Mongolia holds a special place in the hearts of adventurous travelers, who come back with tales of its vast steppe, rugged mountains, clear glacial lakes and vivid blue skies. But beyond its natural outdoorsy appeal, it is also a land of deeply spiritual people. The country’s shamanistic traditions may be better known to the world, but Buddhism has played just as important a role in shaping Mongolian history and culture. For those traveling to Mongolia, a visit to a monastery is a must. Here are four must-see monasteries in the "Land of the Nomads." Read More


Beginner’s Guide to Romania’s Painted Monasteries of Bucovina

Beginner’s Guide to Romania’s Painted Monasteries of Bucovina

As a MIR tour manager for more than 17 years, I've led many MIR tours to the Bucovina region of Romania and to its painted monasteries, constructed in medieval times. Bucovina is a remote province tucked in the northeastern corner of Romania near Ukraine. Today the painted monasteries are pilgrimage sites for Romanian Orthodox believers, as well as highlights for travelers from all over the world. Nuns live and work at most of these monasteries, standing out in their distinctive black habits and veils. Here are some notes on what to look for when you visit four of Bucovina's most notable monasteries: Voronet, Sucevita, Moldovita, Humor. Read More