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1 leu, 5, 100 lei 2007 - 550 years since the enthronement of Stephen the Great in Moldavia
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37 mm diameter, 23.5 g, coppered tombac, grained edge
Obverse: face value 1 LEU, Romanian coat of arms, year 2007, ROMANIA, the entrance in the fortress of Suceava, inscription "CETATEA DE SCAUN A SUCEVEI" meaning "CAPITAL CITY OF SUCEAVA"
Reverse: Stephen the Great in front of his throne, years 1457 and 1504, inscriptions "ȘTEFAN CEL MARE" and "550 ANI DE LA URCAREA PE TRON" meaning "STEPHEN THE GREAT" and "550 YEARS FROM THE ENTHRONEMENT"

Issuing date: 2nd of July 2007

Mintage: 250 coins

30 mm diameter, 15.55 g, 99.9% silver, grained edge
Obverse: face value 5 LEI

Issuing date: 2nd of July 2007

Mintage: 250 coins

21 mm diameter, 6.452 g, 90% gold, grained edge
Obverse: face value 100 LEI

Issuing date: 2nd of July 2007

Mintage: 250 coins

The coin mark 550 years from the enthronement of Stephen the Great and the Holy in Moldavia. The image on the coin reverse is inspired from a painting of Costin Petrescu. The coin set pictures above are present on the site through the permission of an anonymous donor.

The great Moldavian voivod is also present on other Romanian coins: 500 lei 1941 - Liberation of the enthralled Moldavia, 20 lei 1991, 5000 lei 2004 - Stephen the Great's Death Quincentenary and 10 lei 2008 - Voroneț Monastery.

Stephen the Great also appears on several coins issued by the Republic of Moldavia: 100 lei 2000 - 525 years from the battle of Vaslui and 100 lei 2004 - 500 years since his death.

A very beautiful silver gros (groat) issued by Stephen the Great can be seen by clicking here.

Chronicler Grigore Ureche about Stephen the Great enthronement

... Stephen voivod gathered the country's boyars large and small alike and other petty princely court together with metropolitan Theoctist and with many monks, in the place that is called Direptatea [Right or Justice, literal translation] and have asked all: is it on their accord for him to be their ruling prince? They all have in one voice shouted: "Many years from God for you to rule!" And so all together they raised him prince enthroned as hospodar and metropolitan Theoctist anointed him with chrism as ruler. And from there has Stephen voivod taken the flag of the Land of Moldavia and went at the seat of Suceava.

About the fortress of Suceava

The fortress of Suceava was built - most probably - by voivod Petru (Peter) I Mușat, between 1380 and 1390. It was mentioned for the first time in a letter dated February 11th 1388. In this letter the Moldavian voivod informed king Wladyslaw II Jagiello of Poland about the dispatch of the money demanded (the famous loan of 3000 silver "French" roubles [frîncești], for which the Polish king put in pawn the province of Pocuția - or Pokuttia). The fortress is contemporaneous with church Mirăuți in Suceava, church represented on another Romanian commemorative coin - 500 lei silver 2000 - dedicated to the 600th anniversary of the enthronement of Alexander the Good in Moldavia.

At the beginning the fortress had only the rectangular enceinte with seven towers, today placed in the middle of the structure. Stephen the Great erected the outer enceinte, its thick and tall walls and the rounded towers substantially raising the fortress capacity to endure sieges (at that times the artilery was just becoming capable of tearing down fortresses walls).

In the fortress of Suceava functioned the mint where the copper shillings of Eustratie Dabija were struck.

Several historical events in which Suceava fortress had an important role

For more than three centuries the powerful fortress of Suceava was in the middle of important historical events. In 1476 the Turkish troops of sultan Mehmed II (el-Fatih, the Conqueror) besieged the fortress, and so did the Poles of king John I Albert in 1497, with the same outcome: the fortress of Suceava could not be conquered. In 1538 the Ottoman invasion led by sultan Suleiman I the Magnificent ended the first rule of Moldavian voivod Petru Rareș. Then the fortress opened the gates without any resistance, and the Turks seized the treasury of Moldavia safeguarded there. In the fortress of Suceava was Jacob Heraclid Despot besieged by Ștefan Tomșa in 1563. In his campaign of 1600 - when he united Walachia, Transylvania and Moldavia for the first time - Michael the Brave entered the fortress without any fighting, because the garrison of voivod Ieremia Movilă surrendered.

In 1653 voivod Gheorghe Ștefan tried to conquer the fortress. In help of the garrison arrived the son-in-law of voivod Vasile Lupu - Timuș Khmelnytsky - with his Cossacks, that settled the camp on the plateau near the fortress (until now the plateau is named Cîmpul Șanțurilor, meaning Ditches - or Trenches - Field). The death of Timuș determined the surrendering of the fortress and the final dispel of the hopes of Vasile Lupu to regain his throne.

In 1675 the Turkish insistences led to the partial destruction of the fortress of Suceava, and its military role became insignificant from then on.

Archeological researches at Suceava fortress

The first systematical excavations at Suceava fortress were made around 1900, being supervised by architect Karl A. Romstorfer from Cernăuți (1854-1909). It was conservator of "imperial and royal central commission for historical and art monuments" for Bucovina (at that time, Bukovina was a duchy inside Austria-Hungary.

Important systematic researches took place at Suceava after WW2.

Several churches founded by Stephen the Great

Stephen the Great established an impressive number of stone churches. Many of them ar still in place today. Below are pictures of: the church Saint Nicholas from Iași, the church dedicated to the Holy Pentecost (descent of the Holy Spirit) from Dobrovăț Monastery near Iași, the church Saint George from Hîrlău, the church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist from Vaslui, the tower with chapel from Bistrița Monastery, the church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul from Huși and the church of Dormition from Borzești. The chapel from Hotin Fortress and the old church from Căpriana (near Chișinău) are also attributed to Stephen the Great.

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