This elegant building is the center of the Romanian Orthodox Church which sits atop the Mitropoliei Hill. Bucharest has a string of small hills and in the past monasteries were built on top of these hills so they can be seen from afar. In the past the Patriarchal Cathedral was visible from most parts of the city but that has been rectified by the communists which fenced it with tall buildings. It’s a miracle that the building has not been demolished or moved somewhere else during the communist regime, as it happened with many other churches, but that may be due to the fact that the leaders of the Romanian Orthodox Church collaborated with the Communist Party in order to maintain what was left of their power. During the 15th century the Mitropoliei Hill was covered by vineyards and a small wooden church stood on top of it. Construction of the new church was started by Prince of Wallachia Constantin Şerban Basarab in 1656 and finished by Radu Leon in 1668 when it was named the official Metropolitan seat. None of the original interior paintings remain except for a single icon depicting the Saint Emperors Constantine and Helen which are the cathedral’s patron saints. The church was restored several times. The present day frescoes were painted by Dimitrie Belisarie in 1933. This is a place of gathering, and thousands of people take to the hill with the occasion of major religious holidays.