It is situated in the balneal resort in Durău, in the eastern part of Ceahlău, 5 km far from Duruitoarea waterfall of which name it borrowed (according to the tradition). Because of its isolated settling and natural position in Modavia, Durău Monastery has been for a long time the most wanted monastic settlement.
The present church was built on an old nuns hermitage place existed here even from the beginning of the XVIIth century. In 1802 this monastic settlement was transformed in a monks hermitage dued to Moldavia Bishop’s suggestion and help ( Veniamin Conachi). An old document from Durău mentions in 1802 that this heritage from Ceahlău’s foot was under the submission of “the valley stone monastery”.
In 1830, the leadership of Hangu Hermitage is leased to Priest Gavril for ten years and one of the contract’s rider was the building of the present church, with the festival of the Annunciation, began in 1830, on the expense of some rich merchants from Piatra bargain and finishes in 1835, as we can read on the porch inscription: "The Annunciation Church of the Holy Mother of God, built during the days of the Great Lord Mihail Grigore Sturza Voievod, with the blessing of the Holy Bishop Veniamin, with the help of the lords inspired by The Holy Ghost, throgh the effort of the pious Priest Ghervasie and of the brothers merchants George and John Prosie and Vasile Iliovici – 1835"
In the second half of the XIXth century and the beginning of the followig one there were built around the church many monastic houses, mainly of these being demolished after 1970 during the building of the water-climating place of Durău. The monastery rank of the hermitage is dued to George Panu – a well-known politician, jurist and journalist – with an important financial help from the village during the time of the minister Spiru Haret, as well as the big church’s repairing, the building of the bell tower, of the small church from the cemetery and of theguests houses, during abbot Teofan.
In 1959, the monastery is closed and it becomes a chrism church. After 1989 it is refounded as a monks hermitage, and on March 1991 it becomes a nuns monastery, here being brought a 20 nuns community from Văratec Monastery. The church is built of stone and brick, and as an architectural work, it combines some traditional Moldavian elements with other new ones, borrowed from laic monumental buildings.
The plan of the church is a common one, cross-shaped, with two lateral apsis and a third one, at the altar, followed by the nave building, the pronave and the porch.
The iconostasis is sculpted in golden lime wood and painted at Constantinopol in 1835. The nave with its large apsis is delimitated from the pronave through two lateral piers of the walls that sustain the arcade, this one holding the dome. It is lighted by a southern and northern window, like the pronave.
The eastern facade is built in the neoclasis style: a wall with six piers of variable dimensions is sustained by two-group pillars. Up, on the piers of the wall there were painted – probably after 1835- al fresco icons, and the center zone of the facade is covered by a gorgeous oak tree wood door that represents a real jewel of the building.
The porch of the church was painted in 1835 by amaterish painters. The pronave, the nave and the altar remained unpainted untill 1835, when, with doctor Paul Gotcu’s effort and the faithful people’s help, the interior will be adorned with wax painting, executed by students and graduates of Fine Arts Academy of Iassy – Cornelui Baba was one of them – guided by their teacher, Nicolae Tonitza.
Under the master’s guidance, the painters humanize the characters, also giving them something from the Romanian popular specific. On the right it is illustrated the Saviour’s Birth where we can notice the Baby Jesus’s child eyes, specific to Tonitza.
On the left it is painted Ceahlău Mountain, the Romanian Athos. The pastors are depicted in the popular costumes of the Moldavian peasants. On the dome it was painted Christ the Protector – the right Judge – surrounded by the four evangelists: Matei, Marcu, Luca and John. The remarkable things are the oneness of the vestment with ample crinkles and the the freshness of the colours dued to the woking way. After the painting was finished, in 1937, the church was blessed on 14th of September.
The tower-bell spire, situated at 40 meters on the northern part of the altar, is a huge square three-leveled building. On the first floor there is the chapel, where it was organized a permanent religious exhibition, where we can find a beautiful church iconostasis from the XVIIIth century, worked in a popular style, with a few byzantine influences.
The dome of the belfry is painted in fresco in 1988 by the Archimandrite Varahiil Muraru. The old tower-bell, in the west part of the monastery, is of wood, dating from the XVIIIth century. Veniamin Costache house and the church are at present historical monuments. In the northern part of the church there are two wooden and stone buildings for cells, priory, refectory, kitchen, food rooms, etc.
In 1992, inside Durău monastery they began the building of The Spiritual and Cultural Center saint Daniil Sihastru, founding of Moldavia and Bucovina’s Bishop, Daniel. The workings were finished in 1996. Inside the building a chapel is built, painted in 1995 by The Archimandrit Vartolomeu Florea, from Sihăstria Neamţ Monastery.
The blessing service of The Spiritual and Cultural Center was made on 30th October 1995, in the presence of some of the first monks of the related churches, headed by His Holiness Barolomeu I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinopol.
We mention that Durău Monastery founded two hermitages: Saint Theodora Hermitage from Sihla, Ceahlău village, with nuns communities and Pious Parascheva Hermitage, in Borca village, Neamţ county.
The lovely position of the old lonely hermitage from Ceahlău Mountain’s foot attracted and sheltered many personalities of political,literary and cultural-artistic life like: Bishop Veniamin Costache, Emil Gârleanu, N. Gane, Alexandru Vlahuţă, Barbu Delavrancea, Caragiale, Aurel Băeşu, Mihail Sadoveanu, who, during their holidays found here peace of mind.