Monastery of Horezu
Founded in 1690 by Prince Constantine Brancovan, the monastery of Horezu, in Walachia, is a masterpiece of the ‘Brancovan’ style. The monastery, with St. Constantine and Helene as its dedication day, built in the XVIIth century, during the Walachian Prince Constantin Brancoveanu’s reign, has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1993. The school of mural and icon painting established at the monastery in the 18th century was famous throughout the Balkan region. This is also the place where the Constantin Brancoveanu library was founded, which to date comprises 4000 books.
The library catalogue drawn up in 1971 showed that, by that time, the library had 382 typed books and 46 written manuscripts, out of which only 115 were in Romanian language. Among the books in this library, you can find Homer’s Odyseea (typed in Basel in 1541), Euripide’s Tragedies (typed in Basel in 1551) and Novellae included by Iustinian the Great in his Great Codex (typed in Paris in 1568).
Only 50 km away from Ramnicu Valcea, the Monastery is surrounded by woods, located in a charming place filled with solitude, whose silence is only disturbed by the sound of „huhurezi” night birds. According to legend, the craftsmen hired to build the church were afraind of turkish invadors and were forced to work only during the night, at a time at which the „huhurezi” birds were singing. The monastery is well-known in Europe for its architectural purity and balance, the richness of its sculptural details, its religious compositions, votive portraits & painted decorative works.
Curtea de Arges Monastery
Curtea de Arges Monastery is one of the most famous attractions in Romania. Built 500 years ago by Prince Neagoe Basarab, the church became one of the most important in Southern Romania. Its original architecture inspired for centuries that of many other churches, but none came close to it. The Patriarch of Constantinople and many priests from Mount Athos visited the Monastery.
The church is at the center of a very popular Romanian legend. The story is that one of the construction workers, Manole, saw all his day work destroyed during the night. In the end, he had to sacrifice his wife, burying her alive inside the walls, to complete the church. His name seems to be the only real part of this legend. The 16th century chief of construction was the Armenian Manoli from Niasia. This monastery is a wonderful historical and cultural site known in Europe and beyond. For some, it resembles a mosque and for others is one of the most important Orthodox landmarks in Romania. It is the perfect proof that art and culture transgress religious boundaries set by people of different faiths.