Curtea de Arges Monastery was founded between 1514-1517 A.D. by the Wallachian prince Neagoe Basarab (1512-1521). Is one of the most important contructions of religious architecture in the Wallachia (an old province of Romania).
This construction, bears the imprint of the Byzantine style and has a unique architecture. Most of the materials needed for the construction, were brought directly from Constantinople (today’s Istanbul ). Were selected the most expensive and rare materials.
Curtea de Arges Monastery it’s included in the official “List of historical monuments in Romania“. It is also one of the most famous monasteries in Romania, and an important point of Orthodox pilgrimage.
The monastery is one of the top tourist attractions in Curtea de Arges. If you plan to visit the Transfagarasan alpine road, it is recomanded, to include Monastery of Curtea de Arges, on your trip itinerary. You can stay here for about 1-2 hours, visiting the monastery and its surroundings
Inside the monastery you will be pleased by the beauty of the mural paintings in oil, made by the french painters F. Nicolle and Ch. Renouard, in association with the romanian painter N. Constantinescu.
The ruler, Neagoe Basarab, hired the greatest masters in the land to rise his edifice. He kept on paying a great attention to this monastery, having the surrounding with wall, cells, a refectory, a belfry, making it, as old documents present “resemble God’s paradise”. In 1521, when the founder passed away, his body was buried in the pronaos, which thus became a princely necropolis.
Throughout history it was the main necropolis of the Romanian kings and rulers.
The Legend of Curtea de Arges Monastery
One of the most important legends of the monastery is the folk ballad “Monastery of Arges“. This ballad has as main protagonist, the Prince of Wallahia Neagoe Basarab’s, master of the craftsmen. Mister Manole resorted to the supreme sacrifice: he sacrificed his own wife, building it alive in the foundations of the monastery.
The end is just as tragic: mesmerized by the beauty of the monastery, the Wallachian ruler orders the scaffolds to be broken down and the workers remain captive on the roof. Applying this measure the prince wanted the secret of building the monastery to be taken to the grave!
In the end, they are thrown out of the church bells and die. In the place where Manole the craftsman fell, a spring with fresh watter appeared from the earth. The Manole fountain’, as well as the alleged tomb, of his wife, can be seen in the present:
Manole, Manole the brick wall, choke me…
- fragments from Monastery of Arges ballad
It is a sad legend, an existential drama, of the man who tends to perfection: to accomplish this architectural masterpiece (Curtea de Arges Monastery), Manole was willing to give up everything he loved the world, his beloved wife, and in the end, his own life!
For the romanian people, this monastery represents a continuation of the tradition and religious life, but also the culmination of a flourishing epoch in architecture and art.
Journey tips for Curtea de Arges Monastery
If you have reached here means you are a few steps away from one of the most famous roads in the world:
- Transfagarasan Highway
- Poenari mediaval Fortress of Vlad the Impaler
- Address Mănăstirea Curtea de Argeș