Curtea de Arges Monastery: the legend of the pregnant woman trapped inside the walls and the death of master Manole who tried to fly with wooden wings

Curtea de Arges Monastery is an interesting edifice in Romania whose beauty is surpassed only by the legends told from generation to generation about its construction and the human sacrifices made in the name of eternity.

Curtea de Arges MonasteryThe tombs and the royal final resting places

Curtea de Arges Monastery is a construction in the southern part of Romania, not far from Bucharest, the Capital. Its construction began in the time of Neagoe Basarab (1512-1517), the king of Wallachia (Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania). The King’s tomb can be seen in the interior of this monastery next to his wife, his daughter and his successor (Radu from Afumati). Other tombs located in the monastery are the final resting places for other four important royal heads of Romania: King Ferdinand I (king between 1914-1927) and his wife Queen Maria and King Carol I (king between 1866-1914) and his wife Queen Elisabeth.

King Neagoe Basarab and his wife – painting

King Neagoe Basarab

Apart from the tombs and the monastery itself, one can admire the art collection of the monastery, paintings and icons from the 17th century, paintings of King Carol I and Queen Elisabeth and the Gospel written with letters of gold (PHOTO).

Golden letters gospel

Curtea de Arges Monastery’s architectural design

Curtea de Arges monastery resembles a very large and elaborate mausoleum, built in Byzantine style, with Moorish arabesques. In the center rises a dome, fronted by two smaller cupolas, while a secondary dome, broader and loftier than the central one, springs from the annex. Each summit is crowned by an inverted pear-shaped stone, bearing a triple cross, emblematic of the Trinity.

Curtea de Arges Monastery

Facing the main entrance is a small open shrine, consisting of a cornice and dome upheld by four pillars. The cathedral is faced with pale grey limestone, easily chiseled but hardening on exposure. The interior is of brick, plastered and decorated with frescoes. Close by stands a large royal palace, Moorish in style. The archives of the cathedral were plundered by Hungarians and Turks, but several inscriptions, Greek, Slav and Roman, are left.

This construction is very impressing regarding the time it was built and the means that were available in those ages in Wallachia.

The legend of the pregnant woman built inside the walls

It is said that a very appreciated master named Manole was the one supervising the construction. One of the most popular legends in Romania is associated with his name. It’s a story of sacrifice, love for one’s work, death for creation and commitment for religion and faith before anything else. Continue reading

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The Black Church: the legend of the mysterious statue of a boy and the bullets in the walls

The Black Church is one of the most impressive religious edifices in Romania. It is located in the center of Brasov City, Romania. Its construction began in the 14th century as a Roman Catholic structure and it was known as the Church of Saint Mary. It was built on the place of another older church. The first priest of this new church was a man named Thomas Sander. He died in 1410 and his grave is is located inside the church, in the choir area.

Black Church Romania

Completed by the end of the 15th century, the church belongs to the final stages of Gothic architecture. The result was a three-nave basilica, all the same height, as was preferred during the 15th and 16th centuries in the German lands, where most of the architects and masons originated. The Catholic services were replaced with Lutheran ones during the Protestant Reformation. You can read here some more historical facts about the Black Church

Black Church Romania

The origins of the name of the Black Church

The church was originally named Saint Mary’s Church. Continue reading

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Dark legends on the streets of Bucharest – part I: The desperate orphans, The House of Black Blood and an agonising death in Hotel Cismigiu

Bucharest, the Capital of Romania, can be an extraordinary city to visit if you know where to go and what do you want to see. Bucharest is a mix of styles and history. It is a unique place where modern buildings, old houses and communist construction are all oddly combined to create an extraordinary urban scenery. On this blog we will reveal this city’s most interesting secrets.

Old City Bucharest

Known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards, glorious Belle Époque buildings and a reputation for the high life (which in the 1900s earned Bucharest its nickname of “Little Paris”), Romania’s largest city and capital  is today a bustling metropolis.

Romanian legend has it that the city of Bucharest was founded on the banks of
the Dambovita River by a shepherd named Bucur, whose name literally means “joy.”
His flute playing reportedly dazzled the people and his hearty wine from nearby vineyards endeared him to the local traders, who gave his name to the place.

halele_brancovenesc Continue reading

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The 7 Stairs Canyon. A breathtaking experience in the core of a mountain. Beware! 7 ladders and 7 mini-heart attacks

The Seven Stairs Canyon (or Seven Ladders Canyon) is a breathtaking attraction in Romania, near Brasov, one of the most beautiful cities in eastern Europe.

Road to 7 stairs canyon

Piatra Mare mountain

The trip to the 7 Stairs Canyon can be done in one day and it’s a remarkable  experience for brave tourists.  7 Stairs Canyon lies in Piatra Mare Mountains and it is one of the great attractions in Brasov for those who enjoy hiking . The road to the canyon (and back) can be done in about two hours and it is accessible to children. The tricky part is to cross this canyon. That I wouldn’t recommend to children. Thousands of tourists transit this area but I personally  find it quite dangerous. With every ladder climbed, if you are not used with climbing mountains, you will have a few mini heart-attacks. Or at least I did. As you will see in the images below, the circuit on the rocks is really not according to safety regulations. Continue reading

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The Bridge of Lies: three legends in the heart of a beautiful medieval Romanian city

The Bridge of Lies is a bridge that can be found in the old center of the magnificent city of Sibiu, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe.

The Bridge of Lies

This is Romania’s oldest cast-iron bridge and it was built in 1859, taking the place of an older wooden bridge. The three legends that are connected to this construction piece are older than the cast-iron bridge and the stories date from long ago when there was only the wooden bridge.
The Bridge of LiesThe legends behind the name

The elders are talking of a legend that says that this bridge could have been used in medieval times to tell if a person is telling the truth or not. Continue reading

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Poenari Castle, the Fortress of Vlad the Impaler – an incredible landscape, a piece of history and a bloody legend

Poenari Castle, also known as Poenari Citadel or Fortress, is a ruined castle in Romania, on the cliffs of the mountains (at a height of 860 meters), notable for its connection to Vlad the Impaler.

Poienari Castle

The construction of this castle began in the 13th century, under the rule of the Black King.  In the decades that followed, the name and the residents changed a few times but eventually the castle was abandoned and left in ruins. It was Vlad the Impaler that brought it back to life in the 15th century.

Vlad the Impaler

The castle was used for many years after Vlad’s death in 1476, but eventually it was abandoned again in the first half of the 16th century and was in ruins by the 17th century. Continue reading

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Legends and mysteries of Romania. The cave of Zamolxis, the ancient god of the Dacians

The cave of the ancient God Zamolxis, the one worshiped by the people of Dacia, can be found and visited near the small town of Polovragi, Romania. The stories and mysteries of this place are a quite fascinating piece of history mixed with legends and mythological stories. Zamolxis was the all-mighty God of the Dacians (also known in the Greek records as Getae people).

Dacians were the ancient inhabitants of Dacia, located in the area in and around the Carpathian Mountains (Europe) and east of there to the Black Sea (this area includes the present-day county of Romania, as well as parts of Ukraine, Eastern Serbia, Northern Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland). After the Dacian Wars (AD 101-102, 105-106), the Romans occupied a part of the Dacian region and the people of Dacia were assimilated by the conquerors.

Polovragi cave

Who was Zamolxis?

Zamolxis is the all-mighty dacian God. Ancient Greek manuscripts depict him as a human, a prophet for his people. Herodot wrote about him as a Dacian man who, around the year 1400 BC, went traveling around the world trying to learn astronomy and medicine. There is no proof of his real existence, other than some scarce ancient writings that are not exact and often contradict each other. What it is in fact known is that this Zamolxis (after his death, if he really existed) was the most important God for the people of Dacia.

God Zamolxis

Bloody sacrifice for Zamolxis

Dacians used to bring sacrifices for their God. For example, at every four years they would sacrifice a man considered one of the brave. Continue reading

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