Romania Map Road

Other pottery centres in Oltenia include Glagova (pottery with a varied chromatic), Stefanesti (red unglazed pottery), Vladesti (baked clay pots, with a blue ground, decorated with green enamel and zoomorphic motifs).

The region of north Oltenia seems to inscribe itself within a sacred perimeter. Here we can discover dozens of architectural wonders: the Cozia Monastery of Mircea the Old, the Tismana Monastery of Nikodim the Monk, the Hurez Monastery of Constantine Brancoveanu, the Bistrita Monastery of the Craiovesti boyars, the Brancoveanu-style Polovragi, the Monastery from One Tree, the Arnota and Govora monasteries of Matei Basarab, and Frasinei Monastery, which follows the typikon of Mount Athos, as well as many other hermitages and monasteries: Turnu, Stanisoara, Ostrov, Bradu, lezeru, Pahomie, Mamu, Dobrusa, Papusa, Upper and Lower Cioclovina, Lainici, Locurele, Sacelu, Patrunsa, Fedelesoiu, Cornetu.

Cozia Monastery, triconch in plan, situated on the right bank of the Olt, was built in 1387-8 by craftsmen from Moravia, after the design of the Serbian church at Crusevat. It is one of the most beautiful foundations from the reign of Mircea the Old, whose tomb can be found in the narthex.

The murals of the church at Cozia Monastery were redone in 1706-7, when a porch in the Brancoveanu style was also added by Serban Cantacuzino. It is only in the narthex that original murals from the time of Mircea the Old have been preserved. A fresco on the right wall of the nave depicts the founder of Cozia, Mircea the Old, dressed as a western mediaeval knight, alongside his son Mihail.

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In the village of Romanii de Jos, three kilometres from Horezu, you can visit one of the most representative examples of the Brancoveanu architectural style: Hurez Monastery (1690-1703). During the reign of Constantine Brancoveanu (1688-1714), Hurez Monastery was a major centre of culture: it had a celebrated scriptorium, a school for copyists, clerks and grammarians, a school for church painters, and an extensive library, unique in south-east Europe in the early 18th century.

Hurez Monastery Cozia Monastery The belvedere of Hurez Monastery

At the top of Stirmina in the Valcan Mountains, near the Gurnia Waterfall, can be found Tismana Monastery, founded in 1375-8 by Nikodim the monk. On the site of an older yew-wood church, Radu I ordered that a stone church be built in 1383. Over the course of time, the church was successively rebuilt by Radu the Great, Neagoe Basarab, and Radu Paisie. The cemetery chapel was built in 1650 by Matei Basarab.

Bistrita Monastery was founded in 1492-4 by the Craiovesti brothers: Barbu (who took monastic orders under the name Pahomie), Parvu, Danciu and Radu. Partially destroyed in 1509, it was rebuilt in 1519, when murals werealso painted by Dobromir ofTargoviste. Constantine Brancoveanu rebuilt the monastery in 1683. Having been damaged in the earthquake of 1838, the church was rebuilt in the neo-gothic style between 1846 and 1855 by Prince Gheorghe Bibescu and Prince Barbu Stirbei. Only the infirmary church (1520-21), with its priceless murals, survives in its original form from the time of the Craiovesti boyars.

Just four kilometres from Bistrita Monastery, at the end of a road that winds through the Capatanii Mountains, stands the Arnota Monastery, founded by Matei Basarab in 1633-34. The narthex of the church houses the tombs of Matei Basarab and his father, Danciu the Dvornik.

Oltenia is dotted with old buildings founded by princes and boyar families. In the vicinity of every princely or boyar court there was a church.

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