We will once again venture on Romanian land and uncover a new tourist attraction which will definitely be to your liking. This article is dedicated to Curtea de Arges, a unique city located amid the sub-Carphathian hills. Why is this specific place the topic of a new article? Probably because it comprises distinctive attractions in which history and myth combine harmoniously.
The city is situated in a mountainous setting, in close vicinity of the Arges River, which can only mean that you are going to enter into a picturesque site which will indulge your senses. Those seeking peace and tranquility are bound to find that Curtea de Arges and its surroundings display such qualities.
It is not certain how the city came into being but there are several speculations revolving around its development. Some consider that the archaeological diggings conducted in the area revealed that Dacians were inhabiting the place in the year 500 B.C. Others however, who base their presumptions also on archaeological discoveries, deem that the area has not been inhabited prior to the 11th century. But if we cannot say for sure when the city was formed, then we ought to focus on the architectural jewels it offers to its visitors.
Venturing on the streets of the city we will come across various constructions which will undoubtedly capture our attention such as the Municipal Museum, the Episcopacy or the Arges Monastery. Remnants of the Old Royal Court are still preserved. The court was constructed in the 14th century, shortly after the victory obtained in the Battle of Posada and while the centuries that had gone by have gravely deteriorated the court, the remaining fragments still allude to the glorious past of the Wallachians. In fact, this is the reason for which the city is known as Curtea de Arges (Court of Arges).
The Royal Church was constructed in the same period as the court, but unlike the later, the former has managed to be kept untarnished by the devastating marks inflicted by time. Not only did the building itself managed to survive throughout the years, but so did the mural painting which wonderfully adorned the church. This was possible due to the several renovations the church underwent. The church was constructed in the Byzantine architectural style and consisted of three distinctive rooms: the nave, the narthex and the altar.
The Arges Monastery is another place of interest especially since there is a legend which revolves around its construction. The myth of creation through sacrifice is deeply ingrained into the Romanian culture and the construction of the monastery is the embodiment of this myth.
Legend has it that the ruler of Wallachia, Radu Voda, was determined to build the most beautiful monastery anyone has ever seen as a way to thank God for the victories he had attained in battles. So he chose the mason Manole to accomplish this task. However, the master mason could not fulfill what he was appointed to do because everything he and his team had managed to complete during the day, was shattered by some unknown force during the night. This occurred for several nights and nothing could explain why this happened. Devoid of other ideas which might lead to the monastery actually being constructed, Manole turned to the mythical interpretation that any act of creation is in need of a sacrifice. So he has decided that a living woman should be put into the walls of the monastery so that the construction could stand erect. Since they could not decide which woman to sacrifice, they decided to let fate intervene and appoint the victim.
The plan was to sacrifice the first woman who would arrive at the construction site in the morning. But the masons could not stand by and watch how one of their wives was sacrificed so they warned them to stay at home the following morning. Manole was the only one who did not inform his wife about the plan because he believed that his fellow workers would respect the agreement and thus fate would decide for them. But Anna, unaware of what was going on, arrived at her husband’s work only to face her doom. Manole had to hold true to his words so he took Anna and sacrificed her in order to allow his creation to come to life.
The truthfulness of this story is questionable but the outcome of it is that a beautiful monastery was erected in Curtea de Arges and that it constantly impresses the passers-by through its craftsmanship.