Jul 02

Horezu Monastery

Horezu Monastery, situated in Horezu Town (Valcea County), is a nunnery whose dedication day is the 21st of May – St. Constantine and Helen.

Founded in 1690 by the voivode Constantin Brancoveanu, the monastery copied the architectural style of the Episcopal Church located in Curtea de Arges in the sense that it consisted of three apses. The only differentiation between the two edifices mentioned is the porch of the Horezu Monastery which is representative of the style which left its mark during that period – the Brancovenesc Style.



The decorative style found on the exterior of the church consists of rectangular panels and niches which are adorned with geometrical forms masterfully executed. There is one specific shape which is repetitive – the circle. The entrance door of the monastery has carved marble edges. Above the entrance one can notice two coats of arms – one belonging to the Wallachia domain and the other to the Brancoveanu family.



The interior of the monastery is in itself a work of art. The paintings are valuable pieces, artistically done by true masters of that time (Ioan, Stan, Neagoe, and Ioachim, just to name a few). Besides the religious scenes which are represented in the majority of the paintings found on the walls of the Horezu Monastery, one can also admire the portraits of the families of voivodes that ruled over those lands (the Brancoveanu, Basarab and Cantacuzino families).

The monastery has a beautifully carved iconostasis made out of lime tree and adorned with gilded elements. The edifice has maintained its original structure even though it had underwent several restoration works such as the ones occurring in 1827, 1872, 1907-1912 and 1954-1964.



The monastery holds within its walls the tombstone of Constantin Brancoveanu, even if the founder of the church was not laid to rest in this specific place. Probably the explanation lies in the fact that the church wanted to bring thus tribute to the one who initiated the construction work of the edifice. There are other tombs found here and the most relevant one contains the earthly remains of Archimandrite John, the first abbot of the monastery. The monastic ensemble also consisted of a hospital which was founded by Brancoveanu’s wife, Lady Mary and a chapel, which was erected by the order of Brancoveanu himself during 1696-1697.



Tourists will be pleased to learn that inside the monastery is found one of the most impressive collections of liturgical items – objects which can be traced as far into the past as the moment when the monastery was erected.

But the artistic sculptures and paintings are bound to stir interest and admiration in the eyes of the beholders as well. These bear the mark of the Brancovenesc Style – known for the architectural balance that exists in the pieces of art, as well as the abundant detailing that create these one-of-a-kind works.

True connoisseurs of art will undoubtedly agree that the monastery is one of the most exquisite examples of Brancovenesc Art that exist on the entire Romanian territory.

May 15

Pottery Center, Horezu (Centru de ceramica, Horezu)

Pottery is one of the most ancient craftsmanship, dating back from the Neolithic Era (more than 6.000 years B.C.). And while in most parts of the world, this is a dying art, in Horezu, people still engage in this activity of making ceramic pottery. In fact, due to the artistry with which the craftsmen develop their ceramic objects, the region has become renowned in all of Romania, and even beyond the borders of this country.



While evolution is an intrinsic part of the character of humanity, it is important to hold on the “traits” that define our culture. And the people of Horezu have managed to maintain this craftsmanship alive throughout time. So tourists who get around to this specific area are lucky enough to see how the past has managed to prolog itself into the present.

The Horezu Ceramic Center stands out from the rest of its kind due to the uniqueness of the products that are created here. These are defined through the exquisite shape, decoration, coloration and the technique used to make them. Pottery is an extremely difficult craft and only skillful people who have the necessary strength and knowledge can truly master the art of making ceramic. Because the smallest mistake can destroy the item.



Pottery is developed in several stages. The initial step is to extract the clay from the ore body, and to maneuver it (with the hands, feet or with a large wooden hammer, while mixing it with water). Afterwards, the paste is cleared of impurities through the process of cutting small pieces of the paste with the help of a metallic blade.

Then, the clay is shaped into the object desired. The molding of the clay requires having a great technique and a speed of work because the clay dries up easily. After the object is shaped as desired, it is left to dry for a couple of days.



All the colors used for the pottery are natural: the red is obtained from ground rich in iron oxide, the black is obtained from a special type of soil, found in the erosions found in the ground after the rain, green is the result of burnt copper, and white is obtained by mixing chalk with white rocks which are previously burnt and smashed into bits.

While the pottery ceramics have a practical use, mostly as kitchen utensils, there is a differentiation between these items and the objects of décor which are highly appreciated. The ornamentation work is done with care by the artists. There are a multitude of themes used in the embellishment of the ceramic, specific to the culture and history of this particular region, but the craftsmen also draw inspiration from elements representative of other Romanian regions.



The most impressive thing is that the citizens of Horezu do not perceive this solely as a manifestation of their artistic character. For them, pottery is an intrinsic part of their day-to-day life, it is a means of sustenance for the majority of the people living in this region.

Probably the best time to visit Horezu is at the beginning of June, when the “Hurez Rooster” Ceramic Fair is held. This is a festival in which a multitude of potters are engaged, not only from Horezu, but from different parts of Romania and it represents a way to celebrate the art of ceramics.



The festival attracts year after year thousands of connoisseurs and admirers of the Romanian authenticity, of the traditional elevated to the rank of art, people who can distinguish the consecrated value of the popular art and the tradition of this multi-secular craftsmanship.

But besides this important pottery center, Horezu has a lot more to offer. So if you are in the area, you should visit the surrounding as there are monasteries, museums, and cultural houses which are worth your time.



Those interested in spending a couple of days in Horezu can find accommodation at Criveanu Boarding House, a rustic place, situated in a tranquil part of the town, from where you can easily reach the most important tourist attractions in the area. (Contact: telephone no. 0250-860.038; e-mail : contact@pensiuneacriveanu.ro)