A legend and a monastery – Curtea de Arges

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Curtea de Arges is located in the north of Arges County (southern Romania), 38 km away from Pitesti.  The monastery is a true treasure for the lovers of historical monuments, built during Neagoe Basarab (1512 – 1517) ruler of Wallachia (Tara Romaneasca – historical and geographical region of Romania)

The construction started in 1514 at the behest of Neagoe Basarab, who wanted a monument beyond compare. According to the legend he assigned the building of the monastery in the hands of Master Manole (Mesterul Manole) and his masons.

Curtea de Arges Monastery resembles a very large and elaborate mausoleum, built in Byzantine style, between 1512 and 1517 with Moorish arabesques. As all historical testimonies say, the church was built on the foundations of an ancient sanctuary, which was not other than the first Metropolitan Church of the Romanian Country.

One of the most popular legends in Romania is linked to Manole. It’s a tale of sacrifice, love for one’s work, death for creation and devotion to religion.

As the legend says, Manole started the construction but everything he built by day, fell down by night. One night, Manole had a dream in which he was told that, in order to finish the monastery he should make a human sacrifice. He told about his dream to his masons and they have decided that the first dear person to come to their project site should be sacrificed for the building of the monastery. The next day, the first person to come was Manole’s pregnant wife. With tears in his eyes Manole walled his wife brick by brick. She cried and she screamed but Manole didn’t listen.

Only with this human sacrifice the monastery could be finished and rises in front of us as today’s masterpiece.

Another legend speaks about Manole’s death. They say Neagoe Basarab liked so much the construction that he locked Manole and his men in the attic of the monastery. He wanted to make sure that no one would build a construction as beautiful as his. Manole and his men tried to escape by building wooden wings and trying to fly away. None of them succeeded. Manole died too, trying to fly his way down. The place where master Manole died is now marked by a fountain named The Fountain of Manole and it is located inside the monastery’s yard.

While in Curtea de Arges you can also visit Poenari Castle, only 2 kilometers away.  Read the story of the castle here: http://www.romaniajournal.ro/the-legend-of-poenari-castle-the-fortress-of-vlad-the-impaler/

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