Alunis – Nucu – Bozioru, the mystical cave complex in Buzau
One of the most impressive spiritual places in Romania is located only 100 kilometers away from Bucharest in Buzau County. About 30 cave settlements are spread over a surface of more than 5 square km between Alunis, Nucu and Bozioru villages.
The area, located on Ivanetu Crest, hides mysterious grottos, caves, sanctums, some of them carved or graved into the stone, vestiges of the past, used over time as refuge or prayer places. Researchers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland often came to Romania to study the nearly 30 convents, monasteries and hermitages in Buzau Mountains. There is still no clear and comprehensive study regarding these settlements. Archaeological data processed so far highlightsed the different periods of dwelling, going up to the Bronze Age, Monteoru Culture, or the beginning of the Iron Age, Hallstatt, the only documentary attestation certifying the period from the beginning of the sixteenth century.
One of the important settlements is the little stone church from Alunis built around 1274. The legend tells the story of two shepherds that had a strange dream: a voice told them to smash a stone and inside of it they will find an icon. Amazed by the fact that they did find it, they built the little stone church where religious services are still held.
The next important settlement is known as Dionysius the Spinner Cave (Pestera Dionisie Torcatorul), the stone house where the monk, skillful at spinning and weaving wool chose to live in solitude. The cave has places for bed, table and a vertical weaver. You have to climb on a wooden ladder and enter the small settlement through a tinny hole. The cave was named after Dionysius who lived there in the nineteenth century.
The oldest cave settlement, Fundul Pesterii was inhabited even before Christianity. It is located 725 meters altitude at the foot ‘Spatarului’ Cross’ (Crucea Spataruui) in the woods, 2km from Nucu village Bozioru commune. The actual cave was originally a church carved in a parallelepiped block collapsed from the crest, partially buried in the ground with a house appearance. 200 symbols are drawn on the cave walls using the technique of scratching on the wall, a figure, an object or a symbol. The cave was closed to the public after scientists have found that fragments of frescoes were cut and stolen.
Saint Iosif’s Cave is the largest church stone located 3 kilometers from Nucu. Carved in a huge rock, the church has preserved the initially aspect. Above the entrance there is a fish, a paleo-Christian symbol.