Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Inside Curtea de Arges Monastery...

Curtea de Arges Monastery is a construction in the southern part of Romania, not far from Bucharest, the Capital. Its construction began in the time of Neagoe Basarab (1512-1517), the king of Wallachia (Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania). The King’s tomb can be seen in the interior of this monastery next to his wife, his daughter and his successor (Radu from Afumati). Other tombs in the monastery are the final resting places for other four important royal heads of Romania: King Ferdinand I (king between 1914-1927) and his wife Queen Maria and King Carol I (king between 1866-1914) and his wife Queen Elisabeth.

Apart from the tombs and the monastery itself, one can admire the art collection of the monastery, paintings and icons from the 17th century, paintings of King Carol I and Queen Elisabeth and the Gospel written with letters of gold
Curtea de Arges monastery resembles a very large and elaborate mausoleum, built in Byzantine style, with Moorish arabesques. In the center rises a dome, fronted by two smaller cupolas, while a secondary dome, broader and loftier than the central one, springs from the annex. Each summit is crowned by an inverted pear-shaped stone, bearing a triple cross, emblematic of the Trinity.
It is said that a very appreciated master named Manole was the one supervising the construction. One of the most popular legends in Romania is associated with his name. It’s a story of sacrifice, love for one’s work, death for creation and commitment for religion and faith before anything else.
The legend says that master Manole and his workers were employed by the King Neagoe Basarab of Wallachia to build an extraordinary monastery. The men began working. But everything they built by day ruined by night. So no matter how much they tried they couldn’t finish the construction. Tormented by the fact that he couldn’t finish his construction, master Manole dreamed one night that the only way that he could complete his masterpiece is a human sacrifice. After he woke up, he and his workers decided that the first person to arrive that morning on the construction site should be the one sacrificed.
Tears of pain fell on Manole’s cheeks when he saw his pregnant wife, Ana, on the horizon. She had woken up early that morning to prepare a good meal for her husband and to bring it to him. But the monastery had to be completed. So with tears in his eyes, Manole walled his wife brick by brick. She cried and she screamed. She begged for her life and her unborn child but Manole didn’t listen. It was only after this sacrifice that the monastery’s construction could be finished into the masterpiece that can be seen today.