You may have heard of an astonishing village of Horezu and its ceramics that are included in the UNESCO patrimony. But you can discover more secret gems of this small village in southern Romania, in the Vâlcea County, one of them being the Horezu Monastery, a testimony of Romanian art, and yet another UNESCO jewelry since 1993.
When traveling to the village of Horezu, a must-see is the Horezu Monastery, founded by Constantin Brâncoveanu between 1693 and 1697. Along with the Mogoșoaia Palace, the monastery is a testimony of Romanian art of the Brâncoveanu’s reign and this flourishing cultural period.
Placed in a picturesque landscape, the monastery ensemble covers over three hectares, with two chambers enclosed by the brick walls, a wooden gate and a smaller church built by Maria, the wife of Constantin Brâncoveanu. It is the biggest monastery ensemble in Romania, also having two Hermitages - the Hermitage of the Holy Apostles and the Hermitage of Holy Stephan.
The monastery itself is similar to the Curtea de Argeș monastery, one of the most famous and the most visited in Romania. Its form spreads over 32 meters in length and 14 meters in height. The interior painting is a traditional one, with the scenes from the Old and New Testament, with an exception being the narthex, where two of Romania’s most influential families – the Brâncoveanu and the Cantacuzino family - were immortalized.
The name of the monastery was later given to the village nearby. It comes from the Romanian word “huhurezi”, a species of colorful night birds. There is also a legend combining the name of the monastery with one of the greatest threats from that time – the Turks. According to the legend, the monastery was only built during the night, as it was the time when the “huhurezi” were singing and scaring any possible Turk invasion.
The monastery was initially hosting the monks, as they could better defend the monasteries from the invasions. Nowadays, the situation is different as the monastery only hosts the nuns, who are also the artisans. They are practicing painting (mostly of icons), sculpture, embroidery and weaving while continuing the local tradition. It is actually interesting that this monastery is similar to the one from the middle ages. It is here that the local culture is being preserved and the nuns are the experts of certain local traditions. This is maybe why more than 60.000 travelers visit the monastery yearly and are impressed by the art created inside the walls of this ecclesiastical place. The monastery is also a place of pilgrimage, and most of the pilgrims come here to celebrate the Holy Easter.
The Horezu Monastery is a place where the tradition is held on to, and it is the testimony of Romanian art. When visiting this outstanding village, you will surely fall in love with it, and you will be the witness of the authenticity of local art.
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