Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Horezu Monastery

Located in Valcea County, at the foot of Capatanii Mountains, Horezu Monastery is considered to be the most representative construction in the Brâncovenesc style. The place of worship, with Saints Constantine and Helena as its dedication day, was built between 1693 and 1697, during Constantin Brancoveanu’s reign. Since 1993 it has been included in the UNESCO patrimony.

Horezu Monastery - Vâlcea County.The entire monastic complex covers more than 3 hectare, and includes the monastery, the Bolnitei church, founded by lady Mary (Constantin Brancoveanu’s wife), built in 1696 and painted by Preda Nicolae and Ianache, then the Holy Apostles’ Hermitage, located 50 meters to the North, founded by the great archimandrite Ioan in 1698 and painted by Iosif and Ioan in 1700, and also the Saint Stephan Hermitage, named after the ruler’s oldest son, built in 1703 and painted by Ianache, Istrate and Harinte.

The entrance in Horezu Monastery.The name of the monastery comes from “huhurezi” (eagle owls), a species of night birds with coloured plumage. According to the legend, the workers hired to build it, out of the Turks fear, were forced to work only by night, when the eagle owls were singing.

The monastic complex is formed of two precinctses. The first precincts is delimited by brick walls. The second precincts has buildings on three of its sides, and a wall at East. The entrance in the main precincts has a wide vault, with a massive, wooden gate. In the belfry tower there are four bells, weighing between 300 and 1000 kilos. The name of ruler Brancoveanu is written on three of them.

The church of the Horezu Monastery - Valcea County.The church of the monastery is 32 meters long and 14 meters high, and can be considered an approximate replica of the Curtea de Arges Monastery.
In the pronaos there is a gallery of portraits presenting Prince Constantin Brancoveanu and his family. The interior paintings also present scenes from the Old and New Testament, moments from the dedication of the monastery and, of course, Holy Saints Constantine and his mother Helena. Towards the end of the 17th century, the Hurez Monastery sheltered a sculpture and painting school.
Constantin Brancoveanu’s family is to be found in the pronaos, because this monastery was designed as the necropolis of the Brancoveanu family. Unfortunately, the relics of the ruler, beheaded by Turks in 1714, have not been brought yet.

Entering the church goes through exonarthex. On the left you can see The Last Judgment.In the beginning, the monastery was for monks, but in 1872 it became a nun monastery. Over 60 000 tourists visit it every year, but the greatest pilgrimage is on Easter.
Charles Diehl, specialist in Byzantine art, considered it „Le plus beau de toute Roumanie”. In 2005, Prince Charles of Great Britain himself spent 3 days in one of the cells of the monastery. As accommodation possibilities, the monastery offers 20 accommodation units in a mini-hotel, in rooms with one or two beds, and also in three rooms with four beds in the attic. There is also a tourist inn in Horezu town.

Horezu Monastery is located on the national road DN 67, 50 kilometres West from Rm. Valcea. Those who come from RM. Valcea have to take right to Romanii de Sus village before coming down to Horezu town.

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