Curtea de Arges Monastery is a Romanian Orthodox monastery in Curtea de Arges, Romania. The monastery, consacrated in 1517 is faced with pale grey limestone, which was easily chiselled then hardened on exposure. The interior is of brick, plastered and decorated with frescoes. Nearby on the grounds stands the large Neo-Romanian style Royal Palace built in late 19th century.
The building resembles a very large and elaborate mausoleum, and was built in the Byzantine architectural style, with arabesques. The cathedral sits upon a raised platform, 7 ft (2.1 m) above the surrounding grade, and encircled by a stone balustrade. In shape the structure is oblong, with a many-sided annex at the back. A dome rises in the center, fronted by two smaller twisting and leaning 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.The windows are mere slits; those of the tambours (the cylinders on which the cupolas rest) are curved and slant at an angle of 70 degrees, as though the tambours were leaning to one side.Between the pediment and the cornice a thick corded moulding is carried round the main building. Above this comes a row of circular shields, adorned with intricate arabesques, while bands and wreaths of lilies are everywhere sculptured on the windows, balconies, tambours and cornices, adding lightness to the fabric.Facing the main entrance is a small open shrine, consisting of a cornice and dome upheld by four pillars.
Legends of Curtea de Argeș have inspired many Romanian poets, among them the celebrated Vasile Alecsandri. One traditional legend describes how Neagoe Basarab, while a hostage in Constantinople, designed a splendid mosque for the sultan, returning to build the cathedral out of the surplus materials.
A legend tells of Radu Negru employing a Meşterul Manole or Manoli as architect. With Manole being unable to finish the walls, the prince threatened him and his assistants with death. At last Manole suggested that they should follow the ancient custom of placing a living woman into the foundations; and that she who first appeared on the following morning should be the victim. The other masons warned their families, and Manole was forced to sacrifice his own wife. Thus the cathedral was built.
When Manole and his masons told the prince that they could always build an even greater building, Radu Negru had them stranded on the roof so that they could not build something to match it. They fashioned wooden wings and tried to fly off the roof, but, one by one, they all fell to the ground. A spring of clear water, named after Manole, is said to mark the spot where he fell.
- Neagoe Basarab V of Wallachia
- Despina of Wallachia
- Stana of Wallachia
- Radu V of Wallachia
- Ruxandra of Wallachia
- Carol I of Romania
- Elisabeth of Romania
- Maria of Romania
- Ferdinand I of Romania
- Marie of Romania
- Carol II of Romania
- Michael I of Romania
- Anne of Romania
- Helen of Romania
On 16 December 2017, King Michael I was buried here with a full state funeral, his remains joining those of his wife Queen Anne, who had died in 2016. Those attending the funeral included Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia, Juan Carlos I of Spain and Queen Sofia, Charles, Prince of Wales, Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz of Belgium.
The remains of Queen Mother Helen, the mother of King Michael, were returned to Romania from the Bois-de-Vaux Cemetery in Switzerland on 18 October 2019. They were interred in the cathedral on 19 October.
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