*take nothing for granted!
Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2015

Who is Online

We have 44 guests and no members online

Translate to another language

Curtea de Argeș

Curtea de Argeș population 27,360  is on the right bank of the Argeş River, where it flows through a valley of the lower Carpathians (the Făgăraș Mountains).
One of the oldest towns in Wallachia, in the 13th century Curtea de Argeș was the capital of a small local state which was the start of the unification of the lands south of the Carpathians.

Wikipedia

 

Curtea de Arges is a small, fairly ordinary, town but has several historical sites in town and in the vicinity. 

 

Arges
Curtea de Arges 
 

Chief among these is the Argeș Monastery but in the town itself there is an even older historic church, the 14th century San Nicoara Church, set in the grounds of the now ruined Royal Court, dating from the 13th century. 

 

 The 14th century San Nicoara Church

 

It's now a somewhat nondescript field in which two cellars of the Court are preserved.  And what's more, the Court was once inhabited by - you guessed - Vlad III, the Impaler (Vlad Dracula) who was Voivode (or prince) of Wallachia, of which Curtea de Arges was the principal city on three occasions in the fifteenth century. 

 

 The 13th century Princely Court

 

And you thought we had seen the last of Dracula. 

But no, a little way out of town on a canyon formed by the Argeș River valley is Poenari Castle or Citadel a fort associated with Vlad.   Access to the citadel is made by climbing 1,480 stairs linked by upwards sloping pathways.  At the top are some implements of torture and some figures impaled on tall spikes in the manner of Vlad, when fighting off the Muslims in Christ's name.

 

 Poenari Citadel - with the valley road bellow and impaled Muslims

 

It was here that, as a result of tingling fingers, I first became aware that I might have a problem with my heart.   It's fortunate that I took a couple of rest stops on the way to the top, in spite of my pride, because it's very isolated and forested with no obvious way that emergency services could access it quickly.  

Amusingly it wasn't the only dice with death.  Our TomTom GPS initially took us to a spot on the valley road, 400 metres vertically below the Citadel.  After realising the error I drove on but could find nowhere wide enough to make a u-turn.  I eventually had to make a very quick three-point turn instead on the narrow, tightly winding, road then back-track many kilometres to the footpath entrance we had already passed.  It was of course clearly marked - in Romanian.  The danger was Romanian drivers who are not notable for their caution or compliance with speed limits, as little shrines on the roadside attest. 

Just as well we'd been to the Monastery for some vicarious soul-cleansing earlier that day!  

The Argeș Monastery attracts most tourist interest and is reached by a one-way avenue of hundred year old linden trees trees, now bizarrely interspersed with supermarkets hotels and restaurants to cater for visitors, including the ubiquitous Irish Pub.

It's a thriving religious community with new buildings underway.  In the grounds of the large Monastery is the spectacularly beautiful Romanian Orthodox Cathedral of Curtea de Argeș in which Kings Ferdinand and Carol I and Queens Marie of Romania; Elisabeth of Wied; and Anne of Romania are buried. 

 

 Romanian Orthodox Cathedral of Curtea de Argeș - two of the numerous royal graves:  Maria and Ferdinand

 

The present church was dedicated in 1886 replaces an earlier one.  It had attracted a handful of tourists but was largely vacant of worshippers and seems to lack religious significance. 

The nearby the Monastery building had attracted the many faithful, who move from one icon to the next in private religious observance in a way quite different to western Christian tradition.  Interesting.

We had booked a B&B that although clean with a good breakfast, was close to a noisy road and well away from the centre.  The promotional material claimed it was walking distance to points of interest - if you had several hours for walking past petrol stations furniture stores and shabby suburbia.  As a result we had trouble finding it and when at last we did there was limited access and the woman who greeted us directed me to get closer and closer to some trees and to her garage door.  Under her instructions I touched it with my bumper marking an overrider and making me cross, after driving all this way without a scratch.  Fortunately a bit of spit and polish fixed the bumper.  Anyway, Wendy gave them a bad Trip Adviser review and the woman got upset, claiming I'd damaged her door.

After Curtea de Arges we returned to Bucharest and briefly to the Grand Boutique Hotel, where the car was to be returned.  Again they were again most accommodating, even though we were not staying the night, and organised our later trip to the airport.  Unlike the B&B in Curtea de Argeș, this hotel is a definite recommendation if you ever want a nice place to stay in Bucharest.

 

More Images

Follow this link to see the full Romanian Album:  Click Here...

 

Comments  

# Alex Shamgar 2017-06-17 05:46
Hi Richard

We were in Romania two years ago. Wanted to show it to my wife. The only advantage over you was speaking the language so the cabbies did not rip me off.

We also visited Brasov, nice spot. After Romania we took sleeper train to Budapest. Then we travelled by boat to Vienna and finally to Prague.

We live in Maroochydore, great weather. My older son, Michael, is in Melbourne, married with two sons. The younger son, Ben, is still single and lives on the Gold Coast.

Your article on Romania is most impressive.

All the best

Alex
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

Add comment


Security code
Refresh


    Have you read this???     -  this content changes with each opening of a menu item


Travel

South Korea & China

March 2016

 

 

South Korea

 

 

I hadn't written up our trip to South Korea (in March 2016) but Google Pictures gratuitously put an album together from my Cloud library so I was motivated to add a few words and put it up on my Website.  Normally I would use selected images to illustrate observations about a place visited.  This is the other way about, with a lot of images that I may not have otherwise chosen.  It requires you to go to the link below if you want to see pictures. You may find some of the images interesting and want to by-pass others quickly. Your choice. In addition to the album, Google generated a short movie in an 8mm style - complete with dust flecks. You can see this by clicking the last frame, at the bottom of the album.

A few days in Seoul were followed by travels around the country, helpfully illustrated in the album by Google generated maps: a picture is worth a thousand words; ending back in Seoul before spending a few days in China on the way home to OZ. 

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

My Art and Artists

 

 

One recreation that I find very absorbing is drawing and painting. 

Having once been married to an exceptionally talented artist (now Brenda Chat) I do not pretend great skill or insight.

I always drew and painted but living with Brenda was like someone who has just mastered ‘chopsticks’ on the piano being confronted by Mozart. 

Our daughter Emily has inherited or acquired some of her mother’s skill and talent.  

Emily and I once attended life classes together and I am awed by her talent too.  One of her drawings hangs behind me as I write.  It is a wonderful pencil study of a life class nude. 

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

Science, Magic and Religion

 

(UCLA History 2D Lectures 1 & 2)

 

Professor Courtenay Raia lectures on science and religion as historical phenomena that have evolved over time; starting in pre-history. She goes on to examine the pre-1700 mind-set when science encompassed elements of magic; how Western cosmologies became 'disenchanted'; and how magical traditions have been transformed into modern mysticisms.

The lectures raise a lot of interesting issues.  For example in Lecture 1, dealing with pre-history, it is convincingly argued that 'The Secret', promoted by Oprah, is not a secret at all, but is the natural primitive human belief position: that it is fundamentally an appeal to magic; the primitive 'default' position. 

But magic is suppressed by both religion and science.  So in our modern secular culture traditional magic has itself been transmogrified, magically transformed, into mysticism.

Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright