Curtea de Argeş
The cradle of Romanian civilization, Curtea de Argeş is a place shrouded in legends and keeping to old customs of Dacian origins. Located within the idyllic setting of Muscelele Argeşului, the former capital of Wallachia has a special charm of its own.
By a mere walk through the historic centre you will sense the royal atmosphere, and visiting the Royal Court and Curtea de Argeş Monastery will give you the feeling of walking through the pages of a history book.
Owing to the proximity of large urban centres, picturesque landscapes and unique urban architecture, Curtea de Argeş is a perfect destination for a weekend escapade.
The city at the foot of the Făgăraş Mountains, has less than 30,000 inhabitants today, but its historical importance has put it in the ranks of the most beautiful and interesting cities in Romania. The city was first mentioned around 1247 and a century later the founder of Wallachia, Voievode Basarab I, established his court here, Curtea de Argeş becoming the first capital of Wallachia. Reminiscence of its administrative heyday can be seen in the ruins of the royal stronghold, the oldest feudal art complex in Romania.
The best preserved medieval building of the whole Princely Court is the Princely Church. Ruins of the bastion, fortress walls, as well as those of the royal houses can also be seen. In the vicinity of the court you have the possibility of further immersing yourself in the history of the place by visiting the Municipal Museum, were you will find a multitude of artefacts belonging to different historical periods. You should not miss out on visiting and photographing the mysterious ruins of St Nicoară Church, found on top of the hill in front of the Princely Church, that date from the 13th and 14th centuries.
But the most well-known monument of this city is without a doubt the famous Curtea de Argeş Monastery, a masterpiece of Romanian medieval architecture. The location where the well-known legend of chief architect Manole takes place also houses the Royal necropolis of Romania, attracting thousands of tourists eager to see the beauty and elegance of the 16th century edifice.
You should also add the Norocea House to your visiting list, found at the back of the Princely Church, that houses the ethnographic and folk art exhibit of the Curtea de Argeş Museum. You can also add visits to the small Olari Church, Tutana Church (founded by Michael the Brave) or Cotmeana Church that is over 600 years old (founded by Mircea I). Don’t leave the city without visiting the beautiful train station known as the Royal Train Station.
No vacation in the area is complete without a visit to the ruins of Vlad the Impaler's castle in Poenari. Your effort of climbing the 1480 steps will be rewarded with a beautiful view. Vidraru dam and lake are also worth visiting. If you want to continue your journey from here towards Transylvania the Transfăgăraşan road is by far the option with the best scenery.
- A stroll down Basarabilor Street to admire the urban architecture.
- The Princely Court Medieval Festival in July that features fighting re-enactments with 15th century weapons, archery demonstrations, folk music recitals, classical guitar and flamenco, plays and music shows.
- You can get to Curtea de Argeş on national route DN7, also known as Transfăgărăşa Road.
- By train you can travel on the Curtea de Argeş – Piteşti route.
- The closest airports are located in Craiova and Bucharest.
- The Post Office can be found at 43 Despina Doamna Street. Schedule: Monday-Friday 8:00-19:00.
- If you find the Princely Church closed, ask for the key at the Municipal Museum across the street.
- The city and its surroundings have many accommodation options available for all budgets.
- The best restaurants can be found in the historic centre, near the tourist attractions.