Europe, Romania, Wallachia

Horezu and Horez Monastery, and a Dacia for Good Measure

No Comments 14 January 2011

Horezu and Horez Monastery, and a Dacia for Good Measure

During his 2002 travels in Romania, the Monkey had something of a religious experience visiting the painted churches and famed monastery of Horezu. He also checked out some Romanian wheels.


Painted church, Horezu, Wallachia, Romania
Heading east from Tirgu Jiu, the Monkey came to the tranquil village of Horezu, in the hill country that precedes the Carpathian Alps. Horezu is renowned locally for its pottery, but to the Monkey it was a good chance to inspect one of Romania’s painted churches.

Painted church, Horezu, Wallachia, Romania
This is another view of the same little church in Horezu. In Romania, the Orthodox Christian custom of painting elaborate frescoes of saints and biblical scenes on the interior of churches was extended to the exterior as well. Though Orthodox churches in Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and elsewhere often have some frescoes on the exterior, in Romania the art form was far more prevalent. Though the churches are quite beautiful, they do have practical limitations: Exposure to the elements has made restoration work necessary for many of the churches.

Horez Monastery, Wallachia, Romania
The Monkey traveled to the Horez Monastery near Horezu. It was built between the mid-17th and early 18th Centuries, and also featured elaborate frescoes on the exterior of its main church. The nuns at the Monastery requested that no photographs be taken inside the courtyard, but the Monkey was able to take a photo from outside the walls.

Dacia in Romania
This photo isn’t really related to the religious architecture on the rest of this page, but the Monkey did want to point out another very common sight in Romania: the Dacia. The result of a licensing agreement to use French firm Renault’s designs, the Dacia was a centerpiece of the industrialization efforts undertaken by the Communists from the 1960s onward. Renault bought out its former licensee in 1999 and is investing significant capital in Dacia’s Romanian plants with the hopes of creating a hub of auto manufacturing in Eastern Europe.



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Romania

   FAST FACTS


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Population:

22,246,862 (2008)

Land area:

230,340 sq. km.

Capital:

Bucharest (pop. 2,351,000; 2005)

Economy:

In 2006, Romania ranked 64th in the UNDP Human Development Index and 42nd in total GDP, with a per capita GDP of $5,645.24. Public debt accounts for 13 percent of total GDP, while 25 percent of Romanians are beneath the poverty line.

Main language(s):

Romanian

Monkey's name:

Maimuta

Fun fact:

During World War II, Axis-allied Romania helped the Nazi armies attack the Soviet Union in the hopes of reclaiming Bessarabia, a territory with historical linkages to Romania (among others). When the Soviets repelled the attacks and invaded Romania in 1944, Romania’s King Michael had a sudden change of heart and switched sides, joining the Allies. Angry over the betrayal, Hitler launched air strikes on Romania while the Soviet Red Army was still advancing on Bucharest, leaving Romania temporarily at war with both sides!



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