Curtea de Arges Cathedral is about two hours drive from Bucharest on the only highway built during the Communist times and surprisingly after 27 years of kleptocratic democracy, still one of the few highways in Romania. We left Bucharest for a short shooting tour in Transylvania and stopped at the monastery, a jewel of byzantine architecture with influences of many styles among others the Moorish arabesque combines with Romanian, Persian, Turkish styles. Founded at the beginning of the 16th century the church carries a legend that the only way that it could have been built were to bury inside its walls a living woman, otherwise what was built during the day would collapse during the night. The head mason’s wife happen to be the lucky one being lured by her grieving husband to be bricked in the walls of the monastery. The mason and his crew’s fate were not a happy ones either; afraid that they would build a more beautiful monastery somewhere else the king ordered the dismantling of the scaffolding forcing the entire crew to jump to their death, a symbolism related to similar legends in the Russian folklore.
The monastery is the pantheon of the Romanian royal families, all Romanian kings and their spouses being entombed here. Even Carol II who abdicated the throne, left Romania for Mexico and died in Portugal, was eventually exhumed, his remains being brought in 2003 and entombed in Curtea de Arges.
At the beginning of August, Queen Anne, the wife of the last Romanian king, Michael de Hohenzollern, passed away in Switzerland being also brought here for funerals. All Romanian newspapers and televisions covered the news for days in a row as a royal national event in spite of the fact that Queen Anne was not even for a day queen of Romania, Michael marrying her after he was forced by the Communists to abdicate in 1947. Anne de Bourbon was catholic while Michael was Christian Orthodox and a religious dispense was supposed to be issued. Returning from Europe where he met Anne, Michael had to meet the prime minister of Romania, the “red baron” Petru Groza, in order to ask for permission to marry Anne but instead of this he was asked to abdicate and gone he was till 1992 when he returned to the country to an exuberant popular reception.