The Polovragi Monastery


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Last update:
1999, August 20

Location Manastirea Polovragi
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The Polovragi Monastery, (district of Gorj) is one of the most important religious and artistic monuments which attracts the admiration and the appreciation of the visitors from our country and from abroad.

The most recent researches based on two Slavonic inscriptions, establish the building date of the Polovragi Monastery about 1505. It is attributed tu Radul and Patru, Danciul Zamona's sons, which are mentioned in a document issued by Prince Basarab cel Tânar (1477-1481), on 18th January 1480. This document constitues the first documentary attestation of the village of Polovragi.

The founder of the present church of the Polovragi Monastery is Danciul Pîrîianu of Milesti, according to the document issued by Prince Matei Basarab (1632-1654), on 16th July 1648. He built the church on the old foundation preserving only the lower part of the inferior walls, which were in a better condition.

When it was finished, its founder Danciul Pîrîianu dedicated it to the Holy Sepulchre. The great voivode Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688-1714) redeemed it in 1693 and placed it under the jurisdiction of the Hurezi Monastery.

The church is built in the Byzantine style on a trefoil plan. Its interior is divided into several sections: an ante-nave, a nave and an altar, which are specific of the Ortodox churches.

The painting of the church is particularly important both from an iconographic point of view and its technical execution. It is like of that of the Hurezi Monastery, being the common work of the same painters, but it has particular characteristics.

In the porch, on the east wall one can admire the two iconographic representations, unique in our country, of the monasteries from the Mount Athos, as well as images from the two Testaments and from the Lives of the Saints.

The interior painting is preserved in the original form. It is about 250 years old and it has a particular artistic value. The colouring on the blue background is harmonious and sober.

The iconostasis is a real masterpiece of the old Romanian wood carving. Its rich ornamentation strikes by its finess and brilliancy.

The church is surrounded by the buildings of the Monastery. They date from Constantin Brâncoveanu's epoch and form a stronghold where there are cells, the workshop, the refectory and other dependences.

On the northern side of the precinct of the Monastery there is the Infirmary Church built in 1732 by Abbot Lavrentie. It is in Byzantine style, and the interior walls are covered by a delicate painting.

The Polovragi Monastery has a very interesting collection of vestments, epitaphs, icons, crosses, censes, musical manuscripts and religious books. Here we can see too Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu's iptych.