III. IDENTIFICATION OF THE ASSET
IV. JUSTIFICATION FOR INSCRIPTION ON THE WORLD HERITAGE LIST
PROVINCE OR REGION
OF THE ASSET
The Horezu monastery.
LOCATION ON MAP AND INDICATION OF GEOGRAPHICAL COORDINATES Latitude:
Longitude: 24° east.
It belongs to the Horezu monastic community.
It is under the authority of the Râmnic and Arges Bishopric,
Râmnicu Vâlcea (Vâlcea county).
INSTITUTION(S) WITH MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY
Ministry of Culture. Department of Historic Monuments, 1 Piata
Presei Libere, 71321 Bucharest.
NATIONAL INSTITUTION(S) WITH MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY
Commission of Historic Monuments.
IDENTIFICATION OF THE ASSET
The convent is situated in the middle of a picturesque place of wooded
hillocks on natural uneven ground. It is the most important monastic site
of Wallachia, built according to the model of the great Athos monasteries.
The main structure is the catholikon closed in by its own precinct, near
which there is a series of hermitages. The The Horezu monastery design has
the regularity and symmetry of the Renaissance pattern developed around
the east-west axis. Thus, the big church stands in the centre of the precinct,
and the paraklession is situated above the refectory. On the outside --in
the east part - the "Bolnica" can be seen, and in the west part
there is Saint Stephen's hermitage.
To complete the north-east cross-in-square structure the
Holy Apostles' hermitage was raised, and to the north-south-east the Holy
The catholikon has a triconch plan, with a very enlarged
pronaos, which is considered to be an original interpretation of the pattern
of the Arges Monastery church raised by order of Neagoe Basarab (1512
- 1517). The church is fitted to the west with an open exterior pronaos.
A wholly remarkable piece is the frame of the entrance
door to the pronaos, carved out of stone, adorned with vegetal motifs,
a pattern to be frequently used later in the 18th century decoration.
The pronaos painting concentrates on the votive images:
Constantin Brâncoveanu with his wife and their eleven children,
the main earlier Wallachian rulers of the Basarab and Cantacuzino dynasties.
A magnificent Last Judgement fresco spans the east wall of the exterior
The paraklession is situated above the refectory and has
a rectangular plan, the naos is topped with a turret, and there is an
open exterior pronaos. The interior painting is the work of the painters
Preda and Marin. The iconostasis is also original.
The princely residence, located in the south-east part of
the precinct, has a two-storey rectangular plan: the caves formed by pairs
of square traves with spherical calottes, and above it the residence itself,
the ceremony halls vaulted with calottes and sustained by columns carved
out of stone.
The final phase of the site, the post-Brancovan stage is
represented by Dyonisie Balacescu's "Foisor" situated in the
southern part. It is the work of the craftsman Iosif (Joseph) who embellished
it with carved decoration.
The classical design of the site is emphasised by the two-storey
cells preceded by arched galleries.
The church of "Bolnica" comprises the bema, the
rectangular naos, and an open exterior pronaos. An unusual theme is illustrated
in the iconography of the exterior pronaos ("The Life of the Good
The Holy Apostles' hermitage has preserved from the age
of its foundation only the church with the same patrons as its own. This
church has a remarkable bema with three parts (following the Athonite
model). The iconography is strongly marked by the monastic theological
conception of the superior Ioan (John).
The church of Saint Stephen's hermitage displays an exceptional
harmony of its outline. The master painter is Andrei (Andrew).
The Holy Angels' Church can be singled out as part of this
vast princely site for its new type of votive portrait, that is the group
portrait of the lower nobility family of Dyonisie Balacescu, the founder
of the monument.
Each of these small places of worship, still functioning,
has preserved sculpted iconostases and original pieces of furniture.
The room that used to shelter the library in the time of
the Brancovan prince is also precious, as it bears an inscription in ancient
Greek that can be seen above the entrance.
Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688 - 1714) founded the monastery
in 1690 and richly endowed it. That enlightened prince, together with
his family, raised, sometimes by rebuilding on already existing foundations,
numerous monasteries and churches that he would adorn with mural paintings,
icons placed on sumptuous iconostases, with furniture, silverware and
religious embroidery. His example was followed by the boyars and the high
clergy who used to found places of worship. The artistic style of his
age was of a great unity and bears the name of "Brancovan art",
an epithet ascribed to the entire age during which he lived.
The monastery catholicon, having as patrons Saints Constantine
and Helen, was begun in 1690, and finished in 1692, as the votive inscriptions
reveal. The works were performed under the guidance of the senior mason
Manea, the stone cutter Voukasin Karadja, and the carpenter Istrate, whose
portraits are depicted in the exterior pronaos painting. The interior
painting, finished in 1694, was achieved by a team of painters under the
guidance of the Greek artist Constantinos, settled in Wallachia, who was
the founder of the school of mural and icon painting, organised at Horezu.
The precinct wall was built at the same time with the big
church. Two-storey monastic cells, kitchens and others were added on the
inside, to the south, west and north of the princely residence. At the
beginning the monastery entrance had been placed in the centre of the
west wing of the precinct, where there is the paraklession, but later
it was closed down and turned into refectory before 1705, as the access
was permitted through the vaulted passageway below the bell tower of the
In 1753 the monastery's superior, Dionisie Balacescu, built
the "Foisor" ("Arbour") that bears his name.
The paraklession, having as a patron the Assumption of the
Virgin, was built before 1696.
The church of Bolnica is in fact a smaller site comprising
the church of the Assumption of the Virgin, the hospital named the "Foisor",
all of them founded between 1696 and 1699 by Princess Mary, wife of Constantin
Brâncoveanu. The Holy Apostles' hermitage is owed to the initiative
of Constantin Brâncoveanu (the Prince's son and heir, bearing his
name) sustained by Ioan (John), the monastery's superior. The church was
built in 1698 and it was painted in 1700.
Saint Stephen's hermitage was raised under the auspices
of Stefan Brâncoveanu, the second son of the prince, around the
church having the same patron.
The Holy Angels' Church of the ancient hermitage of Tigania
is the foundation of the monastic community of Horezu, from the first
decade of the 18th century, its interior being painted in 1753 due to
the initiative of the superior Dionisie Balacescu. At present, it functions
as village church (Românii de Jos).
The convent had a lot to suffer from the Turko-Austrian
war of 1716-1718, as well as from the Turko-Russo-Austrian one of 1787-1792
when the outer constructions of the main precinct were raised.
On the occasion of the 1872 restorations, three-storey cell
bodies were built, in the south-west part of the main precinct.
JUSTIFICATION FOR INSCRIPTION ON THE WORLD HERITAGE
REASONS FOR INSCRIPTION
b. EVALUATION OF THE PRESENT STATE OF CONSERVATION
c. AUTENTICITY AND INTEGRITY
REASONS WHY THE ASSET IS CONSIDERED TO MEET ONE OR MORE CULTURAL HERITAGE
The reasons why the asset is considered to meet one or more cultural heritage
requirements, and, if the case, a comparative analysis of similar properties
are presented below:
Criterion I. The The Horezu monastery site is a masterpiece
of the Brancovan style, an exquisite artistic synthesis. It is remarked
for its purity and architectural equilibrium, the richness of the carved
decorations, the compositional outlook of religious inspiration, the votive
portraits, and painted decorative elements.
Criterion II. The Horezu monastery has developed into an important
centre of cultural life. The Horezu school of painting marked the whole
Romanian painting of the 18th century (mural and icon painting). The representatives
of this school worked both in Wallachia and Transylvania. The monastery
library had, in its turn, an important cultural role in the entire Orthodox
Criterion III. By its architecture, sculpture and painting,
The Horezu monastery constitutes one of the most representative monuments
of the Brancovan age, a time of cultural flourishing in Wallachia. It
is a vast and sumptuous monastic site standing out among those raised
in south-eastern Europe at the end of the 17th century.
OF THE PRESENT STATE OF CONSERVATION OF THE ASSET AS COMPARED WITH SIMILAR
PROPERTIES SITUATED ELSEWHERE
The scientific restoration helped maintain a good state of conservation
of the The Horezu monastery site, to keep its values intact, at the same time
with ensuring its permanent continuous maintenance.
The conservation of the monument under the best conditions
is ensured also by the legislation concerning the protection of monuments
The restoration conducted by the Department of Historic Monuments has
preserved and revealed all the original artistic values of the The Horezu monastery site, without modifying them. Its unitary style has been intactly
preserved, as the elements added subsequently, some of them having a special
value, fit harmoniously into the complex. Other guarantees of authenticity
include the mural painting, very well preserved in its original state,
the painted and sculpted inscriptions, the original mobile inventory pieces:
iconostases, liturgy objects, chandeliers, icons.