Master Manole Legend
The legend has it that one day, a very wealthy and religious Wallachian prince, the Black Prince, rode with nine masons and their master Manole to find a place and build a church more beautiful than anyone may have seen before. The masons started to work, but whenever they reached to the top, the walls would colapse before they could ever finish it.
So the prince threatened Manole and his assistants with death. Following the ancient custom of placing a living woman into the foundations, they decided that the first of their wifse who appeares on the following morning should be sacrificed in order to see their work done. And it so happened the Manole's wife showed up to bring her husband's lunch, so that he had to keep his vow and immure his own wife alive within the church walls. Thus the cathedral was built.
The place of this immolation can still be seen between two walls of the southern front side of the church.
When Manole and his masons told the prince that they could always build an even greater building, Radu Negru had them stranded on the roof so that they could not build something to match it. Manole made himself a pair of wings from shingles, but they were of no avail, and he would crash to the ground like Icarus and die. Upon his crash, on that very spot, a spring would gush forth, which is now called Manole's well.
Today people would throw coins in its basin, to make their wishes come true.
Curtea de Arges church founded in 1514 by the pious prince Neagoe Basarab (1512-1521, known in history as the Black Prince) is one of the most important contructions of art and religious architecture.
It resembles a very large and elaborate mausoleum, built in Byzantine style, with Moorish arabesques. In shape it is oblong, with a many-sided annex at the back. In the centre rises a dome, fronted by two smaller cupolas, while a secondary dome, broader and loftier than the central one, springs from the annex. Each summit is crowned by an inverted pear-shaped stone, bearing a triple cross, emblematic of the Trinity.
Along time, the church was successively damaged by wars, plundering, earthquakes, fires and was restored during the rules of Princes Matei Basarab (1632-1654), Serban Cantacuzino (1678-1688) and Bishop Iosif Sevastis at the end of the 18th century.
Whatever the patrons and artists who designed this church, it remains impressive by its votive paintings, by its marble gilted bronze, by its onyx iconostasis, by its twelve columns with floral ornaments representing the twelve apostles. In the pronaos there are the tombs of its founders, Neagoe Basarab and Radu from Afumati, as well as of the first couples of Romanian kings and queens (Carol I and Elisabeta, Ferdinand and Maria) which render this church not only a princely, but also a royal necropolis, alongside a splendid monument of Romanian art and history.