The fortified houses of Oltenia

The word 'Cula' designates a typical construction of rural Oltenia.

Cula is a fortified house built by the great boyars (noblemen) to protect themselves from the Turkish armed gangs who, in the XVIIIth century, crossed the Danube from the Ottoman Empire army barracks established in Bulgaria. Over the time, the 'cula' lost its defensive vocation to become rather a social sign of belonging to the class of land owners.

Traditionally, the building has the shape of a square tower with one or two floors, with thick walls and a staircase, and the last floor, with a spacious loggia. This loggia opens outside with basket handle shaped or trilobate arcades, resting on short columns that give a sweet charm of 'cula', inviting to lounge, concession made to the demands of comfort and beauty rather to the needs of defense. The windows are small to protect the defenders against attackers' gunshots, the 'cula' has a single thick oak door and each floor can be separated from the lower one with strong doors. Some interior walls were decorated with fresco paintings, the furniture was quite simple and were widely used the traditional Oltenia carpets or the Oriental ones.

Most of the 'cule' were converted in local museums and are part of national heritage. The main 'cule' of Oltenia are:
  • Mehedinţi County - Cula Tudor Vladimirescu (1800) and cula Nistor (1812) (Şimian commune); Cula Cuţui (1815) (Broşteni commune)
  • Dolj County - Cula Poenaru (1750) (Almaj commune), Cula Izvoranu (Brabova commune), Cula Cernătescu (Cernăteşti commune)
  • Gorj County - Cula Cornoiu (Curtişoara commune), Cula Crăsnaru (1808) (Aninoasa commune), Cula Grecescu (1818) (Slivileşti commune)
  • Olt County - Cula Galiţa (1790) (Dobroteasa commune)
  • Vîlcea County - Cula Zătreni (1754) (Zătreni commune), Cula Bujoreni (Bujoreni commune), Cula Duca and cula Greceanu (Măldăreşti commune)