Cozia Monastery, erected close to Călimăneşti by Mircea cel Bătrân in 1388 and boasting his tomb, is one of the most valuable monuments of national medieval art and architecture in Romania.
The Holy Trinity Church of the Cozia Monastery was founded by ruling prince Mircea cel Bătrân (Mircea the Elder, Vlad the Impaler's grandfather) in 1388. The three-cusped plan of the church was harmoniously and richly decorated by master builders from Moravia. The pronaos still keeps fragments of the original Byzantine monastic painting made between 1390 and 1391, while the rest of mural paintings are the result of the restoration work performed in 1719. The church was repaired in 1517 by ruling prince Neagoe Basarab and the still existent fountain which bears his name was made by the same time. In 1707, ruling prince Constantin Brâncoveanu added to the Church a portico, in the distinctive Romanian art style that bears his name, as well as the cells and the baptistery in front of the church. The buildings were restored by ruling princes Bibescu and Ştirbei between 1850-1856; at the same time, two pavilions were built, of which the one that used to be a princely summer residence still exists. The monastic site was completely restored and modernized between 1958 and 1980, when the church was covered with a copper tin roof, the cells and the two chapels were consolidated, and a new heating system was provided.
In the nave there are the votive paintings of Mircea the Elder and of his son, Michael. Wallachia's princely ruler is painted as a crusader, because he fought together with western knights against Muslims for the cause of Christendom, but eventually had to accept Turkish suzerainity after the Crusaders' defeat at Nikopolis in 1396; Mircea the Elder now lies buried within the church. Likewise, one can see the tombstone of nun Teofana, mother to Michael the Brave whose name relates to a first, but short-lived unification of the three Romanian speaking provinces, i.e. Wallachia, Moldavia & Transylvania, in 1601. The original iconostasis made of wood was destroyed in a fire, but was restored in stucco work in 1794. The cross on top of the belfry dates back to Mircea the Elder's time, whereas the chandeliers are a gift from prince Constantin Brâncoveanu. The Cozia set of buildings has also two chapels dating back to the 16th and 18th centuries, with original mural paintings of those times, and two bells made in 1395, and in 1413 respectively. The infirmary Church dates back to 1543, whereas the cells were built in 1388 and renovated in the 19th century.
The museum of the monastery stores a precious collection of old icons, monastic objects, coins and old books, among which The Epitaph (1396), The Gospel (1644) printed by Bishop Varlaam (author of the Romanian Book of Teachings (1643), one of the first samples of Romanian literary language), and the Rhymed Psalm Book (1673) issued by Dosoftei (a salient scholar, translator and creator of cultivated Romanian poetry, as well as a promoter of Romanian as a church language). The Cozia Monastery was an important medieval cultural center where monk scholars and their disciples would print, translate and interpret many religious books written in Slavonic, and thus render them accessible to the Romanians.
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