Plumbuita Monastery

Plumbuita Monastery is an Orthodox monastery for monks, dedicated to the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, located in Colentina district of Bucharest, on a small hill on the right bank of the Colentina River.

The church of the monastery

First consecration took place in 1560, when ruler Peter the Younger (1559-1568), son of Mircea the Shepherd and Lady Chiajna, started construction of the monastery, which will be completed by ruler Mihnea Turcitul. In 1585, he worships the church to Xiropotamou Monastery from Mount Athos. The church suffered great destruction in 1595, and 1614 was severely affected by fire.

Its current form was reached after the second consecration since 1647, when the church was rebuilt from the ground by ruler Matei Basarab, after the model of Dealu Monastery (built by ruler Radu the Great), to commemorate his victory in 1632 against the Turks. Then was added the Princely House and the monastery was reinforced with high walls. The bell tower was built between 1802-1806, by abbot Dionysius of Ioannina, after the older bell tower of the monastery was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1802.

The bell tower

The name Plumbuita (approx. The Leaded) was given by locals, because for a long time the church has been covered with lead sheets. A legend says that the name comes from the fact that Matei Basarab, in need of cannon balls during a battle, ordered to melt the lead on the roof of the monastery.

Votive painting of Matei Basarab and his wife Elena

The church rebuilt by Matei Basarab has triconch plan, with the tower on the nave, with typical Wallachian architectural character, but has also Gothic window frames - highlighting the influence of Moldavian architecture. It has very thick walls, almost one meter. The votive painting depicts the church-builder, ruling prince Matei Basarab.

The hermitages

Princely House has massive masonry arches on the ground floor and numerous arches, supported on cylindrical columns, on the first floor, being one of rare specimens of civil architecture before the 19th century that is preserved in Bucharest. The bell tower is embedded in the wall of the enclosure in half its southern side. The lower level is pierced by the tunnel entry, and the room above is the bells' chamber.

The monastery is a monument of reference for the cultural history of Bucharest, from the late 16th century. In 1573, the first printing press in Bucharest (and the third in Wallachia) was established here, by ruling prince Alexandru II Mircea and his wife, Catherine Salvarezzo. The patterns, executed under the direction of monk Lavrentie and his apprentice Iovan, present specific features, unique in the history of Romanian printing, which can not be confused with other characters printed in Romanian Countries. In 1582, appear here the first books printed in Bucharest: two Tetra-evangelism and a Psalter (from which is kept only a fragment, in the National Library in Sofia).

The main gate

Since the nineteenth century, the monastery went through a prolonged period of decline. The earthquake of 1802 severely damaged the monastery and the bell tower, repaired later by Abbot Dionysius of Ioannina. After the secularization of monasteries assets during the reign of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, all possessions of the monastery were taken by the state. The monastery was abandoned, being converted into a parish church.


Plumbuita declined for a long time, the church was damaged severely by the earthquake of 1940. In 1940, Marshal Ion Antonescu began a restoration action, wanting to transform Plumbuita in a National Pantheon for the heroes of war for reunification of the nation, and his final resting place to be in this church. In the years 1954-1955, the monastery church was restored by Patriarch Justinian, and it was consecrated on June 24, 1958.

The Princely House

In the Princely House is arranged a museum that includes: religious art objects, 130 busts of the Romanian ruling princes (carved in stone by Abbot Simeon Tatu) and original murals. The library of the monastery is a museum of old books, some 500 years old. Inside the church are the relics of St. Nicholas and of Holy Martyrs Gheorghe, Panteleimon and Ion cel Nou of Suceava.

Holy Relics

In the monastery workshops operate the sections of Painting, Restoration and Heritage of the Faculty of Theology in Bucharest. Until recently, the monastery had sculpture workshops for carpenters and a section for casting bells (the largest bell cast in Plumbuita Monastery has 1,200 kg and is in operation at Radu Vodă Monastery in Bucharest). Now, the monastery is subject to extensive renovations.

Photos from Wikipedia and Creştin-Ortodox.