* Enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride through Wine and Fruit-Growing Museum
* Be awestruck by the strange architectural design of Curtea de Arges monastery’s columns and Master Manole’s legend
* Explore the largest gorges complex of the country – Dambovicioara Canyon
* Taste and shop for traditional homemade delicacies in Rucar-Bran Couloir
* Dine at a trout farm
* Transfagarasan Highway takes you on top of the majestic Carpathian Mountains
* Stop on Vidraru Dam to take some amazing photos of Vidraru Lake
* Have lunch in the village where Sharon Stone and Andy Garcia filmed in 2012 scenes from “What About Love”
* Reach the Red Tower Pass on Olt Valley
* Celebrate all Oltenian traditions at Maldaresti Boyars’ Fortified Mansion
* See the traditional blue printed pottery center & UNESCO Orthodox monastery from Horezu
* Customized itinerary planning and travel arrangements
* Private sedan / minivan with professional English speaking driver (-guide) at disposal
(Helicopter / jet transfer available on request)
* Personal tour manager at disposal (available on request)
* Complimentary rooms and restaurants reservations
* Rooms, meals, entrance fees
* Varies depending on season, tour length, number of guests, included special activities and other custom preferences
Golescu family played an important role in Romanian history.
Find out about their good deeds while wondering through the family’s lordly mansion. Built in 1640, this is the only laic medieval fortified building in the country.
On the same estate you will discover a traditional village from mid 19th century. It is the most important sector of Dinicu Golescu Museum, founded in 1939 by the order of King Charles II. Organized in open air, the 35 households here were brought from the main fruit-growing and wine-growing areas of the country.
After you listened and saw all details about the history and civilization of Arges county, relax with a ride by a horse drawn carriage.
Curtea de Arges monastery
One of the most famous Romanian legends relates to the monastery from Curtea de Arges.
It serves as necropolis of the Romanian Royal Family. Here Kings Carol I, Ferdinand and Carol II, as well as Queen Ana rest. In the 16th century (1514) the Prince Neagoe Basarab founded a halidom of unmatched beauty, with some Georgian and Armenian architectural elements. After studying in Italy and Constantinople he administrated the construction of a mosque ordered by the sultan Bayezid II. The chief-builder of the mosque was the Armenian master Manoli from Niaesia.
Master Manole’s legend
The legend says Manole built his wife in one of the monastery’s walls to succeed finishing the impressive construction and in the place where he fell off the roof a source appeared.
Look for the fountain built on that source (across the street in front of the monastery) and also for the red text marking the wall. But don’t let yourself charmed to marry here because the locals say that all marriages officiated at the monastery end with a divorce.
In Dambovicioara village's area your sight is caught by the houses ornated with sculpted wooden pillars and multicolored tall roses.
Romanians don’t spend too much of their time wetting them. Nature takes care of roses to have flowers as big as the head of a new born. From the comfortable sedan the villages veiled among mountain ridges gently reveal to your eyes. The landscape looks as if a child drew here and there on a piece of green paper some trees, stones, small houses and a winding asphalt ribbon among them.
Explore the largest gorges complex of the country
You are heading to the largest gorges complex of the country: Dambovicioara Canyon, within Piatra Craiului National Park.
Exploring its outstanding part you will be astonished by its monumentality. Vertical calcareous walls or even leaning over the 1 to 2 m wide bed of Dambovicioara gill (sometimes with heights exceeding 200 m), imposing towers and sharp cliffs… About 50 caves lies underground Dambovicioara hydrographic pond. But happily, the most attractive and important one is right nearby the canyon with the same name. And the locals know it before 1579 !
The climax is when, following the road, a straight domineering mountain suddenly arise in front of you like an impetuous wall as if the world ends here. You shyly approach and at the turn, amid two edgy cliffs, the deep and narrow entrance inside the mountain opens. It’s chill. You have the sensation that you feel the breath of the mountain and even hear it. Daring to look up you are shivery by the bouncers of cliffs hung by the canyon walls. They look like wild beast lying in ambush to hurtle on you.
You shyly approach and at the turn, amid two edgy cliffs, the deep and narrow entrance inside the mountain opens. It’s chill. You have the sensation that you feel the breath of the mountain and even hear it. Daring to look up you are shivery by the bouncers of cliffs hung by the canyon walls. They look like wild beast lying in ambush to hurtle on you.
Traditional homemade delicacies from Rucar-Bran Couloir
After Dambovicioara Canyon, before leaving the Rucar – Bran Couloir you notice, on both sides of the road, tables with traditional Romanian delicacies.
Stop at the penultimate on the right. Here an over 70 years old lady with clear blue eyes and 3 children – a priest, a Romanian language teacher and the other daughter working for European Funds – will welcome you. Then she will kindly invite you to taste for free all the products. The old lady herself makes them, right in the house behind the temptress table.
Despite the rain outside, under the large umbrella, the flavours of smoked sausages and forest fruits syrups tantalize your senses.
“Bear, deer, and boar dry sausages, wild strawberry, raspberry, underbrush, fir buds and fir cones thick syrups, cheese in fir tree bark, smoked cheese, forest fruits sherbet, honey, blueberry brandy… The driver is quite passionate about homemade drinks. He prepares his own elder juice, so he asks about the quantities in the recipe of this amazing blueberry brandy. The answer surprise and make us all laughing: as many ripe blueberries and some palinca (traditional local brandy), no sugar, no any other add-ons. Honey is another local delicacy you don’t wish to miss. Especially the one made of acacia. Some says in Romania you find the most flavored and tasty one. Maybe because of the unknown natural mix of fertile soil, clean air and weather conditions.”
Watch for the storks nests on the beautiful Olt Valley while riding on E81 (European Road 81).
Crossing the Pasul Turnu Rosu (Red Tower Pass – 352 m), this is one of the most beautiful roads in Romania.
It is also one of the most important communication ways between Bucharest and the cities from North and West of Romania.
Celebrate all Oltenian traditions at Maldaresti Boyars’ Fortified Mansion
Starting with the 16th century, the boyars from Western Wallachia and Oltenia built tall fortified mansions to defend themselves against the Turks attacks.
Their names – culas – come from the word kula which means tower in Turkish. Made of solid stone and painted in dazzling white, these have veranda and doors with huge wooden pillars. In the walls, there are holes for rifles to banished uninvited visitors if needed. Inside they features solid cellar, interior stairs and simple rooms with clean floors and wooden beams.
Let’s start your incursion into the beautiful history of this region at:
Its slender shape pops up among flowers, serene and beautiful. It has extraordinary exterior paintings by Olga Greceanu. And from here you can see the imposing white culas shining in the sun.
I. Gh. Duca Memorial House (1912)
It welcomes you with the warm light and serenity of peasant houses.
Everything around this holiday mansion keeps the sense of measure that characterized the great Romanian politician. Born in 1879, responsible and exemplary honest, he knew one of the most spectacular political careers. Unfortunately this suddenly ended in 1933, after an audience to the king, at Peles Castle. Then, on Sinaia train station platform, the legionaires assasinated him.
The cula's pleasant exterior has harmonious proportions while the interior impresses with sober but intimate rooms.
The old furniture of an extraordinary good taste has an inestimable value. Politician’s desk looks like he just left it several minutes ago and will soon return to use the papers, ink pot and nib. There are Oltenian carpets on the floors and bedspreads cover the chambers’ beds. I. Gh. Duca’s portrait and family photo hanging on the wall, a straws hat and the window looking towards the green garden give you the feeling of tranquil pleasant afternoons in the countryside.
This was built by Gheorghita Maldarescu.
In 1827 – the year mentioned on the inscription at the superior floor – they added the stucco. This was a mixture of whitewash, chalk and marble powders. I. Gh. Duca bought the cula in 1907 and his widow donated it to the state in 1962. Passionated by traditions and authentic beauty of local crafts, the politician embellished the cula. Fortunately, its present atmosphere and aspect do not very much differ from those in 1912. So it still reflects the daily life from the begining of the century. The fence is the original one and it is among cula’s oldest elements. Inside, you will remark at once both the oriental accessories and the variety of tile stoves. The last ones have the loading mouth in one room and stove in another.
Greceanu Cula (1516)
The oldest construction of this kind in Romania, built by Nan the Cupbearer, was initially only a defence tower against robbers.
But in 1650 when the culas construction began in Romania, the nephew of Nan the Cupbearer – Tudor Maldar – raised a fortified mansion around the tower. You can still view it as a protuberance on the western side of the cula. The legend say tatars caught Tudor who was captain in the army of Michael the Brave. The khan’s daughter fell in love with him and together they run away hiding at nowadays Greceanu Cula from Maldaresti. After marriage, Tudor gave the imposing beautiful mansion to his spouse, as gift. The last descendant of Maldar family – Eve – found her end one night in 1830. Humiliated and robbed by thieves, she was trying to escape from them with the family’s jewels. Later when her daughter, Mary, married with Gheorghe Greceanu, she received the cula as dowry.
The old architectural elements specific to Brancoveanu style demonstrate one's more the cula's age.
For example, the cellar has windows carved in perforated stone and 4 rooms. Verandas have arcades and penetration vaults. One of the rooms has vaults painted in 1934 by Olga Greceanu. Their frescoes represent old times images and portraits of Maldarescu family.
Did you know that the key of the cula’s oak door is over 200 years old ?
Don't miss the occasion of keeping it in your hand even if only for a minute !
The cellar does not communicate in any way with the floor. This particularity also confirms the cula’s age and was an advantage in case of danger. First, the enemies – thinking the entrance was the cellar’s mouth – ended under the bullets rain. And second, because the rest of the house was perfectly insulated from the most vulnerable place of it. Now let’s check the mobile stair that is a real rudimentary elevator ! Tied with string, it used to be lifted by boyars after getting in the hiding place. The disadvantage was that the first floor’s windows and veranda could be easily conquered by villains.
In 1590, Maldarescu family estate spread from mountains to Danube, being the attacks' target of pashas from the river.
Countless battles must have been given under the now immaculate walls of the two culas. This is the reason why it has loopholes for muskets and a castellated turret, after the Serbian style. Each room have tile stoves with such different models. One of the most beautiful and important pieces of furniture and unique in our country is a little table. Velvety brown, it has the 12 zodiac signs encarved.
Due to its very well preserved autenticity Greceanu cula served as setting for the famous Romanian movies “Bones Road”, “Yellow Rose” and “Iancu Jianu”.
Dinner & Overnight
This old Oltenian cula intactly preserves all architectural details of these.
It has lordly white thick walls, tall tower, vaulted veranda along the entire facade of the superior floor, interior stairs and secret exits. Starched lingerie, dowry chests, traditional covers and carpets as well as authentic historical furniture decorate the mansion’s rooms. Its name reminds of the legend of Captain Tudor Maldar from Michael the Brave’s army. Come celebrate here all Oltenian traditions, from food served within their restaurant to events !
“La Conac is a quiet little house away from the town area. Here, we were treated to lovely sunsets and sunrises. There’s no restaurant here, or nearby. We drove back to town to pick up some pizza takeaways and cold beer, to be enjoyed from the verandah.”
One of the greatest and most prolific Romanian architects, Ion D. Berindey designed this beautiful typically Romanian mansion in 1907.
The architect studied in Paris, being famous for paying utmost attention to details.
Bucharest’s Cantacuzino Palace – built around 1900 – is a famous architectural demonstration of Berindey’s work.
And the Wallachian countryside mansion raised on a 4 ha estate is an impressive example of architect’s skill and vision.
He designed it in the purest French eclectic style, for banker N.N. Pop’s family.
The banker was also an agriculturalist, awarded with gold medal at Paris World’s Fair in 1900.
Communist times affected the mansion but fortunately Popeci family restored it keeping the original style.
While providing secluded peace and tranquility, the property is close to Craiova city.
Craiova-born Petrache Poenaru (1799-1875) invented the first fountain pen.
Families and friends will love to enjoy countryside’s peace and quiet not too far away from the city.