Old, new and going back in time, the Cârța Monastery and the Clay Castle

Eva Poteaca | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Some people prefer old things while others new ones. This story is about both: an old monastery and a new castle, both of them will give you the impression of going back in time. In this story I will present you: the Cârța Monastery and the Clay Castle.

The Cârța Monastery

One of the most impressionable architecture styles was the Gothic one. The Gothic was also promoted by the Cistercians, an order founded in 1098 in Citeaux, Burgundy. The Cârța Monastery is the most eastern Cistercian monument in Europe. Today one can only see part of the monastery once built, as it was partially destroyed.

The monastery was probably founded between 1202 and 1206. The first buildings of the monastery were probably made out of wood. A few years later, between 1210 and 1215 a stone chapel and the oratorium were built. This was followed by the main stone edifice, which occurred in two stages, separated by the Great Mongol invasion of 1241. Between this two stages, one can observe the change of the architect and the introduction of the Gothic style. The works on the south side have continued for about two more decades.

The church was disbanded in 1494 and was left in ruin. The empty space of the monasteries nave is used as a war cemetery and lapidarium. The largest part, the choir is still standing. It has been restored and transformed into an evangelical church used by the locals. The circular staircase, that takes you up to the gate tower for a panoramic observation point above the ruins is also visitable. The monastery is open for visitors daily until 6 p.m.

The Clay Castle of the Valley of Fairies

Less than half an hour by car, one can be impressed by a new construction: the Clay Castle of the Valley of Fairies. It is a breathtaking construction, that started in the year 2014. It is inspired by the Snow White fairytale and the castle will soon give visitors the possibility to stay overnight.

The castle is owned by Razvan and Gabriela Vasile, a Romanian couple who got tired of the capital’s overcrowding. They sold their home near Bucharest and bought the land 40 km from the medieval city of Sibiu.

The complex was designed by the eco-architect Ileana Mavrodin to include 10 rooms and using clay, straw and sand. The exterior is made of lime and sand while the towers are of river stone. Each room has its own separate entrance and has different windows and doors.

In this story, you will find two buildings, one old, one new. What they have in common: they are going to take you back in time. Enjoy visiting the Cârța Monastery and the Clay Castle.

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