Cozia and Turnul Monasteries
A great day-trip from Curtea de Arges are the monasteries of Cozia and Turnul, about 60km northeast of the city.
Cozia Monastery was built by Mircea cel Batrân in the late 14th century and now shelters the Wallachian prince’s tomb. The courtyard’s original fountain dates from 1517 (another was added by Constantin Brâncoveanu in 1711). The church frescos are in excellent shape and there’s a small museum.
Two kilometres north of Cozia is the turn-off for Turnul Monastery. Cross the bridge, then take the first left, down the crappy “road”, which becomes undriveable about 100 meters short of the monastery. Turnul was quietly established around 1467, when two priests from Cozia came here and hand-burrowed caves into solid stone. These nooks were home for subsequent priests until the first church was erected in 1676, which later burned down. These days there’s a diminutive 18th-centruy biserica (church) with a few frescos and an adjacent two-level church (1900), built by Polish architect Anton Lapinski. The newer church has crisp frescos that were just completed in 1998.
There are two hiking trails leading from Turnul Monastery (red/white stripes 3 and 1/2 hours, triangles 5 and 1/2 hours) leading to cabanas and Stanisoara Monastery. These hikes are difficult in winter and it’s generally prudent to ask around the monastery for current conditions before setting off.
Turnul offers sex-segregated rooms free-of-charge for one or two nights on the condition that you attend church services.