1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Horezu

Famous for Pottery and Its 17th-Century Monastery

By

Horezu Monastery

Horezu Monastery

CC BY fusion-of-horizons
Horezu is a small town in Romania with two major claims to fame: its UNESCO-protected monastery and traditional pottery unique to the area. Though Horezu is a less-visited Romanian destination for tourists, those who want to get deep into Romanian culture will enjoy a visit to this cultural hotspot. The monastery, with its mountain backdrop and peaceful atmosphere, and the town, with its adherence to tradition in its family-run pottery-making businesses, create an experience for the adventurous traveler that has the potential to reveal Romania in a way that no other experience can.

Horezu Monastery

Horezu Monastery was built in the 1690s under the patronage of Constantin Brâncoveanu, a wealthy prince responsible for the monastery’s design and beauty. Originally intended to house the remains of the founder and his family, the interior of the church is home to a series of murals, some depicting the Brâncoveanus and others showing religious imagery. The monastery grounds consist of several outbuildings, including the prince’s residence, living quarters for monks, and utility areas. Other churches beside the main church are also located on the grounds.

Historically, Horezu monastery has been a place of culture and learning. A school of icon painting was established here, and the monastery’s library contained books and manuscripts, many of them written in Romanian.

Travelers who have made the journey to Horezu Monastery agree that the effort is worth it—both the peacefulness of the grounds and the uniqueness of the buildings within the complex offer advantages to visiting this Romaian World Heritage site.

Horezu Pottery Horezu pottery is valued not only for its beauty but for the labor-intensive process used to create it. The materials for the clay are extracted from the earth and processed to produce the red clay that serves as a base for the ceramic forms. Then the pottery is decorated with traditional motifs and colors. Earth tones are the most common colors found on Horezu pottery, but striking blues, greens, and whites are also used. The shapes and the designs of the pottery follow generations-old traditions that make the pottery a sought-after souvenir and a connection with the past.

Shops and stalls selling Horezu pottery are plentiful in the town, particularly along Olari, or Potters’, Street. Both decorative and useful ceramics are for sale, including souvenir plates and bowls with the name of Horezu written in glaze or large serving dishes that will spark conversation at a gathering of family or friends.

The pottery is considered so culturally important that its production is also protected under UNESCO.

Staying in Horezu

Bed and breakfast and pensions put up visitors who want to overnight in Horezu. The monastery also has about 20 rooms available for guests during the summer season, but note that staying at the monastery will mean you must provide your own food or go into the town for meals.

Getting to Horezu

In order to get to Horezu without a car, a bus ride from one of the nearby towns will be necessary. Hourly buses from Ramnicu Valcea (approx. one hour ride) and less regular buses from Targu Jiu (approx. two hours ride) are two options.

Though it is less-known to travelers, Horezu is well-known in Romania and is a destination of some importance. Like the churches of Bucovina, the old center of Sighisoara, and various Dracula sites in Romania, a visit to Horezu broadens a traveler’s understanding about Romanian history, culture, and contemporary life in the village. Those who want an authentic piece of Romania to take home with them will appreciate the pottery made there by hands that that have learned the trade from earlier generations and the work required to produce such pieces.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.