The bustling city of Bucharest is home to fantastic architecture from past centuries. One of the main sights you must visit when strolling down the Old Town is the orthodox Stavropoleos Church.
Strikingly beautiful architecture
Located close to the National Museum of Romanian History, the Church is an excellent example of the Brâncovenesc architectural style, also known as Romanian Renaissance. This kind of design progressed in the 17th and 18th century, during the mandate of Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu. It is characterized by a fusion of Byzantine, Ottoman, late Renaissance, and Baroque architecture.
What's to admire
The Church was built in 1724 by order of Greek Archimandrite Ioanichie - it was originally a complex comprising an inn, church, and a monastery. Although it is a small-size building, it is more impressive for its stone and wood carvings, which you can find in the interior or in the main doors. The collection of paintings is truly admirable and one of the best examples of Romanian art of the time. In the nave, you will find the Angelic Liturgy at the base of the spire. In the west of the nave, you'll see scenes from the life of the Savior and the Mother of God. Plus, find portraits of Ioanikie Stratonikeas and Prince Nicolae Mavrocordat, who are considered the founders of the church. If you take a look at the courtyard, you will find a collection of tombstones from the 18th-century. On a sunny day, it is a beautiful and tranquil place to sit down and take a break – an oasis in the bustling neighborhood of Lipscani. Visit also the library of the monastery, containing more than 8000 books from theology, to Byzantine music, arts, and history. The Byzantine music books collection is the largest held in Romania.
A historic landmark
The church is quite a unique place in the Old Town of Bucharest. It is one of the few buildings that survived the Big Fire that occurred in 1847, when most of the old city was destroyed. Therefore, it is thought-provoking to see an historic landmark from those times still standing. In the 1900s the church was damaged by an earthquake and had to be restored. Part of the murals in the exterior and the spire were remade to rematch the stone decoration. The work was made by Romanian architect Ion Mincu.
If you happen to be in Bucharest on a Sunday, attend the mass service in the mornings. Afterward, you can admire the frescoes inside the church dating back to 1720s. Also, check out their website for events on Byzantine choir music. It is a highly recommended experience.