Brâncoveanu Monastery in Sâmbăta de Sus, founded by Constantin Brâncoveanu, is one of the most picturesque monasteries in Transylvania, being sheltered by the high cliffs of the Făgăraş Mountains.
The first proofs directly related to the existence of the monastery date from the beginning of the 17th century, when the domains came into the possession of Brâncoveanu’s grandfather, Preda, who built a wooden church on the valley of Sâmbăta River. Around 1696, Constantin Brâncoveanu rebuilt the church in stone and brick, becoming the first founder mentioned in written documents. He reorganized the monastery so that the monks would live, work and pray together inside it, in an attempt to strengthen the unity of Orthodoxy in front of the new Habsburg Catholic rule. He founded a school for writers and secretaries, a fresco painting workshop and a small printing house, which transformed the monastery into a strong social, cultural and religious centre. After the interventions of the Catholics in Transylvania, the Habsburg governor decided that the Brâncoveanu Monastery should be destroyed. In November 1785, all the auxiliary buildings were demolished and the church was seriously damaged, remaining in ruins for more than 150 years.
The works for rebuilding the church started in 1926, when the ruins of the old church were unearthed, the missing parts were added and the roof was replaced. The old paintings from the church’s interior were maintained, as well as the architectural Brâncovenesc style. The church was inaugurated on August 15th 1946 and it was dedicated to Dormition of the Mother of God. Since then, numerous restoration and enlargement works have been undertaken, contributing to the creation of a new important religious and cultural landmark.
Nowadays, the monastery houses 40 monks that run a series of workshops, a museum, a library and an academy. The museum includes collections of old books, icons, liturgical clothes, cult objects, manuscripts and documents, numismatics and medals, ethnography and folk art. The painting workshop is one of the most important painting schools in the country, where traditional handmade paintings are created in a modern approach. The library, housed in a new building, has an impressive collection of old books and manuscripts from the 14th – 19th centuries. The over 35,000 volumes cover numerous fields, such as religion, literature, history, philosophy, art, geography and law. For those who want to study in the special atmosphere of the monastery and its surroundings, the Sâmbăta Academy offers all the necessary conditions. It has 70 rooms and a 150 places amphitheatre where different religious, cultural, scientific and artistic events can take place.
With an overwhelming history and benefiting from a special itinerary through history, the Brâncoveanu Monastery in Sâmbăta de Sus is a true monument of the Brâncovenesc style, of the Orthodox religion and of the Romanian culture.
How to get there:
Brâncoveanu Monastery in Sâmbăta de Sus is situated 78 km east of Sibiu and 91 km west of Braşov.
From DN1/E68 Braşov – Sibiu (Voila village), turn left on the country road DJ105B that leads to Sâmbăta de Sus village and continue driving for 15 km.
Sâmbăta de Sus village
tel: +40 726 348 464
fax: +40 372 871 088