St. Dumitru Metropolitan Cathedral is one of the oldest and most important churches in Craiova. Saint Dumitru, Craiova’s patron saint, celebrated every year on October 26th, also appears on the city’s coat of arms.
Although it is supposed to have been built in the 12th or 13th century, the church’s first documented mentioning dates from 1645. The cathedral was initially built by the Craioveşti boyars as the Princely Church of Craiova. It was rebuilt from the ground in 1651 – 1652 by the Wallahian Prince Matei Basarab and in the 18th century it became subordinate to the Archdiocese of Râmnic. Between 1889 and 1893, the church was rebuilt over the ruins remained after the 1838 earthquake. Works were conducted by the architect André Lecomte du Nouy, at the initiative of King Carol I and Queen Elisabeta. The mural paintings were executed in Byzantine style by French artists, not preserving the initial details and style.
Centre of educational and cultural life in the area, in the past the church also included a school, considered to be the oldest in Wallachia (according to historian Nicolae Iorga), as well as a school for priests and teachers.
The church became a metropolitan cathedral in 1939. Inside the church you can admire a wonderful icon representing St. Dumitru, executed in Venetian mosaic. The metropolitan patrimony also contains valuable religious objects and artifacts, saints’ remains and archaeological items, such as a 15th century Byzantine amphora.
How to get there:
St. Dumitru Metropolitan Cathedral is located 10 minutes walking from Craiova’s city centre and Mihai Viteazul Square. From Mihai Viteazul Square go down on Calea Unirii and then turn right on Sfântul Dumitru St.
By bus: From Craiova Train Station take bus #1b to Olteţ station, located in the city centre, and then take a 10min walk to St. Dumitru Metropolitan Cathedral.