Not to be mistaken for ‘Negru Voda Monastery” in Campulung, the “Cetatuia Negru Voda” is the last corner of the equilateral triangle of rupestrian churches in Arges I visited in October 2008. Each of the three (Corbi, Namaesti and Cetatuia) is special in it’s own way:
and Cetatuia, well, keep on reading!
The first thing that need to be said about Cetatuia is that it is considerably harder to get to it. That’s partly because you need to correctly identify where to stop and leave the car, although there are absolutely NO signs, and then because you have to climb to the top of a hill that is 881 meters high.
The first part is easy: you enter the village of Cetateni and look for the absolute worst place to leave you car unattended: across a half-demolished wooden bridge, near a shady building where gypsies abound. That’s right, THAT is the parking place. There is no other option, unless you want to go around, cross the river and leave the car in the middle of the gipsy village 🙂
Then you cross the bridge by foot and brace yourself for the climb! It’s not that difficult though, there are some steps and you are lead by the icons through the forest. You just need to leave the village behind and head to your right:
Very early in your ascend you find the sign that this is not an ordinary forest:
And then you just need to follow the icons:
OK, you got it, there is a beautiful climb through the forest. Where does it take you? Here:
As you might have noticed, this is not rupestrian. That’s because this is the ‘new’ building. Here’s the original church:
and the church itself:
In the altar water runs out of the stone wall on the Christian celebration of ‘Healing Spring’ (Izvorul Tamaduirii). Or at least that’s what they say about it. Every church seems to host some miracles…
As most Romanian orthodox churches, this is also small, modest, quiet and secluded, proof of the very hard history we had, continuously besieged, never able to flourish.
There was a nice arrangement of candles around the icon in the left of the previous photo:
BUT WAIT!! There is more! Here, on top of the hill, there are much more things to see, for example the Wall of Angels, the Wishes Cross or the Thracian Rider:
I find it very interesting that the painting starts with the hand of God. I have to apologize for the shot, I was not able to choose the time when I reached the place, and they would close soon so I could not wait for the ugly shadow to disappear 😦
Going further up, to the highest point of the hill, one finds the Wishes Cross:
And if you go out of the compound and around to your right as you exit, you can find this rupestrian painting of a Thracian Rider, told to stand proud on his horse, as a memento of times long gone:
Going back down, you can find a junction in the forest road (actually you can not easily find it, there are lot of junctions, you’d better ask), you take this alternative route, follow it carefully so as not to fall on the steep hill covered in leaves and you can reach another platform where you can get an upward look toward the Wishes Cross, and where you can find this very interesting writing on another cross, sheltered by an old tree:
I have never seen such an inscription. I am still debating with myself if it means that we ask for forgiveness FOR our ancestors or TO our ancestors… Makes you ponder, don’t ‘it?
That’s it folks for today’s post, I think we covered enough ground (hill?). I still have some photos from this exact location, but with a different thematic, so I decided not to include them in this post, in order to keep it short (sic!) and with a profound tone.
PS: THIS is the official site of this monastery.