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The Strehaia Monastery, StrehaiaCod 1492


The Strehaia Monastery was built in the prince courtyard of Matei Basarab, built up by the middle of the XVIIth century, and it has its origins in the courtyard of the Craiovești aristocrats. The Craiovești were one of the most significant families of nobles from Wallachia, of whom there were originated the princes and a great number of clerks in the political and administrative structure of Wallachia. The fortified monastery ensemble composed of entrance tower, defense walls and its precious church, as well as the ruins of the former aristocrat residence.

Historical and archeological information prove the existence of an aristocrat court in this place starting with the 14th century. The medieval historical information discovers the importance of the court from Strehaia as origin residence of the Craiovești aristocrats, one of the most significant aristocrat families from Wallachia. From time to time, the court was the center of the bănie from Severin, of Strehaia and of Mehedinți and even a temporary aristocrat residence, during the reign of Radu Mihnea. Also here, in the premise of the aristocrat court, functioned between the years 1474 and 1504 the metropolitan from Severin of Wallachia.

The old court of the Craiovești aristocrats entered in the first part of the 17th century, by inheritance, in the property of Matei Basarab, prince of Wallachia. Between the years 1640 and 1650, Matei Basarab modernized and adapted the old court at his needs and his ambitions. He redid the church chapel and enlarged the house, then he strengthened the court with thick crenellated walls, gate tower, defense waves and channels. The fortified ensemble from our days keeps in most part the shapes which were given by Matei Basarab.

 

The church from the fortified ensemble from Strehaia was built up on the expense of Matei basarb until the year 1645. The moment of the church consecration was surprised in a sculpted inscription in stone over the entrance in the church narthex.

The interior painting from the nave, on the wall facing the narthex, keeps on the right the image of the founder Matei Basarab and of his wife Ileana holding in their hands the church scale model, as well as of their son Matei. In the left part, beyond the whole of the door, there appear three aristocrats, ancestors of the founder. The presence of these aristocrats from the 15th – 16th century in the church painting can suggest their role as founders of a previous church chapel, which served to the Craiovești aristocrats, on the same place from their court from Strehaia.

The first documentation of the monastery from Strehaia appears in a beneficence of the prince Matei Basarab from hhe 11th of December 1649. We don’t know about any kind of foundation document and of functioning for the monastery, according to the model of the Byzantine tipicon. There is still kept, however, the document of putting into the possession of the monastery of a domain of nine villages from the surroundings, dated in the spring of the following year, on the 6th of March 1650.

At the beginning of the 19th century, there was undertaken an ample building yard of reparations and renovations which comprised the entire monastic complex. The magnitude of the works and their initiator were surprised in the inscription painted over the entrance, in the narthex.

After the notations of Paul de Alep, we find out the fact that the church was painted from a beginning and on the outside and in the inside. The old interior painting is less known, but it is still kept under the current layer of paint, added at the beginning of the 19th century.




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