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Radu Voda Church (1614)

The right bank of the Dambovita river terrace formed natural hills on which monasteries have been set up since old times. On one of these hillocks stands Radu Voda monastery, right on the river bank, close to the center of the city.

Radu Voda is a Princely foundation, one of the earliest in Bucharest. The first church founded here dates back to 1568 as part of a large complex which included thick defensive walls and a Princely Palace. In those turbulent times the monastery has been soon occupied by Sinan Pasha’s Turkish armies which set up here their headquarters  turning the church into a mosque (1595). A few month later, the Turks were forced to leave in haste after the successful attack of Mihai Voda (Michel the Brave), but not before burning down the monastery. The church was rebuilt at the beginning of the 17th century by Prince Radu Mihnea (whose name the church bears today), keeping the original plans and elevation drawings. The architecture followed the consecrated type of the three-apsed plan with over-extended narthex of the “Curtea de Arges” Cathedral (the Metropolitan Cathedral of  Wallachia in the 14th century).

During the Phanariots time the monastery was one of the richest in Bucharest, owning villages, vineyards, shops and mills.

In 1875 Titu Maiorescu, minister of the Cults at the time, unfortunately decided to blow up the old walls and cells of the monastery. The only remaining structure, the 53m high belfry tower, is the tallest and most beautiful of its kind in Bucharest. The remains of the former palace have been uncovered by archaeological works in the 1950s. The tomb of the founder, Prince Radu Mihnea, with a beautiful tombstone, has been preserved inside the church.

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