Romania: Curtea de Arges Monastery

The central masterpiece of the Curteade Arges Monastery is the Romanian orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God, built between 1512-1517 on the orders of a local Wallachian prince, Neagoe Basarab. The marble and tiles were brought in from Constantinople. When fires and time brought the cathedral into a state of disrepair, a French architect was hired to restore, and he used a lot of local white limestone that was easily chiseled and carved and hence all the exterior elaborate decoration. Architecturally, it looks more like a Byzantine mausoleum of sorts then a church (in fact l, there are multiple tombs of Romanian kings inside – King Carol I and just wife Elizabeth, King Ferdinand I, British-born Queen Mary, and Neagoe Basarab and his wife.