Brâncoveanu Monastery in Sâmbăta de Sus

At the entrance gate of the spectacular world of Făgăraș Mountains and their snowy peaks that often disappear into the clouds, where the shady valley of Sâmbăta finally breaks out of the mountain grip, there is a monastery whose name echoes through the time and space of Romanian Orthodoxy. Brâncoveanu Monastery or Sâmbăta Monastery, as it is also known, has been reborn in a place that seems blessed. The monastery is located at the foot of the majestic mountains of Făgăraș and about 80 km east of Sibiu. To reach the monastery of Brâncoveanu, travelers can follow the DN 1 National Road from Sibiu or Făgăraș until the village of Sâmbăta de Jos, then continue south towards the mountains for about 15 km.

Old Church of Brâncoveanu Monastery © Silviu-Florin Salomia
Brâncoveanu Monastery © Silviu-Florin Salomia
Brâncoveanu Monastery © Silviu-Florin Salomia

There was a small wooden church in this place since the middle of 17th century. After a few decades, the ruler of Wallachia, Constantin Brâncoveanu started to build a monastery from the year 1696, being its first founder. Sadly, the monastery had a destiny almost as tragic as the ruler who became a martyr of the Romanian Orthodox belief, being killed by the Ottomans together with his four sons for refusing to covert to Islam. Following the persecutions of the Habsburg Empire against the Orthodox religion, there were over 150 monasteries destroyed in Transylvania, including the one at Sâmbăta de Sus. In 1785, the general Preiss completely destroyed the monastery and almost tore down the old church. Through the next centuries, there were several attempts to re-establish the monastery, yet only in 1926 the mitropolite Nicolae Bălan started to rebuild the church that was sanctified again in 1946, the second founder being King Michael I. During the construction process, the splendid Brâncovenesc architectural style was preserved, as well as some of the superb interior paintings. Although small in size, the church is truly impressive through its sublime proportions.

Brâncoveanu Monastery © Silviu-Florin Salomia
Paintings of the Old Church – Brâncoveanu Monastery © Silviu-Florin Salomia
Paintings at Brâncoveanu Monastery © Silviu-Florin Salomia

The church is surrounded by an elegant inner court and a complex of buildings that enclose it as a fortress. These were built by the third founder, the Metropolitan of Transylvania, Crișana and Banat, Antonie Plămădeală, starting with 1985. Among these buildings, travelers can see the chapter house, the monk cells, the kitchen, the library, the museum, as well as the new church that is dedicated to the Martyr Saints Brâncoveanu. Among the priors of the monastery, there was also Arsenie Boca, one of the most beloved figures in Romanian Orthodoxy. A small spring where he used to preach can be found close to the monastery. Inside the monastery museum, there are a lot of priceless treasures that can be admired, including rare books, old wooden and glass icons, old coins and religious objects. The extensive library is also worth visiting, as it holds an impressive collection of old and valuable books.

Paintings of the New Church © Silviu-Florin Salomia
Architecture details – Brâncoveanu Monastery © Silviu-Florin Salomia
Brâncoveanu Monastery © Silviu-Florin Salomia

Apart from all these, around the monastery there is also an academy, a painting workshop, a religious shop and other spaces. A few kilometers to the north in the village of Sâmbăta de Sus, travelers can also visit the Brâncovenesc Palace, built during the 19th century over an older palace that was built by the ruler and destroyed by the Governor of Transylvania. By following the valley of Sâmbăta River up into the mountains, there are a few hiking trails that reach the spectacular ridge of Făgăraș Mountains, with breathtaking landscapes along the way. There are also a lot of accommodation spaces around the monastery, as well as options to enjoy various tourist activities.

Accommodation Near Brâncoveanu Monastery

Mountain King Guesthouse 3*

9.5 Rating from 217 Reviews!

Located just a few minutes from the monastery, this excellent guesthouse features comfortable rooms, a restaurant, bar, barbeque, garden, playground, free parking and internet!

Grandfather’s House 3*

9.9 Rating from 134 Reviews!

This traditional farm stay is located in the village of Viștișoara, just a few km west of the monastery. It offers excellent rooms, views of the mountains, large courtyard and bike hire!

Marta House 3*

9.7 Rating from 301 Reviews!

Located just 300 meters from the monastery, this exceptional guesthouse features nice comfortable rooms with private bathrooms, a dining hall, a garden, free internet and parking!

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