Cernica Monastery – The Spiritual Oasis outside Bucharest

Travelers through Bucharest can discover a more peaceful place just 20 km from the city, in the middle of nature. Contrasting with the noisy traffic and constant fuss of the capital, this astonishing monastery is surrounded by a charming lake, in perfect harmony with the tranquility within. Inside the once endless Vlăsia Forest, a nobleman called Cernica Știrbei built the church dedicated to Saint Nicholas in 1603, on the place of an older religious establishment. This started the history of Cernica Monastery, a fascinating spiritual and cultural center.

Cernica Monastery Grounds © Raluca Ene

The monastery is located on two small connected islets of the Cernica Lake, named after the two churches that were built on them. The first one that visitors encounter is the Church of St. George, built in 1842 and resembling a fortress with strong walls and an imposing entrance gate. On the first islet, there are also two memorial houses, the monastery museum, the trapeze (where monks and pilgrims have meals) and the library. One of the most interesting highlights of the church is the original frescoes dating from the time of Saint Calinic (18-19th centuries).

St. George Church of Cernica Monastery © Raluca Ene
Frescoes of St. George Church © Raluca Ene

From the first church and connected islet, there is a small pathway towards the second, where the Church of Saint Nicholas is located. It was built back in 1815 on the place of the original church built by the founder. Here, travelers can also admire a majestic old oak and the third church of the monastery, dedicated to St. Lazarus and located inside the cemetery. This cemetery can be considered a veritable open-air museum, with old funerary monument with great artistic value, but also the tombs of important Romanian personalities, including writers, political prisoners and theologists. Dumitru Stăniloaie, one of the greatest Romanian theologists of the 20th century is buried there.

Cernica Monastery Courtyard © Raluca Ene
Cernica Monastery Cemetery © Raluca Ene

Two remarkable people have linked their name to the history of Cernica Monastery. The first one is prior Gheorghe, who lived during the 18th century and was canonized by the Orthodox Church in 2005. The second important personality was the Saint Hierarch Calinic, the first Romanian canonized saint (1955). Their holy relics are located inside the St. George Church. Both churches have exceptional interior paintings, while the monastery museum contains rare and valuable religious artifacts and documents.

Cernica Monastery Cemetery © Raluca Ene
Cernica Monastery Cemetery © Raluca Ene

Visitor of the monastery can enjoy the enchanting walking alleys, flanked by trees and flower beds, as well as the splendid views of the lake all around. Pilgrims can also buy certain traditional monastery products (oil, bread, wine, sweets. To park inside the monastery ground, there is a tax of 5 RON.

Cernica Monastery Grounds © Raluca Ene
Mari Vila Hotel 4*

8.4 Rating from 173 Reviews!

Located on the outskirts of Bucharest, just 9 km from the monastery, this excellent hotel is parth of the BW Premier Collection and features comfortable rooms with all amenities, a swimming pool and two restaurants!

Queen Hotel

9.4 Rating from 50 Reviews!

Located about 15 km from the monastery, on the southeast of Bucharest, this amazing hotel offers beautifully designed rooms with private bathrooms and all amenities, a large garden, continental breakfast and free parking!

Cristalex Villaverde 3*

8.6 Rating from 34 Reviews!

Located just about 6 km from the monastery in Pantelimon neighborhood, this guesthouse features fully-equipped rooms, a restaurant, shared lounge, garden, playground, airport transfer, free parking and wi-fi!

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