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Crasna Monastery

The monastery of Crasna is located about 30 km from Targu Jiu, in the commune with the same name, the Crasna-Ungureni village. Visitors can reach it by following the 665 County Road that connects the settlements at the foot of the mountains in the western part of the county. The monastery is located just a hundred meters from the main road, in a beautiful natural setting with the Parang Mountains in the background. Crasna Monastery is attested in 1486 in an official document, its present church being finished in 1637.

Built in a beautiful Byzantine style, it has been painted in mid-18th century. It has been restored by the Historical Monuments Commission between 1936 and 1938, when several new constructions were added under the supervision of Ghe. Tatarescu. The most valuable features and artifacts can be found inside the church, with one of the most beautiful wooden and gold iconostasis in the country and very impressive original paintings.

Cioclovina Hermitages

Close to Tismana Monastery, along an enchanting mountain path, visitors can reach the secluded hermitages of Cioclovina Mountain. These amazingly peaceful places are some of the most fascinating attractions of Gorj County, a testament to the determination and devotion of several nuns. Living in almost complete solitude, a visit is more of a spiritual than a tourist experience. Following the road north from Tismana Monastery, after a few kilometers travelers will see a sign marking the tourist path towards the Cioclovina Hermitages. Those brave enough to face the mountain for a few hours will be rewarded with idyllic landscapes and panoramas. The pleasant 5 km walk through the forest to Lower Cioclovina Hermitage will end up in a splendid clearing where a small church and several small buildings are surrounded by gardens and the peaceful woods. This hermitage hosts several nuns and was built around 1660.

Following the same path up the mountain, the road is steeper and the 3 km take some physical resistance to complete. The reward is truly worth any effort, as the Upper Cioclovina Hermitage is located at the very top of the mountain, a breathtaking panorama opening up towards the surrounding mountains. A little church and a small shack where only a nun lives in solitude for most of the year reminds of the majestic monasteries of Meteora perched on rocky cliffs. These two hermitages have a special charm and offer an extremely insightful and rewarding experience to any traveler.

Lower Cioclovina Hermitage Gorj County

Saints Voivode Church

The main church of Targu Jiu, although not a cathedral per se, it is considered as such. Located in the middle of the central square of Targu Jiu, it dominates the landscape not as much through its size, but more by its beautiful features. Built in the 18th century, it has been known as the Merchant’s Church.  It features a pleasant architectural style, the most interesting element being represented by the exterior paintings. Together with the usual saints of the Orthodox Church, there are also the images of ancient philosophers and scholars, an extremely rare element in religious art. It has been thoroughly restored over the years, representing one of the city highlights.

Saints Apostles Church

The beautiful church is located along the “Heroes Path” that crosses the city of Targu Jiu from west to east, connecting the monuments of Constantin Brancusi. The church is located about halfway between the park and the Endless Column, easily accessible on foot. It stands out on itself as an interesting tourist attraction, Brancusi considering its importance as part of the whole complex. It was built in the 20thcentury over an older one that used to be the most important before the construction of the cathedral church is the city center. Created by renowned architects and painted by the talented artist Iosif Keber, the “Saint Apostles” Church should not be missed by visitors of Targu Jiu.

Monastery of Targu Carbunesti

This monastery is located in the town of Targu-Carbunesti, about 25 km to the southeast of Targu Jiu. It is situated at 1.5 km northeast of the town center, with access from the 67B National Road. The Camaraseasca Monastery is attested in 1870, being founded by a local nobleman. Over the years, it has represented both a spiritual have, but also a refuge for the local people, with stories that tell about a tunnel that started in the church and ended on the other side of the river. Even the beautiful church has crenels for firing and special survival rooms, resembling more of a fortress. The name of the monastery comes from two heirs of the founder, who are buried inside the porch. Travelers can admire the splendid architecture of the church and the precious icons and paintings in the interior.

Visina Monastery

The new monastery of Visina is built close to the old one, today in ruins close to the small wooden church. It used to be one of the oldest monasteries in the whole of Romania, dated to the end of the 14th century, among its founders being famous rulers of Wallachia like Mircea the Old and Neagoe Basarab. The now small monastery is located in an impressive setting, guarding the entrance in the Jiu Defile, perched on a steep river bed. Access to the Visina Monastery is very facile from the E79 road, by crossing the small bridge over the Jiu River. All that remains of the old monastery are stone ruins from the church, other constructions falling into the river with time.

Stramba Monastery

The monastery of Stramba is located in the village of Stramba-Jiu, part of the town of Turceni, about 50 km south of Targu Jiu. It can be visited by following the E79 Road south, then taking the road right after Cocoreni village and continuing south on the 674 road. The monastery was founded by the end of the 16th century over an older hermitage. Across the centuries, it has suffered much damage and was even deserted for many years. The renovation started with 1956, but sadly it has destroyed much of its architectural and artistic value. Nevertheless, the Stramba Monastery represents an interesting attraction with its strong architectural and historical value.

Locurele Hermitage

The hermitage of Locurele is located close to Tismana Monastery, up a mountain path that ascends for several kilometers on a nearby mountainside. The trip takes about 45-60 minutes and makes for a very pleasant hike, with exceptional views of the mountains and the Jiu Defile below. The hermitage is situated in a charming forest clearing, surrounded by the silence of the mountains. Two priests from Targu Jiu founded the hermitage in 1850-1852, following a dream they had. Throughout the years, it was deserted during the wars and the communist era, monastic life being revived starting with 2006. Since then, the church was also renovated and the whole site is truly enchanting.

Other Religious Attractions

Apart from the most important monasteries and the fascinating wooden churches of Gorj County, the destination also features other religious attractions. Although not as impressive or valuable as those featured above, these can make for interesting visits. Other monasteries of Gorj include Icoana-Carpinis (Crasna), Dealu Mare (Borascu) and Targu Logresti, while beautiful churches that have been declared historical monuments are spread throughout the villages and towns of the county.