Thirty-six kilometres northwest of Piteşti, and easily reached by road and rail, the attractive little town of CURTEA DE ARGEŞ was another former princely capital – Wallachia’s second after Câmpulung and before Târgovişte. While it’s not exactly bursting with excitement, the town does boast some of the country’s most important religious architecture, and is the ideal base for forays up to Dracula’s Castle further north.
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Court of Argeş
At the beginning of the main through street, Bulevardul Basarabilor, stands the Court of Argeş, the oldest church in Wallachia. Enclosed by a wall of river boulders, the thirteenth-century complex was rebuilt in the fourteenth century by Radu Negru, otherwise known as Basarab I, the founder of Wallachia. Distinguished by alternate bands of grey stone and red brick, its Biserica Sfântul Nicolae Domnesc (Princely Church of St Nicholas) was constructed in 1352 and its interior decorated with frescoes in 1384; later restoration work has now been largely removed to reveal the original frescoes, which are fully in the Byzantine tradition but wonderfully alive and individual, reminiscent of Giotto rather than the frozen poses of the Greek masters. The early Basarab rulers are buried here.