An excursion to Romania's Dubrogea Monasteries will take you through some of the country's most fascinating Orthodox monasteries. Leaving from the port of Aqaba (for Petra), Jordan , on your European cruise, you'll drive through the river valleys of Dubrogea, a picturesque region of rural farmland and the center of the Orthodox religion in Romania. Explore Romanian culture through a few of the monasteries to which the region is home:
On your excursion, you'll visit Celic-Dere Monastery. Founded in 1841 by three monks, this monastery is home to two important religious icons. Legend says that the Jesus Christ icon now housed at Celic-Dere was once blackened, but miraculously lightened over time. The second icon, a painting of the Virgin Mary Nerosaiskaia, is said to have survived two fires.
The history of Dervent Monastery can be traced as far back as the ninth century CE; however, the monastery as it can be seen today was built relatively recently (in 1936). On September 14, the Day of the Holy Cross, Christians make a pilgrimage to Dervent Monastery to pray to the icon of the Virgin Mary. It is believed that the monastery possesses curative powers, and those who sleep for a night near the outdoor cross will be healed of their ailments.
Saon Monastery was established in the early twentieth century, but wasn't officially finished until 1959. Surprisingly, this site is home to peacocks, as well as ostriches that were raised by nuns. There is also a historic timber windmill on site, unique in that it has only four sails rather than the typical six. Due to its scenic location on the banks of a lake, it is a popular spot for photographers — so if you visit, don't forget your camera.
Cocos Monastery was founded in 1833, and it sits on the foot of Dealul Cocosului hill. Thousands of pilgrims visit the monastery every year to see the four important Orthodox relics of the martyrs Zotic, Attal, Kamasie, and Filip — martyrs whose lives were taken during the third century CE. These relics were discovered in 1971 after a heavy rain uncovered an ancient crypt. On your excursion, you can visit this monastery and stroll around its grounds, which include a 100-foot-tall bell tower and two churches.
After spending a day among the Dubrogea monasteries, learning about Romanian traditions, you'll have a new appreciation for Romanian culture, art, architecture, and religion. Enjoy Romania on a European cruise, and you'll come back new.
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