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Olt Valley, Romania | © xsonicchaos / Pixabay
Olt Valley, Romania | © xsonicchaos / Pixabay
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Spotlight on a Romanian Region: Oltenia

Picture of Roxana Coman
Updated: 17 November 2017
Between the Danube and the majestic Carpathian Mountains lies the Oltenia region in the south of Romania. Sitting alongside the Muntenia region, it is synonymous with genius artist Constantin Brâncuși, not to mention wonders including the Olt river, majestic Orthodox monasteries and picturesque landscapes. Here’s everything you need to know.

Main cities


Craiova boasts a unique mix of art, architecture and ethnography, being a city rich in majestic buildings, some of them erected in the only national architectural style, known as the Brâncovenesc style. In the oldest house of the city, a 17th-century building erected by Constantin Brâncoveanu, the Ethnography Museum of Oltenia displays local crafts and traditional clothes. Nearby is the Art Museum, located in a stunning neo-classical building housing some fine works of the modern sculptor Constantin Brâncuși and the painter Nicolae Grigorescu, the founder of Romanian Modern painting.

Constructed in the Brâncovenesc style, the Madona Dudu Church is renowned for its interior mural paintings, a classic example of the Byzantine style of the Orthodox Churches. Another masterpiece of Brâncovenesc architecture is the Mântuleasa Church, painted in beautiful vivid colours.

For a long walk in the city’s green oasis, check out the Nicolae Romanescu Park, Craiova’s biggest park.

Craiova’s park
Craiova’s park | © xsonicchaos / Pixabay

Drobeta Turnu Severin

Right at the border with Serbia, on the Danube’s banks, the city of Drobeta Turnu Severin offers some wonderful views over the river. Some of its landmarks include the Medieval Citadel of Severin, sculpted in stone, a former defence point against the invasions from Bulgarians and Turks. The city is also home to the oldest remaining bridge over the Danube, Trajan’s bridge, built in 105 AD.

The Danube
The Danube | © byrev / Flickr

Târgu Jiu

Lying at the foothills of the Carpathians, the city of Târgu Jiu is best known for Constantin Brâncuși’s artworks. One of the most influential modern sculptors of the 20th century, Constantin Brâncuși left three of his masterpieces in Târgiu Jiu: The Table of Silence, The Gate of the Kiss and The Endless Column. At the Art Museum, photographs of Brâncuși’s life are displayed, along with artworks of other Romanian modern artists.

At the Topi New Glass Design Studio, contemporary artist Mihai Topescu invites visitors in to his workshop to watch him create artistic and decorative glassware.

However, the city is not only a place of art but also a place of national heroes. Ecaterina Teodoroiu, the Romanian heroine who disguised herself as a man to fight alongside Romanian soldiers in World War I, is commemorated inside the Ecaterina Teodoroiu Memorial House.

The Table of Silence, Targu Jiu
The Table of Silence, Targu Jiu | © xsonicchaos / Pixabay

More destinations

Dotted with architectural jewels, UNESCO World Heritage sites and Natural Parks, Oltenia has an amazing heritage.

For culture lovers

In Oltenia, there is a big concentration of monuments erected in the Brâncovenesc style, a combination of Romanian traditional art, Byzantine and Venetian elements.

In Horezu village, the Horezu Monastery is full of examples of the Brâncovenesc style. A UNESCO World Heritage site built in the 17th century, the monastery is home to collections of frescoes and icons from the end of the 17th and beginning of 18th centuries, when the Hurezi School of mural and icon painting settled inside the convent.

The village itself is also renewed for the Horezu Ceramics, included on UNESCO’s intangible heritage list, being a unique craftsmanship created by talented artisans in the local workshops. Reflecting generations of knowledge and artistry, the pottery is part of the village’s identity.

Horezu ceramics