The old Capital Town of Wallachia, the city of Bucharest preserves numerous medieval monuments, including a number of churches and old monasteries built in the 16th century, when the town became the permanent residence of the Wallachian voivodes. Of all the places of worship existing at that time at the old Royal Court (called after its leaving in 1775, the Old Court), only the Church “Saint Anthony the Great”, initially called the Princely High Church, and later “Church of the Annunciation” survived the time.
It is the oldest church in Bucharest, founded by Mircea the 5th Ciobanul (“The Shepherd”) ruler of Wallachia (1545-1552, 1553-1554 and 1557-1559) probably during his second reign. The edifice, located in the old center of Bucharest, served for two centuries as a coronation place for the rulers of Wallachia.
The building of the church was finished at the very end of the reign of Mircea Ciobanul, but his paintings were made during the reign of his son, Petru cel Tânăr (”Peter the Young”). This is mentioned in the Chronicle of the country, written in the 17th century, on the basis of older writings stating that Mircea Ciobanul had made “the reigning church in Bucharest”, where he was buried on September 21, in 1559, so this is the generally accepted year for the construction of the building.
The church was also mentioned in another document, issued by the chancellery on May 13, 1563. The role of Mircea Ciobanu’s father was also acknowledged by the fact that his portrait and Mrs. Chiajna’s – daughter of Prince Petru Rareş and his wife – are preserved in the votive painting on the western side of the church wall.
Over the time, the church has passed through several transformations: the most important was made by the prince Ştefan Cantacuzino in 1715, when he added the Entrance Portal and a partition of the women from men (of which two columns of stone can be seen today, embedded in the wall of the church), mentioned in the stone scribe above the entrance door.
After the abolition of the Old Court, the importance of the reigning church began to decline, and many other buildings began to appear on the site of the former voivodal residence, surrounding the former reign church.
Since December 2014, St. Anthony Church – Curtea Veche has four new bells, made in the workshops of the famous Grassmayr foundry in Innsbruck / Austria.
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