I was really hoping to hike to the Sambata Valley Cabin during the second part of the third day. Unfortunately, we did not start our day early enough in the morning for the three to four hour hike. We did however visit the Sambata Monastery on the way back towards Fagaras. In Sambata de Jos (Lower Sambata village) we headed from the main DN1 road back towards the mountains, passing the Sambata de Sus (Lower Sambata village) and arriving at the Sambat de Sus Complex. This is where we took a right turn and parked in front of the monastery.
The Sambata Monastery was founded in the 17th century by Constantin Brancoveanu, ruler of Wallachia (what is now southern Romania) from 1688 to 1714. He was a great cultural leader as well, developing what is now known as the Brancovenesc architectural style. One building of such architecture is the Hurezu Monastery, now a UNESCO Heritage Site. Brancoveanu was captured, tortured and beheaded by the Ottomans along with his sons. They were all canonized in 1992.
The gate to the monastery grounds
The alley, surrounded by flowers, leading to the main entrance
The inner courtyard and church
Columns frame the inner yard of the monastery
Bust and mosaic of Constantin Brancoveanu, founder of the monastery and important figure in Romanian history
Up these steps is the church where most masses are held
Looking out from the inner courtyard
There are several things to visit in this region beside the monastery. Behind the monastery you can find the spring of Arsenie Boca, an important religious figure in Romania, whose water is believed to have healing powers. A bit further up the road that leads into the mountains, there is also a trout farm (pastravarie) where you can buy fresh fish. Continuing into the mountains, you can hike up (with the option of taking your car quite some distance up the road) to the Sambata Valley Cabin (about a two hour hike up, this is a place where you can find food and shelter, as well as, basic overnight accommodations). This is a pit-stop for many hikers continuing up to the Fagaras Mountain crest. Also, from the Cabin, there is a trail that takes you to Arsenie Boca’s cave where he lived as a hermit. On your way back to the DN1 road, you can stop at Herghelia Sambata de Jos, a thoroughbred horse farm in Lower Sambata village.