[Footnote 39: Oeuvres completes, vol. vii. p. 97.]
[Footnote 40: This article appeared in, and the extract was copied from, the journal in question by the writer whilst he was in Bucarest, but he omitted to copy the date.]
Before passing to the consideration of one or two other Roumanian towns which will necessitate a reference to the trade of the country, we will devote a few pages to the description of one of the most interesting localities, or rather of a building therein, which is generally considered its most noteworthy historical relic, and that is the church or cathedral of Curtea d’Ardges.
The small city of Curtea d’Ardges, which contains one or two good old churches, is situated on the river of the same name, a few hours’ drive from the station of Pitesti on the Bucarest and Verciorova (Vienna) Railway; it is the seat of a bishop, and is one of the oldest towns in Roumania. It is said to have been founded by Radu Negru, which is tantamount to saying that its foundation is lost in obscurity. In its immediate vicinity is a monastery containing a most beautiful cathedral, around which cluster many interesting historical associations, and whereof we propose to give a brief description. It is of the Byzantine order, but the architect has employed in its decoration a large amount of Moorish or arabesque ornament, and the whole building resembles a beautiful large mausoleum. The stone with which the cathedral is faced has usually been called marble, but it is a whitish grey limestone somewhat resembling lithographic stone, which is very easily workable with the chisel, but hardens on exposure to the air. We have said it is faced with this stone, that is externally, for the internal face of the building is of brick plastered for the reception of paintings. The church is of an irregular form, being composed of a square block, behind which is a large polygonal annexe; the whole is raised upon a pediment seven feet in height, and the portal, which is Moorish, is approached by twelve marble steps, said to symbolise the twelve tribes of Israel. From the square main portion of the church a large dome rises in the centre, and two smaller cupolas in front, whilst a secondary dome which is larger and higher than the central one surmounts the annexe behind. The domes and cupolas constitute the summits of what are called by architects ‘tambours;’ the tambours of the cupolas are round, that of the