If you are in Romania and want to learn about the traditional architecture of this country, Travel GuideRomania recommend you CURȚIȘOARA MUSEUM OF TRADITIONAL ROMANIAN ARCHITECTURE, considered to have one of the richest collection of traditional construction from southern of the country.

Travel Guide Romania -Traditional romanian architecture

Traditional houses from every country normally differ from one region to another, being influenced by social and natural factors, they develop and adapt in order to suit the area they are erected.

Cula, a fortified manor belonging to a nobleman, appears at the same time with the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the need to offer protection to its inhabitants against the raised chaos. The noblemans were forced to fend off the attacks of burglars or outlaws who were attempting to their wealth and the Turkish who were still imposing their own authority.

The term culă (pl. cule) comes from the Turkish kule, meaning ’tower’.

Travel Guide Romania - Museum

DESCRIPTION of traditional cula constructions

Culele are constructions which may seem odd at a first glance, usually having a squared shape, very thick walls on the ground floor for a defensive role and one to three upper floors. They are spread all over the Balkanic area, predominantly in Serbia and Albania.

In our country, culele are found mostly between the South Carpathians and the Danube: meaning Oltenia and Muntenia.

The Romanian cule, different from those in the Balkans (which are more like tower houses), have a special feature found only here: an open loggia found at the upper floor. These pavilions, with details of inspiration from the brâncovenești verandahs (style eruped during the reign of Constantin Brâncoveanu: 1688 – 1714), were adapted to the working ways of the builders and the materials they disposed of at the countryside.

Travel Guide Romania- Cula room

                                                                      interior of a traditional house

Cula destinations: Considering the manner they were built and their position in the field, culele had different destinations:

  • cule for refuge, defense or temporary home ( Cula Cornoiu is one of this kind, located in Curtișoara museum, Gorj County – it is described below). The ground floor with very thick walls and very narrow windows (shooting holes) provided the defense feature of the building;

    Travel Guide Romania- Cornoiu Construction

  • cule for signaling and alarming, with no rooms for permanent proper living;

  • cule for living, with great comfort conditions, usually built after the Turkish invasions. An example is Cula Tătărescu, relocated in 2002 from the initial place where it was constructed to Curtișoara, at “The Museum of Architecture from Gorj”. At this kind of cule it is noticeable how the number of defense features lowered, having more terraces, balconies and pavilions.

Travel Guide Romania- Tatarescu cula

Back then, these constructions used to form a chain in order to have a more facile communication in case of peril. Villages could be warned if they were at risk of fire, flooding or invaders. The chains were situated on valleys/banks, starting from the Danube and continuing into the mountains, along the Olt, Jiu and Argeș Rivers.

Travel Guide Romania- Gorj county


Nowadays, we may find cule only in certain arranged places such as ‘village museums’. A museum with a rich patrimony is ‘The Village Museum of Curtișoara’ (in Gorj County).

Travel Guide Romania- Curtisoara museum

TRAVELLING to Curțișoara – You can get to Curțișoara village (Gorj county) only by car, following these routes:

E79: Târgu Jiu > Curtișoara – aprox. 10 km

E79: Petroșani > Bumbești Jiu > Curtișoara – aprox. 42 km

Travel Guide Romania-wooden construction

Description of Curțișoara museum- with a 13 ha surface, it grew around the Cornoiu family domain who owned a cula built up in the 18th century.

Travel Guide Romania-traditional gate

Since its opening in 1975, the museum enriched its collection and expanded its surface. Besides the two cule (Cornoiu and Măldărășești), there were brought different peasant constructions and traditional households relocated from various villages from Gorj.

  • Cornoiu cula

    Travel Guide Romania-Cornoiu cula

  • Măldărășești cula

  • Wooden housese –Many of the culas caracteristics described above were taken by the wooden houses of the peasant, from the area where culas were found. They arrived at the point were the wooden houses had two, three leves and the ground floor was made sometimes by stone. This tipe of peasant constructions you can see at Curțișoara Museum.

Travel Guide Romania-traditional house

Each house and construction bear the features of their inhabitants main occupation: cultivation of soil and rasing of cattle. We will notice that in the areas suitable for growing grape vines, peasants began adding cellars to their houses.

Travel Guide Romania-Curtisoara Museum

Visiting hours for the museum: Tue to Sun, 9am – 5pm (Monday closed)

Contact: +40 253-212-044 // +40 722-584-266 // website: http://www.muzeulgorjului.ro

Fee:  is between 5 and 10 Lei, depending on the visitor’s status (child, student or adult).


Being in the area, we suggest you visit also:

  • Târgu Jiu town host for one of the most important art monument of Romania: ‘The Endless Column’ of Constantin Brâncuși, the notorious sculptor.

Travel Guide Romania-Endless Column 

                                                       The Endless Column’ of Constantin Brâncuși

Travel Guide Romania-Constantin Brancusi

Gate of the kiss – Constantin Brâncuși

  • Târgu Jiu town – with an amazing architecture in the center of the town 

Travel Guide Romania-Targu Jiu town

  • Tismana monastery – an old architectural setlement having 600 yers

Because TravelGuideRomania wants to help you travel more easely through Romania you can ask us for free any questions about anything.

Pentru versiunea in limba romana


Leave a Reply