Curtea de Arges is a charming Romanian town located approximately 180 kilometers from the capital. The town is a real gem for historians and architecture lovers. According to archaeological research, today’s Curtea and its immediate vicinity were inhabited by Dakish tribes as early as the 3rd century AD. The city reached its peak of splendor in the 14th century, when it became the seat of the Wallachian hospodars. Witnesses to these wonderful times are its monuments, including two very significant churches, namely: the church of St Nicholas, known as the “princely”, and a real miracle of architecture – the metropolitan church. In this city, annual poetry festivals are held, attended by invited poets from all over the world.
The 2021 edition of the festival was specific, as it brought together the winners from 2019 and 2020. The jubilee XXV Festival of Poetry: “The International Academy Orient-Occident” in Curtea de Arges was held on September 16-20, 2021. Winners from Poland, Norway, Spain, Bulgaria, Israel and the USA came. Were it not for the pandemic, probably more of the 75 invited poets from 35 countries would have come. From Romania, there were around 40 people at different times during the festival. The guests had an opportunity to present their work. There were also statuettes and medals awarded to selected festival guests, including: Roza Bojanowa (Bulgaria), Tina Escana (Spain-USA) Waqas Khwaja (USA-Pakistan), Erling Kittelsen (Norway), Alicja Kuberska (Poland), Lali Tsipi Michaeli (Israel), Yasmina Moscovici (Romania-Venezuela), Florica Popa (Romania) and many others. Music concerts and lively folk dances were the undoubted attractions of the festival.
The 70th anniversary of the birth of the well-known and recognized Romanian poet, Karolina Ilica, was also celebrated very solemnly. It was an occasion to present both her creative profile and original ways of recording works written on everyday objects related to the tradition of the region. Some of the festival events took place in the premises of the “Posada” hotel, others in the Bessarabian hall of the City Museum. The award ceremony and the closing ceremony of the festival took place in the basilica – cathedral of St Nicholas. Care was taken to learn more about the history, monuments and legends related to Curtea de Arges, as well as Wallachia, and the beauty of the nearby town – Virdaru was shown. The poets saw the most important pilgrimage center of the region with the relics: of Saint Philoftea and Saint Tatiana, the Martyr. They also saw the burial place of the Romanian kings and their wives: Charles I and Queen Elizabeth, Ferdinand and Queen Maria, and other significant figures from Romanian history. They visited the Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God built by Master Manole – a designer and builder who came from Germany. It was funded by Neagoe Basarab V and completed by his son-in-law Radu de la Afumati. At the end of the festival, in an informal atmosphere of a feast, in spontaneous vocal performances initiated by the charming Spanish girls Reme Alvarez Diaz and Tina Escana (Alma Perez), songs in the mother tongues of all festival guests were heard.
It must be mentioned that visiting and learning about the history of the region was facilitated by the perfect translation of the hosts’ speech into English by the extremely friendly Alina Baiasu. A huge contribution to the organization of the festival was made by its director, Ion M. Dumitru, who used a wheelchair and an oxygen cylinder, and who was bravely supported by his wife and daughter. It was worth taking the hardships of a long journey for all these impressions and people, the wonderful atmosphere and these beautiful places.