The Cornoiu Kula

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  • LMI (Historical Monument List) Code: GJ-II-m-A-09256.01
  • Location:

    On the premises of the Gorj Popular Architecture Museum, Curtişoara neighbourhood, the Town of Bumbeşti-Jiu, Gorj County.


  • Access:

    While driving on the national road that connects Târgu Jiu to Bumbeşti Jiu, after the Iezureni Village, a road sign indicates the way to Curtişoara. Gate no. 2 should be used to enter into the museum. The Cornoiu Kula is hidden in the abundant vegetation surrounding it. Equally “inaccessible” is “Sfântul Ioan Botezătorul” (Saint John the Baptist) Church built by the Cornoiu family, a little architectural jewel worth visiting.

  • References:

    Telephone:   0253/212044

    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Original/current function: kula-type fortified dwelling/ ethnographic museum
  • Date: the 18th century
  • History:

    The Cornoiu Kula is one of the most beautiful buildings of this type in the area. The available data, somewhat uncertain, makes us assume that this kula was built in the 18th century. It is a sure fact that in 1785, Radu Pistescu who did not have any children, names logothete Cornea of Târgu Jiu his heir. Logothete Cornea built the church patroned by Saint John the Baptist near the kula. In 1926, Speranţa Cornoiu sells the property to Constantin Neamţu, the manager of the National Bank, the Craiova branch. Over the years, repairs were carried out in 1840, 1881, and the last ones in 1927-1928, by the new owner, who also built the outbuildings around the kula in the Romanian style and repairs the church. Constantin Neamţu went to France in 1945, probably anticipating the changes that would come in Romania, found under Soviet occupation. The kula was nationalized and was included in the assets of a collective state farm. It was restored in the 1960s, sheltering since then an important 19th century art and furniture collection. In 1975, the Gorj Folk Architecture Museum was inaugurated, the Cornoiu kula being included in this open air ethnographic museum.

  • Description:

    The brick kula, with 80-cm thick walls, has three floors. Two basements and the stairs leading to the first floor are located on the ground floor. There are two entries closed by spectacular doors. A fountain used to exist in the basement, for the use of the besieged. There are three accommodation rooms and a modern bathroom fitted out in the 20th century on the first floor. On the back side of the building there is a gallery leading to an outbuilding shaped as an octagonal tower, initially used for sanitary purposes, similar to Tudor Vladimirescu’s kula house of Cerneţi. On the second floor there is a porch with five massive columns and two on each side supporting semicircular arches. There are three rooms here too. The ceilings have massive wooden beams, the windows were enlarged in the 19th century, but there are still some ramparts, which give the kula a spectacular appearance. The roof is covered with shingles.

    “Sfantul Ioan Botezătorul’’ Church of Curtişoara

    The church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist in the Curtişoara Village was erected by Logothete Cornea at the beginning of the 19th century (1802 or 1820), near the kula named after him. Both the kula and the church nearby remained the property of the Cornoiu family, until 1926, when the last heir, Speranţa Cornoiu, sold what was left of the estate including the kula and the church, to Constantin Neamţu, the manager of the National Bank - the Craiova branch. He restored the church, with the approval and funds of the Commission of Historical Monuments. After its nationalization the church was included in the heritage of the collective farm of Corneşti and subsequently, of Târgu Jiu. At the end of the 1960s it was included in an outdoor village museum. The brick church has a steeple, porch, nave and altar. In the porch, on the north wall, there is the staircase towards the steeple. In the narthex, on the west wall, there are the portraits of its founders in period costumes and their names are marked there too: Lady Bălaşa and her daughters, Catinca and Policsenia, boyar Enaiche and his sons Ion and Grigore. In the altar, at the offertary, there is a diptych, 1821 diptych boyar “Costache, Ilinca, Aniţa, Ion, Ion, Barbu, Barbu...Maria, Radu, Idita, Grăjdana, Ştefan, Constandin, Alisandra, Samda, Gheorghe, Bălaşa, Enaiche,...Dumitru’’. On a tombstone in the narthex, an inscription is to be found: “This writing was made by Lady Ana, on the date of 20 July 1859".

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  • Conservation status: good
  • Bibliography:

    Atanasescu Iancu, Grama Valeriu, Kulas from Oltenia, Scrisul Românesc Publishing House, Craiova, 1974

    Creţeanu Radu, Creţeanu Sarmiza, Kulas from Romania, Meridiane Publishing House, Bucharest, 1969

    Ionescu Grigore, Architecture on Romania's Territory Throughout the Centuries, The Romanian Academy's Publishing House, Bucharest, 1982

    Janecke Wilhelm von, Das Rumanische Bauern – und Bojarenhaus, Konig Carol – Verlag Publishing House, Bucharest, 1918

    Stefulescu Alexandru, Historic and picturesque the county of Gorj, N.D. Milosescu Publishing House, Tg Jiu, 1904

    Zamora Luiza, Kulas, fortified boyars’ houses of Romania, Igloo Publishing House, Bucharest, 2007

    The archive of the National Institute of Heritage

Institutul Național al Patrimoniului         Administrația Fondului Cultural Național