Romania is one of the Orthodox areas with the highest number of monastic settlements, ranging from coenobitic and idiorrhythmic to hermitages and hesychastic dwellings. This study offers a panoramic view of the histories and geographies of monasticism and its reflexive relations with cities, analyzing the reasons (not only religious but also economic, social, and political) that led to the construction of urban monasteries in the outskirts and the middle of inhabited agglomerations and their role in the development of the urban space in Romania. In most cases, monasteries attracted a sizable suburban population and formed suburban agglomerations. The chronological range we have chosen (from the 10th to the 16th century) represents the time from the first monastic presence in inhabited centers to the spread across the Romanian territories (i.e., Banat, Moldavia, Transylvania, Wallachia, and Dobruja). The case studies are essential for understanding their influence on urban development. The written sources enabled us to investigate the relationship between the monasteries and the villages and towns to contribute to reconstructing the history of urban monastic topography and understand the reciprocal influences and tensions between monasteries and cities. The paper is structured following the three phases in the foundation’s history and the spreading of the monasteries. Monastic history is a fruitful lens for observing and analyzing the expansion and spread of urban spaces with a constant and penetrating survival of Orthodoxy linked to the emerging Romanian identity that imposed itself over the centuries as the majority. As a consequence, the religious factor - linked to the presence of monasteries in towns and cities - thus became fundamental in the life of urban spaces.
Giorda, M.C., Cozma, I. (2024). Monasteri ortodossi e spazi urbani in Romania tra l’X e il XVI secolo. NUOVA RIVISTA STORICA, 108(1), 23-41.