The history of the Udriște Năsturel mansion began over 400 years ago and is still being written.




A glance at the beginnings

Radu Năsturel, the Postelnic of Fieresci*, was the proprietor of the Heresci domain in the year 7129 (1620 AD), according to the land registry book published by engineer Spiru Haret in 1894. He was the father of Udriște and Cazan Năsturel, whose sister Elina was the wife of voievod Matei Basarab.

*Fieresci or Fierăști is the old name for the locality of Herăști.


Building the Stone House

The house, an L-shaped building made entirely of stone, was constructed by brothers Udriște and Cazan Năsturel with likely the support from the royal court during the reign of Matei Basarab. The building features two nearly identical mirror-image residences with separate entrances and internal staircases for the use of the brothers.

The estate takes its name from Udriște Năsturel, a prominent scholar, poet, and translator in Wallachia and a key advisor to ruler Matei Basarab, who was also his brother-in-law.



The construction of the church

At the entrance to the domain that belonged to the Năsturel family is the Church of the Holy Trinity, St. Michael and St. Gabriel.

According to the Slavonic writing on the plaque located at the entrance of the nave, the church was built by Elina Basarab, with the help of her brothers Udriște and Cazan Năsturel.


Elina, the patroness of Romanian literature

Together with her brother Udriște, they received exceptional education, knowing Latin, Slavonic, and possibly Greek. Elina supported the printing of important books at the time, edited and translated by Udriște Năsturel, such as “The Imitation of Christ” and “Slavonic Pentecostar”.

Through her efforts, Elina contributed to the construction of the Stone House and the church in Herăști. Alongside her husband, Matei Basarab, considered the greatest church builder of the Romanian people, she is still featured in the frescoes of monasteries both in the country (Arnota Monastery, Strehaia or Mamu), and abroad (Xenofont Monastery on Mount Athos).


The Stone House, through the eyes of the Syrian pilgrim Paul of Aleppo

Pilgrim and Syrian Orthodox chronicler, Paul of Aleppo travelled with Patriarch Macarius through the Orthodox countries of Eastern and Northern Europe to seek help and support for his church, which was hostile to the Turks. Upon arriving in Herăști, he presents the palace owned by Elina’s brothers:
The building has three floors, one on top of the other, and it is so cheerful that it removes any worry from the hearts of the grieving“.


Udriște Năsturel, the great scholar and chancellor

The great scholar of the 17th century, Udriște Năsturel, translator, poet, adviser of ruler Matei Basarab, and chancellor during his reign, and later during the reign of the ruler Constantin Șerban, left a significant mark through his work, being praised by important cultural figures of Romania, both from past centuries and contemporaries.

Năsturel translated and printed books from Latin into Slavonic, such as “The Imitation of Christ,” and from Slavonic into Romanian, the book “The Life of the Saints Varlaam and Ioasaf,” contributing to the introduction of the Romanian language in the church. At the time, his books were read outside of the Romanian lands as well. He also wrote poetry, the first in the history of Romanian literature to be printed.


Division of the estate

On June 25, 1692, the property was divided between Udriște’s nephew, Șerban – the son of  Radu Toma Năsturel, and the sons of Cazan.



Șerban Năsturel Herescul, the new owner

The branch of the family that descended from Udriște became increasingly prosperous, while the descendants of Cazan sold off their wealth. In the year 1715 the new owner became Şerban Herescul (1659-1731), the son of  Toma Radu Năsturel, who also bought the Stone House the following year.


From Șerban Năsturel Herescu, to Constantin

From Șerban Năsturel Herescu, the estate passed to his son, the great ban and cupbearer, portrayed in 1870 by the painter Nicolae Grigorescu (the painting can be found in the National Museum of Art of Romania). In 1754, Constantin left the property to his wife Smaranda and their son Radu Năsturel-Herescu (1750-1804) cupbearer.



The last descendant of the Năsturel family

The last member of the Năsturel family to inherit the estate in Herăști was Radu Năsturel’s son, Constantin Năsturel Herescu (1798-1874).


The domain of the Serbian prince Milos Obrenovic

The Serbian prince Milos Obrenovic bought the Herăști estate on June 17, 1830, from the last owner of the Năsturel family.

Milos Obrenovic, who ruled Serbia between 1815-1839 and 1858-1860, is considered the creator of modern Serbia. Under his leadership, Serbia became an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire. He developed connections with the rulers of the Romanian Principalities and acquired a considerable fortune, monopolizing the salt trade in the region.

Milos Obrenovic was married to  Maria Elena Catargiu, together having a son who became King Milan of Serbia (1882-1889).


Obrenovic’s tower

Milos Obrenovic retired to Herăști after his abdication in 1839, where he expanded the estate by acquiring additional properties and undertook “extensive repairs and modifications to the house and church. The stone walls of the house were repaired, and a two-story brick tower was built over the floor, from where it is said that the guards would observe the surroundings … . A lateral body with a ground floor and a floor was also added, built entirely of brick.” – Greceanu Radu 1958, pp. 126-127.


The heir Mihály IV Nicolić de Rudna

The Herăști estate was given to Prince Mihajlo Obrenovic in 1860 following the passing of Milos Obrenovic. It was then inherited by a nephew on his sister Elizabeth’s side, married to János VII de Rudna, namely Baron Mihály IV Nicolić de Rudna, during which time the plan for the actual noble residence building was developed (1876).


Anastase Solojan, the new owner

On June 17, 1881, Baron Mihály IV Nicolić de Rudna sold the property to Anastase Stolojan.

By 1900, he had significantly expanded his wealth, owning 3,174 hectares of land. In Herăști “he has a castle built under Mateiu-Basarab, by the Năsturel-Herăscu family. This village was the old property of the Năsturel-Herăscu family, which left all its wealth to the state. There is a large and beautiful garden here. This estate later passed into the possession of the Serbian prince, Miloș; and today it is owned by Mr. Anastase Stolojan.” – Lahovary 1900, p. 703.


Stolojan House

The structure that is now known as the Stolojan House, a historic monument listed in category B, was constructed during the Stolojan period by adding a floor to an existing structure, in accordance with the estate’s 1876 plans. The year 1833 is carved on the base of the house, indicating that the ground floor of the house was most likely constructed during the Obrenovic era.



The fire

In 1931, a fire affected the Stone House, destroying the roof frame, wooden lattices, and carpentry. The sad event made a significant impact on the press at the time, when was announced optimistically that the restoration process of the “Castle” would begin.


The nationalization

The Stolojan family’s heirs did not, however, repair the structure, probably as a result of how the agrarian reform policies had an impact on them. Thus, left to the mercy of the weather, the building was greatly affected. After the installation of the communist regime, the building was nationalized in 1949, and a large part of the masonry of the upper floor would have been used for the foundation of a Collective Farm building.


Emanoil T. Costescu’s imprint

The Udriște Năsturel Manor’s significance in terms of both history and architecture lef the Commission for Historican Monuments to get involved in its restoration at the time. The restoration project was designed by architect Emanoil Costescu and included the reconstruction of the tower built during the Obrenovic era. The project was recommended favorably by referant Toma Socolescu, and on August 5, 1953, it was approved by the State Committee for Architecture and Construction.


The project, taken over by Toma T. Socolescu and Eugenia Greceanu

Despite the restoration project developed by Emanoil Costescu in 1953 receiving a favorable review, Toma Socolescu and Eugenia Greceanu took over the plan more than a year later for unknown reasons.

The restoration method used in this project, which involes removing the Milos Obrenovic-added components of the house and restoring it to the way Udriște Năsturel originally intended, came to light for the first time.


The restoration completed by Olga Bâzu

The 1954-1955 project was abandoned a decade later, and architect Olga Bâzu took over in 1964. Under her direction, the Udriște Năstuel house restoration project was completed, preserving its original form without the addition of the tower from the Obrenovic era.

The State Committee for Culture and Art created the Udriște Năsturel House’s purpose during this time period and mandated that it serve as a museum showcasting Romanian culture throughout the developed feudalism era.


The museum

The Stone House was managed by the Museum of Popular Art, which later became the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant. During this time, the Museum of Wood and Ironwork at Herăști and traditional art exhibitions were housed there, respectively, until the estate was returned to the heirs of the Stolojan family.



The return

After a legal battle that lasted for years, the heirs of the Stolojan family have obtained the restitution of a portion of the property that belonged to Anastase Stolojan.


A new beginning

The Năsturel estate in Herăști, previously put up for sale by the heirs of the Stolojan family, has been purchased and is now at the beginning of a new phase of conservation, maintenance, restoration and enhancement.

The Udriște Năsturel Manor can be visited on weekends, with free admission.

Udriște Năsturel Mansion

32 Miloș Obrenovici Street 
Herăști, Giurgiu county

10:00 – 16:00


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