Worn by time and now peacefully crumbling in the tranquility of the Transylvania countryside rests the ruins of the Abbey of Carta. This Monastery formed sometime in the early 1200s is actually the oldest gothic, fortified church within Eastern Europe. It is a breathtaking structure and although it is in an advanced state of decay it remains majestic. Though most make the pilgrimage to the Carta Monastery to take in its beauty, a darker, lesser known side of the monastery exists. The ruins of this church are believed to be one of the most haunted places in the whole of Romania.
The Haunted Abbey of Carta
This Cistercian Abbey in Carta was a tough place to live for the Monks, which inhabited it during medieval times. They awoke each day at three in the morning to work hard during daylight hours, food was scarce, living quarters cramped and their average life expectancy was never more than around 40 years of age.
This way of life led to many deaths within the Carta Monastery and the basis for its most famous ghost story. To this day many of the monks remain within the monastery, being buried in the courtyard of the abbey alongside soldiers from WWI. Many believe that their souls may have remained in the area of the monastery too. The most commonly reported paranormal activity to occur within the Abbey of Carta is sighting ghostly, white monks roaming around the ruins.
Other burials within the abbey are also thought to have resulted in hauntings. Two unmarked graves were uncovered within a cellar during recent excavations. The remains found were from two men who were taller than 6.5 feet. This was quite odd back in the day when people were much smaller and shorter on average. It is theorized that these men were sent to the abbey to have them removed from the public eye, as anyone different in those days was usually ostracized by the general public.
Since their bodies were uncovered, strange, paranormal events began to occur within the monastery. It is said that the walls within the cellar they were uncovered inside of will aggressively vibrate at times, without explanation. Poltergeist activity has also been recorded in the cellar with objects being flung across the room. Additional poltergeist type activity has been observed in other parts of the monastery, particularly the church where chairs have been dragged across the floor by unseen forces.
Though not related to any of the monastery’s true hauntings, the new film THE NUN (2018) is set at a monastery that shares the Abbey of St. Carta’s name. This adds infamy to the monastery, though it certainly was never haunted by a demonic nun.
Visiting the Haunted Abbey of Carta
The small town of Carta rests in Southern Transylvania and is easily accessible by car. If you are like me and do not have access to a car in Romania the trek can be a little more difficult. There is a train station in Carta, though it is not serviced often or by any major lines. I stayed in the nearby town of Arvig and hitchhiked (which is a common method of transport in Romania) to Carta. To enter the abbey it costs a few dollars, which includes access to its small, connected museum.
I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area. If you are interested in researching other haunted ruins left by places of worship, the Las Ruinas De La Parroquia in Costa Rica are very interesting.
Thanks for reading!