Wooden churches, Romania

Surdesti church


The Wooden Churches of Maramureş are a group of almost one hundred Orthodox churches of different architectural solutions from different periods and areas. Churches are high timber constructions with characteristic tall, slim bell towers at the western end of the building. They are a particular vernacular expression of the cultural landscape of this mountainous area of northern Romania.
The wooden churches of the region that still stand were built starting in the 17th century all the way to 19th century. They are a response to a prohibition against the erection of stone Romanian churches. The churches are made of thick logs, some are quite small and dark inside but several of them have impressive measures. They are painted with rather naive Biblical scenes, mostly by local painters. The most characteristic features are the tall tower above the entrance and the massive roof that seems to dwarf the main body of the church.
Eight of were listed by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in 1999, for their religious architecture and timber construction traditions. These are: Bârsana, Budeşti, Deseşti, Ieud, Plopiş, Poienile Izei, Rogoz, Şurdeşti.

Budesti village

Calinesti church

Unfinished new church

Carvings on front gates seen across Maramureş


After hiking to all those churches, Romanian Ciorba tastes very goooood

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