Wooden Churches of MaramureşThese eight churches are outstanding examples of a range ofarchitectural solutions from different periods and areas. They showthe variety of designs and craftsmanship adopted in these narrow,high, timber constructions with their characteristic tall, slim clocktowers at the western end of the building, either single- or double-roofed and covered by shingles. As such, they are a particularvernacular expression of the cultural landscape of this mountainousarea of northern Romania.
These eight churches are outstanding examples ofa range of architectural solutions from differentperiods and areas. They show the variety ofdesigns and craftsmanship adopted in thesenarrow, high, timber constructions with theircharacteristic tall, slim clock towers at thewestern end of the building, either single- ordouble-roofed and covered by shingles. Assuch, they are a particular vernacular expressionof the cultural landscape of this mountainous areaof northern Romania.The Maramureş churches are outstanding examplesof vernacular religious wooden architectureresulting from the interchange of Orthodoxreligious traditions with Gothic influences in aspecific vernacular interpretation of timberconstruction traditions, showing a high level ofartistic maturity and craft skills.
The region of Maramureş, situated in the north of Transylvania, wasformed over time by the fusion of very old geographical and socio-political entities called countries. These countries are united bytheir geographical environment, composed of mountains oncecovered by forests and numerous rivers, but also by their historyand spiritual life. In the Middle Ages, the rural social structureswere founded on community-type villages grouped in eachvalley, under the general leadership of the Voivodship ofMaramureş. The churches of the region were placed under thejurisdiction of the Orthodox monastery of Peri.
The eight churches of Maramureş are monuments based on traditional timberarchitecture, and stand on bases of stone blocks and pebble fillings. They are:The Church of the Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple (Bârsana), built in1720, became a parish church in 1806. A two-level portico, connected by astaircase, was added to the western facade. Because of its plan, the churchbelongs to the tradition of the Maramureş region, but differs in its smaller size.The Church of Saint Nicholas (Budeşti) was built in 1643 on the site of a 15th-century church. It is also distinguished by its size and the four pinnacles at thebase of the spire, which indicates a link with the neighbouring region of Lapus.
The Church of the Holy Paraskeva, built in 1770, reflects the artisticmaturity of its builders. The external architectural elements arehighlighted by decorative motifs incised or cut in the wood to create ahomogeneous and valuable ensemble.The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin replaced the one destroyed bythe Tatars in 1717. The structure of the inner space, especially thevaults over the naos and narthex, reveals the ingenuity of the builders.The wooden churches of Maramureş usually formed a complex with acemetery.
The Church of the Holy Archangels (Plopiş)situated in the country of Chioar, shows certainanalogies with the church in Şurdeşti, such as theflat roof slightly lowered over the sanctuary, theslender bell tower with four corner pinnacles,and certain elements of the sculpted decoroutside. The decoration, painted in 1811 byStefan, a native of the village, is preserved onthe vaults.The Church of the Holy Parasceve (Poienile Izei)is one of the oldest of the wooden churches ofMaramureş (1604), and reveals two phases in thedevelopment of such buildings. The first can beseen in the lower part of the walls with asanctuary based on a square plan, a typicalfeature of the oldest wooden buildings. In the18th century, the walls were raised, the naos wascovered by a semi-circular vault, and the interiorwas decorated with paintings. The portico wasadded during the first half of the 19th century.
The Church of the Holy Archangels(Rogoz), built in 1663, was movedfrom Suciu in Sus to Rogoz in 1883.It is characterized by a recessedheptagonal sanctuary, a polygonalpronaos, a southern entrance, anda large asymmetrical roof. It isalso distinctive for its profusion ofdecorative sculpture.The Church of the Holy Archangels(Şurdeşti), built in 1767,synthesises all the features of thewooden churches of Maramureş atthe height of their developmentwith, in particular, a doublecanopy and superposed windows.The two-level portico and its tallbell tower date to the 19thcentury. In 1783, three shared thetask of decorating the inside ofthe church.