Download Wooden Churches of Maramureș

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Maramureș is a geographical, historical and ethno-cultural
region in northern Romania and western Ukraine. It is situated
on the northeastern Carpathians, along the upper Tisa River; it
covers the Maramureș Depression and the surrounding
Carpathian mountains.
 Alternatively, the name Maramureș is used for the
Maramureș County of Romania, which contains the southern
section of the historical region.
 Maramureș is a valley totally enclosed by mountains Oaș,
Gutâi, Țibleș and Rodnei to the west and south, Maramureș
Mountains and Ukrainian Carpathians (Wooded Carpathians) to
the east and north, with a thin opening at Khust. Several dozen
small mountain rivers and creeks flow into the river Tisa.
The Wooden Churches of Maramureș are situated in the
Maramureș region of northern Transylvania; there are a group of
almost one hundred churches of different architectural solutions
from different periods and areas. They are Orthodox churches. The
Maramureș 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.
 Maramureș is one of the better-known regions of Romania, with
autonomous traditions since the Middle Ages - but still not much
visited. Its well-preserved wooden villages and churches, its
traditional lifestyle, and the local colourful dresses still in use make
Maramureș as near to a living museum as can be found in Europe.
The wooden churches of the
region that still stand were built
starting in the 17th century all
the way to 19th century. Some
were erected on the place of
older churches. They are a
response to a prohibition
against the erection of stone
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 "naïve"
Biblical scenes, mostly by local
characteristic features are the
tall tower above the entrance
and the massive roof that
seems to dwarf the main body
of the church.
The historical Romanian region of Maramureș, partitioned between
Romania and Sub-Carpathian Ukraine after the Second World War, is
one of the places where traditional log building was not interrupted
and where a rich heritage in wood survives. The tradition of building
wooden churches in central and southern Maramureș can be traced
from the beginning of the 16th century to the turn of the 18th century.
Since the knowledge used to build the local wooden churches circulated
throughout Europe, their understanding is of high interest far outside
the region.
 In Maramureș today almost 100 wooden churches still stand, about
one third of their total from two centuries ago. Besides the extant
wooden churches, a major source of knowledge is still saved by a
number of practicing senior carpenters with relevant knowledge and
skills in traditional carpentry.
The extant wooden churches from Maramureș reveal the existence
during the 17th and 18th centuries of at least two main family schools of
church carpenters. There are further distinguishable three main itineraries
and numerous smaller ones, indicating the work of some of the most
important church carpenters ever active in the region and in some cases
even shifts among generations. In general, the church carpenters stood for
the technical performances, the high quality of the wood work and the
artistic refinement.
 In a long perspective, the true creators of the local wooden churches
were actually the commissioning founders. Especially the role of the noble
founders of Eastern Christian rite was decisive in the formation of a
regional character among the local wooden churches. The wooden
churches from Maramureș closely mirror the local society of modest
country landlords, manifesting themselves along several centuries in their
double condition of Eastern Christians and Western nobles.
The wooden churches
necessary connections with
distinction made between
sacred and profane rooms
was characteristic for many
other rural regions on the
knowledge in log building
seems to have had a sacred
continental circulation and
therefore in many places
requires distinction from the
regionally rooted
vernacular one.
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