The Official Romania Travel Guide: Hotels, Flights, Tours, Pictures, Maps
best romania » the wooden churches of maramures
Maramures is a a traditional area of Romania, located in the northern part of Transylvania. There is an amazing woodcrafting culture in Maramures and the centuries-old Orthodox Wooden Churches are the best examples. If you plan to visit Romania, make sure you Maramures is one of your destinations. The area is a few hours north from Cluj, Romania.
> Over 100 old Orthodox wooden churches, most of them are centuries-old; 8 churches were declared UNESCO-protected World Heritage sites.
> If the reason you travel to Romania is to discover its lost-in-time villages, this is the right place to start.
This tradition can be traced back to the beginning of the 16th century. The churches display tall spires and steep roofs, designed to prevent the heavy snow accumulating. The walls are massive and some of them are decorated with beautiful interior frescoes and glass icons.
Most of the Wooden Churches of Maramures are located in adorable little mountain villages, amazing places to discover in your Romanian tour: the area called "The Historical Maramures" (the Western part of the region) is completely surrounded by mountains, a reason for the area to develop a distinctive Transylvanian sub-culture. The fastest way to get to Maramures is to fly to Cluj, then either rent a car or take a train or a bus to Baia Mare. You might not find any fancy hotels in the area but you will find adorable little inns where you can also enjoy the local cuisine.
The local population is "Moroseni" ("Mo-ro-shen"). Don't forget to ask the locals for the traditional "tuica" (plum brandy).
Most of the wooden churches of Maramures were built during the 17th and 18th centuries, some were replacing even older churches. The tall, narrow timber constructions belong to the old Romanian woodcrafting tradition and display a unique mix of Byzantine architecture with Gothic influences. The first 8 churches from the list are UNESCO-protected areas. The historical Maramures is one of the very few places in Europe where a rich woodcrafting tradition is still thriving. Recently, more and more new religious constructions are built in the old style.
The wooden churches tradition appeared centuries ago, as a response to a prohibition against the erection of stone Romanian Orthodox churches. The churches were made of thick oak logs, the inside is small and dark inside, some of them are painted with beautiful naive Biblical scenes. The most characteristic feature is the tall tower above the entrance and the massive roof that seems to dwarf the main body of the church.
Read more about Maramures. If you enjoy visiting the area, don't forget to include The Painted Monasteries of Bukovina in your Romanian trip. Bukovina is the sister region fromMoldavia, across the Carpathians.