UNESCO World Heritage – Wooden Churches

Bârsana – Holy Mother’s Entrance

Built: 1720
Location: Iza Valley, moved to its current location at Jbâr Hill in 1806
Legend: Jbâr Hill was originally a cemetery for plague victims, who were buried with an urgency that left no room for religious ceremony. Funerals are of huge importance in Maramureş and the new location of the church was intended to give the souls of the victims peace.
Interior frescoes: Baroque style. The walls of the naos display scenes from both Old and New Testament.

Contact info for visiting the church: Priest Urda +40262331006


Built: 1770
Location: Mara Valley
Legend: In 1717, during the Tartar invasion, the wooden church was set ablaze and many villagers not only risked, but lost their lives in an attempt to save their church. The church of Deseşti was rebuilt on a location determined by the new altar stone, which toppled several times before the villagers found a place where it remained standing.
Interior frescoes: date from 1780, painted by Radu Munteanu from Ungureni in the Land of Lăpus, and an assistant from the village, Gheorghe.

Contact info for visiting the church: Priest Ioan Sigartău +40262372614

Poienile Izei

Built: 1604
Location: Iza River, turning near Şieu
Interior frescoes: this church is famous for its scenes from Judgement Day or the Last Judgement. Punishments echo the crime committed and the paintings reveal a mother swallowing her aborted child and a liar hanged by his tongue, to mention just a few.

Contact info for visiting the church: Priest Ioan Pop +40726387120


Built: 1611-1621
Dedication:Birth of Holy Mary
Location: foot of the northern slope of Ţibles Mountain, off the main road from Bagden Vodă
Famous for: being the oldest wooden structure in Europe. This church is made from pine and is an inspiring example of a building made to last. There was a document found in the attic of the church called ‘The Codix’ of leud, which dates from 1391 and is widely considered to be the first example of written Roman.
Interior frescoes: by a very active Maramureş painter called Alexandru Ponehalski. Scenes show the familiar Last Judgement, with sinners on the verge of being consumed by flame.
There is also the Lower Church, which was built in 1718 and is one of the largest wooden buildings in Romania.

Contact info for visiting the church: Priest Alexandru Brici +40262336203 or the caretaker +40763655924


Built: 1643
Dedication: Saint Nicoară
Location: Cosău Valley, near Sârbi
Legend: walk inside to see the chain mail and helmet of Pintea Viteazul who is said to have brought them to the church himself.
Famous for: its robust oak structure and foundation of river stones.
Interior frescoes: icons range from 15th to 17th century, the latter painted on a mixture of glass and wood. Alexandru Ponehalschi painted the interior in approximately 1762.

Contact info for visiting the church: Priest Ioan Năneştean +40262373615 or the caretaker +40753306647


Built: 1663
Dedication: Saint Archangels Michael and Gabriel
Location: Lăpuş, 25km from Cavnic
Legend: The church was constructed from two vast trees transported from Dealul Popii, known in English as the Priest’s Hill.
Interior frescoes: painted by Radu Munteanu and Nicolae Man in 1785. These only decorate the nave and the pronaos.

Contact info for visiting the church: Priest Ioan Chirilă +40262387218


Built: 1798
Dedication: Saint Archangels Michael and Gabriel
Location: Cavnic Valley, right turn at Copalnic Mănăştur
Famous for: visual harmony created not only by the scale of the church but by the four miniature towers positioned at each corner of the steeple. Also of note is the fact that the document where the church’s dedication was recorded was found in the abutment of the altar, along with 49 coins from each founder-family in the village.
Interior frescoes: the work of Stefan the Painter created between 1810-1811.

Contact info for visiting the church: Mr Augustin Făt +40741203676


Built: 1721
Dedication: Saint Archangels Michael and Gabriel
Location: Şurdeşti
Famous for: Şurdeşti is known for its Easter custom Udătoriu, which celebrates the most industrious villager with feasting and dancing.
Interior frescoes: painted on canvas strips by Stefan of Şişeşti in 1783.

Contact info for visiting the church: Priest Marius Tomoş +40766442263 or +40262298744