The wooden church "The entrance of the Virgin Mary into the Church" from Bârsana

Biserica de lemn / Obiective turistice


Bârsana 437035, Romania


Erected at the beginning of the 18th century, as a place of worship for an important monastic community, the current UNESCO heritage church was the cathedral of Bishop Gavriil of Maramureş. Born in Bârsana, the bishop patronized a monastery school and a book distribution center there. The events that have taken place in the last three hundred years on the Iza Valley have left their mark on the beams of the church in Bârsana, more than on other monuments. 

At the end of the 18th century, the imperial court in Transylvania and Maramureş would impropriate the monastic properties and the close down of the monastic communities. This campaign directly affected the monastic community, which was forced to withdraw to Moldova. Left unprotected, the church would be saved by villagers, who dismantled it piece by piece and, around 1800, would rebuilt it on its current site. For a proper reassembly, the beams bear signs that can be admired today. Standing on a pedestal, the beams carved from large oak trunks - from which the walls were built - were joined at the corners in a "swallow's tail" pattern.

For two hundred years, the church has been guarding the peace of the people of Maramureş, buried in the cemetery on Jbârului Hill, to the left of the road that starts from Sighetu Marmaţiei, along the Iza River. The layout of the church is rectangular, composed of four rooms: porch, narthex, nave and altar. The apsis of the altar has five sides, being covered with a simple roof. Above the other rooms of the worship place, the roof has two ridges, housing a balcony to the west. The ornaments and the manner in which the western façade is made are identical to those of the porches of traditional houses. The carved wooden decoration uses motifs common in Maramureş, such as the twisted rope or the solar disk. The whole church seems to be surrounded by a twisted girdle, discontinued by a circle-shaped solar motif.

After moving to the village, it was painted by Toader Hondor and Ioan Plohod, the iconography of the monument being considered to be the best expression of Baroque and Rococo in folk painting, in this part of the country. The scenes are depicted within stylized medallions binding the entire iconographic ensemble. The impressive wooden church from Bârsana is an example of perfect stylistic unity and an impeccable artistic sense.


  • Patrimoniu UNESCO

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