Cover picture © Credit to: Sergio Delle Vedove
Cover picture © Credit to: Sergio Delle Vedove

A wood treasure in Maramureș - Bârsana Monastery

2 minutes to read

The Maramureș County is famous for its production of wood artwork, the well-known wood gates, as well as wood churches and monasteries. The Bârsana Monastery is one of the wood treasures in Maramureș, part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and a landmark of the Maramureș County.

Bârsana Monastery
Bârsana Monastery
Bârsana, Romania

The monastery assembly

The monastery became a museum in the year 2005, gathering an important collection of old books and icons. The monastery complex includes a wood church, a new church, a building with cells and chapel, a traditional gate, a summer shire and two houses - one for the masters and one for the artist. One can admire all these wood buildings made by local craftsmen, specialized in the woodwork.

Picture © Credit to: alexionutcoman

The legend

The monastery is placed in the commune, composed of two villages, having the same name as the monastery. But the church was not built here, as it was moved in the year 1806 from the Jbar Hill, that was used as a cemetery for the plague victims. According to the legend, the dead also moved underground down the valley, so they may rest in peace near the church tower.

The Church of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple

The most important building of the monastery ensemble is the old church. The Church of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple has two floors, a veranda made of oak, a vestibule, a nave, an altar and a tower with a long helmet placed above the narthex.

You already learnt that the church was moved to its current location in 1806. But let’s back up a little bit. The church was built in the year 1720, exclusively out of wood, after the Tatars destroyed the old wood church by burning it to the ground. The choice of the material makes it special, as wood churches are a rarity since they can only be preserved for about 200 years. If we back up a little bit more, he can find out that the monastery itself is documented in the year 1326, when the Hungarian king Charles de Anjou offered Bârsana the tenure rights.

The new church

As Bârsana is one of the most important pilgrimage locations in Romania, a new church was built between 1993 and 1995, in the eastern part of the monastery and dedicated to the 12 Apostles. It is 57 meters high, 22,57 meters long and 12,20 meters wide and one of the tallest wood churches in Romania but in Europe as well.

Picture © Credit to: alexionutcoman

The Bârsana Monastery is a wood treasure in Maramureș and an amazing place to visit. One's journey should include the summer altar, built in the same traditional style and all the monastic buildings, constructed in a popular style.


The author

Eva Poteaca

Eva Poteaca

Hello, I am Eva from Bistrița, Romania. I studied art history and love to travel and discover hidden gems all over the world. Through my writing, I will share with you a different side of Romania.

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