Blog

Work in Progress

Those who travel in the southern area of the Carpatian Mountains can easy discover beautiful villages with small wooden churches spread throughout a scenic landscape. The life in these villages is changing, become modern, and so are also the houses. Small wooden construction are abandoned and destroyed.

However, more and more communities are starting to rediscover their heritage and ask for help save and value their historic buildings. At the moment, six interventions are in progress at wooden churches:

In the village of Ur?i, Valcea County, work is focused on the restoration of the paintings in the vault. The church of Ur?i was constructed between 1757 to 1784 by a wealthy villager (Ion Danciu) and built by craftsmen using ancient construction techniques. The structure, the cladding, and the roofing are built exclusively out of wood. The church was has frescoes on its interior and exterior painted by by the craftsmen Gherghe, Nicolae, and Ioan in 1843. Since 1913 the village has had a “new”—built of masonry—and the old wooden church remains for the graveyard. The last repairs to the old church were made in 1943. In June 12, 2010, the vault over the altar collapsed, which prompted the construction of a protective cover for the church. The vault was disassembled and transported to the National University of Arts in Bucharest to be restored. Now the work is in progress, but financial support is needed to finish it and to reassemble and rebuilt the roof.

Further west, in the village of Ponoarele, Mehedinti County, is a small wooden church still in use that is currently undergoing repairs. The church, on a hill facing the village, is from late eighteenth century. At the foot of the hill is a valley where can be found a wooden water mill, from an ensemble of seven wooden mills on the verge of collapse.

Traveling from Ponoarele in the north, in the Jiu Valley through the mountains, we arrive in south Transylvania. Here, on the village Boz, Hunedoara County, is a wooden church where Pro Patrimonio repaired the roof in 2012. A 1974 restoration effort applied concrete-based plaster to the exterior that ended up damaging the wood, especially the lower logs. Inside, the humidity is very high and has affected the paintings. Toghether with specialists from Museumssenteret i Hordaland in Bergen, Norway, we have begun an application to the EEA Grants scheme and we plan to hold a workshop for carpenters in 2015 to make the proper repairs.

Also in the south of Transylvania are a group of students from the University of Architecture from Sibiu working to restore the bell-tower of the wooden church of Granari, Brasov County.

Back in northern Oltenia, there are two wooden churches in the Olt Valley, in the villages of Mlaceni and Copaceni, Valcea County. They have the same problems as many others: rotten wood, roof damage, and painting degradations. For these two churches we began a documentation program last summer in order to apply for European Union funds for restoration.