Wooden Wonders of the Carpathians

For nearly four centuries, adherents of Greek Catholicism, a branch of the Eastern Orthodox church that united with the Roman Catholic church, have sought refuge in an extraordinary, yet little known, suite of sanctuaries that dot the Carpathian Mountains of Central Europe. Though simple in form, these masterpieces, built in the so-called Lemko style, represent the apogee of a carpenter’s art that was once widespread throughout much of Northern and Central Europe, its development prompted by abundant forest resources. Each church’s timber frame is hewn from logs, which are protected on the outside by wood shingles, an appearance reminiscent of a plumed bird. The religious art on the iconostasis and interior walls and furnishings is an exquisite composition in folk art. These log buildings are unique not just for their architectural form, but also for the cultural and religious traditions that gave rise to them.

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