Painted monasteries & wooden churches
The painted monasteries of Bucovina are amongst the greatest artistic monuments of Europe. They were painted in the 15th and 16th centuries when Turkish invaders threatened the Principality of Moldavia. Masterpieces of Byzantine Art, they feature vivid portraits of saints and prophets, scenes from the life of Jesus, images of both angels and demons, heaven and hell, all of them created to educate and entertain the illiterate soldiers and peasants.
The Maramures wooden churches are remarkable examples of well-preserved religious architecture that emerged from a mix of Orthodox traditions with Gothic style influences. They show a high level of artistic maturity and crafting skills: they are narrow, tall, timber constructions with single or double-roofed towers and covered by shingles. The walls of the wooden churches are generally built of oak logs laid horizontally with intricate joints. As recognition for their unique value, cultural significance and beauty, eight out of the almost 100 old wooden churches of Maramures are now listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.