The men are talented wood carvers, that is why the old houses and churches are built entirely out of wood. The most respected man in the village is the one who has the biggest and most elaborate wood carved front gate.
The wooden churches of Maramures are famous all over the world, eight of them being part of UNESCO World Heritage. There value was recognized in 1999, and even though their number is much bigger, these eight are the oldest and the best preserved. The oldest church, Budesti, dates from 1643 and it is considered to be a magnificent construction, considering the times it was raised in.
Raised on massive wood foundation, without any rock or cement, they are remarkable examples of well-preserved religious architecture that emerged from the Orthodox traditions and Gothic style influences. These eight churches are outstanding examples of a range of architectural solutions from different periods and areas.
The churches show such a high level of artistic maturity and craft skills: they are narrow, tall, timber constructions with characteristic towers, single or double-roofed and covered by shingles. The walls of the wooden churches are generally built of oak logs laid horizontally. The large paintings of biblical scenes, are replaced here by miniature pictures, framed by colored borders. They are an exceptional expression of the cultural heritage of this area of northern Romania.
Even though the authors of these churches are anonymous, they are considered to be real architectural jewels.
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