Marmures Gothic style in Ukraine

Marmaroshchyna (or Maramureș in Romanian) is a historical and ethnographic region which is divided fot the two countries - Romania and Ukraine and which give us an amazing architectural style of Marmorosh wooden Gothic. Today, more than an hundred magnificent high ancient churches have been preserved in this region, their sharp spiers, having been covered by wood shingles, are rising into the sky from the Carpathian mountains. Beautifully shaped crosses crown those spiers. About a third part of them - temples are more than two centuries old!

The majority of them, more than a hundred churches, are situated in Romania. And eight of these are designated by UNESCO to List World Heritage Sites! Here they are:

  • Budești (1643),
  • Rogoz (1663),
  • Poienile Izei (1700),
  • Birsana (1720),
  • Yeud (1720s),
  • Shurdesht (1766)
  • Deseshti (1770 r.),
  • Plopish (1798)

You can watch reportage about these amazing wooden churches of Marmorosh in Romania In English at the YouTube channel of UNESCO

Unfortunately, there are only a dozen churches in the Marmara Gothic style in Ukraine

The oldest church

The oldest wooden church in the Marmarosh Gothic style in Ukraine is church of St. Nicholas, it was built in 1561 in Nyzhnya Apsha (Apșa de Jos – in Romanian), Transcarpathia, Khust district. The temple is active like a churcuh, on holidays services are conducted in different languages, every day - in Romanian.

Below I will present an interesting news story, from which you can learn that an inscription was recently found on a board in the church, on which the year 1471 is indicated, but whether it was the year of the foundation or the consecration of the church is unknown. But the fact that date 1561 of building the temple in Nyzhnya Apsha is wrong. In fact, temple is older than official date.

We have five churches of representatives of Marmara Gothic style in Khust district. Until recently, five...

Exactly, we have four temples and the fifth one is under conservation. Their convenient location makes it an easy route for you to visit all these churches: Steblivka - Sokyrnytsia - Kraynikovo - Danilovo – Oleksandrivka

Wooden Gothic Potyssia

High towers of these amazing temples, topped with wood spiers with four phials at the corners of the tower and roofs are covered with wood shingles. All this creates such an authenticity, unseen anywhere else except Transcarpathia, that you want to get to know and linger near each such temple.

«Phoenix» temple

The church in the village of Steblivka (Khust district) was badly damaged by fire in 1994. The top of the temple burned down. Now it is the wooden ruins of this ancient church. And the village community tries to take care of and support this part of temple. I hope that the temple, like a phoenix, will rise from the ashes and again point its spiers to the sky.

Wonderful wooden Beauty!

The Church of St. Archangel Michael in Kraynykovo was built in 1668. According to the chronology of the age, it comes after the church in Steblivka, which was burned down and is now in ruins, which dates back to 1643. The dimensions and spatial solution of this representative of Marmaros Gothic style in Kraynikovo are really impressive! As in all Gothic temples, here the content is directed upwards. The height of the church is impressive - 25 meters. The temple was built from oak logs. So now the temple stands in surrounded by hundred-year-old peers of the church - old silent oaks

Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Sokyrnytsia

The Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker is a wooden Gothic masterpiece in Sokyrnytsia village, Khut district. The outside walls of the church are decorated with a collection of wooden crosses. This temple was assembled in Sokyrynytsia in 1704. it was bought, probably for salt, from another village and moved to Skorynytsia.

The temple was damaged by the Soviet activists. The church property was stolen, and the wall paintings were almost destroyed by fungus, as the walls were covered with chipboard. The temple was in a state of disrepair, the roof leaked due to the rains, which greatly damaged the building inside; (Sometimes, very rarely, services are still held here.

Church of Saint Paraskevi of Iconium (as know like Paraskeva Pyatnytsia). Oleksandrivka

Another pearl of the Marmuresh Gothic is located in the Oleksandrivka village (former Shandrovo). This wooden Gothic Beauty, unlike her other sisters, does not hide among the trees. It organically fits into the landscape of the village. Amazingly, some paintings and, most importantly, the iconostasis survived in the church. The faces of the saints from icons looks at the rare visitor.

In 2018, the wooden church in Oleksandrivka was recognized as a cultural heritage object of national importance. Despite its significant distance, the Gothic Church is well worth a visit!

The highest

Another architectural landmark of national significance - a representative of Marmaros Gothic - the church of St. Nicholas was located in Danylovo . It was built in 1779. It is said to be that it is the tallest among all four churches. Its height with the spire is 35 meters. Unfortunately, this temple was (I don't know how it is now) in a state of disrepair. The roof was replaced with a new one in 2004-2005, and the wood shingles were replaced at the same time.

A great video of some wooden Gothic churches of Transcarpathia from the cool project In this video, you can see these beautiful Marmuresh Gothic churches from the sky as seen by birds, and how we can only see them from quadcopters.

We can observe some Gothic elements in other churches and belfries of Transcarpathia. Also, I think it is important to tell about them. But it is impossible to miss the smallest among the temples of this architecture style.

Especial - because it is the smallest

Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Novoselytsia , Vynogradivskyi district was built in 1654-1656. It is the smallest of all Gothic wooden churches in Transcarpathia. But it is one of those rare temples where wall paintings have been preserved. Now a museum is opened in the former church. In order to get inside, you should to contact to its director - Ms. Natalya Vamosh. The history and photos of the interior of the church are well presented on the page ((In Ukrainian language) about the church in Novoselytsa of the author's website of Olena Krushinska "Wooden Churches of Ukraine"

Gothic wooden belltower

A unique belltower

It will be wrong to miss the wooden belfry-tower near the brick Gothic Reformed church of the 15th century in the village of Chetfalva (Csetfalva in Magyar).

Wooden belltower was built in 1753 in the Marmarosh Gothic style, at the time when the temple was being rebuilt. This tower is also unique because it is built in proportion to one to one - the height of the tower is equal to the height of its spire!

The Reformed Church in Bene is an architectural landmark of national importance. This temple was built in the 15th century!

Fortunately, the restoration of 2001-2004 restored the original sight of the bell tower - a spire with four phials, a balustrade and a gallery. And the sheet metal, which covered the temple since the beginning of the 20th century, was replaced with a real wood shingle covering.

An interesting temple has been preserved in Palad-Komarivtsi. It is a unique example of provincial Gothic architecture in Transcarpathia An already familiar Gothic wooden decoration of the stone belfry attracts our attention. Belltower was built into the church as a result of the reconstruction in 1729. So, I haven't been here yet, I'm posting a photo from Wiki. I hope I see it soon as possible

Another representative of the Gothic architecture of Transcarpathia is the majestic bell tower of the 18th century in Geten (see the photo at the link) Definitely it is the architectural dominant of the village. Bell tower is situated near a modest temple, and it attracts the main attention. Wooden bell tower has the already familiar elements of a Gothic spire surrounded by four small phials.

Maybe you have fond some mistakes, or have some remarks, or want to add something for the article. You can send all your comments and suggestions to the mail, or write a message to the page of the "Architectural and natural monuments of Ukraine" website on Facebook. Thank you.