September 1, 2016

0572-0573, 2726 ROMANIA (Maramureş) - Wooden churches of Maramureş (UNESCO WHS)

2726 Wooden churches of Maramureş: 1. Poienile Izei; 2. Şurdeşti;
3. Ieud; 4. Plopiş; 5. Bârsana; 6. Rogoz.

Posted on 24.03.2013, 01.09.2016
In the entire Carpathian area which stretching from Maramureş (Romania) to Southern Lesser Poland, through Zakarpattia (Ukraine) and Eastern Slovakia, the locals developed over time the craft of building wooden churches. This craft transcends not only the countries borders (which have changed many times throughout history) but also the ethnic affiliation and religious beliefs, such churches being built by Romanians, Ukrainians, Rusyns, Hutsuls, Slovaks and Poles, be they Orthodox, Catholics, Greek Catholics or Protestants. They represented a viable alternative for rural area of the stone churches built in cities.

0572 The wooden Church in Plopiş

UNESCO recognized the importance of these churches, including no less than four sites among World Heritage Sites: Wooden Churches of Maramureş (1999) from Romania, Wooden churches of Southern Małopolska (2003) from Poland, Wooden Churches of the Slovak part of the Carpathian Mountain Area (2008), and Wooden Tserkvas (Churches) of Carpathian Region in Ukraine and Poland (2013). All these churches are divided into three parts (the narthex, the nave, and the sanctuary) and include an iconostasis (a wall of icons). The outer shape is often cruciform, but will always include a central dome.

0573 The wooden Church in Rogoz

The historical Romanian region of Maramureş, partitioned between Romania and Sub-Carpathian Ukraine after the WWII, is situated along the upper Tisza River, covering the Maramureş Depression and the surrounding Carpathian mountains, and had autonomous traditions since the Middle Ages. Its wooden villages and churches, its traditional lifestyle and music, and the local colourful dresses still in use make Maramureş a living museum. The almost 100 wooden churches extant today (about one third of their total two centuries ago), reveal the existence during the 17th and 18th centuries of at least two main family schools of church carpenters.

All are a response to a prohibition against the erection of stone Orthodox churches. The most characteristic features are the tall, slim bell tower above the entrance, at the western end, and the massive roof that seems to dwarf the main body of the church. Eight of these churches, representing an assembly of excellent examples of different architectural solutions from different periods and areas, were listed by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, namely the ones from the villages Budeşti Josani, Deseşti, Bârsana, Poienile Izei and Ieud Deal (in historical Maramureş), Şurdeşti and Plopiş (in the old Chioar Country), and Rogoz (in Lăpuş Country).

The church in Plopiş, dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel, was built between 1796 and 1798 from beams assembled in blockbau system. It has architectural elements from the church of Şurdeşti, both being considered the achievements of the same craftsman, Ioan Macarie. Founders were the villagers, only 200 on the date of the church building, good carpenters, known for their beautiful dowry chests with that have studded the county. The bell tower rises above the narthex and partly above the porch, and has the bells chamber in the console, open, with fretted parapet, arches and a tall pyramidal roof. The four corner towers signaled that the village had a Council of Elders, with right to judgment.

The church in Rogoz, also dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel, was built in 1663, after the Tartar invasion of 1661, mentioned in the inscription at the entrance. The exterior is richly decorated with rope profile, and the eaves is supported on consoles, with endings in horse head's form. The roof is asymmetrical, to protect the "Elders' Table", located along the northern façade. Above the narthex rises the bells tower, square, with the bells chamber in the the console, open, with pillars and arches and a tall pyramidal roof.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0572
The stamp, depicting Common Lungwort, is part of the series Flora of Romania - Fauna flowers (I), about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 0573

Both stamps are part of the second series Flora of Romania - Fauna flowers, issued on January 19, 2012 (about the first series I wrote here). The four stamps, designed by Mihai Vămăşescu and Stan Pelteacu in a new illustrative manner, joining the image of the flower and the name of the beings from which their popular name derives, are:

• Alpine Forget-me-not (Eritrichium nanum L.) (0.50 RON) - It's on the postcard 0573
• Love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus L.) (0.60 RON) - It's on the postcard 0573
• Starflower (Borago officinalis L.) (1.60 RON) - It's on the postcard 0602
• Silverweed (Potentilla anserina L.) (2.00 RON) - It's on the postcard 0601

On the postcard 2726
The stamp is part of the series Brilliant Romanians, about which I wrote here.

Wooden churches of Maramureş - Wikipedia
Maramureş Wooden Churches - Romanian Monasteries 
Biserica de lemn din Plopiş - Wikipedia
Biserica de lemn Sf. Arhangheli din Rogoz - Wikipedia
Flora of Romania - Fauna flowers (II) - Romfilatelia official website

Sender 0572, 0573: Mircea Ostoia (direct swap)
0572: sent from Focşani (Vrancea / Romania), on 23.07.2012
Photo: Zanelli
0573: sent from Focşani (Vrancea / Romania), on 05.02.2013
Photo: Victor Mihalcea
Sender 2726:Eugen Mihai
Sent from Ocna Şugatag (Maramureş / Romania), on 29.08.2016
Photo: Florin Andreescu

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