Dragomireşti Church, Maramureş

The Tatar invasion of Transylvania in 1717 was a diversion of the Ottoman sultan Ahmed II initiated as a response to the offensive of the Habsburg Emperor Charles VI. Although defeated, the retreating Tatars burned a series of Maramureș villages, thus destroying, among others, the old house of worship from Dragomirești. In its place, in 1722 the church with the dedication “The Dormition of the Mother of God” was built, the one that was donated lately, in 1936, to the Royal Cultural Foundation “Prince Carol” to be part of the Romanian Village Museum.
Belonging to the hall churches, from the typological point of view, the church has a rectangular plan closed on a five sided apse. The house of worship raises on a low river stone base, has the walls made of spruce wood beams, placed horizontally and interlocked in dovetail joints, and a roof made of worked shingles. To raise the church, the carpenter masters used the same techniques as for the houses and annexes in the peasant household, thus giving an exceptional style unity to the architecture of the region.
The interior space of the church is divided according to the Eastern Rite Christian cult: altar, naos, pronaos and porch. Each of the spaces also bears a local name, conferred by the symbolic attribution of each one: pronaos - "women's church", naos - "men's church". The altar, the space where the priest officiates, is separated from the naos by a richly carved pediment decorated with icons painted on wood, and between the pronaos and the naos, symmetrical to the door, the wall has two lateral openings equipped with wrought iron grills in the shape of crosses . The walls are painted inside by local painters who respected church canons in the altar and nave, through scenes that reflect the people's beliefs related to the two posthumous destinations (happiness in Heaven and torments in Hell), but also preserving various aspects of social and political life of the time, elements from local architecture, work scenes (Last Judgment) or clothing specific to Maramureș.The interior space of the church is partitioned according to the eastern Christian cult: altar, nave, narthex, and porch. Each of the spaces carries a local name, given by its symbolic assignment: the narthex – “the women's church”, the nave – “the men's church”. The altar, the space where officiates the priest, is separated from the nave by an iconostasis that is richly sculpted and adorned with icons painted on wood, while the wall between the narthex and nave has two lateral openings with wrought-iron grates in shape of crosses. The walls are painted inside by local painters who, in the altar and the nave, abided by the church canons, through scenes that reflect the popular beliefs on the two posthumous destinations (the happiness in Heaven and the torment in Hell), yet preserving various aspects in the social and political life at that time, elements of local architecture, work scenes (the Last Judgment) or Maramureș specific apparels.
From the artistic point of view, one can note the decorative elements of the open porch with carved pillars, linked through elegant arches on the upper side and a fretted parapet on the lower side. The decorative roof, with steep slopes and double “lap”, forms a large eave. The bell tower, approximately 27 m high, with its slender silhouette and the crest covering the turret, is an accent whose proportions balances the volumes of the entire edifice.

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