The wooden churches of Maramures: the church from Ieud
Considered one of the oldest wooden churches in Europe the Church from Ieud was built by local noble family Balea. More recent studies have revealed that the church was built in 1628 and surprisingly survived the Tartaric attacks during the 18th century while entire villages were burnt. This small church that locals call “the church on the hill” has the typical architectural style of Maramureş wooden churches. Besides that, there is the high tower specific to the late gothic style, but also bearing significant Orthodox influences. The amazing murals were made directly on wood by unknown artists and are fortunately well-preserved even to this day.
Under the rooftop of this church, the codex of Ieud was found in 1921, featuring a very old writing in the Romanian language. Today it is kept in the archives of the Romanian Academy in Bucharest. The manuscript was dated by some researchers back in the 16th century. However, other researchers believe that the manuscript dates back a much longer time ago – from 1391. Before, even, to the letter of the boyar Neacşu from Cîmpulung, the first known Romanian writing yet. The Interior paintings of this church form a great example of post-Byzantine mural paintings from Maramures and depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Inside the church, there are also old wooden icons. A priceless collection of icons painted on glass, carpets, and towels with geometric motifs, painted with vegetal and mineral colorants and books of big value. All from the XVI-XVII centuries.
Interesting facts about wooden churches from Ieud
There is also a lower church of Ieud. This one was erected in 1718, just after the last raid of the Tatars. It is one of the largest wooden buildings in Romania. For this particular reason, it is called by some people “the wooden cathedral”, which gives it a sort of special grandeur. The church preserves a rich collection of icons on glass originating from Nicula and other Transylvanian painting centers.