HOTENI wooden church, near Ocna Sugatag, Maramures County, Romania

Hoteni wooden church, general view
Hoteni wooden church, general view

The settlement was recorded in 1360, the same year as Cracesti, Harnicesti, Sat Sugatag and others. The wooden church was brought from Slatina, a settlement on the other bank of Tisa River, in 1895.

The church was originally built in Slatina in 1657. The construction is similar to the other ones in Maramures. It has an overlapped roof placed on a corona that lacks the brackets found on others. The watchtower gallery in the bell-tower is extended from it, and surrounded by a parapet covered by metal plates. The balcony has eight simple arcades. The classic spire is also covered by metal plates.

The church is notable because the frames of the entrance door are undecorated n this case,

Hoteni wooden church, detail
Hoteni wooden church, detail

and the vault of the nave that is trapezoidal, not semi-cylindrical. These are features show that the church is very old and of a style from an earlier time.

The inside painting has been almost entirely deteriorated. We can still observe that the space was divided in rectangular panels, filled with floral motifs, separated by vegetal friezes that became spirals. These patterns were present on the vault too. The expected epic religious stories, belonging to the Byzantine style are missing. The spaces were later covered by icons painted on cloth. Unfortunately they do not have any great artistic value.

This unique approach – the prevalence of the vegetal motifs over the epic stories- cannot be found in any other Orthodox wooden church.

Hoteni wooden church, detail
Hoteni wooden church, detail

The lconostasis is covered by icons of modest artistic value that create a solemn and elegant atmosphere by their richly carved frames.

Two wooden icons painted on a golden background picture Jesus, and The Holy Mother with The Child, are worth mentioning. They belong to the older period of the church.

The church underwent many changes over the years. The most important one was in 1940, when the nave was extended to the west and the parapet of the watchtower and the spire were covered with galvanized plate. This intervention sadly affects the original beauty of the construction.


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