16 rare wooden churches from the Carpathians

In 2013, the UNESCO selected sixteen historical Wooden Tserkvas (as these peculiar churches are called), as new world heritage sites. Eight are on Polish territory and other eight in Ukraine. Their architecture, cultural environment and features are unique compared to other remarkable wooden churches like Kizhi in Russia, or the ones in Southern Lesser Poland.

These tserkvas were built between the 16th and 19th centuries to serve the Eastern Orthodox and Greek Catholic faiths, and were made from the timber of the great forests which covered most lands in Europe at that time. The location of most of them in remote rural villages in the Carpathian Region, between Poland and Ukraine, helped them to survive centuries of plundering and fire.

You can find a map with the location of the 16 Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region at the end of the post:

Wooden Tserkvas
The next 8 pictures, including this one from St. Michael the Archangel, Turzańsk (1803), are from Tserkvas located in Poland. Image by Hejma


Wooden tserkvas of Carpathian region
Virgin Mary's Care Tserkva, Owczary. Built in 1653 and refurbished several times until it got this elegant look.
Image by Henryk Bielamowicz


Wooden Tserkvas Poland
Tserkva of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Chotyniec, 1615, with the domes on octagonal drums.
Image by Paweł Mazurkiewicz


Wooden Tserkvas Carpathians
Inside St. James the Less Tserkva, Powroźnik. It existed since 1600, but from the original building is preserved only one part in the present church. Image by Mik Krakow


Wooden churches Carpathians
St. Michael the Archangel Tserkva, Smolnik. Rebuilt in 1791 after a Tartar invasion burned it down.
Image by Tomasz Bienias


Wooden churches UNESCO
The bell tower of the Tserkva of St. Paraskevia, Radruż, 16th century.
Image by Wlado


Tserkvas Poland
In this picture you can appreciate the size of the church of St. Michael the Archangel, Brunary, 17th century.
Image by Jerzy Strzelecki


Wooden churches Poland
Tserkva of St. Paraskevia, Kwiatoń (17th century), still in Poland.
Image by Pabbloz


Wooden Tserkvas Ukraine
We cross to the other side of the border; the next eight tservas are located in Ukraine. Holy Trinity Church, Zhovkva, 1720.
Image by Sergius Krinitchaya


Wooden churches Ukraine
Descent of the Holy Spirit Church, Potelych. Built in 1502, this is the oldest tserkva of the list.
Image by Ільницький Віталій


Wooden Tserkvas Ukraine Carpathians
St. George's Church, Drohobych. Built in the second half of the 17th c., it looks like a medieval ship on dry land.
Image by Роман Тустановський


Tserkvas Ukraine
The Church of Ascension of Our Lord, Yasynia (1824), with its bell tower at the left.
Image by Elke Wetzig


Wooden Tserkvas UNESCO
The curious St. Dmytro's Church, Matkiv (1838). It features five sloping sections and helmet-shaped domes.
Image by Robert Vystrčil


Wooden Tserkvas Carpathian Region
An old image from the Descent of the Holy Spirit Church, Rohatyn (beginning of the 16th century).
Image by Валерій Ящишин


Wooden tserkvas world heritage
The small but cute Church of St. Archangel Mykhailo, Uzhok, 1745.
Image by Elke Wetzig


Rare wooden churches
The Church of the Nativity of B.V.M., Nyzhniy Verbizh (1808). With this metallic look, like a rocket ready for launch, it seems out of a Jules Verne novel or a comic of Tintin. Image by Тарас Возняк





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