St. Nicholas Church in Densuş
A building whose story has not yet been fully deciphered.
The church in Densuș has a story which has not been fully deciphered. Both the origin and the date of the construction of the church have been the object of many controversies.
Some believe that it was a Roman temple dedicated to the god Mars, turned into a church in the 12th-13th centuries. Others claim that in antiquity it was the mausoleum of the Roman general Longinus Maximus, whose wife discovered the Cristian faith and set up, in place of the mausoleum, the first church north of the Danube.
Today, the church has an unusual aspect, being a mixture of styles and materials. Some windows are in fact parts of ancient Roman sewerage works, the walls are supported by columns, the altarpiece is the top of a tombstone, the lions on the roof were Roman statues, and the massive stones in the wall retain ancient carvings.
One can even see, in its old walls, parts of the Roman ruins from Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa: Roman bricks, columns, stones with ancient inscriptions or even statues. Inside there is another unique feature: on the icon of the Holy Trinity, Christ is shown wearing Romanian folk costume.
Densuș Church is one of the most important tourist attractions in the region. Its unique character and the fact that it serves as a village church make it a must-see.
It was built in the Cistercian style of the late Romanesque era.
Like all Cistercian churches, it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is a simple construction of impressive size, being the largest medieval church in Țara Hațegului.
At the beginning the church had ten murals depicting the symbol of the cross. Along with the confessional changes of the community, it became orthodox and was repainted in a style that combines byzantine and western elements. Later, being transformed into a reformed church, the murals were limewashed.
At present the frescoes have been brought to light and are considered to be some of the finest medieval paintings in our country. In places the byzantine frescoes have not been preserved, revealing older layers of paiting.
Ostrovul Mare Church
It has the most representative and best preserved medieval bell tower in Țara Hațegului.
Ostrov Church has the most representative and best preserved medieval bell tower in Țara Hațegului: with windows in gothic style and hand-carved corners in massive stone.
The mural painting from the bell tower is also very beautiful – for its artistic qualities it is considered to be one of the most valuable paintings from medieval Romania.
The church has an unusual “fence”. This is nothing else but a collection of Roman stones scattered around the church. It is said that these massive carved stones come from the ruins of ancient Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa and were brought here in the Middle Ages by one of the local noblemen.
It is a country church built in medieval style.
Although it was raised later, during the modern era, the craftsmen who built it preserved the tradition of medieval churches in the area.
Local legends have it that the church was erected by a family of thieves who decided to turn to faith and thanked God in this way for showing them the right path. The name of the family was Pârvești, which is why the church bears the same name.
The charm of this country church is given by the wooden roof, the asymmetric finishing of the windows and the geometrical figures painted with a trembling brush on the outside of the belfry tower.
It is a medieval building with a simple shape and few decorative details.
What is really impressive is the fact that within the walls of the church were incorporated fragments of the Roman ruins nearby.
The most remarkable of these Roman stones is the marble altarpiece from the entrance to the church. It is believed to have been brought from a Roman temple.
From the Latin inscription on the altarpiece we find an interesting story. It seems it had been dedicated to Silvanus, the Roman god of woods, and it was erected by an administrator from Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, to express his gratitude for being promoted.
The monastery had a fortified tower, where the monks kept precious objects and took refuge in case of danger.
During the Middle Ages, Colț Monastery was not a mere place of worhip. Pillagesand plunders were order of the day in those times, which is why it had a fortified tower where the monks kept precious objects and took refuge in case of danger.
The tower had over one-metre thick walls and narrow windows which allowed the monks to shoot without being shot at in turn.
Today, the only remnants of Colț Monastery are the ruins of the tower and the tales of those who had some connection with the place. One of these is the story of its founder who is said to have been buried in the monastery church and whose relics are said to be holy.
It was built in the style of the monasteries in Wallachia.
Although it is located in Transylvania, Prislop Monastery was built in Wallachian style. How come?
The story goes that Princess Zamfira, the daughter of a Wallachian voivode, being seriously ill, came to the monastery, drank from the water of a spring and recovered her health. As a sign of gratitude, she had the monastery rebuilt and lived here for the rest of her life.
Later on, the one who brought fame to the monastery was Arsenie Boca, the Wise Father. It is said that people from all the corners of the country sought him for advice and to listen to his teachings. Even today many believers come to the monastery to pray at his grave.