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Orastie - Ortodox Church "Adormirea Maicii Domnului"

Updated: Sunday, April 29, 2012 2:53 PM

    Biserica Românească de Jos or Biserica din Drumul Ţării, located in Union Street, no. 4A, is an invaluable witness to the history of Orthodox Romanians from Orastie, but also a valuable monument of art and architecture. Its history has been written with that of the lovers of beauty, primarily spiritual, as servants of the only God, and then the material, capable of giving to the church, the holy place of prayer.

    The architecture. The church has an architectural style very common for the 18th century Transylvania, and very common within the Orthodox communities that started to build worship places in that period, in addition tootherdenominations,such as Catholicand Protestant. The type of the church is Gothic-hall (Saxon style), the altar, the nave - a specificelementinanyOrthodox church, the Iconostasis, the narthex with a bell tower, plus a small porch on the west side, at the entrance.

 

    Building materials are stone for the church body, and brick for the arches and the bell tower. A feature of the church is that its floor is about 80 centimeters lower than the ground. There can be noticed a bump of land on the northern side of the church,which would explain the fact that this place was a cemetery.

    The altar has five faces on the outside and is semicircular on the inside, with three arched windows and twonichesfrom Northto South – the Proskomedia and the Diaconicon.

    The nave and the narthex form a body separately from the altar, with ‘a Vella’ arches arranged in five bays. At theentrance there’s a wooden cafas, supported by four columns, a specific placeforthe choir(before 1900).Subsequently,on the Southside wasattached a rectangular body that serves as pangar.

    The bell tower, built on the old foundation in 1873 by German architect Richter, has a height of 35 meters with openings-arched windows arranged on four levels; the 3rd is composed of a body that’s lifted and another one that’s wrapped in sheets of metal, but smaller.

    The porch has a decorative role, but also symbolic, marking the entry into the holyabode.Architecturaldecorationissimple, with easy-profiled cornice and base. The interior fresco painting was conducted between 1977 and 1979bypainterIon Diaconuof Craiova, post-Byzantine style with an iconographic program inspired by the old erminias.

 

    The inscriptions.

    Interesting is the embedding of a stone plaque in the outside wall of the altar, apparentlyaheadstonewith two inscriptions: in Slavonic (undecipherable) and in Latin.The second states two years 1701 and1705;most certainlythe church was built after that date, or rather, increased where the altar stands (Munteanu, Mircea, The OldOrthodoxChurch...).The inscription at the entrance is more recent and was written above the main door, on completion of the beautification of the church, with a brief history.

    The Iconostasis, or the altar screen, is a remarkable piece of work in the Baroque style, iconic for the second half of the 18th century and the second half of the 19th century, which was done after the altar has apparently burned down around the year 1800. It even has the the following inscription: "August 1811, Ioana Novakobgici, painter" – probably anitinerantSerbian painter, alongsideMacedonianpainter Tatartzy Tyra.Richly decorated with carved wood and gilded in autorelief, with volutes, floral, vegetal, and geometric motifs, and decorative medallions, it’s divided into four registers, defining the icons.

    The mobile assets of the church also include an impressive chandelier from 1784 and two candle sticks, bothdated1850.

   The church and the cemetery were surrounded by an enclosure wall in 1896, in completion to the one started in 1847 by the people of the city and in 1866 by Spiridon Tatartzy and Vasiliu Gorog, which got partially destroyed over time.

    In the church yard the are several stone crosses belonging to the Romanian-Macedonians that helped the church, of which we recall Kirra Tatartzy, his wife Zoica and Sofia Tatartzy, "widow after Görög". Near the wall there is another interesting stone cross, with symbolic motifs, belonging to Mary Suster (1800).

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