Churches and monasteries

The ”Rotonda” church in Geoagiu

It is the oldest cult edifice preserved on the national territory, being from many points of view unique within the religious mediaeval architecture in Romania. The Roman chapel of Geoagiu was build of stone in the 13th century. According to the legend, the chapel was erected by the crusaders on their return from Jerusalem and it might have belonged to the nobles of the Akos family of Geoagiu. This is an extremely rare type of chapel: circular, with a dome, with thick, irregular walls, it being the only round chapel on the Romanian territory. Inside, the circular nave of the church has a diameter of 5.5 meters. A 2 m long, semi-circular apse is added to this. The Round Church was built out of Roman bricks, with thick walls, the gravel being used in small quantities. At present, it is the reformed church of the Magyar population. The church was introduced into the tourist circuits only in 2012 by means of a project funded by the EU and it can be visited alongside with another mediaeval church located in the yard of the Reformed Church Parish of Geoagiu.

The church of Streisângiorgiu-Călan

It is an orthodox church, located in the homonymous village, on the outskirts of the town of Călan. Built in the Roman style, between 1313-1314, on the spot of a wooden church dating back to 1130-1140, the church of Streisângeorgiu is one of the oldest mediaeval constructions in Transylvania and Romania, known at present and still functional. The inside preserves murals belonging to three successive stages, the initial one, dating back to 1313-1314, which was renewed in 1409 and 1743. In the 18th or 19th century, a porch was added on the West side, which was demolished during the restorations of 1970.

The church of Strei

It is located in the village of Strei, slightly away from the geographic limits of Hațeg County. The steeple, the nave and the altar seem to belong to a single construction stage. In the 15th century, a stone narthex was added to the West side, which would be renounced to towards the end of the 17th century, when a chapel belonging to the reformed church was built on the North side. This chapel would be abandoned too, by the end of the 19th century. The walls were built using pieces from the Roman epoch, some of which coming from a villa that was discovered in the vicinity of the Christian worship place. What is worth noticing, is the outer mural of which some fragments are preserved.

The church of Densuș

The church of Densuș, lies 10 km from Hațeg, and it is one of the most important tourist objectives in the region. The origin and date of construction are subject to controversy. According to some opinions, it was at first a Roman temple dedicated to God Mars, further tuned into a church, in the 12th – 13th centuries. Other opinions claim that, in Antiquity, it was a mausoleum dedicated to Roman general Longinus Maximus, whose wife discovered the Christian religion and organized the mausoleum into a church, the first of its kind North of the Danube. The church has a very unusual aspect, being a mixture of styles and materials. Some windows are, in fact, Roman sewage fittings, the walls of the church are supported by columns, the altar is the cover of a sarcophagus, the lions on the roof were Roman statues and the massif stones used for the walls show antique carvings, some of them even bearing antique inscriptions. Inside, another unique element is to be found: in the icon of the Holy Trinity, Christ is dressed up in Romanian popular costume.

The church of Sântămărie Orlea

It is a Calvin reformed church, which was initially an Orthodox one, founded by the Cândea family, at the end of the 13th century. It was built in a composite style, marking the passage from the Roman to the gothic style. It is made of a rectangular nave, a tower on the West façade and a rectangular altar cross-bowed on the pointed arch. The inside mural is very old and one can notice three strata from different stages. The inside of the church preserves several Roman architectonic pieces, whose origin is surely Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa.

The convent of Prislop

It lies 13 km from Hațeg, in the Hațeg County, in a clearing, at the altitude of 640 m, surrounded by hills that slope down to the monument. The monastery was erected in the latter half of the 14th century by Nicodim, later sanctified, considered nowadays as the re-organizer and leader of Romanian monachism at the beginning of the Middle Ages.The actual church of Prislop monastery dates back to the end of the 14th century and it was built out of stone, in a three-conical plane, with the steeple above the nave, an architectural detail that is specific to churches from Wallachia. The name of the monastery is related to the name of Saint Ioan from Prislop, who retired from the monastery some 500 m away and dug himself a hermitage into the rock, place known today as “The House of the Saint”. It is supposed that he lived here in the 15th century or in the first half of the 16th century. Also here is the grave of Father Arsenie Boca, the third founder of the monastery who designed and supervised all the construction and embellishment works done at Prislop Monastery between 1948-1988, some of which were done by him personally; lately, the monastery has become a place of pilgrimage.

The stone church of Criscior

The church was founded at the end of the 14th century. Longitudinally shaped, with a belfry tower to the west, the church preserves on the narthex walls a mural from the times of the foundation (the votive painting with the founder’s family, biblical scenes, military saints, etc.) the work of a Romanian master of the local school. It is built in a synthetic style, resulting from the merging of byzantine and gothic traditional elements, filtered through a popular vision. There are remnants of the “Final Judgment” on the exterior of the Northern wall (the 15th century). The apse was rebuilt and extended in the 19th century.

The church of Gurasada

The archeological research done between 1977 and 1984 suggested the fact that the actual place of worship is the result of at least four distinct stages of construction, extending between the 10th and the 18th centuries. The character of the edifice, ranging within the Romanic architecture, is determined by the central room, made up of four apses. Two of them are slightly prolonged, and two are semicircular, all being set in a cross shape, around a square above which a steeple is erected. The plaster of the church preserves two strata of old painting, a mediaeval one and another one, from the modern epoch, done at the order of Maria Teresa, the empress of Austria.

The church of Sânpetru

It is one of the most famous mediaeval stone churches of the Hațeg County.  The church was built in the 14th century and it is a simple construction with few decoration details. Pieces from the nearby Roman ruins were inserted in the walls of the church. The most outstanding of these Roman stones is the marble altar, placed at the entrance of the church, which seems to have been brought from a Roman temple, the inscription on the altar being dedicated to Silvanus, the Roman god  of the forests and was erected by an officer of Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, thankful for having been promoted. The outside of the church can be visited any time.

The augustan-rite evangelic church of Orăștie

The Church Fortress is located in the middle of the historic centre of the town. It is to be noticed that there are two churches, standing side by side in the same enclosure; they belong to cults that co-existed since the 16th century in this town: the Augustan-rite Evangelic (Lutheran) church and the Reformed church. The initial construction on this spot was a Roman basilica with a West tower, followed by a Gothic style basilica from the 14th century. At the end of the 14th century and beginning of the 15th was built the chorus that still exists today. Dating back to 1400 remnants of some sedilia were preserved in the South wall of the chorus.

The reformed church of Orăștie

It was built in the 13th century in Gothic style, alongside the fortress wall that surrounds the church and it has been declared a historic monument. Initially, it was a Roman-Catholic church, but in the Reform epoch, around 1560, it became a Reformed Church, just like the entire parish.

The orthodox church of Bretea

The Orthodox Church in Bretea Română is located on the road that connects Hațeg to Simeria, in the southern part of the village, near the communal road to the village of Gânțaga. Here lies the village graveyard. The date of the church’s construction is unknown, but it was probably built in the mid-18th century. In 1978, the Orthodox believers of the village purchased the deteriorating Reformed Church, which belonged to the Hungarian Reformed community, and restored it to become an Orthodox church. The old Orthodox church remained in ruins.

The reformed church of Peșteana

The construction period of the church is uncertain. It was mentioned for the first time in 1714. The two openings above the entrance to the tower could serve either for defense or to operate a retractable gate. The place of worship was maintained by a small congregation until the end of the 20th century, but by the 2000s the believers had almost completely disappeared (in the 1992 census there were only 3 reformed).

The church of the Pârvești family

It is a country church built in mediaeval style. Although erected in modern times, the craftsmen who built it preserved the tradition of mediaeval churches in the area. As local legends have it, the church was erected by a family of thieves who decided to turn to faith and they built the church in order to thank God for showing them the right way. The name of the family was Pârveşti. The charm of this country church is given by the wooden roof, by the asymmetric finishing of the windows and by the geometrical figures painted with a trembling brush on the outside of the belfry tower.

St. Nicholas church, Hunedoara

The church whose patron is St. Nicholas is the oldest in the town of Hunedoara. Located on the right bank of the Cerna river, in the vicinity of the Corvins’ castle, the church is related to the ideological dispute between bishopIoan de Caffa and Franciscan Ioan de Capistrano, resulting in the destruction of the old (probably wooden) church. In 1458 king Matia, “allows the Serbians and Wallachians ” to build a new church on the old location. The actual mural bears the inprint of the 17th century style as a result of a comprehensive restoration confirmed by the text of the rotive (1654) above the nave door.

Colț Monastery, Suseni

Colț church is located in the village of Suseni and serves as a monk’s hermitage. It was founded in the 14th century and what is outstanding is the fact that it also used to have a defensive role, due to its strategic position and the simple construction, with a high tower, reinforced with abutments. In the first half of the 17th century, the Calvinists chased the monks out of the monastery, which turned into a ruin. After the revolution of 1989, the Bishopric of Arad decided to revive monastic life at the Colț Fortress, but it was not until 1995 that the hermitage came back to life, when the first group of monks came to live here. From outside the tower one can see the Colț Fortress.

The wooden church of Luncani

The church that is included on the list of historical monuments, was built in 1803, during the office of father Petru Benedec; the little bell, cast in 1804, confirms this chronology. The walls of the edifice are plastered inside and frame the oblong space with a rectangular, recessed apse. As a result of the complex renovation of 1935-1940, which had the character of a re-founding, the inner space was enlarged up to the solid belfry-tower in line with the narthex. In 1984, the inner surface of the walls was plastered and adorned iconographically by a local painter. This was, most likely, the first foundation of the village.