The wooden church "The birth of the Virgin Mary" from Ieud Deal

Biserica de lemn / Obiective turistice


Ieud, Romania


The ancient hearth of human habitation, Iza Valley, is home to several villages whose history is lost in the mists of time. The village of Ieud was part of the domain of Bogdan from Cuhea, the legendary Maramureș voivode who, by conquering the lands east of the Carpathians and declaring independence from the Kingdom of Hungary, later became the founding Prince of Moldavia. According to legend, the Church of Ieud Deal, dedicated to the Birth of the Virgin Mary, was erected in the second half of the 14th century, but recent research dates it to the beginning of the 17th century. Built of fir wood, the monument is a testament, centuries later, of the mastery of carpenters in this region.

The layout of the church was adapted to the needs of the Orthodox Christian cult, being composed of three rooms: narthex, nave and altar.

The access inside the place of worship is made from the west, through a portal without decoration, recurrent at the entrance to the nave. Natural light penetrates the monument through small pentagonal windows. With only four pentagonal openings, the narthex is dark. The nave, however, enjoys more sunlight, coming from its twelve windows, six placed on each side: three at the lower level and three at the upper one.

Above the narthex rises the famous Maramureș bell tower. Unique architectural solution for wooden constructions, the steeple supports a turret covered by a square-shaped coif with a square base, which points to the sky, defying the law of gravity, reminiscent of the audacious forms of European Gothic.

The mural painting and the icons dating back to the 18th century give a special value to this monument. The church was painted in 1782 by Alexandru Ponehalschi, one of the most important representatives of the post-Byzantine current in Maramureş at that time. An original element of the Maramureș iconography is represented by the scenes in the nave of this place of worship, which capture the themes of conversion and baptism. It is about the baptism by Deacon Philip of a great Ethiopian ruler and the conversion of the Holy Apostle Paul.

A true temple of the ancestral faith and culture, the church in Ieud preserved among its beams one of the oldest manuscripts in Romanian, also known as the "Codex of Ieud". The manuscript currently enriches the collection of the library of the Romanian Academy with its pages, full of spirituality and history.

*Photo credit: CJCPCT „Liviu Borlan” Maramureș, Rada Pavel


  • Patrimoniu UNESCO

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