The church in Plopiş was built later than the other Maramureş churces on UNESCO's list. It also has more modest dimensions, because the village that raised this place of worship only numbered 200 souls at the time of the foundation. However, this oak-built church, dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel, has several features that bestow upon it the look of a true architectural gem. Although the mural painting has only been preserved in fragments, there are remarkable exterior decorations carved meticulously in wood by the local people who were famous sculptors of dowry chests. Construction of the church began in 1796 and was finalized two years later. However, the place of worship was not to be sanctified until 1811, when the locals raised enough money to pay for work of artist Stephen the Painter from Şişeşti. There were 49 founding families, mentioned in the inscription of the church, and each had symbolically placed one coin on the foundation of the church. The church is exceptionally well proportioned, even if its size is modest. The length is 17 metres, with a width of 7 metres and a height of 4.7 metres. The church is rectangular, and the apse is unhooked and has a polygonal shape. The nave has a three-lobed shape.
It is the only nave in Maramureş on UNESCO's list of wooden churches with this shape. The painting on the nave's vault depicts the Trinity, but also scenes from the Passion's Cycle or the Apocalypse. The division of the church has the three classical rooms: narthex, nave and altar. In 1901, when the church had undergone general repairs, the locals added a porch.
The wonderful wood carvings
The finest elements of the church in Plopiş are the wood carvings. The exterior of the church is lavishly decorated. The facades have windows with braces arranged in two rows. Also, on the facade we find a semi-circular section of timber belts. The cornice is highlighted by a denticulate frieze shaped like a dovetail.
The consoles of the roof have endings in steps. The porch has a fretted railing, of great beauty, as well as well-crafted arcades. The belfry tower is partly raised above the narthex and partly above the porch. The four towers that were added show that this village had its own jurisdiction, which they had a Council of Elders who could serve as court, as a result of aristocratic privileges of the inhabitants of the village; it was a community that provided contingents for the garrison of the Chioar Fortress.
Travel info: The distance Bucharest - Plopiş is 584 km and from Cluj-Napoca to Plopiş it is 141 kilometres.
Photo: George Trandafir, [url=http://]www.touringromania.com[/url]