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Photo: Nicu Farcas, Wikipedia
Photo: Nicu Farcas, Wikipedia

Alba County has a rich heritage of wooden churches, remarkable for their traditional architecture. These churches have valuable interior paintings and decorations and they deserve to be recorded as characteristic elements of Romanian religious art. One of these churches is Lupsa Monastery.

Lupsa is a village situated on the road Abrud-Campeni-Turda and it is home to one of the oldest monastic establishments of Transylvania, the Lupsa Monastery. The large and green yard has a stone alley that leads the visitors to the little church that seems taken out of a fairy tale.

The settlement has played initially an important spiritual role in the area because the monks had for decades a strong connection with other old monastic communities from the northern side of Maramures and Moldova, from where they brought books for their religious services.

The construction of the wooden church of Lupsa began around 1421. In the mid eighteenth century, the monastery had only a few reclusive monks and they were wisely guided by Abbot Procopius. A few years later, the monastery was dissolved and the monks were banished by the Habsburg regime. The history of this religious settlement had another turning point in the XVIIIth century, when the church was in danger of being demolished, but in the end the Monastery was declared a historic monument and saved. The church was used by both Orthodox and Greek Catholics believers. 

Hundreds of years ago the Romanians were forbidden by their overlords to build churches in stone so that they will not last for ages. Thus they started to use wood to build their churches. Built of oak, Lupsa Monastery is dedicated to the “Great Holy Hierarch Nicholas” and is considered to be the oldest and the best preserved wooden church in Transylvania. Lately, next to the church, other administrative buildings has been built: cells for the monks, a dining hall and a kitchen. Lupsa Monastery was and still is a lively place and between its walls, before 1820, functioned a school where young priests and religious singers were trained by monks. 

The nearby people took advantage of this practice, because, along with the church school, they had the opportunity to take advantage of its glass painting workshops.
Tourist, pilgrim, or wanderer – start a journey from which you may come back with more questions than answers.

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