"St. Nicholas" Church - Ungureni
Monastery / Church
Str. Ana Ipătescu 100, Craiova, Romania
The "St. Nicholas" Church - Ungureni is a historical monument representative of the local cultural heritage, registered in the List of Historical Monuments 2015 of Dolj County at no. 207, code DJ-II-m-B-08017, with the name " St. Nicholas " Church - Ungureni, Craiova municipality, Dolj county, dating the end of the XVIIIth century, ref. 1774-1780. The church is located in the southern part of the city, at the intersection between Calea Caracălului and Ana Ipătescu Street, near the Ungureni cemetery, not far from Romanescu Park. It is over 200 years old, being built around 1774-1780, on the site of an old wooden church.
Once upon a time, in the area near the church, the persecuted shepherds from Transylvania came to sell their sheep to the slaughterhouses in the area. At the southern edge of the fortress, a real tannery was born, being the most sought after place for those who wanted to buy sheepskin. The stream that crossed the area took the name of the Tăbăcarilor stream, and the slum became Ungureni, after the groups of Transylvanian shepherds who came down here with their flocks.
The names of the Ungureni church and the cemetery next to it have a common history, there are unwritten arguments that link them to the identity of a shepherd who stopped here with his flocks.
According to a local legend, the Transylvanian shepherd (Ungureanul, as he was known by the locals) stopped with his flocks at the edge of the fortress. He was the first of the shepherds to settle in this area. Feeling the need for a place where his knees could bow for prayer, Ungureanul shepherd would have built here, at his own expense, a beautiful wooden church, the inscription clearly showing this: “Because of foreign bondage, the shepherd fled on roads known only to him, he arrived here and as a gratitude he built this church from the ground up. "The new foundation was dedicated to" Saint Nicholas ", but according to legend, everyone knows it as Ungureni, "of the Ungurean" or "of the Ungurel".
"St. Nicholas" Church is a relatively large building, taking into account the period in which it was built: 20.85 m long by 11.88 m wide next to the narthex. The ship-type building, without apses, but with an addition that houses an interior staircase that provides access to the former bell tower, is typically divided into an Orthodox church, with an open porch, narthex, nave and altar.
The rectangular porch has to the west an arch with five beams with arches in the center, supported on six masonry brick columns full dating back long ago. On the northern and southern sides it has a bay, with a column engaged in masonry. The vault is made with two domes supported by a median arch and two "port-a-faux" side arches.
The rectangular narthex, arranged transversely to the church, has internal dimensions of 6.42 x 4.27 m and a maximum free height of 7.20 m in key, the vault being a dome supported by four "port-a-faux" arches equal two by two. The bell tower above the narthex has a square plan, being provided on all four sides with large gaps closed with "abat-son" carpentry.
The nave, having the shape of a central square, has two windows to the north and south and is covered with a generous dome supported by four wide arches, of small proportions, marked in plan by four masonry legs attached to the walls.
The elliptical altar inside is vaulted with an elliptical semi-dome, with a maximum turnkey height of 6.90 m. In the axis of the church is located the window hollow, and to the south there is an access door.
The interior painting of the church is a fresco mural, made in 1864, executed by painters from the post-Brancoveanu era, the last intervention being that of 1984, when the tempera works from 1948-1950 were removed. The painting style is an astonished style: ascetic figures in very dark colors.
During 2018-2021, works were carried out to consolidate the historical monument, restoration and conservation works of architectural elements and interior mural painting, equipping / restoring the installations, as well as exterior works for the enhancement of the monument consisting of land systematization, landscaping alleys, green spaces and architectural lighting.
The project "Consolidation, restoration and enhancement of the church" Saint Nicholas "- Ungureni", SMIS code: 119853, made it possible to render to the general public an objective of cultural heritage, namely the Church "St. Nicholas" - Ungureni, restored, preserved and properly arranged in order to perform adequate functions, compatible with the status of historical monument, so that it can fulfil its cultural, social and educational mission.