One-piece-of-wood Monastery – among the oldest and most valuable churches in Romania

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The Monastery is located in Valcea County, on the bank of Ot?s?u River, Frânce?ti commune. The church is mostly famous due to the legends around it and it is the only one ever built after a solitary man found an icon inside of an oak tree. The name of the monastery comes from the fact the church was built from a whole oak tree.

According to an old local tradition, the monastery was built from the trunk of a single secular oak, in whose cavity was found the icon of Virgin Mary. Built right on the oak’s place, probably in the middle of the 16th century, the wooden church is made from thick logs completed in a dovetail.

The church from the 16th century was not preserved in its original place. It was moved because Matei Voievod wanted to build a stone church on the exact place where the oak tree was. The Virgin Mary icon is linked to this holy monastic settlement and it is preserved very religiously. It has impressive dimensions being 1.50 meters high and 1.10 meters wide. The first document bearing the name of monastic settlement is dated April 20, 1635. There are three other similar icons in the world:  in Moscow, Istanbul and Jerusalem.

For the first time in Romania, specialists decided to protect the icon from the microclimate, humidity variations and other degradation factors by fitting it into a show case designed by an Italian company which has developed a similar system for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and for other important museums in the world.

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