Restauration des fresques de Ursi en Roumanie

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The restoration of the frescoes of the Ursi Wood Church in Romania is the last long-awaited step in a 9-year restoration cycle since the collapse of the choir's nave.

the ursi wooden church


On June 12, 2010 in Romania, the vault of the altar of the wooden church of "The Good News" of Urşi village, in the county of Vâlcea (1784) collapsed, because the roof, the structure the foundations and fragile murals and frescoes had very serious problems.

This delightful church is located on the southern slopes of the Carpathians in Romania and was built between 1757 and 1784, founded by Ion Danciu and Pop Costantin. It is close to Horesu, one of the most beautiful monasteries in Romania. Romania is part of the wood civilization and this small and wonderful church has many sisters in this country of forests. After a fire in 1838, the church was repaired and painted in 1843 by craftsmen Gheorghe, Nicolae and Ion, inside and out, and the quality of its frescoes is very beautiful. In this region south of the Carpathians the painters were influenced by the school of Mount Athos.The last repair of the church dates from 1943.                         


The restoration of the frescoes is the completion of a 10-year project, at the end of which the church will again welcome the faithful, especially those from the village, always close to the teams during the work in progress, and all those who will come to admire it. Since 2010, a vast restoration project is under way for the resumption of the structure and the preservation of interior and exterior frescoes. The work is done with the support of the community who wish to complete it and reopen the church for use as a place of worship, but also for sightseeing visitors. Restoration work since 2013 has been supported by the World Monuments Fund.

That is why the Romanian Order of Architects and the Pro Patrimonio Foundation, thanks to donations and important volunteer work, built a protection structure for the church, dismantled the roof and vault and started a collaboration with the conservation-restoration professor Dan Mohanu and his students in Conservation at the National University of Arts in Bucharest. A provisional consolidation of the frescoes was realized thanks to them. Architects Ştefan Bâliciand Virgil Apostol volunteered to oversee the church restoration project.          


Then the structure of the church was restored, which was quite spectacular, because the foundations had collapsed under the walls supporting the vault. So we had to lift it a meter! The foundations were remade and the church gently rested upon the new foundations. Obviously during all this process the paintings have been protected. Then the pieces of wood making up the vault and the wall of the iconostasis were repositioned after being consolidated and some replaced, then the roof of wooden tiles made on site was redone.


Rebuilding the foundations once the church is raised

A museum was dedicated to this beautiful little church and inaugurated in 2014 during the World Monument Fund's annual Watch Day. It is located in a kindergarten room of the village and contains damaged objects, photos of restoration works, explanations on the technique, painting and the value of the church. In the example of Urşi, one of our successful projects, the local priest and the mayor have given great support.                     

            URSI 2

 On stilts ! And under protection. 

Ursi 5

Completion of the roof. The wood is still clear.


Here is the church now, with its wooden tiles that have already weathered. The church awaits the restaurers.


The proceeds will be used to finance the completion of the restoration of the frescoes which will be the end of a 9-year project.

Some of these frescoes and paintings have disappeared, inside or outside and it is not planned to fill the missing parts.       


It is necessary to remove the protections of Japanese paper which protected the frescoes during the building works, to reattach them one last time, then to put putty at the periphery slopes alongside the fragments. The techniques are not the same as for glue paintings (on the vault inside) and the frescoes are lime on the outside and partly lime on the inside.


It's a long and painstaking work done by professionals and coordinated by the paint conservationist Anna Chiricuta who has been leading the project from the beginning

             Ursi 7

The funding is almost entirely devoted to paying the restorers, their accommodation and obviously some materials. At this stage, there is no need for expensive and important materials, as was the case when cutting oaks to repair the structure. The most important is the know-how of the restorers.

The team has to be housed. On the spot a very pretty traditional house was arranged with the minimum comfort to welcome them, and they are surrounded as from the beginning by the people of the village and the town hall. They will work for four months, maybe a little more.

We need 12,000 euros, this is a minimum goal for the frescoes and re assembling the furniture.

And if this goal is reached

A second level of 20,000 euros will allow us to publish a book on the project since the beginning, because we have a lot of photos and reports. To restore these churches is also to document them, which is much lacking. And a book of this type (we have already done these) is not only a testimony but a guide for the restoration of other wooden churches.



The association Pro Patrimonio France supports the Romanian Pro Patrimonio Foundation, partner since the beginning of the project with the Romanian Order of Architects; its heritage projects are located across the country and are of different types.

One of his main actions is emergency intervention, which has been the case for this church. Itself is part of a larger project the "60 Wooden Churches" which was supported by Europa Nostra.

Cette Fondation roumaine et ses sœurs en France et en Angleterre, existent depuis 19

This Romanian Foundation and its sisters in France and England, have existed for 19 years. It collaborates with many organizations in Romania and abroad. Its main task is the restoration, preservation and enhancement of tangible and intangible Romanian heritage, damaged by 50 years of communism and almost 30 years of a chaotic and difficult exit from this regime that disappeared in 1990.

In an unfavorable economic and legal context, the Foundation restores monuments belonging to it or not, deals with the revitalization of the heritage professions, defends the national heritage against its destruction, educates the younger generations on these subjects and supports them in front of governments and the population and acts as a counsel in the field.

           Olari          Golescu

All its actions are related to the social and economic environment of the projects. Heritage without people cannot make sense, especially in a country where communist propaganda has denigrated it for 50 years, so we must reconnect with history and give it cultural and economic legitimacy, especially in further deprived areas as are Tibanesti or Olari.

In general the Foundation tries to create a small nucleus of active and interested people who will be able to generate a new life to these monuments that it tries to save and restore them to a cultural as well as an economic life. As in Ursi, so it is with his main projects.


                                    George Enesco's childhood home

All these years, the Pro Patrimonio Foundation has developed projects close to the problems of built heritage. By contributing to their inscription on the Europa Nostra alert lists and the World Monument Fund, the Foundation has helped to give international visibility to the endangered ancient gold mines of Rosia Montana, to the project of 60 wooden churches and recently to the City of Bucharest, all in great danger.                               


Pro Patrimonio is now looking to complete this 9-year program in Ursi!


You can support this project:

• - by making an online donation by credit card on this page after registration on the Dartagnans website

• - by making a bank transfer after registration on the Dartagnans website

• - by sending a cheque, on the back of which you will include your e-mail address, written in the following order "Association Pro Patrimonio France", sent to the following address:

15 rue de Milan
75009 PARIS


Donors paying taxes in France.

Your donation may be tax-exempt, as it fulfills the general conditions set out in Articles 200 and 238 bis of the General Tax Code. At the end of the collection, you will receive a tax receipt allowing you to reduce your tax:

        - In particular, you can deduct 66% of your donation up to a limit of 20% of your taxable income.

         - company, all the payments to the project allows to benefit from a reduction of corporation tax of 60% of the amount of these payments, taken within the limit of 0,5% of the turnover excluding tax of the company.


Press releases (images in support)

Institutional and private support


Thank you very much for your participation in this campaign, helping us to revive this very modest and beautiful church is very important to us. When we started this project it was a far from being a winning bet and if we win it in the end it will be thanks to you. We are waiting for you at Ursi! Thank you from our hearts.


Contact e-mail: [email protected]
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Pledge €10 or more
Or 3.4€ after tax deduction
2 donations
Personalized digital thank you
Pledge €20 or more
Or 6.8€ after tax deduction
3 donations
Details of the frescoes and the Church
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Or 17€ after tax deduction
6 donations
Jolie reproduction de détail de fresques
Details of the frescoes and the Church + previous counterpart
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Or 34€ after tax deduction
12 donations
Paper construction kit for church building + previous counterparties
This model was designed according to the architecture of the church.
Pledge €250 or more
Or 85€ after tax deduction
2 donations
History of churches and previous counterparts
This small booklet will make understandable the history and life of the believers of this part of the world, former limit of the Turkish, Germanic empires.
Pledge €500 or more
Or 170€ after tax deduction
0 donation (2 left)
1 weekend for 2 people at the House of restaurateurs, Ursi August 10-11 previous rewards.
You will be welcomed two days in the house of the restaurateurs, charming village house, will see the construction site and the restorers and we will take you to visit the splendid monastery of Horezu, decorated in the same tradition of magnificent frescoes. (accommodation + meals included, cultural visit of the Ursi church and the Hurezi monastery, UNESCO site). Travel expenses are not included.
Pledge €500 or more
Or 170€ after tax deduction
1 donation (2 left)
Stay in Ursi, 1 weekend for 2 people at the House of Restorers, Ursi August 17-18 + Previous rewards
You will be welcomed two days in the house of the restaurateurs, charming village house, will see the construction site and the restorers and we will take you to visit the splendid monastery of Horezu, decorated in the same tradition of magnificent frescoes. (accommodation + meals included, cultural visit of the Ursi church and the Hurezi monastery, UNESCO site). Travel expenses are not included.
Pledge without a reward
11 donations
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