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     Built at the turn of the XVII and XVIII century, the monastery church of Baia de Arama reflects the stylistic traits of cultural and artistic flowering period during the reign of Matei Basarab (1632-1654), following an artistic movement that made the Romanian Country architecture to evolve towards new directions and visions of the era of Brancoveanu.

    According to local tradition, the ancient monastic settlement (initially was monastery) dates back to the 1400s, from the time of St. Nicodemus of Tismana. A 1672 document mentions abbot Eugene of the monastery Hilandar on Mount Athos.

    On the place of the wooden church was built the present building, at the end of the seventeenth century, during the abbot Vasile Archimandrite from Hilandar, at the urging of Prince Constantin Brancoveanu, who between 9 and 12 June 1695 during his transition from Cerneţi to Tismana conceded, and supported the building of a place of worship (ruler gives 300 thalers for the benefit of the church).

     The true founders may be considered Milco Băiaşul, miners' foreman from the village, Serbian origin - who had asked the ruler to put the cornerstone of the new church in remembrance of his son, Milco - and the Great Ban of Craiova, Cornea Brăiloiu, relative of Constantin Brancoveanu, who would support the work on behalf of the prince. Because of the Turkish incursions, the construction started later, on May 22, 1699 and ended on 7 May 1703 when the church sanctification occurs. Edifying itself lasted only one year, as certain painter Ivan signed on the plastered outside in 1700. Around this period also took place the pictorial decoration of the worship sanctuary by the renowned painter and monk Neagoe and  hieromonk Partenie of Tismana.

         The church is built of brick and pieces of slag from the smelters of the copper mines. Enclosing wall probably dates from the same time with the church, originally being made of stone binded with mortar of lime, mixed with soil.


From the architectural point of view, the church corresponds to the type of artistic creation which aims at renewing trends era by promoting decorating European values, while preserving traditional forms.

The simple architecture of the church combines the style of the era of Matei Basarab, belonging to the seventeenth century, characterized by an imposing construction, with the bell tower on the narthex, on columns of circular brick and the bell tower staircase on the north wall, with Brancovenian style of the eighteenth century, the novelty being the porch supported by columns in the arcade, and also a carved iconostasis. The church is built of burnt bricks fine, alternating at times with cinder blocks bronze and economic hard material that goes into many walls in the village.

The porch is open, supported by ten massive brick columns and trilobite arches. The vaulting is composed of a hemispherical dome which is supported on two side edges. Access is on the main beam of the porch and on the south side. The porch is rectangular on the full width of the church, having five porches in front, two on north and one on the south, all horseshoe shaped and each of them being united by an oak lance pole. They rely on ten columns, including the two engaged in the wall. The columns are placed on a massive pedestal stopped at the front entrance and on the south side.

      Rectangular narthex is covered with a brick cupolas, based on two side arches, supported by consoles. East-west wide arches are not extended on one plane to the north and south walls, but are strengthened only on the side of the cap over a width of 60 cm, their sides being at a higher level.

    The square bell tower opens above the narthex, having two alcoves on each side, in arcades with semicircles each of them being united by an oak lance pole. The access door to the bell tower staircase is in the northwest corner. The staircase is designed on the northern wall, thicker set. Between the nave and narthex there is a wall filled with an arched opening in the middle.

             Very nice interior decoration complements the value of the entire monument. The original painting starts from the porch to the altar in the fresco technique, being integrally preserved and it’s specific to the inner decorations at end of the seventeenth century, early nineteenth century within the Romanian territory between the Carpathians and the Danube, when a series of buildings with religious destainations bears the mark of renowned regional artists, as are Neagoe and hieromonk Partenie of the Monastery Tismana.

          Portrait art is highlighted by the Serb Saints: Pious Saints Simeon and Sava (1200; 1235), father and son, former rulers of Serbia, Stefan Dusan (1308-1355), Holy Martyrs Chiric (age 3) and his mother Iulita, painted at the request of Archimandrite Basil's and Milco. Subjects as Sava and Simeon Saints, St. Nicodemus, the babe lying on the disc are inspired by the painting in Hilandar Monastery, also revealing external influences on the traditional pictorial canon specific to the artistic Romanian fund that crystallized until that time. Thus, the great Serbian ruler Stefan Dusan’s portrait (1331-1355) which is in the narthex, like the one from Hilandar Monastery, seems to be the only one in the country. The veneration of the founders Milco Baiasul and Archimandrite Vasile for the national hero of their country of origin is expressed throughout the artistic way of making the portrait. The votive paintings are also specific to the Brancovenian style.



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