Quick Guide to Ukrainian Architecture: Wooden Churches

Welcome to the mysterious, centuries-old world of the wooden churches of the Carpathians. All these churches are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Church of the Descent of the Holy SpiritCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

The clear air of the Carpathians, the strength of the mountains, and the echoes of originality – all of this is mingled with the silent creaking of old wooden churches and the heady scent of wood. 

The audios in the story will bring you more hidden facts about the churches.

The ancient masters invested in the amazing architecture of the Carpathian churches with a subtle sense of the connection between the "divine" and the "earthly."

They left a message for the descendants – symbols of age-old history and the identity of the Ukrainian people.

Church of Our Lord’s Ascension (1813)CFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

A fact about architectural details of the temple
00:00

1. The Church of Our Lord’s Ascension

This church, also called Strukivskiy and built in 1813, is located in Yasynia of the Rakhiv district, in the Zakarpattia region. It is one of the oldest and most well preserved churches of the hutsul type built in a cross-shaped form with a dome in the middle.

Church of Our Lord’s Ascension (1813)CFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

Details on the components of the church complex
00:00

The temple has an iconostasis, which has been there since its construction. There are also XVIII-century icons and gonfalons that date back to the beginning of the XIX century. 

One part of the church complex is an old cemetery with gravestones from different periods. 

Church of the Holy TrinityCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

Architectural details of the church
00:00

2. The Church of the Holy Trinity

Located in Zhovkva, Lvіv region, this church in Halytskyi-style is one of the most well preserved three-dome churches of the XVIII century. It is a tripartite, three tier temple where the central square tier is wider and higher than the square forechurch and the faceted chancel.

Church of the Holy TrinityCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

Insights on the uniqueness of the church’s interior and iconostasis
00:00

The nave has the main chancel, a Baroque iconostasis from the first half of the XVIII century, some benches, and a XIX century confessional room.  

The five-tier iconostasis, which has about 50 icons, was created by local artists at the beginning of the XVIII century.

Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1808)CFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

Details about the unharmed ancient icons and iconostasis of the church
00:00

3. Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built by a local craftsman Gregory Semonyukov in 1808.

This temple is an example of the well-preserved, rare five-domed churches of the Hutsul type and serves as a model for the best stage of this type’s development.

Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1808)CFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

Facts about paintings and renovations of the church's interior
00:00

Within the church, there is an iconostasis from the beginning of the XIX century, with magnificent carvings and paintings in the style of Rococo. There are also old icons in here.

The church's interior is decorated with polychrome from the end of the XX century.

Church of the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael (1746)CFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

Why the church is one of the most interesting representatives of its style
00:00

4. Church of the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael

Located in Uzhok of the Velykobereznians'kyi district in the Zakarpattia region, this wooden church is one of the most interesting constructions of the Boykivsky style, built by masters Paul Cherniev and Ivan Tsygannyk in 1746.

Church of the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael (1746)CFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

A fact about the unharmed by the passing of time elements of the church
00:00

The wide slope that encircles the entire building provides the church its compact view and creates an organic transition from the surrounding environment to the main masses of the temple, which rise up over the gallery.

Church of St. GeorgeCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

Details on how the church was changing during renovations
00:00

5. Church of St. George

As one of the best monuments of ancient Ukrainian art, this church in Drohobych, Lviv region, can be called a masterpiece of pan-European construction.

The St. George’s Church was built in the XV century and has lived through several significant renovations in the XVII century.

Church of St. GeorgeCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

Facts about the best icon of the St. George’s Church
00:00

The walls of the nave, narthex, and empiricism are covered with paintings from the XVII and the beginning of the XVIII centuries. There is also an iconostasis here from the XVII century.

Church of the Synaxis of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1838)CFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

Architectural details of the church
00:00

6. Church of the Synaxis of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In the central part of the Matkiv village, masters Ivan and Vasily Melnykovich laid the wooden Church of the Synaxis of the Blessed Virgin Mary on a hill in 1838. 

This church has taken its rightful place among the perfect monuments of Boykivsky wooden architecture.

Church of the Synaxis of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1838)CFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

The “God’s Gifts”of the church
00:00

The very high aesthetic and artistic value is confirmed not only through the architectural uniqueness of the object, but also through the cardboard murals from XIX century that decorate the church’s interior. Its iconostas, benches and altars are preserved in pristine condition.

Church of the Descent of the Holy SpiritCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

A fact about the church’s bell tower
00:00

7. The Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit

The Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit is located on a small hill at the foot of a high mountain in the central part of the village, on the right bank of the Telytsia River.

Church of the Descent of the Holy SpiritCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

The church is one of the most well preserved churches of the old Galician type in the archaic style. Its temple ensemble is composed of three parts: the church yard, a cemetery from the XIX – early XX centuries, and a cemetery from the XX – early XXI centuries.

Church of the Descent of the Holy SpiritCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

Details of the church's unique paintings
00:00

The central part, with the royal gates featuring geometric designs of the later Renaissance and two “Virgin Mary” and “Christ Pantocrator” icons of 1684, creates a sense of wholeness and perfection of the church. The artistic decoration of the iconostasis is original.

Church of the Descent of the Holy SpiritCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

A fact about ancient architectural details of the church
00:00

8. The Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit

The Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit was most likely constructed somewhere between the XV – XVI centuries and is the oldest wooden church in the territory of Ukraine.

The church has a tri-partial construction made of wooden logs and was built in the old Galician style.

Church of the Descent of the Holy SpiritCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

The unique ancient assets of the church
00:00

The temple has a Baroque iconostasis from 1650, which is a true gem and one of the oldest ones in Ukraine.

1. The Church of Our Lord’s Ascension (Yasynia) 2. The Church of the Holy Trinity (Zhovkva) 3. Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Nygnii Verbizh)

4. Church of the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael (Uzhok) 5. Church of St. George (Drohobych)

6. Church of the Synaxis of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Matkiv) 7. The Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit (Potelich) 8. The Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit (Rohatyn)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Ukraine is Here
Preserving and celebrating Ukrainian arts and culture
View theme
Google apps