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The Buried Church of Istria

The Buried Church of Istria

The Buried Church of Istria


Istria is a village located about 55 kilometers north of Constanta. The access to the village can be made through municipal road that emerges from the E87 highway, linking Constanta and Tulcea. Many of us Istria is known to us through the Histria fortress, which is located 8 kilometers from the village, on the shores of Lake Sinoe. Few of us know, however, that the town "hides" a tremendous historical and architectural treasure. It's about the Buried Church, unique in the country in terms of used architecture and construction techniques.
The monument dates from the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century, during which Dobrogea was still under Ottoman domination. More specifically, the beginnings of the beautiful place of worship starts on 1857, when thr bulgarians living in the village were given by the Ottoman authorities to build an Orthodox church. As with other Christian religious buildings constructed during this period in Dobrogea, the Bulgarian church in Istria must meet some strict rules imposed by the Ottomans. They called clear that the church is not higher than in the mosque, have no towers, is not provided with bell and outer bell form that will not indicate that there would be no Christian place of worship. Thus, it was decided to "bury" the church to create inside a much larger space without breaking the Ottoman specifications. Construction of the building were completed in 1860. The church, whose floor is 1 meter below ground was consecrated four years later, by the first patron "The holy Trinity" and "St. Nicholas".

Studying the structure of the building, it was found that the walls of the church were built with stone brought from Histria fortress walls on that time undiscovered archaeological monument yet (the city was discovered in 1914 by Vasile Parvan). In the absence towers to spread and amplify the sound, they were embedded in the walls of the church 52 Greek amphorae discovered in the harbor city of Histria. Following this engineering inventions resulted absolutely spectacular sound effects, sound is propagated as well as in a cathedral. The church ceiling is supported by six oak trunks whose heads are "supporting" the capitals of Greek columns made of Histria. The interior walls of the church have paintings, whitewashed and small holes here and there remember that there are "buried" amphorae I told you about above. The iconostasis of the church is small, but very beautiful. Made of oak, it is decorated with icons painted by Stefan Zahariev brought by the Ottoman Empire. The artist put his signature on all the icons of the church, including two frescoes on the facade of the church located on the front wall of the altar. It is amazing that the paintings were never restored, keeping its original colors today. Outside the church exhibits a harmonious blend between the Christian and oriental style. The church is painted entirely in white, and the facade is built in oriental style, with three arches.

The beauty and uniqueness of Istria's Buried Church drew attention to the Romanian authorities on February 14, 1967 when it was included the shrine of the list of the architectural monuments of great importance.

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