Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine


Timber architecture of Carpathian Tserkvas (Orthodox churches) built between the 16th and 19th centuries, was recognized by UNESCO as incredibly valuable. They represent the cultural traditions of the local communities having been living in mountanious regions through ages. There are several types of the churches:

  • Hutsul types in the Ukrainian south-eastern Carpathians - Nyzhniy Verbizh and Yasynia
  • Halych types in the northern Carpathians either side of the Polish/Ukrainian border - Rohatyn, Drohobych, Zhovkva, Potelych, Radruż and Chotyniec
  • Boyko types either side of the Polish/Ukrainian border - Smolnik, Uzhok and Matkiv;
  • western Lemko types in the Polish west Carpathians - Powroźnik, Brunary Wyźne, Owczary, Kwiatoń and Turzańsk

The wooden tserkvas were erected on wooden sills situated on stone foundations, using the horizontal log technique, covered by the shingle roofs. The churches can boast unique iconostasis screens and interior polychrome decorations. They were built on a tri-partite plan surmounted by open quadrilateral or octagonal domes and cupolas. They can be often found among a beautiful nature of forested mountainous areas. They feature graveyards and sometimes free-standing bell towers. 13 tserkvas are still used as churches, the other three - Radruż, Rohatyn and Drohobych are kept intact as museums.