Saint Nicholas’ Church
One of the oldest church in Romania and Eastern Europe, Saint Nicholas’ Church is located in the village of Densus, in the heart of Hunedoara County. The church dates back to the early Middle Ages, when the first cornerstone of the edifice was placed on the grounds of an old temple dedicated to Dacian god Zalmoxis. That said, the current form of the church is believed to be more recent, dating from the 12th to 13th centuries.
Easily accessible from nearby Hateg, Saint Nicholas’ Church in Densus is laden with history, both figuratively and literally. At its very core are stones that were taken from the ancient Dacian capital of Sarmizegetusa, located just a few kilometers away.
The Church survived numerous perils over the centuries. One of the biggest was in the 19th century, when local villagers wanted to destroy the old stone church in order to build a bigger one in its place. Hungarian authorities, which ruled Transylvania at the time, saved the church and declared it a historical monument soon after.
A very interesting and controversial fact about the church is its interior. The walls are decorated with mural paintings representing Jesus dressed in traditional Romanian clothes. Also, on the columns, there are mysterious inscriptions in Latin and Dacian, that are said to carry pagan messages. Moreover, contrary to most Orthodox churches, in which the altar is placed to the East, here the altar is placed to the South.
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The mysteries and controversies shrouding the stone church of Densus continue with the fact that, among other materials, its walls were built with Roman gravestones.
Saint Nicholas’ Church is 30 meters long and 8 meters wide, with an 18-meter-tall spire. Due to the amalgamation of architectural elements dating form different periods, Saint Nicholas’ Church cannot be attributed to any particular architectural style. What’s clear is that church is the oldest place of worship in Romania in which sermons are still held on a regular basis.