Dragomirna Monastery was the beneficiary of project “RESTORATION AND PRESERVATION OF CULTURAL PATRIMONY AND REBUILDING THE INFRASTRUCTURE RELATED TO DRAGOMIRNA MONASTERY”. The halidom and historical monument as well, changed its appearance due to implementation of this project, as it regarded twelve objectives that were worked-out.
Built as to defy heights, in search of more light, near the forests, shaded by a curtain of pines and majestically mirrored in the nearby lake, this halidom, by its age, originality of style, elegance solidity of shape, and picturesque, raises the admiration of each visitor, so that in front of it, the believer is as impressed as the historian and artist.
The last restoration of the monastery was made between 1960-1970, having Architect Ioana Grigorescu as chief of project, but it didn’t include the restoration of the paining.
The access alley that creates the visitors an undiscovered trace and a special plastic is one of the objectives of the European Project, visible from entrance. The pavement was rebuilt of granite cubes combined in two colors, keeping the traditional design and specific.
The alley is bordered by a continuous concrete foundation fence, with concrete base plated with stone and which supports the ornamental net of independent steel bars. The main enclosure continues with the secondary enclosure that limits the entire land of the monastery. This is made of galvanized net fixed on metal pillars of galvanized pipe mount in isolated concrete foundations. The fence is the first step to the citadel, offering the traveler the sensation of massiveness and stability. Both the fence and the alley were made in symmetry with the fortress to introduce us in the medieval defensive system.
Restoration and preservation of artistic components to Whitsunday Church of Dragomirna Monastery was the most important objective of the European Project. The art embodied in the monastery church by will, gift and course of history, makes this benchmark monument to include one of the most innovating, original and profound artistic component, the wall painting in the aisle and apse of altar, as well as the Iconostasis, both of priceless value by the value of creation itself, characterized by a totally different theological thinking, by the depths that can be “read” at a detailed inspection.
The wall paintings decorate the tower, altar and aisle of the church. The entire wall assembly was subject to a scientific and modern restoration process, with specific operations that eased the integral esthetic recovery of the painting. A series of degradations made overt the time, when faults in the roof caused humidity infiltrations in the semi-dome of north apse, in the upper parts of the aisle and at the tower base.
This large work included both esthetic aspects and research to understand the phenomenon that affected the wall painting and of course, its development in time. Prior to beginning the preservation and restoration works, the preservation status of these surfaces let us see too little of the chromatic and compositional richness of the wall painting images.
By these preservation and restoration works we aimed to valorize the wall paintings from the 17th century decorating the altar and aisle of the church, consisting of cleaning, strengthening and stabilizing operations to the painting layer, fresco layer (salts stabilizing treatments) and fixing of gold plated parts. On the entire surface of the wall paintings we aimed to eliminate the previous careless repainting interventions, repairs that covered parts of the brickwork and painting.
The restoration process of wall paintings in this unique monument brings to the present its originating exceptional shape, the result of interventions is unexpected and the discovered painting of exceptional value.
The Iconostasis, which, according to some documentary sources, is brought by Stefan Tomsa from its halidom, Solca Monastery, was the second objective by importance, of the twelve objectives considered at Dragomirna Monastery. It consists of a canonic iconographical program for orthodox churches, includes all specific registries of a complete Iconostasis, having even more scenes on the windows of a register above monarchal icons.
According to the operations provided in the design, approved by the Artistic Components Commission of M.C.P.N., the purpose was to have works of best quality with imported specific materials.
Operations were made on three chapters, including preservation – restoration works regarding the wood structure, preservation – restoration works for plain, carved, fret worked polychromy and preservation – restoration works for icons (painted grasses). At the end of works, is ascertained that the methodology for preservation – restoration operations provided in the approved project, was followed and performed according to the detailed explanations in the project.
The monastery walls, that impose by their thickness and height, renewed their appearance by renewing its roofing. The old galvanized steel sheets were damaged and in some places and were permissive with the weather, therefore the buildings composing the monastery inside assembly had their roof reviewed and replaced. The manufacturing and processing operations were made entirely manually to keep the traditional spirit and exterior appearance of the work. There were multiple stages: from careful removing of the existing galvanized steel sheet roofing to carpentry and steel works. If the copper roofing was replaced on the entire fortress, the roof structure was, as needed, replaced or strengthened, considering the fire safety measures.
Additional to this action, performed in collaboration with ISU Suceava, was the water supply, by finding new fresh water sources and by creation of the fire-fighting system with water tank and water distribution and hydrants network.
There were works made also on the sanctums at the north and west of the citadel. The rooms receive a new appearance given by two of the objectives of this project: interior electric wiring and woodworks. The area occupied by the sanctums was rehabilitated by improvement of interior conditions and obtaining thermal-energetic performances. The advanced wearing of the old woodwork and bad operation of closing elements on windows, caused significant heat looses. Doors and windows woodwork repairs implied removing of existing woodwork and installing of exterior windows and doors woodwork of oak stratified wood with thermo-insulating glass, the windows being partially mobile or fixed, depending on the designation of served premises.
The interior electric wiring existing in the monastery since the 60’s, could have been a short-circuit danger and could lead to damages to the apparatus. The project aimed to replace all distribution panels, cables and supply mains of the distribution panels. The interior lighting of the sanctums and halls was replaced by replacing the lighting, plugs wiring and related equipments (breakers, switches, plugs and lighting units). All procedures were made in maximum security conditions by installing grounded plugs, differential protection breakers, protection tubes for conductors and lightning system.
The ambient given by the temperature and humidity inside the monastery received improvements by installing a new central heating station from the construction itself to all intern endowments necessary to transform the prime material into heat. The building architecture is on a single floor where the heating station, electricity panel, electro-generator equipment, wood shed, chopper room and toilet are located. The interior finishing (flooring and wall plastering) and exterior finishing (wall plastering, mosaic window sills, and stratified wood carpentry) include this building in the area site as component part.
All these objectives executed by the special collaboration between the teams participating in the project: consultant, contractor and beneficiary, brought Dragomirna monastery to the importance it had at building time. Such a large restoration was never made and probably with internal funcding it would have been impossible.
Information related to the historical monument, helidom, patrimony items and consequences of this project can be accessed easily by any person interested, on the monastery’s new website or by visiting the monastery. Within the Monastery, on the south part, left to the bell tower that include the entrance gangway, a touristic information point was built. This construction was adapted, as model and materials, to the historical specific of the surrounding walls. The construction is new, with waterproofed foundations of concrete, elevations of reinforced concrete and wood walls, and the ceiling is of visible wood with copper sheet roofing.
Finalization of the project proved that the contractual conditions were observed and fulfilled. Among the proposed and materialized objectives we can list: providing of services at European standards specific to cultural tourism; increase of tourists number; reduction of energy consumption by using economical lighting systems; installing of biomass heating station.
The process was complex because there were norms set by approvals to be observed without affecting the walls with the scaffoldings and the conditions imposed fire brigade for old and tall buildings.