St. Nicholas Church from Şelari is situated downtown, in the historical area of Bucharest.
A wooden church existed here since the 16th and 17th centuries, and was mentioned in documents as "St. Nicholas Church from Saddlers' slum" in 27 April 1664, 4 March 1676, and 26 November 1678. According to a document of 20 June 1691, it seems that the church is the same with "Lady Ilinca's Church, called St. Nicholas", located near the Zlătari suburb. Lady Ilinca, the second wife of Antonie from Popeşti seems thus to be among the founders of the old church.
The old church was rebuilt between 1699-1700 by dignitary Şerban II Cantacuzino, along with great merchants in the parish as Drăghici Cantacuzino, Iorgu Staroste and Apostol Lazăr during the reign of Constantin Basarab. Ruling prince Constantin Mavrocordat repaired completely the church in the second half of the 18th century. Also among the founders was in 1750 Aniţa Ştirbeanca, Radu Golescu deceased daughter. During the great earthquake of St. Paraskeva Day (October 14, 1802) the church fell to earth from the foundation.
Two years later, in 1804, it was rebuilt for the second time by Hagi Gheorghe Polizu, Gheorghe Dumitriu and Nicolae Zaharia, during the reigh of Constantin Alexandru Ypsilanti. Now were added the lateral apses and raised the exterior and interior limestone levels. In 1816, was founded a school of church music and then the first printing of church music in the Eastern Orthodox world. The paintings were made by Nicolae Polcovnicul in July 1823.
Destroyed by the Great Fire, the church was demolished in 1860 and rebuilt in 1867. Interior painting was done by the painter Gheorghe Tattarescu and renovated in 1971 by Traian Dancus. Consolidations were made in 1866-1868 (with Neoclassical and Gothic type decorations), after the earthquake of 1977, and between 1995-1998 (when the paintings were restored by Ion Grigorescu).
The has a polygonal tower over the nave and a bell-tower with semicircular stairs closed in two little towers. The Pantocrator dome was replaced in 1996 with a concrete imitation. The Holy Shrine apse has nine exterior sides and is semicircular on the inside. The facades, crowned by a Classical and Gothic cornice, are divided in by a belt. The entrance porch, built on four steps, has a front arch supported by two marble columns.
Photos from Interactive Map of Bucharest, Biserica Sf. Nicolae Șelari.
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