Frumuşeni Mosaics are a set of millennium-old
mosaics discovered in Romania at "Fântâna
Turcului" (Turk's Well), close to the locality of Frumuşeni, on the left bank of Mureş River, near the city of Arad.
The area of the discovery corresponds with
the former Bizere Monastery
11th-16th centuries (see Details
archaeological excavations from the Frumuşeni site, Fântânele,
Arad County, were done by the research
team composed of dr. Adrian Andrei
Rusu (Institute of Archaeology and Art History in Cluj-Napoca), drd.
George Pascu Hurezan (Arad County
Museum Complex), dr. Peter Hugel (Arad County Museum Complex) and
Burnichioiu ("1 Decembrie 1918"
University in Alba
The mosaic was discovered in August
Further excavations also identified a complex of monumental
buildings (a 23m x 8m two-level palace/port, two churches, a tower
with a well, palisades, ditches and other construction
components—portal, frieze, colons, mouldings, capitals, window
enclosures, arches—local and imported ceramics, sculpted pieces,
coins, book binders, adornments, fragments of apparels, bronze
vessels, knives, crossbow arrows, spurs, glass panes, plates,
dishes and pots, candles. The area was the witness of the discovery
of a well, shedding light on the reason for its name. Also
discovered was a cemetery, consisting of three hundred
Authorities plan to raise a museum pavilion over the site.
project is also supported by the Austrian Institute of Archeology,
as well as the University of Vienna.
The land on which the discovery was made,
was ceded to the new museum by the local authorities.
The mosaics were discovered inside the ruins of a former Roman Catholic
monastery, the Bizere Monastery
, which functioned between
the 12th and 16th century. During this period the area belonged to
the Kingdom of Hungary
mosaic is believed to have constituted the floor of the
speculations concerning the Eastern Orthodox origin of the
mosaics cannot be fully proved, since the style and the possible
dating of the finds can also have very strong Italian
The archaeological evidence in itself
insufficient to decide whether the monastery was of western
rite. Even the possible Byzantine
origin of the mosaics does not support convincingly the Orthodox
identification of the place, because in one hand of the very strong
relationship between the Kingdom of
(see Béla III
Byzantine connections), and on the other hand the ground plan and
the architectural appearance of the building-complex rather
represents a classical western liturgical space.
The surface is constituted by several polychrome mosaics, grouped
into three 4.5m by 1.3m panels, beautifully crafted, depicting real
or fantastic animal, floral, solar and geometric representations.
, containing a wolf-headed
, an half dog-half boar, a winged
he-goat, a bear, a rabbit, a predator bird catching a fish, seems
to illustrate the allegorical
between good and evil
. The mosaics
also contain several crosses with equal arms, framed by squares,
and superposed by a flower, suggesting the path to salvation.
The discovery of the Orthodox church only confirms an older
hypothesis of Romanian histography, which suggests that Catholic
), had taken over from the Orthodox
Christians a series of monasteries, one of which is the Bistra
Monastery (toponym transformed into Bizere). The Catholic monastery
ended its existence in 1551, after an Ottoman
- Ileana Burnichioiu, Adrian A. Rusu, Mozaicurile medievale
de la Bizere | The Medieval Mosaics from Bizere | Die
mittelalterlichen Mosaiken von Bizere, Arad, 2005; Editura
Mega, 2006; 55 pages.