Maramureş County is situated in the north western part of Romania. It’s one of the few Romanian provinces where people believe that folk costumes are much more valuable than designer clothes. The people from this area are very attached to their land and traditions, passing their folk costumes from one generation to another. Hardworking and talented craftsmen, they managed to create works of art that are unique in Europe. Among these we count The wooden Churches of Maramures, dating from the 14th century, eight of them being part of UNESCO World Heritage: Bârsana, Budeşti-Josani, Desesti, Ieud, Plopis, Poienile Izei, Rogoz, and Surdesti.
The eight narrow, high, timber constructions we enumerated – with their characteristic tall, slim clock towers – are outstanding examples of a range of architectural solutions from different periods and areas, showing a high level of artistic maturity and craft skills. They were built during the Austro-Hungarian occupation. In those times, the locals were forbidden to build stone churches for fear these might have been used as fortifications like the ones built by the Saxons in Transylvania.
People from Maramures also proved that they are not afraid of dying, on the contrary, they have learnt how to laugh in the face of death – by creating The Merry cemetery.
The idea occurred to the craftsman Stan Ioan Patras in 1935. He painted the first cross in a merry way, accompanied by an amusing anecdote about the life of the deceased.
The cemetery is actually a testimony to the beauty of life and the fact that you should cherish life it and laugh until the end, even beyond.
If you have the opportunity to visit the region, you must take a ride with the train called Mocanita, starting from Viseu de Sus. It will be like stepping back in time by embarking on the steam-powered locomotives. The route in the Vaser Valley passes by hundred years old villages and sun-soaked mountain meadows.
Maramures is renowned not only for the folk costumes, traditions, craftsmanship but also for the hospitality of its people and the culinary recipes, based on products that people obtain from their households, so you should not hesitate when it comes to sampling the delicacies offered.
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