“It is well known that some of the most interesting religious constructions in the world can be found here [in Maramures]; not only from our country but also from the entire Europe. The wooden churches from Maramures have long ago gained a well-deserved fame not only in the eyes of the specialists but also in the eyes of the visitors from many countries of the world. There is no doubt they represent one of the highest achievements in the art of building with wood on our continent” (Paul Petrescu, 1969).
If you want to find out more about these and other local tourist sites but only have one day to spare, I recommend you to try the Maramures one-day tour.
On the tour we will visit two wooden churches, a woodcarver’s workshop, the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta and the Barsana Monastery as well as the Memorial Museum of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance in Sighetu Marmatiei.
Built in the eighteenth century, the Greco-Catholic church of the Holy Archangels in Surdesti is considered to be the tallest wooden church in Europe with its 54 m high tower.
The church of St. Nicholas in Budesti Josani is a fine example of the Maramures style. While preserving the typical original shape, its dimensions are slightly larger than usual (18m x 8m). The church was built in the seventeenth century and is included on the UNESCO Heritage List together with the church in Surdesti.
The woodcarver’s workshop is an authentic example of Romanian traditional art. The artisans make the wood come alive, creating a rare and precious beauty. Among their products are carved crucifixes, Maramures-style gates, traditional wooden houses and even wooden churches.
The Merry Cemetery in Sapanta provides a different perspective on death and is a must-see for anyone visiting Maramures. The vivid colors of the funeral crosses and the epitaphs narrating the biography of the deceased combine to make the “Merry Cemetery” easily the most controversial and commercial cemetery in Maramures.
Fascinating for the unique “blue of Sapanta”, visited and photographed by hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world, the churchyard with its colored crosses and witty poems is an entirely original combination of spirit (ancient beliefs and traditions) and matter (natural pigments and wood).
The Museum of Victims of Communism is dedicated to the analysis and reconstruction of the communist past. It is unique in Eastern Europe and one of the Romanian civil society’s most important projects. The Memorial is simultaneously a museum, a research institute and a place of education.
To the question “can memory be relearned?” the answer provided by the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance in Romania is a resounding: “Yes”.
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