The whole Maramureş region is a living “outdoor museum” famous for its unchanged way of life and for its well-preserved wooden villages and churches. It is perhaps one of the better-known regions of Romania – but still not much travelled.
The people of Maramureş, the moroşeni, are very hospitable, always ready to invite visitors to their homes, to offer a glass of horincã, the local distilled drink, made of plums or apples. Their hospitality is famous, as is their willingness to socialize with friends, but also visitors. This makes Maramureş an “easy” and interesting place to visit, but also the fact that the people have maintained their traditions maybe better than any other group in Romania, still wearing the folk costume, weaving textiles, carving wooden objects, and so on.
The traditional village was all built of wood, all houses, sheds, shelters, fences, gates and churches with their roofs of shingle. There are still some very well preserved villages that live in an organic harmony with the surrounding nature, the fields, the pastures, the meadows, the orchards and the forests. Today, many of the buildings are made with bricks, blocks and concrete, the roofs of corrugated iron. Fortunately, the scale of building is still small, and the structure of the villages hasn’t changed in time. And, if nothing else, at least the tall gates are still carved and raised before the houses as ever.
Why the region is considered unique and those who have been there want to return? The answer is a mixture of three things: amazing landscapes, genuine people and the simple civilization of wood, with the famous wooden churches whose towers can be seen from far.
The Maramures wooden churches are remarkable examples of well-preserved religious architecture that emerged from the Orthodox traditions and Gothic style influences.
The churches show such a high level of artistic maturity and craft skills: they are narrow, tall, timber constructions with characteristic elongated towers single or double-roofed and covered by shingles. The walls of the wooden churches are generally built of oak logs laid horizontally with intricate joints. Because they are an exceptional expression of the cultural heritage of this mountainous area of northern Romania eight of these churches are included in UNESCO World Heritage List since 1999.
The worldwide fame of Sapânta is due to the unique cemetery that has become an important tourist attraction. Some days the throngs of tourists that assault the cemetery with their cameras ready make one wonder if it really is possible to rest in peace here.
To book your tickets, please access the Social and Touristic program available here.