(Regions to visit)
Visit Maramures and you will find a truly rural region which preserves its traditions and lifestyle, famous for its wooden churches, UNESCO heritage sites.
Maramures is a remote region in Northern Romania, on the border with Ukraine where winters are always rich in snow. Being a region surrounded by mountains, isolated and hard to access and conquer throughout history, the local culture is unique and has been preserved as centuries passed.
Wood being the most important resource, it was used to build houses, carve wonderful wooden gates and build wooden churches – now part of the UNESCO World Heritage. People are joyful here and you can tell it by the vividly decorated clothes they wear and the pleasure with which they welcome guests. Another proof is the Săpânța Merry Cementary, normally a sad place, here life is celebrated as people pass away and funny poems are written on very colorful tumbstones.
Maramureș is Romania's richest in traditions region and Christmas here is a like a fairytale.
Generally built on wooden foundations, massive and beautifully carved, the wooden churches in Maramureș are a proof of the influences exercised by the Roman and Gothic art. They delight through the shape of the eaves with shingle roofs that look like fish scales, high domes and wooden pillars on the porch adorned with numerous symbolic images of geometric, floral or zoomorphic nature. The paintings that decorate the interior of these churches illustrate religious scenes, aspects of local life or folk costumes.
These wooden jewels created by anonym artists were included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1999. (Bârsana, Budeşti, Deseşti, Ieud, Plopiş, Poienile Izei, Rogoz, Şurdeşti)
Many traditions and customs are still preserved here and they are passed down from generation to generation. The most important traditions are the wood carving, weaving, and making hats.
Wood carving is the primary craft and occupation for men, as we are in the land of wood. It is practiced by many peasants who not only carve wooden gates and other wood objects but they also build wooden churches and even their own houses.
Women are mainly busy with making woven textiles for their families, houses and churches. They make carpets, towels and bed throws in vivid colors. Every respectable house in Maramures has a guestroom where they keep the daughter’s dowry.
The hats that complete the folk costumes are manufactured by traditional hat makers from straw and wood shavings. Every hat is differently decorated; there are those with colorful beads and flowers for the weddings and those simple and sober for funerals.
8' video about Maramures' nature, rural life and biking options.