Winter in Maramureș - photo workshop

Maramureș offers amazing frames with snow, forests, lofty wooden churches and sleepy villages smoking through their chimneys. Color and life come from indoor as blacksmiths heat and shape the iron, grannies weave and baby lambs are born in barns.

  • 4 nights accommodation in the countryside, traditional food, transfers and guidance included for 440 EUR. Feb 22-26


Daily schedule:

First you may want to read here impressions from previous workshop participants.

Day 1. Airport and train station transfers, as needed, traditional welcome dinner and getting to know each other.

Day 2. We shoot sunrise over the village as it wakes up and smoke comes out of chimneys to play with light and a wooden church, bringing us to medieval times. We visit a blacksmith as it makes horseshoes by heating, shaping and welding the iron and then nailing it, combining mastery and strength. We also visit a carpenter, that skillfully creates wonders from food, from houses and barrels to wooden forks.

On this and following days we’ll visit the famous wooden churches from Ieud, Bârsana and Poienile Izei, all UNESCO world heritage sites.

Day 3. We go to the local market and see how local business is done, selling pigs, corn, horses and typical clothes for the region. While on a horse-drawn sledge ride we explore more of the region for taking amazing sceneries of mountains, sky, villages, people and winter’s black and white shades. Indoor we meet a lady who weaves woolen carpets and still makes bed sheets by hand.Traditional clothes & snacks

Day 4. Today we capture how masks are made, fiercefully looking, used for scaring bad spirits away,  and meet one of the last people in Romania to make them. We also visit the workshop  of a potter who makes pottery as Dacians did, the ancestors of the Romanians from two millenia ago. To warm up, we try some horinca (plum brandy) and observe how bread is made and baked.

Day 5. You may want to go to church just to see how beautifully people dress here, wearing traditional clothes. We wrap up our workshop, give final comments on pictures taken, select the best ones and acknowledge them. Transfer to airport and train station, as needed.

Individual Guidance and Daily Feedback

Daily we’ll discuss participants’ portfolio and pictures taken during the workshop. Techniques and tips will be shared and discussed, as relevant. Picture-editing methods will be also presented and feedback will be provided to each participant so this is very much of a hands-on workshop.

This workshop will take place if at least 6 people register, please check terms and conditions. For practical information on visa and other important issues, please read here.


Detailed tour information

Sorin Onișor, the workshop facilitator

Sorin is much appreciated for his photographing skills and his passion for rural heritage conservation in Transylvania. He is currently doing a PhD on the topic “Traditional blacksmiths in Transylvania”, has studied photography for 3 years at the Folk Art College in Timisoara, and has a bachelor in history.

As a photographer, he had tens of personal photography exhibitions in Romania. He also won numerous awards such as:

  • Grand Prize for National Touristic Photography Competition in 2006 and 2008 and first prize or finalist in 2007 and 2009
  • First prize for Ethnographic Photography competition in 2006 and 2008 and finalist in 2007
  • Finalist at the photography competitions organized by  UNFPA, Orange and Discover magazine

As an author, he wrote 5 books about rural Transylvanian heritage.

For several years now, Sorin is a free-lance photographer and organizes photography workshops in rural Transylvania, a place he knows like the back of his palm.

Pictures taken by Sorin represent him best so please check the gallery bellow,  and his Facebook profile.

Maramureș - a wonderful region to come in winter

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 winter 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.

How to get to Maramureș

The airport that serves Maramureș is in Baia Mare and there are flights from Bucharet with Tarom, a SkyTeam Alliance airline. To Bucharest you can fly with airlines such as Air-France, BA, Alitalia, Austrian, KLM, Lufthansa, El Al, LOT, Turkish or low cost airlines such as WizzAir, GermanWings, BlueAir.

Cluj-Napoca airport is also an option, from here you can arrive to Baia Mare by train or bus in 4-5 hours. WizzAir, Malev and Lufthansa fly to Cluj-Napoca.

You can also reach Baia Mare by international trains or buses with Eurolines or Atlassib.


Please click on the pictures bellow to see the gallery with pictures from the region.

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Group size Price per person
6-8 490 EUR
By Jan 1 440 EUR

Payment info:

*If you register by 1st of January 2012 you pay 440 EUR, after that 490EUR.

Payment is done through bank transfer. Once you contact us we will issue an invoice and provide you our bank account. At first you will need to pay 100 EUR per person for confirming the reservation and 4 weeks before the start date, the full amount should be paid.

Tour dates:

  • 22-26 February 2012

Equipment to bring:

  • DSLR camera and lens
  • Laptop with photo-editing program installed, at least trial version (such as Photoshop)
  • Adequate boots and clothes for cold and snowy days. Temperatures can vary between -20 and 5 degrees Celsius


We will stay at a rural guesthouse, owned by locals and classified with 3 flowers.


Meals are cooked by traditional recipes and most ingredients come from local farmers. The food is very tasty as it is grown through traditional farming methods. Lunch can be a snack, picnic or on the go.

Journey start and finish place:

Baia Mare is the pick-up and drop-off point, we will be based in Botiza, 90 km from Baia Mare, a 2 hours drive.

Included in the tour package:

  • Round-trip transfer from Baia-Mare airport or train station on the first and last last day of the workshop
  • Daily transportation between locations
  • Accommodation for 4 nights in shared double room. Single room occupancy is 40 EUR extra
  • 3 meals a day, lunch can be snack, sandwich or picnic
  • Value Added Tax

Not included in the tour package:

  • Medical insurance, please make sure you have one
  • Visa related costs
  • Entrance tickets
  • Things not mentioned in the section above. For more information please read our terms and conditions.


Responsible tourism aspects:

  • Most food ingredients are produced by local farmers
  • Traveling in small groups, on short distances
  • Pension owners are locals thus contributing to local economy


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