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The Merry Cemetery of Sapanta is there, the World Heritage-listed-wooden-churches are there, the best carpenters in Romania are there, too.
The picturesque folks wearing home made clothes are there, their horinca brandy is there and their Alpenhorns are there, too.
The Sighet Prison Museum commemorating those killed by the communist regime is there, the clean rivers with their build-in premodern "washing machines" are there, and the simple but tasty cakes and breads ate there, too.
The question is who is not there yet? And the answer is you. But the good part of it is that you are already well aware of this fact.
It's important to be there at least once in your lifetime because Maramures is not just another region of Romania but is a region with a culture of its own, unique in the world.
That's mostly because the historic hardship the people of these lands had during the 17th and 18th centuries. Not being recognized as equal citizens by the Hapsburg Empire, not being allowed to build churches and homes in stone, not being allowed to erect funerary monuments in stone or iron...These people were as closed inside their mountains as the Japanese were closed on their islands in the same period.
The result? A culture based on wood work and manual labor. Churches that stand 70m tall made out of wood entirely. Not even a single iron nail having been used.
Slow life. Good life. Natural life.
The men in Maramures are proud. They drink horinca, a rectified plum brandy stronger than 60 degrees alcohol. They craft the wood and carry special knives, "brisca" for woodwork.
The women in Maramures are blond. Hardworking. Dedicated to their husbands and families. Simple is beautiful and they know it the best.
The Merry Cemetery in Sapanta
The Wooden Church of Ieud
The Wooden Church of Poienile Izei
The Wooden Church of Surdesti
The Wooden Church of Plopis
The Wooden Church of Rogoz
The Wooden Church of Barsana
The Wooden Church of Desesti
The mining museum in Baia Mare
The Sighet Memorial of the Victims of Communism
Elie Wiesel house in Sighetu Marmatiei
All people there
In Maramures there are big families and the girls have to feed hungry men so little is done for arranging the looks of the food, the efforts being concentrated towards its taste. Just imagine, show food, often cooked on bone fire, roasted meats, roasted vegetables, and huge loafs of fresh bread. Yes, in Maramures bred is homemade because the people do not live in towns but on hills, each family with their own owen. They cannot travel for shoping every day so they have to make everything by themselves. If you ever have the chance go and stay there for a full month and maybe you'll want to stay there for forever.
Horinca is the local plum brandy and is one of the stronges produced in the entire world. Local folks drink it in small glasses, usually acompanying a fat meal. It's an insult not to drink it when invited, so try to enjoy youself while there.