Maramures remains a place of fairy tales, where the sun shines differently and rivers flows angrily.
In this area, people have a higher life expectancy than elsewhere, they get to see their grandchildren grow up and make their way. It is probably due to the air, the sparkling milk that local people consume immediately after they have milled it. Or it may be due to the generosity and innocence that characterizes them. Locals always invite their houseguests for a meal and a traditional glass of horinca, happily sharing the drinks but politely refusing the food as a way of paying respect to the guests. Who knows, maybe Maramures is charmed. But it`s definitely charming.
In the wonderful area of Maramures, a traveler discovers the little joys of life. Every Sunday, the locals take advantage of the church visit to locate their specific clothes. The female dresses fota – a hand woven apron worn wrapped around the waist. The elaborate garments aren`t only for locals as each guesthouse proudly lends costumes in all sizes to their guests.
To the delight of children and adults, the artisan clothes are an attraction during the National Folklore Festival „Nights of Sanziene”(Borsa, June 24) and the giant “Hora la Prislop”, a circle spin folk dance which gathers people from three counties in Prislop villages (August).
Life in Maramures is woven from humorous stories, music and dance, and death is gently accepted. What image could better describe this constant anticipation of a better afterlife than the sight of the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta? The crosses of graves depict naive scenes from the life of defunct, accompanied by a representative epitaph or referring to the motif of his death.
Close to Sapanta, is the town of Sighetu Marmatiei, known for the Memorial Museum to the Victims of Communism, „Elie Wiesel” Memorial House and the Ethnographic Museum of Maramures.
Wooden gates and churches
When you say Maramures, the first thing that comes to your mind is the gates and the wooden churches because they have become a brand and a tourist attraction of the area.
These churches are true museums of architecture and art that house frescoes, icons, books, furniture and textiles from the 15th-19th centuries, entering the UNESCO World Heritage because of their value. Churches are a truthful expression of how people cherish the wood.
The finest and best-preserved churches can be found in Barsana, Ieud-Deal, Joseni and Poienile Izei, whilst the tallest wooden church in Europe was erected in Sapanta-Peri.
Cavnic, the witty way
On the way to Ocna Sugatag, the village famous for its salt water, and north of Cavnic, the little town that prevailed against the last Tatar invasion in 1717, the most unusual thing happens. There are about 20 meters of road where any car, regardless of its size, can be observed moving uphill without its engine running.
Experience is spectacular and gives birth to intrigue because there are a lot of legends and assumptions that have no scientific basis.
Food and water for the soul
Autumn is the time when wine presses crush grapes while juicy plums, ripe apples and pears ferment, gives birth to the season star: Romanian waterfalls known locally as palinca, horinca or turt. This is distilled twice in brass boilers to reach 50% alcohol. You will easily recognize it by its intense fruit flavor, the small, perfectly arranged beads when shaken, and the alcohol warming your heart and spirit.
The families living in Maramures are the perfect hosts. When you first go to the home of a Maramures family, expect to be welcomed with a glass of horinca from which you have to drink after you have clashed with the hosts. Otherwise, the host might say you brought home the misfortune.
The most difficult thing is choosing between the cream soup called balmos (milk and cream-boiled polenta with pot cheese and a buttery finishing touch), sour cream omelets or the heavenly pancove, a flat pastry filled with jar-preserved salted pot cheese, fresh dill and shallots.
Mocanita, the chirping steam train
Would you like to travel with a steam train that moves slowly enough so you can admire the scenery? It is possible thanks to Vaser Valley Forestry Railway, nicknamed Mocanita and built in 1932. It is the last operating forestry railway in Europe.
A trip with Mocanita from Viseu de Sus village is a delightful experience because, as the train moves forward, it reveals wonderful landscapes. You can see colorful butterflies and ladybugs, while smelling fresh lumber and burned wood from the locomotive.
Between July 1 and September 15, Mocanita travels daily, but it is best to check the website with schedule and list of special events scheduled by train. It is advisable to buy your tickets in advance, especially during summer when buying a ticket on the same day is quite difficult.
Ask your questions at: info[@]visit-romania.eu – please remove the square brackets
Departure TimePlease arrive by 9:15 AM for a prompt departure at 9:30 AM.
Return TimeApproximately 8:30 PM.
Dress CodeCasual, comfortable athletic clothing, hiking shoes, hat and light jacket.
IncludedMaramuresEntry Fees5 Star AccommodationPersonal Guide
Not IncludedDeparture TaxesBreakfast