Northern Romania – a place unlike any other

Posted on April 29, 2010

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Last weekend a few good friends and I decided to go on a short trip to Maramures – Romania’s northern province, home to some of its most authentic traditions and most unchanged lifestyle.
The initial plan was to take a daytrip on the Vaser Valley train, but we did some research and found out the train only starts running on a daily basis on May 1st, so this was not an option for us. Instead, we decided to do a roadtrip, spend the night as some bed & breakfast and drive around the historic Maramures – the region with many Unesco World Heritage sites, especially the famous wooden churches.

I won’t bore anybody with too many details – I’ll just post some pictures, along with highlights of what I consider the most interesting things about Maramures:

1. The people – one of the most beautiful things about Maramures is that the people, in a larger proportion, preserve the local heritage and follow the traditions, more so than anywhere else in Romania. Here’s a few great pictures:

Bored and extremely cute little girls

Our host at the B&B – we had a private traditional music concert in the evening, after the fantastic dinner they served

Old man wearing traditional shoes
Old Man from Maramures

Ladies working the fields on a Saturday afternoon – notice the San Francisco 49ers shirt one of them is wearing.

Same ladies singing – until they realize they’re being filmed

2. The scenery

Picture taken from “Dealul Stefanitei” vista point – the entrance into Maramures from the South-East

View of the Mara valley from the Sugatag hills

3. The architecture

Barsana Monastery – a beautiful monastery, recenty built using traditional craftsmanship and staying within the rules of traditional Maramures architecture (yes, the same girls in the picture)

Still Barsana Monastery – different angle
view from Mother Superior residence

The Church from the Hill – oldest wooden Church in Maramures – 14th Century

The leaning tower of Bontida – not Maramures – but beautiful nevertheless, part of the Banffy Castle complex near Cluj

4. The surprises

As we were driving towards another church, we ran into a proud local

Coming back to Cluj, we took the backroads, and we came across a fantastic road, and a bridge I never knew existed. The video below says it all:

It was a great trip, the kind of trip that reminds me why I still love Romania. Yes, go visit. If you want details about this itinerary, I’d be happy to answer them.

Posted in: english, Travel