Maramureş is a region in the north of Romania, surrounded by mountains and with picturesque meadows and valleys. Here people still wear their traditional clothes every day. The region is also famous for the small timber houses with huge wooden entrance gates and its wooden churches.
Because Maramureş was, until fairly recently, isolated from the rest of Romania, it developed its own traditions and culture and these survived much longer than in the rest of Europe. Strip farming is still practiced using hand tools and even the feudal system lasted until the mid nineteenth century. Craftsmen and women still work from their own homes as they have for centuries and, where necessary, their machinery is still powered from water wheels. As if this wasn’t enough, many of the women still wear their colourful traditional costumes, especially for visiting church on Sunday morning.
“THE MARAMUREŞ is a land cut off by mountains to the south and, since 1945, by the border with what was the Soviet Union to the north. Still today there is something distinctly sylvan about the Maramureşeni, especially when one sees them huddled together in their wooden churches praying to God to help them eke out a living, with their mostly wooden tools, from their small patches of ground encircled by the enchoing forest.
In valleys surrounded by forests and mountains, with no towns of any size nearby, remote and poorly connected to the outside world, the Maramureş remained one of the most unaltered regions of Europe” (WILLIAM BLACKER, Along the Enchanted Way)
HIGHLIGHTS IN MARAMUREŞ:
- People and rural life
- Hay making by hand and with horse and cart
- Weekly peasant markets with livestock
- Sunday church service
- Wooden churches (7 UNESCO heritage)
- Wooden architecture (houses and gates)
- Visit a sheepfold