Myths and legends about Maramures
Maramures lies in the extreme North of Romania, and is very attractive, proudly welcoming his honored guests. This country of Maramures is very particular in Romania, and you can discover it starting from Baia Mare and travelling all around.
This Mystery Land is actually an eagle nest build on the mountain rocks. The natural beauty of the places is overwhelming, and the people have sometimes savage or suspicious faces, until they talk and adopt you (guess the next step, it is for sure an invitation to drink tzuica, horinca or palinka, local names for plum brandy. Don't be very happy accepting, it is difficult to face such an important test and must behave properly. You must know from the beginning, that the locals are very well trained.)
There are some easy visible contrasts in all these area. Observe the wooden churches, they are simply unique and note the inside paintings, devoted to Jesus Christ, but carrying Pagan symbols, like The Sun and The Moon. Also, on the monumental wooden gates, observe and note the tree of life! Most of the local cars are very modern, and have foreign plates from Italy mainly, as the youngsters work there to earn some money, while the women still wash their wool blankets in water mills, as their ancestors did a few centuries ago. Maramures is definitely a magic place, where the modern times face with the traditional archaic ones, but have no chance to win.
|The wooden church from Barsana, Maramures is really a masterpiece and the highest in the area (75 meters)|
The climate in Maramures pretty cold, and specially during winter you must be good dressed ( don't think to dress code or etiquette, you must be well protected against cold ). The surrounding mountains build a natural fortress, explaining the differences comparing to other regions in Romania and the special character of the locals. Up to 1950 was practically impossible to reach Maramures by train from Romania, it was necessary coming over Czechia!
Due to this isolation of Maramures, after Romans conquered Dacia, the still free Maramures was a good shelter for the fugees of other Romanian regions. It is said (local legend from Rozavlea) that Maramures was populated in the good old times by giants. As the time gone away, only one giant remained, and he was very old, but had a young daughter, the pretty Rozalia. Once, walking of the Valley of Iza, Rozalia saw a few small creature, and she didn't know who were. She collected a few of them, and ran to her father to show him. The old wise giant talled her, that these dwarfs are the Romans who shall conquer and run Maramures in the future. Consequently, Rozalia prayed God to make one of them bigger, and her smaller. This fact came true, and so appeared the Romanian people of Maramures!
|The wooden gates from Maramures are a landmark. The bigger the gate, the richer the master.|
Exploring Valea Izei is easy by car, the road is good, just a little narrow and dangerous, because the locals don't fear anything, including cars! But if you are there on a feast, or during a festival, you will be very happy. The people still wear their ancient suits, bleach the wool in the water mills or spin it.
On the Iza River, in Barsana, Stramtura,, Rozavlea, Bogdan Voda, Ieud you will find the amazing wooden gates, which are not a sign of competition against other community members, but also a remember of the ancient Roman buildings (see the Arch of Triumph in Rome!), in my humble personal opinion.
Don't miss in Maramures Sighetul-Marmatiei with the impressive Memorial of the Victims of Communism ( due to the isolation, here was a jail where the communist regime let many of his opponents to die) or with the Village Museum, which is a replica of an old village with its obsolete techniques. And a little further, the Happy Cemetery of Sapanta, where a local artist wrote on every cross something special for the deceased, which is usually very brisk!
|Within the isolated Maramures, the people are still proud to wear the popular suits|