Maramures is a land where ancient traditions are preserved to this day. A place where wood carving is still an occupation instead of a hobby, and where some women still wash their woolen rugs in the natural whirlpools instead of a washing machine.
Maramures is also the place where you'll find probably the happiest cemetery in the world, entitled The Merry Cemetery. Life's simplicity around this land can be also observed by visiting the Wooden Churches of Maramures, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999.
Every Sunday is an occasion for donning the traditional costume, which looks the same as it did hundreds of years ago. On feast days, lavish ceremonies are organized, where song and dance entertain and engage all those in attendance, locals and visitors alike. Anyone who visits these places soon finds a friend among the old folks chatting at the gate or among the farmers working in the fields because all of them have learned that hospitality is priceless, irrespective of how little wealth one has.
For many foreign travelers, the magical civilization in Maramures is represented mainly by three elements: the church, the gate, and the wayside cross.
The tourists visiting Maramures cannot but admire the monumental wooden gates of the traditional homesteads which are found especially in the Mara, Cosău, or Iza valleys, and also in some villages of the Lăpuş Land. Generally made of oak wood, the gates of this region have often been compared to real “triumphal arches” through which the peasants used to pass with dignity, proud of their noble origin. For the Maramures peasant, the passage through the house gate used to be like a ceremonial act, a mental purification from the evils of the profane world so that to step cleansed into the domestic universe of the household and family.