The second day starts at 9 AM with a drive to Merry Cemetery – this unique and peculiar cemetery where all the crosses are carefully decorated and hand-carved. When someone passes away, on the tombstone normally you can only find their name and the words “Rest in peace” maybe. However, this cemetery brings back all kinds of truths (good or bad) about the deceased, lyrics being sculpted on the colorful wooden crosses.
The first tombstone in the cemetery that started this tradition was sculpted by Stan Ioan Patras local craftsman and woodcarver, in 1935. Today, the cemetery has more than 800 colorful wooden crosses, with epitaphs such as:
"Underneath this heavy cross
Lies my poor mother-in-law
Three more days she would have lived
I'd be here and she would read
You, who here are passing by
Not to wake her up please try
Cause if she comes back home
She will criticize me more.
But I will surely behave
So she'll not return from the grave
Stay here, my dear mother-in-law!"
The highlights of the day are the most famous wooden churches in Maramures: Barsana and Poienile Izei, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Barsana is the most popular pilgrimage destination in Maramures, with the tallest wooden church in the country – 57 meters tall. Poienile Izei church is unique thanks to some of the most dramatic and best-preserved frescoes of hell of all the wooden churches.
Furthermore, you will be introduced to the most natural and ecological washing machines, Valtori. The river whirlpools are used as actually washing machines, and the locals are still washing their wool made rugs inside them.
As Romania is well known for the Carpathian Mountains, beautiful landscapes with forests, waterfalls, and gorges, on your way back to Cluj, our guide will stop to admire these magnificent landscapes.
Your drop-off point in Cluj-Napoca depends on your travel plans and might be at the airport, a hotel for an additional overnight (not included) or train station.