You may discover a peculiar collection of painted wooden headstones that tell the stories of the deceased at Merry Cemetery of Sapanta. The character of the person buried under the headstone is depicted in a naïve painting, as well as poetically described in a funny epitaph. In the local Dacian culture, death is a joyful moment filled with anticipation for a better afterlife. Local artist Stan Ioan Pătraş is said to have sculpted the first wooden tombstone and carved the first epitaph in 1935. Try to find a local guide who can translate the writings on the headstones for you.
In Romania artisans still know how to make hand-carved decorations in complex patterns. Stars and moons, trees of life and twisted ropes, flowers and wolf teeth to ward off evil spirits are more than purely decorative. They hold a meaning being associated with myths and superstitions. You will be able to buy beautiful decorative objects like: spoons, ladles, small furniture, multi-piped pan flutes, keepsake chests or walking sticks.
You can see elaborated carved wood trimmed homes, gates and fances in Maramures, an area situated in north of Romania. Historically, the importance of a family in this community was displayed through the gate. The more elaborated the gate, the more important the family was considered in the community. The “Merry Cemetery” of Sapanta is in this area and it’s worth to go and see it. The famous cemetery has blue wooden crooses with scenes from the deceased’s life and humorous verses that reflect good and imperfections of the deceased. Even if you do not know Romanian, you can admire this impressive handiwork of the sculptor Stan Ion Patras and his successors. He began his work in 1935.