Săpânţa – The Merry Cemetery

Merry Cemetery - © Silvia Podarascu

Located in Săpânţa village, Maramureş county, Merry Cemetery is famous for its tombstones paintings and descriptions which describe scenes of different persons’ lives in an original way: colourful, poetic and humorous.

Those who are buried here seem to be wanting to be remembered in a joyful way, naming their accomplishments in life, their sorrows or misfortune. Frequently painted in their folk costumes or “illustrated” at work (traditional activities, teachers, priests etc.), men and women from Săpânţa hand down to posterity their flaws, their vices and dirty details of their lives. The former residents are memorialized in amusing rhymes, simple verses with deliberate grammatical errors and caricatures with a blue background common to all tombstones.

The unusualness of this cemetery comes from Dacian faith regarding death: soul was immortal and death celebrated as it was just a transition for a better life.

Săpânţa Merry Cemetery can be found in Maramureş county, 19 km away from Sighetu-Marmaţiei. Before entering to this pilgrimage site (framed by a traditional entrance – Maramureş style), there are many craftsmen and women that „provides” tourists with information and traditional goods.

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