Maramures - land of flowers! Or so the local songs say for there is no land in the whole country of Romania more sung about than Maramures. And for good reason too!
The far North West territory of Romania is rich in scenery, traditions, incredibly welcoming people, charming villages and home to no less than 8 UNESCO heritage sites: the wooden churches of Maramures.
The ones that follow me on instagram know that I have recently been on a trip to Maramures. I have to confess: it took me while before I knew what to do with what I've seen and experienced there. There were so many things and stories to tell that it seemed impossible to find an angle suited for everything.
In an attempt not to keep my trip shadowed, I decided for a photo diary because Maramures is best seen, photos and reality.
This photo was taken in the village Budesti, one of the richest and most traditional villages in Maramures, fact easily observed by the abundance of traditional wooden houses.
Traditional household and the wooden church on the hilltop in Budesti village.
Countryside road. Budesti Village
Traditional household. Budesti Village
Budesti has a high number of old, traditional wooden houses in use - meaning that the family lives there. However, nowadays, it is common to see two houses in most of the households in Maramures: an old, wooden house perfectly kept and a new brick house where the family currently lives.
Even the sheep in Maramures are used to people photographing them and pose nicely for a picture. Photo taken in Budesti village.
Wood is extremely important in Maramures as it is still the primary source of heat during winter times, among other things. Photo taken in Budesti Village.
Maramures is famous for its wood craftsmen: men that from generation to generation learn to master wood carving. All the wooden gates, the pride of every family in Maramures for the bigger the gate, the wealthier the family is, are all handmade by local craftsmen. What you see in this picture is just a sample of the work of such a craftsman, Petru Pop from the village of Breb.
"It is not normal not to have wood in our houses. It is not natural, everything is plastic today." Petru Pop, craftsman. Breb village.
Women's blouse from a traditional costume from Maramures. What is different about the traditional blouses in Maramures is that, unlike the 'ia', there are no patterns sewn on them instead they have ruffles and embroideries. They are 100% handmade from spinning the wool to the smallest details of the embroidery and, depending on the pattern, can take up to 6 months to finish one blouse. Photo taken at Petru Pop household, Breb village.
Inside a traditional house. Botiza village.
Apart from the wooden houses, Maramures displays an incredible collection of colorfoul, ceramic plated houses like the one in this picture. Sarbi village.
This will be an awfully strange sight for anyone visiting Maramures. Quite often you will see, in the yard in front of the house, a tree with cooking pots and pans hung there to dry out. Legend has it that this is a sign that in that household there is a young unmarried woman waiting for suitors. Sarbi village
Gheorghe Opris - a most incredible man. He is one of the last owners of a traditional, wooden water mill used for grinding corn and for washing wool cloths and carpets. Not only that he has received us with palinka and the friendliness specific to the people in Maramures but also started the mill to show us how it works. Sarbi village.
Gheorghe Opris, Sarbi village.
The same Gheorghe Opris while he entertained us with his musical skills. You can also see him in my video.
Local woman in Sarbi village.
End of part I.
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