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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Maramureş County - Săpânța, Romania: April 29, 2018

Merry Cemetery at Săpânța
Since seeing a photo of the fanciful grave markers at the Cimitirul Vesel (Merry Cemetery) at Săpânța, I've always wanted to see them for myself. Today, I did. Walking through the cemetery instead of death you see the humor left behind--kind of a last words to let those that are still living feel that death doesn't need to be so sad. The words and art are left to the carver of these markers. Săpânța is a small town so everyone knows everything about the recently deceased. Some tell of infidelities, some of a life of drink, one has a sad poem because the woman died before she was able to marry off her three daughters, and some images show the deceased's occupation.

The tradition was begun in the 1930s by Stan Patras who carved the markers until his death in 1977. He has been succeeded by Dumitru Pop. 

The marker on the left shows the impending death of the man as he is hit by a taxi. The information on the marker on the right states that the deceased was a political prisoner.

Before visiting the Merry Cemetery, we stopped in Sighetu Marmației to tour the Village Museum of Maramureş.  Authentic Romanian homes from several centuries are presented within the museum grounds. 

I enjoyed the interiors. These small homes were divided into a sacred part for holding funerals, weddings, etc, and a profane half for sleeping, cooking, family life. The sacred half of the home was never used for any activity except those deemed sacred. Textiles made during the daughter's childhood are stacked and waiting to become the girl's dowry. You might notice that there is only a "twin" bed in each of these interiors. Small children were often stashed for the night on the ledge or alcove above the stove.

An old grave marker from Merry Cemetery was in one of the buildings. The picture indicates the deceased was killed by a double-barrel shotgun.

Another stop in Săpânța was to see the tallest wood construction in the world. Some countries boast of the tallest building in the world, some the tallest flag pole in the world, Peri Church is the tallest church of wood construction in the world. 

The ancient site of the monastery of Peri, Maramureş, is just across the River Tysa and today on Ukrainian territory. The new Săpânța Peri Monastery founded in 1997 in Sapanta village revives the historical tradition of the ancient monastery of St. Archangel Michael. This new church was built in Maramureş style of oak on a stone foundation with a 78-meter/256-foot tall steeple. It is registered in the Guiness Book as the tallest wooden structure. 

The construction is located on the banks of the Tysa--the border between Romania and Ukraine. The monastery’s steeple can be seen from a 5 k/3.1 mile distance over Tysa where it can be admired by Romanians in Transcarpathia, the region of the historical Maramureş that now belongs to Ukraine.