Maramures, a region in northwest Romania, is the place where tradition never dies. I visited only once — it’s a ten-hour road trip from Bucharest — and fell in love with the place.
Too far north and remote to be invaded by the Romans and other conquerors, Maramures preserved the culture and traditions of a medieval past, and in doing so it retained its identity — that of a rural fairytale.
This is an area of Transylvania known for its wooden churches and wooden gates. Much of the land is mountainous, with beautiful rolling hills and meadows.
Maramures is considered the heart and soul of rural Romania. The visitor wakes up to the sound of roosters crowing, and to seeing villagers take their cows off for grazing. There’s nothing but countryside and meadows of wildflowers, as far as the eye can see. A place where the visitor bears witness to simpler times and lives. A testament to a romantic era of simplicity.
For the most part, families remain in the same villages as their ancestors. Traditional skills and crafts are passed down from generation to generation. Traditional hand-woven clothing continues to be practical. The church continues to be the soul of the village.
Visiting Maramures means traveling through mountain passes and descending into valleys where traditions unfold as a living museum that is within reach yet difficult to comprehend.
For me, Maramures symbolizes peace — natural silence and utter serenity.