Living in Romania, I had the chance to visit a lot of beautiful places, of which I didn't know the existence before. In this article I will give you some advices to reach the north of the region, without paying money, if you want.
I planned my journey from Craiova, where I was living during the EVS, and I started hitchhiking to Cluj Napoca called “the heart of Transylvania”, a universitary and young city, full of students and night life.
From there I went to Baia Mare, where I slept one night in a very cheap aparment. This city is quieter but there is an amazing view ‘cause is in the middle of the mountain. The day after we went in Sapanta, where you can find the “happy cimitery”, that is a really suggestive place. When I was there, with others volunteers, we reached a car in a a few minutes and we got there really easily. We started to walk in the direction of the cimitery when a old lady stopped us and invited us to drink some palinka with her (the typical balkan liquor). When we arrived to the cimitery, a beautiful show was waiting for us. A lot of blue tomb, with some draws which explained the life of the deads in a funny way. I think it's the only one cimitery thought of this way, here you can remember someone with a smile instead fo be a sad place.
After that we started again our trip, and we caught a car that brought us to the Barsana Monastery, that is the place that I want to speak about ‘cause it’s really amazing. I was breath away.
Some information about the Monastery: Barsana is famous thanks to the wooden church, that’s is one of the tallest wooden church in Romania, having 57m height, infact it is a Unesco heritage.
The monastery was built on the left bank of the river Iza, after which it was moved here on the right bank, in a place called later "monastery bridge". It was built in the second half of the 14th century, by the Dragosestilor princes on their own property, and in 1805 the Church of the monastery was moved by the believers to the village of Jbar to be protected from destruction. The tradition of the village of Barsana says that this gesture of faith then stopped a plague epidemic.
The old Barsana monastery also served as a school for priests in the area's countries. In 1993 the Bishops of Maramures and Satmar, Justinian Chira, blesses this place so full of faith and prayer, for the construction of a new monastery. In 1994, the Sisters came to the monastery from the old monastery of Ramet in the Apusian Mountains.
It is a wonderful, unique complex, of which the Romanians are particularly proud of.
Recently rebuilt, following the old techniques used to build the Maramures wooden churches, the Barsana monastery combines the beauty of this refined architecture - even if of a rural matrix - the scenic grandeur of a complex made up of numerous buildings all perfectly in harmony with each other. At a glance is notable.
Actually is not the only one in Romania, but belongs to the “wooden churches” of Maramures: Desești – Budești – Baia Mare – Rogoz – Ieud - Șurdești - Plopiș – Poienile Izei.
The peculiarity of this churches is that they are holds and tall, with situated particularly tall and thin bell tower on the western side of the building.
Maramures is an amazing region, that I had the chance to visit and actually is not so famous, you can go there and I’m sure that you will not find tourist, that I think it’s nice because you can really feel the traditions of the place, you can see people with the traditional clothes, taste local food, and breath the real Romania. For that reason Maramures is a live and open museum and the Monastery is a UNESCO heritage.
But why in wooden? That’s is the resulte of the Hungarian ban to create orthodox churches in stone. The churches are madeup of thick panels; inside they are small and dark and painted with Naif-style biblical scenes. Its main feature is the height of the towers overhanging the entrance and the mighty roofs that make the rest of the church seem small. They are suggestive, the Monastery it is peaceful, and from the Monastery, you are on the top of a hill so you can enjoy the view from the top.
So what I suggest to you, is to book a fly fom Romania (you can find something here https://wizzair.com/it-it/main-page#/) and from the cheapest palce you can hitchhike everywere. The people are really warm and kind, they will try to help you as well.
to hitchhiking is: http://hitchwiki.org/en/Hitchhiking
for Barsana: https://travelguideromania.com/barsana-monastery-maramures/
Happy cimitery: https://travelguideromania.com/merry-cemetery-sapanta-maramures/
Cluj Napoca: https://travelguideromania.com/catholic-st-michaels-church-cluj-napoca/