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Published: September 26th 2015
We have a soft spot for unique and unusual places. We found one such place in the village Sapanta, namely the village cemetery Cimitirul Vesel.
Unusual places - we love them
We have a soft spot for unique and unusual places, especially if they are photogenic. We found one such place in the village Sapanta in the Maramures region, namely the village cemetery Cimitirul Vesel. This cemetery is also known as Merry Cemetery because the grave markers are painted in bright colours. The grave markers all have more or less funny epitaphs written on them accompanied by a picture of the deceased where he/she is in a for him/her typical environment.
The grave markers are all made out of wood and the epitaphs and the pictures are carved in the wood. The idea to make these wooden grave markers came from a self taught wood carver named Stan Ioan Patras. He created the first grave marker in the 1930-ies and now there are maybe as many as 800 of these unusual tombstones in the cemetery.
The older grave markers in Merry Cemetery have lost some of their colours but it is still possible to read the text and make out what the picture shows.
We could unfortunately not read the epitaphs since they were
This man buried here was an alcoholic
all written in Romanian. My colleague knows Romanian and she read a few of the epitaphs from our photos and she laughed more than once. So we guess many of them are funny.
One grave marker in Merry Cemetery which many people take photos of is the one on Stan Ioan Patras' mother-in-law's grave. We have from Wikipedia copied a translation of the text
"Under this heavy cross
Lies my poor mother in-law Three more days should she have lived I would lie, and she would read (this cross). You, who here are passing by Not to wake her up please try Cause' if she comes back home She'll criticise me more. But I will surely behave So she'll not return from grave. Stay here, my dear mother in-law!"
It seems like Stan Ioan loved his mother-in-law although she nagged him.
The wood carver who makes these gave markers once in an interview said that everybody wants their epitaph to be funny and the picture to be very special. The only problem is that their lives were not very different from everybody elses. Maybe the deceased worked as a farmer,
The man buried here was a bartender
had a family with three children and died from a heart decease at the age of 68. A life very typical for a person born in the village Sapanta. They have families, they live a quiet life and then they pass away.
Actually the life of a typical inhabitant of Sapanta is quite like how most people in the world lead their lives and not terribly much different from our own lives. The day we kick the bucket we probably haven't contributed anything significant to mankind. Maybe we should move to Sapanta. Then at least when we die we'll get a colourful tombstone.
We were lucky enough to meet the current maker of tombstones for the Merry Cemetery. He has his workshop next to a museum dedicated to the first tombstone maker, Stan Ioan Patras. We couldn't speak to him, because his English is limited, but he let us take a photo of him.
We have over the years seen maybe a hundred cemeteries in various countries. When we admit that we try to see cemeteries when we travel it might seem like we have an unhealthy hobby. But we see
The picture shows a car mechanic doing his trade
it as one way to get to know the culture in the country we visit. This cemetery is one of the most memorable ones we have ever visited and we hope that you, now that you've read this blog entry, understand why we enjoyed the visit to Merry Cemetery as much as we did.
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