This page intends to present the Romanian part of the broader region called Maramarosh (in Romanian: Maramureş
) - not from the administrative point of view (Județul Maramureş), but from the cultural point of view (most of Maramureş is hilly).
From a broad perspective, the historical Maramarosh also encapsulates the region located in the south of the Ukrainian "Zakarpattya" territory, neighboring Romania in this part of the Carpathian range, where the Maramarosh Mountains
are located. However, for several reasons, above all practical ones (rare crossing points, hiking along the border strongly prohibited
), it makes sense to dedicate a different page to the Romanian part, especially concerning the cultural topic.
Given the content (I visited only a small part of the region, and the page was initially born as an album), every good-willing spirit who has been there is more than welcome to enrich it.
The Romanian Maramureş
Typing one after one some places names in Google, it didn't take long to land me in the country of Maramureş.
This name, which sounds so nice, quickly became the emblematic destination of our 2006 holidays.
The Maramureş is not an area with very high mountains, but still a mountainous area. The agriculture is very dense, due to a high fertility of the soil, partly due to a local volcanic geology, and the orientation to the West, with a tempered microclimate.
This region of Northern Romania, stuck between Rodnei Mountains
, Maramarosh Mountains
and Gutâi Mountains
, is a real open air museum of the mountain and countryside life of the past time. The stay in this region personally stirred me up, just like if I made a pilgrimage in the country of my ancesters...
Map of the villages in the Iza Valley, the "cultural avenue" of the Romanian Maramureş
In this region, which is the capital of joinery handcraft work in the Carpathians, all houses are orned with a large wooden gate.
"This gate is an "arc de triomphe". Every day of the existence is a challenge. Every morning, when we wake up alive, and when we come back home in the evening in good health, with the satisfaction to have carried out the work, to drink, to eat, to heat the house, is a vitory. The gate, that's it." explained us Gavril, inhabitant of Ieud.
Ieud is the village where is located the oldest church of the region, from the 13th century. Maramureş owns a large number of these immense wooden churches, which makes the other noticeable feature of the architectural landscape.
The origin of this tradition of wooden architecture comes from the fact that a long time ago, for some reason, the greco-catholic ritual was not tolerated, and churches of this confession where allowed to be built not from bricks, but only from wood.
"Ieud is a very old village", explained me Gavril also.
At the beginning of times, the Maramureş people were looking for a good place to settle and then looked for a place with water.
The oldest man of the tribe suddenly stoped and said "wait !". He put his ear to the ground and heard an underground stream of water. They dug and the first well was made, and then the whole village.
"Ieud" means "I hear", in old romanian, and here is where its name comes from.
This page is not very strict and not too structured, in purpose; to reflect what Maramures inspired me. Nothing too well-defined, no "where-to-sleep", no accurate "how-to-go", neither "when to go", "red tapes" and so on...
You can stay in almost every house, you cannot shop in supermarkets but only get self-made home food, you can hike everywhere.... as long as you behave according to the good sense.
One little thing anyway: do not wild camp, the region is populated with bears. Beware also of the sherperd dogs in charge to divert the first mentioned, they can be as tricky as the bears themselves...
I invite everyone to add pictures in this page, and content. I stayed only few days and saw only a small part of this region. Any addition will be welcome !