(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program blog; the views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tourism in Romania: Where we went in Maramureș

Romanian highways
Our first trip in Romania last fall was with Duncan McDougall and Aline Cautis, two Fulbrighters in Cluj.   Some of our friends are interested in what to see in Romania, and this is probably the most interesting area, one that will soon disappear as the area modernizes and younger people move to the cities.

Aline is an artist studying traditional Romanian weaving, and took us to weavers’ workshops throughout the area.  And Duncan had the car and had been there before.

We stayed at Popasul din Deal in Ocna Sugatag.  The owner is the county tourism director and is a wealth of information about the area.  Ask him about the village where Prince Charles has a home.  It also has an old cemetery with Celtic crosses, suggesting Celtic migration early in history.  He has bicycles available to ride through the countryside, which we did one beautiful Sunday morning.

Barsana Monastery
Wooden monastery at Barsana.
The entire monastery was moved from across the river in the Ukraine after the fall of Communism.  It was built from the ground up using traditional woodworking techniques, no nails.  Impressively large.  I was fascinated with the wood joinery.

Museums in Sighet
Memorial to the Communist Resistance
Memorial to the Victims of Communist Oppression
In a former Communist prison for political dissidents, this is a sobering reminder of what went on during the Communist era. 
REview of Museum of Communist Resistance

Elie Wiesel Birthplace and Museum
Set up as a typical home during the time of WWII, a very informative display of the fate of the Jews in Sighet county.

Ethnographic museum
A good collection of traditional crafts.

Sapanta:  Merry Cemetery
Weaver in Sapanta
Weavers: as you exit the cemetery, a crafts shop across the street and to the right, the older woman makes her own blankets.   
As you exit the cemetery, go left down the road, where it curves to the right you should see yarns hanging in the garden, or perhaps some blankets hanging over the fence.  That’s a younger women who is a weaver.

has an interesting old wooden church on the hill.
The priest’s wife is the curator of the local ethnographic museum, to the left of the church gate (look for the tree with red pots in it).  You can stay in the museum overnight if it is available. 
She also runs a collective of weavers from around the area who are maintaining the traditional crafts. In the summer she hosts a weaving workshop for tourists to learn the traditional weaving techniques.  That would be really cool!

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