luni, 4 februarie 2008



The Maramures county, situated at the Northern border of Romania with Ukraine, consists in the old "lands" of Maramures, Chioarul, Lapus and Baia Mare Depressions. The Maramures county is set in the North-Western Romania. In the Northern Part of Maramures is the State of Ukraina, in the Est is Suceava, in the South-Estern part Bistrita Nasaud, in the South Cluj and in the Western side lies Satu Mare.
Thanks to its richness in gold, silver, lead, copper, salt, its large pastures and natural hay fields, forests and agricol fields, its fauna and flora, this county was inhabited many millenaries ago. The municipality of Baia Mare is the capital city of this county. Of this surface 43 per cent is a mountain zone with the Rodnei Mountains and their Pietrosul Massif (2.303 m) - the highest one in the Oriental Carpathians and volcanic zones with the Gutai and Tibles Mountains (1.300 up to 1.800 m above sea). In the middle of the Maramures, Rodnei, Gutai and Tibles Mountains there is the Maramures Depression, the largest one in Romania (75 km long and 20 km wide). Up the mountains the winter reigns till May-June. The picturesque lakes situated near by the town of Baia Sprie are visited thanks to their beauty: Bodi-Ferneziu, Bodi-Suior, Nistru Lakes, the Blue Lake, the man-made lake of Firiza.
Characteristically to this county of Romania are the hydromineral sources (over 100 springs) especially the ones near by Baia Borsa, Viseu de Sus, Baiut and Poiana Botizii. The Maramures county has 62 hunting grounds with a surface of 587,000 ha. There are also eight zones of natural reservation.
The climate of Maramures is temperate continental, moderated with differences between the Estern part and the Western part. The differences appear because of the relief forms. The atmospheric precipitations are between 700-1500mm/an, being the highest in the whole country.
The county is rich in ethnographic and folk elements. The folk art is preserved here as a very original form: houses, gates in wood, tools, textures, pottery, churches built in wood uniquely in the world, distinct customs. The Maramures county has its gates opened to the tourists who want to know its original folk culture: the museums in Baia Mare and Sighetu Marmatiei; over 200 monuments of folk architecture, the Borsa, Izvoarele and Mogosa Spas. Very original are also the villages situated on the Iza, Mara, Viseu and Tisa Valleys, forming real open-air museums. Unique in the world is the Merry Graveyard from the village of Sapanta. In this county there are eight museums, 67 historical monuments and sites, 363 architectural monuments and piles as well as 13 historic zones in towns and villages.

Living traditions in the Maramures villages
The fierce individuality of the Maramures mountain valleys in the north west of Transylvania is legendary. Their inhabitants are of Dacian descent and their independence as a State reached its peak under Decebalus in the first century AD, before the Roman conquest. Wave after wave of invasions followed.

A unique lifestyle
Nonetheless the villagers here continued to vividly assert the independence of their customs and their folklore. Today you can visit and admire their unique lifestyle. Few other parts of Europe have developed so distinctive a rural culture.

An inheritance of folklore
Agriculture has always been the lifeblood of existence in the mountains. Local traditions reflect this, as there are festivals in April, May August and December. The one in December is held at Sighetu Marmatiei, with carnival parades and revellers wearing animal masks.

Creativity in wood and costume
Woodcarving skills are the dominant feature of Maramures crafts. Particularly characteristic of the villages are wooden churches, with tall steeples and shingled roofs, some dating back to the 14th century.
Highly developed, too, is the embroidery of traditional costumes. On Sunday afternoons both women and men often parade and dance as they have for centuries. Women wear colourful headscarves and flowered skirts with black sheepskin jerkins; men wear black trousers and white jerkins, though costumes vary from village to village. The Easter festivals are a particularly good time to see them.
Touring the valleys
Baia Mare lies at the heart of this region. Its modern hotels make it the point of departure for many tours. A popular local expedition is to Surdesti, which has the tallest of the region's wooden churches. Another is the one to Sapanta, famous for its " merry cemetery", where carved tombstones and humorous epitaphs are a remembrance of the dead.
Sighetu Marmatiei
Sighetu Marmatiei is a typical Maramures town, famous for its markets, peasant costumes and lively atmosphere.
The Museum of Maramures has many carnival masks among its exhibits. Herefrom you may easily drive to the mountain resort of Borsa and such villages as Bogdan-Voda and Rozavlea, renowned for their wooden architecture.

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