Have you ever dreamt to travel with a steam train like in wild west? Only in Maramures in entire Europe you can reach this! Moreover, you will also see only in Maramures the tallest wooden church in the world.

Unique land in Romania and Europe, through the preservation of countless traditions, Maramures is more than a touristic attraction: it is a challenge. Land surrounded by mountains, it was therefore defended of foreign invasions and influences of secular modernity.

You can find this splendid region in northen Romania, on the border with Ukraine. Mountains, occupying more than half of the region are covered and embellished by rich forests of oak, beech and spruce.

The forests of Maramureş have always been rich in wild animals: deer, stag, bear, wolf, fox, wild boar, marten etc. and in endangered or protected species: the lynx, chamois, marmots, wood grouse, golden eagles (golden eagle) and black grouse.

A land of legends, Maramureş is the place where the traditions are still kept and the folklore has not been forgotten in the majority of the villages from Romania. Here time stopped in an authentic eternal present. The art clothing, the culinary art, the choreographic art, the ceramics art along with numerous churches, monasteries, museums and historical monuments are only a few of the riches that you can admire during your vacation in the northwest of the country, in a landscape quite different from what you know so far.

The first thing you have to do when you arrive in Maramureş, after a long trip, is usually to eat. Before you head to any sightseeing or accommodation, stop in one of those rustic Maramureş restaurants and taste some traditional dishes, seasoned, according to tradition with brandy. Only after you have known little of the hospitality of the moroşeni people and of their dishes, you can go in an adventure!

Novelties on Maramureș

The only railway with steam train in the world is Mocănița, in Maramures, Vișeu Valley. Here, the 60 km route of forest railway is used exclusively for tourism. The train itself is regarded as a cultural heritage and it reveals a totally wild landscape to the travellors. The railroad travels through a huge forested area, uninhabited, with a stunning beauty, everything here being created by nature without any human intervention.

The wooden church from Rogoz, a Unesco Heritage Site. The Church “Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel” in Rogoz, Maramureş County, is one of the most interesting and valuable churches in Transylvania. The building is dated by the tradition in 1663, moment supported by the inscription at the entrance evoking the Tatar invasion in 1661. It is registered on the list of historical monuments in 2004 and is also registered on the World Heritage List.

Maramureş boasts, among others, with the tallest wooden church in the world. It’s the Monastery Săpânţa-Peri from locality Săpânţa (also known because of the crosses that compose the Merry Cemetery). With a maximum height of 75 m, Săpânţa-Peri monastery church now stands in 3rd place between places of worship in Romania, after Timişoara cathedral and church St. Michael in Cluj.

The only lake in the world that changes its color. Blue Lake Natural Reserve is situated in Maramureş, at an altitude of 500 m. The water content in iron sulphate and Melanterite gives the lake a unique color, of blue-green. It was declared a natural reserve in 1977.

What to visit

Monastery Bârsana. This is one of the many vaunted monasteries of Maramureş, its architecture of wood being inspired by local tradition. The monastery also has a history that begins around the middle of the sixteenth century so you can imagine the place has a lot of stories to tell.

The Merry Cemetery from Săpânța. Unique in the world, this cemetery is decorated with colorful crosses and funny inscriptions, making fun of trouble and satirizing the deceased. The cheerful attitude with which it is treated death here has its roots in a Dacian legend, according to which death was just a passage to another world and not a tragic end.

The Synagogue. Moorish-style building, place of worship of the Hebrew, amazes every tourist by central avantcorp tripartite facade and through the house of prayer and the temple which joins it, creating an impressive cultural monument.

Maramureş Village Museum. It is found in Sighet Marmaţiei, it is a reservation of country houses, transformed into architectural monuments due to their beauty (which are decorated with carved wood) but also because of seniority. The entire Village Museum, whom also joined the Ethnographic Museum of Maramureş, makes up a typical village from Maramureş.

Stephen’s Tower. It is found in Baia Mare and is the bell tower of a former church which had the dedication day to Saint King Stephen. The tower, built only of massive stone, is a monument that marks the victory of John Hunyadi, victory obtained at Ialomita against the Ottomans.

Karoly Castle. Important fortress for defending Transylvania, the castle belonged to Karoly Laszlo, then to Karoly Mihaly, each making improvements and transforming a simple initial fortified house into a great and important castle.

Blue Lake. Important natural attraction, it is the only one in the world that changes color according to the light that is reflected on its surface or people who swim in it. The lake is located near Baia Sprie, it is formed naturally after falling a drift mine and what makes it even more attractive than it already is, are the numerous legends generated by its uniqueness.

Sighetul Marmaţiei. The area here is the historical capital of Maramureş but not only this. Besides the fact Sighet is an important academic center, it is also a main tourist destination due to its cultural and historical riches.

Reserve Pădurea Crăiască from Ocna Şugătag is located north-west of Ocna Şugătag, right next to houses in the village. The forest consists mainly of oak and pedunculate oak which are the dominant species, but it is also consistent the larch population, disseminated existing copies of cherry, linden, maple, hornbeam etc. The pedunculate oak and holm have here many monumental varieties, aged about 150 years, 28-30 meters in height, with trunk diameter of 0.6-0.7 meters but there are much bigger varieties, some with diameter over 2 meters and aged more than 300 years old.