What could be more compelling and interesting than a visit to a unique place in this world? To my mind one of these special and unique places is the Merry Cemetery.
Situated in the village of Sapanta, Maramures country, Romania, this place is famous for its colorful wooden crosses which are carved with funny poems about the life of the deceased. These poems give you the feeling that the cemetery is laughing in the face of death.
The wooden crosses decorated with floral borders and painted in bright colors, create an impressive sight. Blue is the dominant color of the cemetery. This Sapanta Blue, as it is called, symbolizes the infinite. The crosses display pictures of the deceased and poems about their lives. Manufactured in a very simple way, these crosses give that special touch to the entire place.
Stan Ioan Patras was the initiator of this idea and at the same time the one who carved the first cross in 1935. His wonderful work was continued by his apprentices who learned the secrets of this art. You can explore the secrets of his craft in his own house which was turned into a museum. The Stan Ioan Patras Museum is situated very close to the cemetery.
The Merry Cemetery is also a museum, but an outdoor one and it displays about 800 wooden crosses that will take you to a world defined by simplicity, naivety, kindness and humor. It will be a funny experience to discover the life story of the deceased and also the fact that their tragic end is outlined by a cheerful message.The most famous and funny epitaph sounds like this:”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 unusual blend between tragedy and comedy is truly special and it will make you experience a strange emotion, a sort of happiness in a place which is usually considered sad. You should definitely visit this cemetery and laugh in the face of death!