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Merry Cemetery in Romania

Merry Cemetery in Romania

The Romanian Cimitirul Vesel in the village of Sapanta, Maramures county. Merry Cemetery in Romania

Merry Cemetery in Romania
Known in Romania as “Cimitirul Vesel”, the Merry Cemetery is in the village of Sapanta, Maramures county. It is famous for its colourful tombstones with naive paintings and funny quotes on tombstones. These quotes, in particular, describe in an original and poetic manner, the persons buried there, as well as scenes from their lives. In fact, The Merry Cemetery has become an open-air museum and a national tourist attraction.

Merry Cemetery in Romania

The Romanian Merry Cemetery (Cimitirul Vesel) in the village of Sapanta, Maramures county

The unusual feature of this cemetery is that it diverges from the prevalent belief, culturally shared within European societies – a belief that views death as something indelibly solemn. In addition, there is a connections with the local Dacian culture. It is a culture whose philosophical tenets presumably vouched for the immortality of the soul and the belief that death was a moment filled with joy and anticipation for a better life (Zalmoxianism).

Meanwhile, the cemetery’s origins are linked with the name of Stan Ioan Patras, a local artist who sculpted the first tombstone crosses. Thus, in 1935, Patras carved the first epitaph and, as of 1960s, more than 800 of such oak wood crosses came into sight. The inscription on his tombstone cross says:

Since I was a little boy
I was known as Stan Ioan Patras
Listen to me, fellows
There are no lies in what I am going to say

All along my life
I meant no harm to anyone
But did good as much as I could
To anyone who asked

Oh, my poor World
Because It was hard living in it.

Merry Cemetery in Romania

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