Day 1: Cluj
So you’ve made it! You are in Cluj now. You will be picked up by your driver at the airport and private transferred to your Hotel in the heart of the City. Cluj has a lot to offer, so be aware of it nightlife, culture, history! In the morning you will be transferred to Turda Salt Mine
Day 2: Cluj
oci in all their wines.In The morning we will be visiting Turda salt mine.The deposit of salt formations from the Transilvanian plateau took place in middle Bandenian-Wielician.The absolute age attributed to the salt deposits from Transylvania is 13.6-13.4 million years. The salt sedimentation took place in isolated marine basins, in warm and wet climate ,with vague tendencies towards dryness,on grounds of an active subsidence.The subsequent tectonic evolution of the basin determined the formation of long folds N-S orientated,lying in the West and respectively,East of Transylvanian Plateau,on the axis of which the salt is concentrated in diamond-shaped seeds. Overnight in Cluj. We recommend you a city tour before going to dinner.
Day 3: Baia Sprie – Casa Olarului
The days we spent here will take you back in time 400 years ago. Learning clayware from the last human that has this old profesion. After this we will visit some of the old wodden churches: the jewel of Maramures The Wooden Churches of Maramureș in the Maramureș region of northern Transylvania are a group of almost one hundred Orthodox churches, and occasionally Greek-Catholic ones, of different architectural solutions from different periods and areas. The Maramureș churches are high timber constructions with characteristic tall, slim bell towers at the western end of the building. They are a particular vernacular expression of the cultural landscape of this mountainous area of northern Romania. Maramureș is one of the better-known regions of Romania, with autonomous traditions since the Middle Ages – but still not very much visited. Its well-preserved wooden villages and churches, its traditional lifestyle, and the local colourful dresses still in use make Maramureș as near to a living museum as can be found in Europe.
The wooden churches of the region that still stand were built starting from the 17th century all the way to 19th century. Some were erected on the place of older churches. They were a response to the prohibition against the erection of stone Orthodox churches by the Catholic Austro-Hungarian authorities. The churches are made of thick logs, some are quite small and dark inside but several of them have impressive measures. They are painted with rather “naïve” Biblical scenes, mostly by local painters. The most characteristic features are the tall tower above the entrance and the massive roof that seems to dwarf the main body of the church. Eight were listed by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in 1999, for their religious architecture These are: Bârsana, Budești, Desești, Ieud, Plopiș, Poienile Izei, Rogoz, Șurdești.
Day 4: Baia Sprie – Casa Olarului
This day we will visit the “merry cemetery” and some monasteries of Sapanta village. When someone dies, their memory generally enters a kind of idealized state in the minds of those who loved them. Their flaws are forgiven and forgotten, and the way in which they passed (especially if it was unpleasant) often goes unspoken. Only the sweet stories about the person are retold. On their tombstone generalized niceties are written, often reduced to as little as “Rest in Peace.”
Not so in the town of Săpânţa, Romania, where at the Cimitirul Vesel or “Merry Cemetery,” over 600 wooden crosses bear the life stories, dirty details, and final moments of the bodies they mark. Displayed in bright, cheery pictures and annotated with limericks are the stories of almost everyone who has died of the town of Săpânţa. Illustrated crosses depict soldiers being beheaded and a townsperson being hit by a truck. The epigraphs reveal a surprising level of truth. “Underneath this heavy cross. Lies my mother in law poor… Try not to wake her up. For if she comes back home. She’ll bite my head off.” Stan Ioan Pătraş was born in Săpânţa in 1908, and at the age of 14 he had already begun carving crosses for the local cemetery.
By 1935, Pătraş had begun carving clever or ironic poems — done in a rough local dialect — about the deceased, as well as painting the crosses with the deceased’s image, often including the way in which the individual died in the image. Stan Ioan Pătraş soon developed a careful symbolism in his work. Green represented life, yellow represented fertility, red for passion, black for death. The colors were always set against a deep blue, known as Săpânţa blue, which Pătraş believed represented hope, freedom, and the sky. Other symbolism — white doves for the soul, a black bird to represent a tragic or suspicious death — worked their way onto the crosses, as did Pătraş’s dark sense of humor.
Săpânţa is a small town with few secrets, and often the dirty details of the deceased made it onto the crosses. One reads “Ioan Toaderu loved horses. One more thing he loved very much. To sit at a table in a bar. Next to someone else’s wife.” The deceased town drunk has a grave showing a black skeleton dragging him down while he swigs from a bottle, noted in his epitaph as “real poison.”Pătraş single-handedly carved, wrote poems for, and painted well over 800 of these folk art masterpieces over a period of 40 years. It wasn’t until near the end of his life, in the early 1970s, that the merry cemetery, as the town has dubbed it, was discovered by the outside world when a French journalist publicized it. Stan Ioan Pătraş died in 1977, having carved his own cross and left his house and work to his most talented apprentice, Dumitru Pop. Pop has since spent the last three decades continuing the work, carving the cemetery’s crosses, and has turned the house into the merry cemetery’s workshop-museum. Despite the occasionally dark comedy, or merely dark, tones of the crosses, Pop says no one has ever complained about the work.
“It’s the real life of a person. If he likes to drink, you say that; if he likes to work, you say that… There’s no hiding in a small town… The families actually want the true life of the person to be represented on the cross.” Pop has one complaint about the work, that it can get repetitive. “Their lives were the same, but they want their epitaphs to be different.”
Day 5: Baia Sprie – Casa Olarului
This day you will do a trip by train “Mocanita” so bear with us to this long beautiful trip in Viseul de Sus. Vișeu de Sus has a great historical and cultural value, mainly due to its favorable geographic position, as it is located, from an ethno-cultural point of view, at the meeting point of Vișeu and Vaser River Valleys, being part, considering the old forms of territorial administration, of the Maramureș Country, also known as “Historical Maramureș”. The tourists that arrive in Vișeu de Sus can visit at least 8 locations classified as historical monuments, can admire the collections of the local museum or can take part of cultural or recreational events that the town hosts year-round.
Day 6: Campul Lung Moldovenesc
You are now in Moldova! Welcome! Stefan the Great was the ruler of Moldova between 1457-1504. He raised up tens of Monasteries, every time he was winning a fight with the turkish or tartars. After death he was made a saint by the Orthodox Church of Romania. Enjoy the beauty of the monasteries and the quiet and peaceful people around the villages. In these places all the young people left already their home and work abroad in UK, France, as fighting well with life. Overnight in Bucovina Guesthouse.
Day 7: Manastirea Humorului
Don’t worry! we haven’t finished yet. We need to go and pay a visit to the family home of raconteur and schoolteacher. You will also visit this day few more monasteries around.
Day 8: Manastirea Humorului
In the morning we will have lunch in a local house. Traditional romanian/ moldavian meal. And as a romanian I can tell that this is the best place you can eat romanian in this country. Visit of Putna monatery, Voronet, Rasca etc.
Day 9: Cluj
Departure to Cluj. Back to civilization. I wouldn’t go anywhere in civilization. Why? Because I was born in the capital of Romania, Bucharest. And I like isolated areas and lovely afternoon at your leisure.
Day 10: Fly Home
Fly back home. A driver will pick you up and take you to the airport.