Strada Universității, Suceava, Suceava County, Romania

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Tour Descriptions

Wooden Churches of Maramures

In this Grand Tour to the wooden churches of Maramures we cross the remote Prislop Pass-the highest in Romania and reach Maramures. The last peasant culture in Europe is thriving here, with hand-built ancient wooden churches, traditional music, colorful costumes and ancient festivals. Explore the charming villages of this northern region and marvel at the wooden churches of Maramures at Poienile Izei, Bogdan Voda, Ieud and Barsana. These towering wooden churches have remained remarkably intact over the centuries and today are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Stop to admire Vadu Izei, famed for its immense carved wooden gates that illustrate the social status of the inhabitants. Continue to the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta. With exuberantly colored and beautifully crafted wooden headstones, is one of Romania’s most unusual attraction. Spend the night in a tourist pension in Botiza, a wonderful rural retreat offering relaxing accommodation and great home-cooked food.

It is worth mentioning that this tour is completely different from the tour of the painted monasteries of Bucovina. The architecture of the churches is different. Also different is the landscape, traditions and habits of the place.

Wooden churches of Maramures. Tour itinerary:

  • Day 1: Suceava (or other starting point) – Vatra Dornei – Tihuta Pass (Borgo Pass/Dracula Castle/Hotel) – Dragomiresti – Bogdan Voda – Ieud – Poienile Izei – Botiza (overnight)
  • Day 2: Barsana – Sighetu Marmatiei – Sapanta – Sighetu Marmatiei (we can end the tour here or we can return to Suceava. Extra charge we can transfer you to Baia Mare or Cluj-Napoca)

Approx. distance: 450 km – 750 km (It depends on the route and the end point of the tour)

Time: 2 full days

Highlights of Wooden Churches of Maramures Tour:

Tour description: The tour starts in the morning, at a mutually agreed time and we will visit:

DAY 1

  • Vatra Dornei – Resort known since the 19th century, as a spa resort and for practicing winter sports. Vatra Dornei is highly sought after for the thermal waters, the landscape, the climate and the ski facilities. The natural park in the center of the resort, famous for its squirrels, as well as the casino (now in degradation), remind us of the famous old spa resorts of Western Europe.
  • Tihuta Pass (Borgo Pass/Dracula Castle/Hotel) – Hotel Castel Dracula is located in Tihuta Pass in the Bargau Mountains, at 1116 m altitude and about 37 km away from Vatra Dornei. We will enter in the building built in medieval style and we will try to facilitate the access in in the terrible tomb of Dracula.
  • Dragomiresti village – we will visit the museum of the peasant woman from Maramures. The museum is a living proof of popular welfare, which, without any modern means, has managed to make all its necessities, from clothing to household items. Before going to the museum, we will pass, as in a ritual, the threshold of the huge gates built in Maramures style, in which the craftsmen carved in signs and symbols, the history of their place of native land.
  • The Wooden Church Bogdan Voda – In the heart of Maramures, on the Iza Valley, there is a unique architectural monument by its importance: a wooden church built in 1718. Bogdan Voda Church is one of the most famous in the region. Therefore, it is worthwhile to visit it together and find out its history.
  • The wooden church from Ieud– The wooden church from Ieud  is inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Historians have failed to agree on the date of its construction. The most cautious suggest the 17th century. Others date it as far back as 1364 and deem it to be the oldest in Maramures. In the attic of the church, an important discovery was made: the Codex of Ieud, a document dating from 1391, which is generally considered to be the oldest example of written Romanian.
  • The wooden church of Poienile Izei – The wooden church in Poienile Izei is one of the wooden churches in Maramures that were introduced to UNESCO World Heritage in December 1999. The wooden church is situated in the historical Maramures and was built in 1632 by the village population. It is one of the most beautiful and well preserved wooden churches of Maramures, illustrating the evolution of the type of Maramures wooden church in time. The wooden church of Poienile Izei is covered on the interior with spectacular frescoes, with several scenes of the Last Judgment. The scenes depict images of the fire of hell and „the nations of the sinners” heading to the judgment seat. Here we can also decipher some terrible punishments for sins: the liar hanged by his tongue, the farmer plowed by two devils for stealing his neighbor’s land, the mother forced to swallow her aborted baby etc.

 

DAY 2

  • Barsana Monastery – The Barsana Monastery, situated on Valea Izei, is an icon of the Orthodox Christian soul in Maramures, a hope for a blessed future, it is a holy place where nature unites with the Church in cosmic Liturgy. The first documentary testimonies referring to Bârsana Monastery date back to 1390. Today, the entire monastic complex is a special beauty that conquers you from your first visit. The landscape, the well-kept wood architecture, the silence are just a few elements that will definitely remain in your soul for a long time.
  • The Communism Memorial from Sighetu Marmatiei – It is probably the most explicit example of how people endured communism in Romania. It is also called the Memorial of Pain, referring to the torments induced to the people who opposed the communist regime established in Romania, immediately after the Second World War. It is not a pretty place nor a joyful place. But all must experience it, so humanity can remember how it feels to be confined, tortured, forced to do hard labor, interrogated, and finally murdered because of what one thought or said.
  • Elie Wiesel memorial house (optional – free) – In this house from Sighetu-Marmatiei, the Nobel Prize Winner in 1986, Elie Wiesel has spent his first 15 years of life. In 1944, Elie Wiesel together with his family and other 38.000 Jewish people from Maramures were deported to Auschwitz, Birkenau and Buchewald by the Natzi regim. In August 2002 Elie Wiesel himself opened the doors of the memorial house.
  • Sapanta Merry Cemetery – The village of Săpânța, located just 4 kilometres south of the Ukrainian border is world-famous for its original “Merry Cemetery”: famous for the brightly colored crosses and naive paintings representing scenes from the life and occupation of buried people. On some crosses there are even verses in which the persons are mentioned, often with humorous nuances. The novelty of this cemetery is the differentiation from folk culture, which considers death as a sad event.
  • Peri Monastery – Peri Monastery is situated very close to Sapanta village and has the tallest wooden church in the world, 78 meters tall.

Note: We can end the tour  in Sighetu Marmatiei or we can return to Suceava. For extra charge we can transfer you to Baia Mare or Cluj-Napoca. The prices below are valid for ending the tour in Sighetu Marmatiei and / or returning to Suceava.

 

PRICE:

  • 1 pers: 290 Euro/pers.
  • 2 pers: 150 Euro/pers.
  • 3 pers or more: 100 Euro/pers.

THE PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Professional driver AND licensed tour guide
  • Transport with middle class car / bus

THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE: entrance fees, lunch (can be organized by us), coffee breaks, foto and video taxes, accommodation in Botiza (aprox. 30 euro per person per night for accommodation and halfboard – dinner in the first day and the breakfast in the second day).

The tour to WOODEN CHURCHES OF MARAMURES can be customized. At this kind of tour you can add an extra tourist attraction (Please make a note in the booking form or contact us contact@visitromaniatoday.com for the updated price). We are Campion Tour Travel Agency from Suceava/Romania and we’re ready to show you our tourism pearls!

 

WE CAN START THE TOUR FROM ANOTHER PART OF ROMANIA / ANOTHER CITY. WE CAN END THE TOUR IN ANOTHER PART OF ROMANIA / ANOTHER CITY. PLEASE CONTACT US FOR A PERSONALIZED OFFER.

 

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Tour type: Specific Date
Maximum People: 44
Location: Maramures
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