Maramures – a cultural brand name
The Wooden Churches 3
The Traditional Homestead 4
Riverside Technical Installations 5
The Wooden Gates 6
The Wayside Cross 7
The Rattle Spindle 8
The Seal Engraver 9
The Traditional Peasant Costume 10
Săcel Pottery 11
The Traditional Cuisine 12
The Ethnographic Museum of the Historical Land of Maramures.
Sighetu Marmaţiei 14
The Ethnographic and Folk Art County Museum Baia Mare 15
The Vernacular of Maramures 15
The Folklore Archive 16
The Repertoire of Traditional Folk Music 18
The “Marmaţia” Winter Festival of Folk Customs and Traditions 19
“Tânjaua de pe Mara” 20
“Nopţi de Sânziene” Midsummer Night’s Festival (Borşa) 21
Dragoş of Bedeu and the Hunting of the Wisent 22
Bogdan of Cuhea, the Founder of Moldova 23
Haiduc Grigore Pintea “the Brave” 24
The Art Museum – The Baia Mare Cultural Artistic Centre 25
The Florean Contemporary Art Museum 26
Dramatic Art 27
The Historical Centre of Baia Mare 29
Turnul lui Ştefan (Ştefan’s Tower) 30
The Historical Centre of Sighetu Marmaţiei 31
“Petre Dulfu” County Library 32
The Mineralogy Museum Baia Mare 33
The Memorial of the Victims of Communism 34
The History and Archaeology Museum 35
Memorial Houses 36
The Merry Churchyard from Săpânţa 37
Monastic Establishments 38
Archaeological Sites 40
Strongholds and Castles 41
The Monument of the Moisei Heroes 42
The “Bogdan Vodă” Statue Assembly 43
The Elders’ Council 44
The Wooden Churches
We open the list of the brands from Maramures with the most representative (recognized and appreciated) component, the church, close to perfection in composition, architecture, and the artistic expression specific to its cultic use, and being made of the fundamental material: wood. It joins the material universe and the spiritual realm of religious structure, particularized by the superimposition of archaic, pre-Christian elements (defined by Mircea Eliade  as “cosmic Christianity”), and the institutionalized forms of the church.
The results of this symbiosis are some of the most attractive targets for the religious type of tourism from Europe and the whole world (part of them included in the UNESCO heritage).
“It is well known that some of the most interesting religious constructions in the world can be found here [in Maramures]; not only from our country but also from the entire Europe. The wooden churches form Maramures have long ago gained a well deserved fame not only in the eyes of the specialists but also in the eyes of the visitors from many countries of the world. There is no doubt they represent one of the highest achievements in the art of building with wood on our continent” (Paul Petrescu, 1969).
Evidently, this complex of cultic heritage from Maramures has to be regarded as an integral part in a system particularized by local solutions in construction and architecture in Romania (see also the monastic sites of Voroneţ, Suceviţa, Moldoviţa, Putna – in Moldova, or Curtea de Argeş – in Muntenia), as well as in Central and Western Europe, coming from the Middle Ages, as a prolongation of the art of Antiquity into that of the Renaissance.
These churches from Maramures have treasured some of the oldest documents and testimonies of the Romanian language; these are the places where the elders of the communities gathered to make decisions in crucial moments of history; these are the places where weddings were celebrated and infants were baptized, and these are also the places where our fathers and forefathers were buried.
As a rule, these churches were built on heights, with apparently exaggeratedly high steeples and bell towers. In the past, the bell tower had served also as watch tower, and in cases of danger (invasions, fire) they used to beat the wooden plate and ring the bell in a special way, warning the community to take the security measures required by the situation” (Grigore Man, Bisericile de lemn din Maramureş, 2005, p.5).
The oldest and most valuable of these monuments are situated in the historical Land of Maramures, some of them dating from the 14th century, but the majority of them were in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Small size “pre-Renaissance cathedrals” can be found also in the ethnographical zones of Chioar, Codru, and Lǎpuş, and this recommends the entire administrative and territorial area of Maramures County as an important target for religious tourism.
Remains of 17th century mural paintings can be seen in the church from Breb. There are relics of Celtic civilization in the churchyard of Sat Şugatag. The church tower from Budeşti-Josani is situated above the church porch that has four smaller towers. The church from Cuhea was built in 1718, on the site of the former wooden church the Tartars had burnt down in 1717. The church on the hill (Deal) from Ieud dates from 1364 and is also called the church of Balc, after the name of a local voivode, while the one on the plain (Şes) is considered one of the most beautiful and monumental “wooden cathedrals” from Maramures, representing also a sample of gothic architecture (see Mihai Dǎncuş, 1986).
It is worth remembering that, on Sundays and on religious holidays, services are still held in many of these ancient churches, although now they are too small for the number of worshipers. Maybe this detail has saved them from destruction, the people’s spirit and faith having remained intact.
Where the local people abandoned them (in favour of the new churches made of stone), the constructions show visible signs of decay.
The wooden churches are a brand, an insignia, a remembrance of the history of these places.