Merry Cemetery Romania

The Merry Cemetery is located in the Northen part of Romania, in Sapanta village, in one of the most cultural and unique areas of the country.
Merry Cemetery Sapanta Romania

The Merry Cemetery is famous in Romania and all over the world for its one of a kind way of looking upon death, not as a sad event, but as a celebration of a life that ended.

The tombstones are colorful and beautifully carved in wood. Also, on each, there is a message, usually a poem that rhymes, about the person buried underneath, about what he or she liked most in life and sometimes about the way they died. The poems are really interesting and can offer to the tourist a great insight into the lives of simple and honest people who lived in Sapanta village.

A local legend tells that this cemetery is in fact a cultural reminiscence from the Dacians. It isn’t ancient but, the Dacians, the tribes which inhabited Romania’s territory long before the roman invasion, believed that death is just a gate to eternal happiness, a chance to meet Zamolxes, their supreme god.

Who created the Merry Cemetery

The Merry Cemetery dates back into the 1930 and it is the creation of a local artist named Stan Ion Patras, woodworker, poet and painter. For more than 50 years, Ion Patras created hundreds of crosses and tombstones. After his death in 1977, his apprentice, Dumitru Pop Tincu, took the role.

Most of the tombstones are made from oak and are dyed in a special blue color. In the upper part there is a painting that depicts the person who passed away in a colorful and dynamic scene of his or her life. Underneath there is a poem.

To understand and have a full experience in the Merry Cemetery it is best and recommended to have a guide who could translate the poems for you.

Merry Cemetery Sapanta Romania

The poems of the Merry Cemetery

For example, even the artist Stan Ion Patras has a poem carved on his tombstone.

Since I was a little boy
I was known as Stan Ion Pătraş
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 Sapanta Romania

Another example of a funny poem lies on a tombstone of an old woman who was someone’s mother-in-law.

Under this heavy cross
Lies my poor mother in-law
Three more days she would have lived
I would lie, and she would read (this cross).
You, who here are passing by
Not to wake her up please try
Cause’ if she comes back home
She’ll criticise me more.
But I will surely behave
So she’ll not return from grave.
Stay here, my dear mother in-law!

Merry Cemetery Sapanta Romania

This is where I rest,
Stan Ion is my name
I was a police officer from Brasau village
A good cop I was
And now I salute you all
Because we won’t see each other anymore
I left this world in 1952
Merry Cemetery Sapanta Romania

I had a short childhood
It wasn’t for me to live
My parents not to upset
It was my destiny to pass away
To leave my sister alone
Dear sister, as long as you live
Please take care of my grave
Put flowers on it
And don’t forget until you die
That you had a good sister
Even though we couldn’t be together
It was for me to die
And you to miss me

Merry Cemetery Sapanta Romania

This is where I rest
Holdis Ion is my name
For as long as I lived
I praised the political party (communist party)
And I tried so hard for people here to have a good life
I had no children
But I helped
The town management
Merry Cemetery Sapanta Romania

This is where I rest
Pop Grigore is my name
I loved my tractor the most
And drowned my sorrows in the bottle
All my life I was miserable and sad
Because my father left me when I was just a child
Maybe this was my fate
To die young
Death, you took me so young – He died at 33 years old

Merry Cemetery Sapanta Romania

This is where I rest
Pop Ion Osu is my name
Even though I am old I go up the hill to gather hay
And when I get there I eat cheese and stew
And after that I take my mower and start working
Because this is what peasants do.

To get to the Merry Cemetery, in Sapanta Village, you will have to get to the North of Romania. The closest airport is in Oradea City at a distance of 217 kilometers. Sapanta village is located at 18 kilometers from Sighetu Marmatiei Town.

There are some guesthouses in Sighetu Marmatiei town. You can find accommodation here and take the bus to Sapanta village. People in this part of the country don’t speak english so well, but maybe you’ll find directions for the bus station from the owners of the guesthouses in this area.


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