February 21, 2018

A Merry Cemetery in Romania!

Where ever I travel, I love wandering through cemeteries.  Strange as this may seem, I find it interesting looking at the tombstones marking the graves, seeing how far they date back, how old the person was when they died and sometimes the cause of death.  It’s interesting to combine the dates with history to understand more about the times they lived in. Cemeteries have quite a genealogy of the surrounding area!

Europe is full of great cemeteries dating back for eons.  If you find cemeteries as fascinating as I do, then I have found one you will want to visit!

Cemetary of happiness by glenmcbethlaw, on Flickr

Cemetary of happiness by glenmcbethlaw, on Flickr

Cimitirul Vesel (MerryCemetery) is in Sapanta Romania and is full of tombstones that are not only colorful but are decorated in a way that characterize the person buried below.  A story of their life is usually portrayed and most include a little poem.  On the tombstone you may find women weaving or baking bread or men plowing or tending sheep.  The beautiful color on the tombstones is known as “Sapanta Blue”.
Merry Cemetary by glenmcbethlaw, on Flickr

Merry Cemetery by glenmcbethlaw, on Flickr

This optimism towards death and the colorful headstones are thought to be attributed to the Dacian’s who believed in eternity and that death leads to a better life.  The poems included are written as a message from the dead to the living.

Sapanta Cemetery by Gabi Agu, on Flickr

Sapanta Cemetery by Gabi Agu, on Flickr

The Merry Cemetery was founded in 1935 by Stan Ioan Patras who was a local artist and the sculptor of the first tombstone.  When he died in 1977 his apprentice Damitru Pop Tincu took over making the tombstones for the village.

As an example of the poems on the tombstones, here is the one on Stan Ioan Patras’:

Cimitirul Vesel de la Sapanta by Pixi

Cimitirul Vesel de la Sapanta by Pixi

Since I was a little boy
I was known as Stan Ioan 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

When I stumbled upon the Merry Cemetery in Romania, I was completely taken in by its beauty and its message.  I hope you feel the same.



To get a better vision of Cimitirul Vesel, here is a short video I found on youtube


Do you like exploring cemeteries?

What is your favorite cemetery?

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  1. click says:

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  2. Luminita says:

    The Merry Cemetery is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Maramures region. It’s surprising how the tradition of writing funny poems on the crosses in the cemetery is not actually that of an old tradition. It shows just how many interesting things and locations one could discover by exploring the Romanian countryside.
    Luminita recently posted..On the footsteps of the real Dracula – places to visit in Romania

  3. web site says:

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  5. Looks like my kind of cemetery. I want my tombstone to be as multihued as my life! Would love to visit this palce someday.
    pinaytraveljunkie recently posted..California Dreamin

  6. Tijmen says:

    Can’t believe how boring cemeteries are over here compared to Romania. No colors or drawings on them, just a plan white stone with some text in them. These ones definitely are more attractive to look at 🙂
    Tijmen recently posted..Diving the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Newer cemeteries seem to have lost something over the years. I do enjoy older cemeteries that are full of character!

  7. With all that colour it makes our cemeteries rather drab and mourneful, I’d rather my life was celebrated in colour
    Heather on her travels recently posted..On the Maharajas’ Express in India- a peek into the luxury train’s kitchen

  8. Sheenie says:

    That’s the most beautiful cemetery I have ever seen in my life ever.. Thanks for this very wonderful blog, It really amazed me a lot.
    Sheenie recently posted..Does Big Butt Prolongs Life

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I loved it too! All the beautiful art work and colors then add in the sentiment and you’ve got one special cemetery.

  9. Ayngelina says:

    I am a big fan of cemeteries as well, love the decorations of these ones.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Learning to cook like a Porteño

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I really was impressed with this cemetery. It is so different from normal cemeteries!

  10. Sophie says:

    I like ambling through cemeteries, too – trying to imagine the lives of the names on the stones, those who once walked about in the area. For some reason, this one reminds me of one in Orheiul Vechi in Moldova. Not exactly sure why, the Moldovan is much smaller and a bit more dingy… but still.. the colours perhaps.

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I’ve never heard of the cemetery in Moldova you mentioned but will make a note of it and make sure to visit.

  11. ron says:

    Whoa… Debbie this is beautiful… I’ve never heard of this one before. walking around would be very interesting, like reading a book of their lives. thanks for sharing!

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      “Like reading a book of their lives” I like that! I was struck by the beauty of this cemetery but also the sentiment towards the dead.

  12. The Dropout says:

    I don’t really like cemeteries. Possibly because I want to live forever — there’s so much to see and do in this world.
    However, this would have to be the most cheerful cemetery I’ve ever seen. Thanks for sharing!
    The Dropout recently posted..Jurong Frog Farm – BYO Prince

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I think the fear of death is why most people don’t really like cemeteries. This one did look cheery!

  13. Wow, this cemetery looks so festive! These beautiful headstones are a great tribute to the people who have been buried there – it seems like more of a celebration of life. 🙂
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Photo Essay- The Oregon Coast

  14. jade says:

    Wow- I agree, this is a very merry and bright cemetery! I love all the blues and reds together…. I kind of feel like it would hard to be sad in that place!

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I think it would be hard to be sad there too! That is one of the things that drew me to this cemetery.

  15. This is fascinating! I like checking out cemeteries too, especially ones where the tombstones have flair.
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Where in the world am I

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I know, headstones are so amazing and artistic! It is a shame we have moved away from them.

  16. I am not a fan of big cemeteries but I like the little ones. I have done the exact same thing as you in Austria, Spain, Croatia, and other countries. For some reason, I find cemeteries interesting. Probably because I enjoy history and culture and dead people are a part of both! 🙂
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Where in the world am I

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I do think you can learn a lot about the culture and history of a community by visiting cemeteries. Have you been to the National cemetery in SF? Its pretty interesting and the presidio is a great place to spend a day!

  17. Laurel says:

    I don’t normally explore cemeteries but this one looks amazing and surprisingly uplifting. I like how each grave portrays the person’s life, what a nice idea.
    Laurel recently posted..Stuttgart Lapidarium – One of Stuttgart’s Quirkiest Attractions

  18. Norbert says:

    This is definitely the most colorful cemetery I’ve seen. When I was in college I had to do an inventory of ALL the tombs in an old cemetery in Puerto Rico. Although it was a tedious work, it was interesting to see how the people were buried according to class and money, where they came from and how the cemetery evolved through time.
    Norbert recently posted..And The Round The World Goes To…

  19. That one looks really special, thanks for sharing.

    I too like visiting cemeteries when I travel, often they all look very different from each other.

    The other day we went to a cemetery called Mirogoj in Zagreb, Croatia. Apparently it’s one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe, and I have to say that it was one of my favorite ones too.

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Cemeteries are great! Thanks for the heads up on Mirogoj cemetery. I’ll make sure to visit when in Zagreb.


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  8. […] I stated in A Merry Cemetery in Romania, I find cemeteries fascinating.  I don’t have an obsession with death, I just find that […]

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