February 17, 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?