The name of Sapanta had a very old wooden church which felt victim to fire but a new one was constructed in 1886 to serve the community. Sapanta is probably the most well known place in Maramures. Sapanta is linked to a unique objective: The Happy Cemetery that is a true original popular art museum. The Merry Cemetery of Sapanta unique in Romania by originality) is one of the Romanian wonders. Here the native Romanians spirit is still alive: we are happy when someone dies, as the spirit will have the opportunity to go further is its spiritual voyage; you will just have to check the inscriptions – they show the humor sense of the Romanian peasants.
The initiator of the Merry Cemetery is the folk artisan Stan Ion Patras. During his life, he created a great number of grave markers which are painted in distinctive “Sapanta Blue”. He had composed, carve and own cross, which now marks his grave. The house in which the artist lived and created is now a small museum, called after his name. Ion’s intention was to create a place of celebration for loved ones.
He ended up creating one of the most visited attractions in Romania, as well as a truly unique site in the world. In the workshop-museum, Partra’s disciples continue to made similar crosses. The carved colored crosses reproduce qualities and especially short-comings in the life of those who passed away. The cemetery has become a chronicle of the local community.
The Merry Cemetery owes its name to the vivid colors of the headboards on which are naively painted scenes narrating the biography of the deceased. The accompanying simple-rhyming stanzas are sometimes lyrical, sometimes ironic, but always sincere and never indulgent.
The Merry Cemetery in Sapanta, called “Folk Art Museum”, is a fresco of community life, unique in the world. Sapanta also excels in other specific handicrafts: wool bedspreads, towels, small purses. The inhabitants of Sapanta, make outstanding woolen carpets or blankets (blanket = “cerga”), using natural paints