Places of interestSunday 27 August 2017

The Merry Cemetery of Săpânța

The Merry Cemetery is a cultural monument protected by UNESCO

The Merry Cemetery of Săpânța

A click. The world, Europe, Romania, Transylvania, Maramureș, Săpânța. In a dizzying information fall with Google Earth we cross thousands of miles to get to this town, in the extreme north of Romania, at 4 km from the border with Ukraine, among the dense forests of the northern Carpathians, where there is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, The Merry Cemetery of Săpânța.

Everything comes from the inspiration of Stan Ion Pătraș (1908 - 1977), a farmer from Săpânța, a naïf sculptor and painter, a naive, a commoner, a primitive but an ingenious at the same time. Without academic, artistic or classic preparation, not inspired by any current or the artistic movements catalogued in different cultures but, self-taught and manually skilled, in the early 1930s had the IDEA: a cemetery with gravestones carved in local oak wood and painted with scenes from the life of the deceased accompanied by simple rhyming phrases that narrate ironically, using the first person narrative, his vices and his virtues, the good and bad actions, the successes and misfortunes, the loves and hatreds.

In these "simple" sculptures-paintings, the lack of perspective and of the primary stylistic knowledge is largely compensated by the immediacy of the scene, genuine, healthy but also realistic, an aesthetic picture of the values ​​or the lake of values shared by the community ​​and of the cultural identity of these people, the Moroșeni of Săpânța.

About 800 crosses of 800 villagers who have decided to leave to posterity not a dry funeral headstone but a brief history of their real life, to watch, read and meditate, but without laughing just smiling, aware of the transformation of non-life in a continuous event can only mitigate the inevitable passage, leaving the memory as a source of survival for the whole community.

From the touristic point of view, the Merry Cemetery is places among the first places of the strangest and most visited cemeteries in the world, is also a cultural monument protected by UNESCO, and its main colour is the blue of Săpânța, a symbol of hope and freedom. Be an attentive visitor, not superficial!

G.P.

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