A Very Merry Cemetery

06/10/2016 04:16 pm ET Updated Jun 11, 2017

One of the most memorable sights in Romania is the Merry (as in "joyful") Cemetery. I've enjoyed a variety of graveyards throughout Europe. But this one, in Maramure￈ル, is really a one of a kind. Here's how we described it in our script:

Just up the road is the Merry -- as in joyful -- Cemetery. In 1935, a local woodcarver -- inspired by a long-forgotten tradition -- began filling this cemetery with a forest of vivid memorials. Each one comes with a whimsical poem and a painting of the departed doing something he or she loved.

Even if you can't read the poems, the images speak volumes: weaver ... loved bikes ... television repairman ... soldier ... hit by a car ... struck by lightning ... nagging mother-in-law.

It's a poignant celebration of each individual's life, a chronicle of village history, and an irreverent raspberry in the face of death. And it's all painted a cheery blue to match the heavens where the souls are headed.


This is Day 58 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I research my guidebooks and make new TV shows, I'm reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Romania, and beyond. Find more at blog.ricksteves.com.

(This post originally appeared at blog.ricksteves.com/blog/merry-cemetery-romania/.)