Merry cemetery in Săpânţa, Romania

Săpânţa is famous for its colorful tombstones with naive paintings describing in an original and poetic manner, the persons that are buried there as well as scenes from their lives. The Merry Cemetery became an open-air museum.



In 1935 Stan Ioan Pătraş, then an anonymous sculptor, started to carve onto the tombstones small poems written in the first person. At the beginning he carved only 10 tombstones a year using oak as the base wood. By 1936 he had already perfected his style: the tombstones became narrower, he started to paint relief figures on them using bright coloures obtained from natural pigments. Until his death in 1977, Pătraş made almost 700 tombstones








Not far away is highest wooden church in Europa

1 Comment

  1. by Gisulupa on June 14, 2015  2:55 am

    This is not an accident, in the region also some happy events were held surrounding the death of somebody until recently - less than 100 years ago maybe.
    During the modern times these happy manifestations became extinct, because of the scornful treatment of other people not knowing their own history.
    In fact, this place being somewhat more isolated than the rest of the country kept some traditions thousands of years old, from the time of the Dacians - which were described by Herodotus as having no fear of death, on the contrary being happy to die in a fight, strongly believers that they are immortals, and the bravest of all the Tracians. This is how they resisted anyway being surrounded by several huge Empires for thousands of years. Also the Spartans had not very certain origins, but the criteria of the selection process all point to the fact that they were in fact Tracian children (tall, sturdy, a great deal of them with light hair, living in the mountains) they seem more likely their neighbors from North, the Tracians (could not have been the Ilirians as neither they match the description.
    Even the Romans which conquered Dacians, did so after 10 unsuccessful campaigns, and to succeed Trajan brought 10 to 20 times more soldiers than before, even so, succeeding with huge losses (> 90% after other historians than the Empire ones). All the other historians than the Empire ones said that the Romans came back home decimated, thus celebrating the hardly obtained victory for an entire year (an unique fact in the history of mankind), and than distorting the historical truth by saying that it was an easy win, and they extincted all the Dacians "just to be sure". Before that, the Goths and the Celts wanted to settle there but they were all pushed to the North-west.
    Nowadays, modern researchers explain more and more of these "pagan" beliefs as the precursors of Christianity, as they discovered the Old Testament was in most parts copied from older Mesopotamian texts. The Dacians were mostly archers -converted from peasants- which was very easy to do -even for today standars, and arches are perfect for defense (even until recent times, like the WWI - because guns needed more time to be reloaded), but arches are not so good for attack (at least until the Mongols invented the crossbow), thus explaining why they didn't form an Empire or an earlier modern state -because they didn't need to- the Boyars and their Voievods handled the defense pretty well with the peasants converted into archers.
    Also the resemblance of the Romanian language more with old latin than the modern latin (or consequently Italian), some strange "pagan" traditions like the Merry Cemetery, which now turn out to be precursors of Christianity, the almost exact match (of millimeter precision) of the old map of Great Dacia of Burebista drawn by the ancient Greeks
    and the language map of nowadays Romanian speakers (not the political map however), all seem to point to the fact that the Dacians were not extinct by the Romans, but the present-day Romanians are in fact the Dacians' descendants.
    So, in conclusion I think the Merry Cemetery is not a mere accident, but a lost remainder of an extinct ancient tradition.

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