Imagine this: a rainy friday night, with a tricky road over the mountains and then, after a long road, you reach Tisza River. And then the fog comes in and you can’t see a thing. And then you finally reach Săpânța and get to the cemetery. In the fog and dark. Sounds like the scenario for a horror movie, doesn’t ? Still, it wasn’t.
Săpânța Happy or Merry Cemetery is one of the places you have to get if you want to better understand the world. And why every death, even if it’s tragic, can offer an opportunity to tell a story. And that’s what Săpânța is: a collection of stories in the gruesome face of death.
Săpânța Cemetery is still full of crosses, don’t you worry about that, you are still in a cemetery, but all of those crosses are painted blue and have some artistic drawings on them, representing, in a few words, the stories of the People of Sapanta. From soldiers to simple sheep herders, they all a story about them. I’ve spent about an hour visiting and reading the messages from the crosses. The artist who created most of the crosses, Stan Patras, passed his knowledge to some apprentices, and even to this day, there are a lot of new crosses added there. Because, well, people do die from time to time, even in Săpânța, a place with 3200 people.
You can still find simple and traditional crosses or funeral stones, but there are quite rare. And the cemetery it’s quite crowded, with most the crosses being quite tight near each other, so you have to be careful not to trip while going around the cemetery.
If you want to go there, you need to get to Sapanta, which is 15 km away from Sighetu Marmatiei, on the road between Sighetu Marmatiei and Satu Mare. The road goes along Tisa, on the Ukrainian-Romanian border, and in one place you can actually see Ucraine from Romania, which is quite nice.
Once you get there, you have 5-6 places that you can go and rest, if you want to visit the area. I’ve found a room with 2 beds for less than 20 euros, so staying there is not expensive. And if you want to enter the cemetery, you have to pay 5 lei (1.1 euros). I can’t offer any suggestions on where to eat, since I’ve continued my road that morning from Sapanta to Satu Mare. Of course, with a lot of foggy november weather. Until we’ve reached the mountain pass of Huta Certeze. But more about that in another article.
Have you’ve been to Sapanta ? What’s you opinion about the place ?