Visit Maramures

The land of wooden churches, mythological richness, impressive landscapes and very ancient customs

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The Way of Wooden Churches - Day 2

Sapanţa => Sighet Marmaţiei => Vadu Izei => Onceşti => Naneşti => Bârsana => Strâmtura => Rozavlea => Şieu => Poienile Izei => Botiza => Bogdan Voda => Ieud


Distance: 75 km
Duration: 2 hrs 30 min driving time


The route today returns through Sighet where you can spend a few hours seeing the sites of the town if you couldn't find time during the first day of this itinerary. Upon leaving Sighet, you will follow the road south into Vadu Izei where you will turn left and begin the day's journey following the Iza River Valley through a series of small villages and hamlets set amidst rolling hills and small forests. The first major stop on today's itinerary is Bârsana, home to a magnificent UNESCO wooden church and a stunning monastery.


 barsana u v detaliu barsana


The signposted wooden church at Bârsana, known as the "Holy Mother's Entrance," was originally built in 1720 and then moved to its present location on Jbar Hill in 1806. It is said that the reason for the relocation of the church was so as to move the church closer to the mass grave of plague victims so that they could rest for eternity in the shadow of the church.


At the southern end of the village, travellers will find the Bârsana Monastery, perhaps one of the most magnificent sites in all of Maramureş. The monastery is a grand example of traditional wooden architecture. Within the confines of the monastery, visitors will be hard-pressed to not feel the emotion and pulsing life of the mountains, flowers, fields, and hills of the area. Spectacular views of the surrounding countryside can be had here. Most of the buildings within the monastery complex are open to the public.


 barsana m barsana


Upon leaving Bârsana, the route continues to follow the meandering of the Iza River. Once you reach the village of Şieu keep an eye out for the turn off towards Poienile Izei. Take the right off of the main road and follow the signs toward the next stop on the route (10.5 km, 15 min). The UNESCO designated wooden church at Poienile Izei, Pious Paraschiva, is one of the most beautiful and well preserved monuments in all of Maramureş. The church was built in 1605 and is covered on the interior with spectacular frescoes.


 poienile izei ieud


The route now returns to Şieu to continue its journey along the Iza River. The next point of interest is the village of Ieud which is just off of the main road at Bogdan Voda. Turn right here and follow the road 5.8 km (7 min) until you reach central Ieud. Ieud, which dates from the 14th century, is home to another of Maramureş' famed UNESCO wooden churches and a museum of traditional hemp processing. The Church on the Hill, is made of fir tree wood and has been for long considered to be the oldest wooden structure in Europe. However, dendrochronological dating established that the building was erected between 1611 and 1621, not in the middle of the XIVth century, as some specialists had believed. The church is devoted to the Birth of Holy Mary, celebrated on September 8th. It was also here that a document, The Codix of Ieud, dating from 1391, was found in the church attic that is generally considered to be the first example of written Romanian.


Accommodations for the night can be easily found in one of the many family-run guesthouses located in Ieud or nearby Sieu.