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 3

Ieud => Bârsana => Valeni => Calineşti => Sârbi => Budeşti => Ruptura => Cavnic =>  Strâmbu Baiut => Lapuş => Rogoz => Târgu Lapuş => Cufoaia => Ruşor => Copalnic Manastur => Laschia => Faureşti => Plopiş => Şurdeşti => Daneşti => Siseşti => Baia Sprie => Baia Mare

 

Distance: 164 km
Duration: 4 hrs 15 min

 

Ieud => Budeşti (52 km, 1 hr 45 min)

 

While day 3 seems like a much longer day than the others in the itinerary, it is simply due to the fact that more ground need to be covered and stops are less frequent. The day's itinerary gives you a great opportunity to just relax and enjoy driving through the picturesque countryside. The route begins by retracing the prior day's journey until you reach Bârsana, at which point you will need to turn left toward Valeni and Calineşti. Upon reaching Calineşti, turn left and shortly, you will pass through the charming village of Sârbi.

 valtoare poarta 

This quaint village is home to many intricately carved wooden gates, especially along the right hand side of the road as it passes through the village. It is worthwhile to stop briefly to examine the still operational water driven fulling mill. This authentic mill is still used in the processing of wool from the local herds of sheep. It is located midway through the village.

Our first UNESCO monument is the wooden church in Budeşti. The church of St. Nicolae dates from 1643 and was built on the site of another church. In addition to its inherent beauty, the church here is also noteworthy as it is home to the mail shirt and armoured helmet of Pintea - a local Robin Hood character from Maramureş' past.

                       biserica budesti

Budeşti => Rogoz (50 km, 1 hr)

 

This section of today's itinerary ventures deep into Lapuş Country and follows the river of the same name. Take in the scenery as you drive through the rolling hills and fields. Worth exploring along the way to Rogoz is the ‘Bone Cavern' located 2km from the main road just past Strâmbu Baiut. This cave was carved in Jurassic limestone and is named after the discovery of fossil remains of a cave bear. The entire area is great for walking or mountain biking and there are a number of picnic tables and chairs dotted along the river. The village of Lapuş, further along the road and before you reach Rogoz, is home to an Iron Age tumular necropolis consisting of 70 tumuli and a small village museum.

 

A short distance out from Lapuş is the small village of Rogoz dating back to 1488 and part of an estate once belonging to Stephen the Great and other Moldavian princes. Down a small turning off the main road, is the orthodox wooden church (be careful -  the Saint Paraschiva Catholic Church sits beside it) built in 1661.

                        biserica rogoz  

One of the eight World Heritage-designated wooden churches in the region, the church of the Saint Archangels Michael and Gabriel is unique for its southern entrance, asymmetrical roof and horse-head cantilever joints. The ‘Elder's' table covered by the eaves on the northern side of the church has markings representing the families entitled to sit at it. On religious holidays, these families offered meals to the poor in memory of the dead.

Rogoz is also home to a master craftsman, Mr. Serban, whose signposted home and workshop can be found just up the road from the church. Mr. Serban is a master woodcarver and souvenirs are available for purchase. Ask to see some of the spectacular furniture that fills his house.

 

Rogoz => Copalnic Manastir => Plopiş => Şurdeşti => Baia Mare (62 km, 1hr 30 min)

 

The first town you will drive through after leaving Rogoz is Târgu Lăpuş. For those with time on their hands or specific interest in the region, there are a number of attractions in and around Târgu Lăpuş, clearly signposted by the local Târgu Lăpuş Tourism Association. As you leave Târgu Lapuş, take a stop to survey the stunning landscape. On a clear day you'll be able to see the three close peaks of the Țibleșului Mountains and to their right, the volcanic Shatra Peak, home to ‘Pintea', Romania's own legendary Robin Hood.

 lapus land florean

The road takes you beneath the quaint ‘Culmea Prelucii' mountains dotted with small settlements amid lush forests. The road too, tunnels its way through the forest after the village of Cerneşti. In the middle of the forest, signposted and 2km from the main road, is the ‘Muzeul Florean' an outdoor marble sculpture museum also used as a camp for amateur sculpturers. The 20 minute walk to the museum through shady forest provides a delightful break to stretch one's legs.

 

As you head towards Copalnic Mănăștur you will pass through the village of Cerneşti. Some villagers here keep bees and sell tasty honey along the roadside. The village of Cerneşti even hosts an annual beekeepers' festival in late summer.

 

Once you reach Copalnic Mănăștur, you will turn right and continue on to the remaining 2 UNESCO wooden churches in Maramureş. The first up is the church at Plopiş which is located approximately 2 km off of the main road. Construction of the church at Plopiş began in 1798 and was completed with its dedication on November 12, 1811. On that date, a document was drafted commemorating the dedication and was hidden with 49 coins in one of the legs of the altar table. The coins were added by each of the founding 49 families of the church. The village is also well-known for its talented carpenters whose beautiful cabinetry work can be found throughout the country.

biserica plopis biserica surdesti

Upon leaving Plopiş, turn right back on to the main road for the short trip to the village of Şurdeşti. The church is located 1.5 km off of the main road and is signposted. The wooden church of Archangels Michael and Gabriel was built in 1721 by Toma Macario, a master craftsman. It was built for the Greek Catholic community of Şurdeşti and has recently been returned to that community. The church is considered the tallest oak structure of its kind with a 54 metre steeple atop the main structure that rises 18 metres. Its beauty is enhanced by a carving of twisted rope that encircles the entire building. Biblical scenes painted in 1783 can found on the interior walls.

 

The church at Surdeşti ends our itinerary of the UNESCO World Heritage Monuments in Maramureş County. Upon leaving the church, return to the main road and turn right. Follow the road until you reach Baia Sprie, at which point a left turn will return you shortly to Baia Mare.