Maramures is the most traditional region of Romania. With many Gothic wooden churches with steeples that rise to the sky, you feel like you stepped back in history as you ride through this region. Carriages pulled by oxen and horses pass by on the other side of the street. Farmers are dressed in clothes full of patterns you might never imagine worn together. People are hanging out by the street sharing the latest news of the village. It was fascinating to me.
It was said that Ceausescu encouraged the people of Maramures to maintain their traditional culture, contrary to the policies in place for the rest of Romania.
As for the story of the unique wooden churches, here is how it goes. In the 14th century, Orthodox Romanians were forbidden by Hungarian rules from building churches in stone. So the carpenters of the region used wood to express spirituality. The churches have interiors have walls painted in biblical frescoes (which look like folk art quite honestly). But the churches are quite unique.