Maramureș, the beginning of the world

When I was a child, in the early years after the Romanian Revolution, one of the books that marked my childhood was a guidebook to promote Romania, of which I had become so fascinated, during primary school, that I used to sleep with it under my pillow; it was the “theatre of dreams”, a magic portal to the places I dreamed to reach. The small guidebook, which described our country from different angles, also mentioned this detail: a famous Japanese photographer, Miya Kosei, made a photo album named “Maramureș, the beginning of the world”.

Many years had to pass to understand the validity of the name given by our Japanese friend to his photographic adventure in “Maramureș country”. You cannot know Maramureș, you feel it. You cannot explain Maramureș, you live it. Maramureș is not about wooden gates or about special crosses and merry cemeteries, it’s about a superior wisdom and about humanity in the purest sense of the word, which destroys one’s inner beliefs and makes one’s reconsider himself. Maramureș is more than the epiphany of the alienated citizen in front of the unalterable sacrum. In an anti-Huxleyan sense, this is the revelation of pettiness and that we actually belong to one another genuinely and permanently, an equation out of which the ego is evacuated because its house of cards is so fragile.

A traditional house in Budești, Maramureș, Romania Photo: Marius Donici

A traditional house in Budești, Maramureș, Romania Photograph: Marius Donici

Travelling to a hospitable place named Șurdești, which has a unique Church that we won’t ignore on our platform, The Romanian Matrix, I was amused hearing the „mantra” of local people: „Calm down, this can be solved!” That was because, from a genetical, temperamental and spiritual point of view, locals understand a little more about the futility of human struggles. I was warned about the locals’ serenity – a serenity that „kills you” as my mother would say, who was once married to a local, but I can not help being natively attracted to a philosophy that says, according to Lincoln, that when you have six hours to cut a tree, in the first four-five the most natural thing is to sharpen your ax.

You cannot know Maramureș, you feel it. You cannot explain Maramureș, you live it. Maramureș is not about wooden gates or about special crosses and merry cemeteries, it’s about a superior wisdom and about humanity in the purest sense of the word

You’d better not analyze too much Maramureș because it’s like a good poem which loses its charm if you try to examine or over-analyze it. What the Creator wanted to say about Maramureș, only Him and His servants within “the garden of the Holy Virgin” know – the way an octogenarian from Budești, who came from voting and from the proverbial debates with his villagers, calls it. Hard workers, pragmatics and very faithful, Romanians from this region give us an example of coexistence between the material and the spiritual, a tested sample of living in these complicated times.

„The guest room”

„The guest room”

“Beautiful as angels and fierce… like angels.” This is how a local erudite described people from Maramureș, putting a wide smile on our faces. In Maramureș, even the falls from Heaven are so serious and calm, that the fallen ones have enough time to have their wings grown back.

Because this is Maramureș: the beginning of the world.

Romanian Matrix is publishing a series of special materials dedicated to the people, the culture and the identity of Maramureș, a historical region of Romania.

Teodor Burnar

Teodor Burnar

The Matrix’s Editor-in-Chief. An experienced writer with 11 years in Romanian media and 3 books under his belt
Teodor Burnar

Ultimele postari ale lui Teodor Burnar (vezi toate)

Raluca Băncioiu

Raluca Băncioiu

She's a graduate of the MA program in Translation of the Contemporary Literary Text. She's an optimistic person and a true familist
Raluca Băncioiu

Ultimele postari ale lui Raluca Băncioiu (vezi toate)

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