The Merry Cemetery Is a Colorful Resting Place for the Dead

In a small town, everybody knows everyone else’s business — there are no secrets and no hiding, period.

In the tiny town of Sapanta, Romania, that sentiment even applies in death. When its residents die, their lives are memorialized with truthful and often harsh words, pictures and symbols on their gravestones at a place known as The Merry Cemetery.

The work is the brainchild of a man named Stan Ioan Pătraş, who got his start carving crosses for the cemetery when he was just 14. Over the course of his life, he began implementing more elaborate designs that included poems and pictures.

When Pătraş died in 1977, his apprentice Dumitru Pop took over the important work.

Aside from being cheeky, the gravestones are absolutely gorgeous works of art:

Photo Credit: Aspusa under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This cemetery really does seem more “merry” and less “doom and gloom:”

Photo Credit: John Spooner under CC BY-NC 2.0

Such intricate details:

Photo Credit: John Spooner under CC BY-NC 2.0

One of the sassy poems goes like this:

Underneath this heavy cross
 / Lies my mother-in-law poor
 / Had she lived three days more
 / I would be here and she would read / You that are passing by / Try not to wake her up
 / For if she comes back home
 / She’ll bite my head off / But I will act in the way
 / That she will not return
 / Stay here my dear

Photo Credit: Steve Hall under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you ever decide to take a trip to Romania, be sure to put the Merry Cemetery on your list. Even if you can’t understand the poems on the gravestones, you can still appreciate the artistry and beauty of this place.

What do you think of this unique cemetery? Does it honor the dead appropriately? Yes or no?

We’d love to hear from you!

Let us know in the comments!