At first, it seemed like an oxymoron. A “Merry Cemetery”? Isn’t that a little bit… inappropriate?
Still… my curiosity was piqued…
My Introduction to the Merry Cemetery
I first learned about the Merry Cemetery when I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s unforgettably disastrous “No Reservations” episode about his visit to Romania. At the time, I don’t think I noticed how many things were going wrong with his holiday because I was too distracted by the bowl of steaming vegetable soup that he ordered at a stall in the market in Sighetu Marmatiei.
I probably would have explored the Maramures region of Romania just for that bowl of soup alone, but when he also ventured to the nearby Merry Cemetery, full of colorful tombstones decorated with cartoon-like images and simple poems, it sealed the deal. I was going to Romania, I was going to eat vegetable soup, and I was going to see the Merry Cemetery with my own two eyes.