Sighetu Marmatiei Travel Guide

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Sighetu Marmatiei Overview

Sighetu Marmatiei [also Sighet / Sighetul] is a provincial border town in northern Romania. It is a drab kind of place, but very useful as a base for visiting the amazing region of Maramures. The main attraction is the main square, where most sights are located, and the town is bordered to the north by the Tisa River [with the Romanian / Ukrainian border post] and to the south by the Iza River where there is a park.

The most important sight in town, just off the main square is the former communist political prison, transformed into the first European Memorial Museum to the victims of Communism. You can see heart wrenching cells where most of Romania's inter-war intelligentsia died or languished. Another symbolic site is the Elie Wiesel Memorial House, located next to the Casa Iurca Hotel, where the Nobel Peace Prize Winner was born. It also doubles as a Jewish Museum, documenting the Romanian involvement in the Holocaust. Finally, on the Western outskirts of Sighet there is a large open-air Village Museum. Take two hours at least.

From Sighet you can easily reach [by private car, there is no train; or by regular but poorly-advertised buses] in several directions into Maramures, all amazing. You can visit Sapanta to the north-west, with its Merry Cemetery; you can go south-west or south-east on the river valleys to see the UNESCO World Heritage Wooden Churches in the unspoilt traditional villages, including the Barsana Monastery, or north-east towards the forests of the Viseu & Vasser Valleys.