Last day. It’s raining and it’s freaking cold. We didn’t have time to visit any of the Dracula tourists’ traps but we wanted to have a feel of what is sold as “scary” Transylvania. What else should you do when it’s raining and dark outside? Like any good horror movie teaches you, we went to see Cluj ancient cemetery. Makes sense, right?
So, to sum up:
sucky weather: check
dark outside: check
no umbrella: check
Now, weather aside, it was a very interesting trip. Cluj cemetery is essentially a very large area on the hills packed (literally, packed!) with family crypts and extremely elaborate gravestones. What surpised us the most were the poles! Actually I was expecting gargoyles but still…
There were gigantic and heavily decorated poles stuck in the earth. I was honestly surprised. Did they really had something to do with all that vampire nonsense? And…of course not! Funerary poles keep alive the long and honourary Romanian woodcarving tradition. The North of Transylvania is famous for exquisite woodcarvings and beautiful cemeteries. Have you ever heard of the Merry Cemetery?
So no vampires, no Twilight crap. Just examples of amazing pagan traditions. It referes to the spears used to kills enemies, in the case of warriors. From the type of decorations you can understand if the dead was male, female or child, the age, etc… Two poles on the same grave means it was a couple, with the shorter pole symbolizing the wife, and the longer the husband (not surprising, uh?!).