The village of Bârsana (formerly Bîrsana), 12km southeast from Vadu Izei, dates from 1326. In 1720 it built its first church, the interior paintings of which were created by local artists Hodor Toador and Ion Plohod. It’s now part of the collection of Unesco World Heritage churches in the area.
The famous and enchanting Orthodox Bârsana Monastery (Manastirea Bârsana) is one of Maramures‘ top popular pilgrimage locales. It was the last Orthodox monastery built in the region before Serafim Petrovai – head of the Orthodox Church in Maramures – suddenly converted to Greco-Catholicism in 1711. For those who can plan to get there, the 11am service is supposed to be wonderful, set against rolling hills and wildflowers.
Maria Pasca (Tel. +40 (0) 262 331 165; address house No 377; room without meals is 14 euros) has rooms to rent at her home. It’s a little hard to find, near the turnoff to Calinesti in among the small lanes close to the church