Budesti

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Budesti, 25km south of Sighet and 20km south of Vadu Izei, is one of the most beautiful villages in Maramures. Its Unesco Josani church, built in 1643, features four small turrets surrounding the main steeple, signifying its former role as local law courts.

Inside the church is a small collection of glass and wood-painted icons, dating from 1766. Additionally there’s a glass box containing a hunk of wood sliced in half to reveal a perfect blackened cross image, supposedly a real-life miracle. If that weren’t enough, the church’s most prized exhibit is the 18th-century painting of the Last Judgment, preserved in its entirety. For you anarchist sympathizers, check out the undershirt of the area’s most famous 17th-century inhabitant, Grigore Pintea Viteazul, who evolved into a local Robin Hood. The shirt was allegedly purchased from a Romanian community in Budapest for 1000 forint.

If the church is locked, inquire at the church up the hill for the key.

Budesti can be reached from Sighet by slow bus or maxitaxi or a long day of dedicated hitching. Pack a lunch as food here is scarce. There’s a small pensiunea (pension) down the hill from the church if you’re too beat to hitch your way to civilization.

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