Surdesti, south of Baia Mare, is a one-horse town – make that a one church town. Specifically its towering Unesco World Heritage church, one of the most magnificent in the Maramures region and well worth the effort to see it.
Despite lingering damage caused by a botched renovation job, the all-original wall and ceiling paintings remain impressive. The tiny church is best known for its giant, 72m steeple, which until recently was considered the tallest wooden structure in Europe. The new church in Sapânta is taller, though purists say this church’s stone base disqualifies it from contention. Blah, blah, whatever the case, Surdesti’s church is quite a sight to behold and ponder. It was built in 1724 as a center of worship for the Greco-Catholic faithful and it remains a Uniate church today.
To get to the church, follow the signs marked ‘Monument’ from the center of the village. The priest and his wife, who live in the house below the church, have the keys and welcome visitors.