Death isn’t always tragic, at least not in this Romanian cemetery, where the dead beguile visitors with tales of their lives.
The Merry Cemetery in the north-western village of Sapanta is a collection of more than 1,000 elaborate wooden Orthodox crosses etched with colourful epitaphs and childlike drawings.
There are few secrets in this small community and whatever flaws someone had when they were alive are turned into ‘grave art’ when they die.
The story of a child who was run over by a car is depicted on her cross, centre right, in the Merry Cemetery
Crosses show depictions of the deceased and short stories of their lives and circumstances of their death in the Merry Cemetery
A man cries at a relative’s grave standing between the Merry Cemetery’s painted crosses
The Merry Cemetery is one of Romania’s top tourist attractions, despite its remote location
This darkly humorous and matter-of-fact approach, rooted in the traditional peasant culture of the region, intrigues visitors.
Despite its remote location some 600 kilometres (360 miles) northwest of the Romanian capital, Bucharest, it’s one of the country’s top tourist attractions.