Old wooden church

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Widely regarded as Romania's most traditional region, dotted with steepled wooden churches and farmhouses fronted by ornately carved gates, Maramureş feels as if you are climbing into a horse-drawn time machine and heading back a couple of centuries. Indeed, Maramureş' tapestry of pastureland, peopled by colourfully garbed peasants, jumps straight out of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Welcome to the heart of folkloric, medieval Romania, where the last peasant culture in Europe continues to thrive. But don't wait forever to visit: even here the 21st century is making inroads, as young ‘uns eschew embroidery for Twitter and tending flocks to waiting tables in London.


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Sighişoara’s old town and clock tower. Image by Doug Pearson / Getty Images


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