The Geography of Maramures

Maramures lies at the most northwestern border of Romania. It is near the exact physical center of Europe, protected on all sides by mountains. To the south lie the volcanic ranges of Oas, Gutti and Tibles. The systolic Ronda range guards Maramures' eastern border. While to the northeast rise the wild and unexplored peaks of the Maramures Mountains.

The northern border of Maramures, and Romania, is the Tisa River. For many centuries this river and its tributaries were the only access to this part of the world. Along the banks of the Tisa's tributaries, the Iza, the Mara, the Cosau and the Viseu Rivers, are paths made by the first settlers to this region. Across meadows, past terraces and over the endless hills, these paths formed the first arteries of transit. Even today these first paths are a major means of travel through this area.

The rolling hills of Maramures are the signature of the region. Many are still covered by thick forests of oak, beech and pine. Others have been replanted with orchards of apple, plum and cherry trees. The hills and the maze of rivers and streams that flow around them provide a rich soil for a variety of flora. The perfect environment for the menagerie of animals that make Maramures their home.

The rivers teem with an incredible variety of fish. Chubb, barbel, broad snout, pike, perch and trout can be found in abundance in the waterways of Maramures. The meadows fed by these rivers make perfect shelter for the many birds found here. Among them are the cuckoo, skylark, blackbird, hoopoe, magpie, stork, swallow and sparrow who all offer their songs to the fragrant air of Maramures. Within the woods can still be found a great quantity of wildlife. Sightings of wolves, bear, fox, wild boar and deer are still common in the wilder regions of this landscape.

The mountains surrounding Maramures contain many significant peaks. Pietrosal Peak at 2305 meters is the highest mountain in all of Maramures. Pietrosal Peak is the crown of the Rodna Mountains and the Pietrosul Ronda reservation. From her slopes, and the mountains around her, are the sources of some of the freshest, sweetest mineral waters found anywhere in the world. It is from this pristine beginning the valleys of Maramures begin. Like beads on a necklace, the villages of Maramures string along the rivers of these valleys.

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