Săpânţa is famous for its unusual 'Merry Cemetery,' which boasts brightly painted wooden crosses on the gravestones. These crosses have been presented in art shows throughout Europe and have drawn many visitors who appreciate the whimsical and hilarious epitaphs and the human connection that inspired them.
Ioan Stan Pătraş, a humble woodcarver, is the creator of the Merry Cemetery. In 1935, he carved crosses to honour the deceased in the old church cemetery. Each cross was painted in blue, the traditional colour of hope and freedom, with a clever epitaph inscribed.
Each grave marker in this cemetery depicts a unique story through painted images and inscriptions, showcasing various traditional occupations such as shepherds caring for their flocks, mothers preparing meals for their loved ones, barbers trimming hair, and weavers creating textiles on their looms. With over 800 individuals laid to rest here, the cemetery is a rich source of history and culture.
Pătraş created his cross and painted a portrait of himself on it. This cross can be found directly across from the main entrance of a church that has been renovated and expanded. After Pătraş's passing in 1977, his apprentice Dumitru 'Tincu' Pop and other craftsmen worked in his former home and studio, which is now a museum called the Ioan Stan Pătraş Memorial House. This museum is about 400 meters to the right of the cemetery's main entrance.