The Merry Cemetery (Romanian: Cimitirul Vesel pronounced [t͡ʃimiˈtirul ˈvesel]) is a cemetery in the village of Săpânța, Maramureş county, Romania. It is famous for its brightly colored tombstones with naïve paintings describing, in an original and poetic manner, the people who are buried there in addition to scenes from their lives. The Merry Cemetery became an open-air museum and a national tourist attraction.
The unusual feature of this cemetery is that it diverges from the prevalent belief, culturally shared within European societies – a belief that views death as something indelibly solemn. Connections with the local Dacian culture have been made, a culture whose philosophical tenets presumably vouched for the immortality of the soul and the belief that death was a moment filled with joy and anticipation for a better life (see also Zalmoxianism).
A collection of the epitaphs from the Merry Cemetery exist in a 2017 volume called Crucile de la Săpânța, compiled by author Roxana Mihalcea , as well as in a photography book titled The Merry Cemetery of Sapanta by Peter Kayafas.