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Visiting museums is one of the best ways to get to know most destinations on your travel list. Visiting open-air museums is even a better option if you prefer spending the day outside while discovering more about the history and culture of a new country. Our guide to the top open-air museums in Romania sums up the finest locations of this kind, from the capital to the border with Ukraine. You can visit at least one of them during your next vacation in Romania.
It’s the largest museum in Bucharest and one of the first open-air ethnographic museums in the world. Opened in 1936, after 10 years of field research, the Village Museum exhibits traditional peasant houses and installations brought from all over Romania, rebuilt here by craftsmen using old techniques.
Simply by walking around the museum, you’ll easily notice different regional architectural styles, influenced by landscape, their owners’ occupation, and local culture. This is why visiting the Village Museum from Bucharest is one of the best ways to uncover the diversity of factors that shaped the Romanian peasant identity across the past centuries.
Check the visiting schedule on www.muzeul-satului.ro
Location: Sibiu, Sibiu County
The Astra Museum is a must-see attraction of Sibiu and one of the most beautiful open-air museums in Romania. Just be sure to save at least half-day for it. Founded in 1905, in the complicated political climate before the First World War, the museum was destined to represent the Romanian cultural identity in a time when Transylvania was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. It managed to achieve much more.
This museum is a great option for families with little children. The farm animals, the forest, and the lake are a magnet for the little ones.
Check the visiting schedule on www.muzeulastra.ro
Location: Suceava, Suceava County
If you’re planning to add more attractions to your list besides the famous painted churches while visiting Bucovina, plan a visit to the Village Museum from Suceava. Presenting the peasant culture of the region, it combines traditional installations with typical houses, recreating the atmosphere of an authentic village from Bucovina and locals’ view on the key events of rural life: birth, marriage, and death. For a complete day, add a visit to the large 14th-century fortress from Suceava.
Photo source: http://muzeulbucovinei.ro
Check the visiting schedule on muzeulbucovinei.ro
Location: Sighetu Marmatiei, Maramures County
We move north, to Maramures, the land of wooden churches and wooden architecture. If you feel the modernized villages lost much of their traditional touch, stop in Sighetu Marmatiei for a visit to the Village Museum. Opened in 1981, the museum presents an impressive collection of typical peasant houses representative of the wooden architecture of the region, the oldest church dating back to the 17th century. It’s a rare chance to see what a typical Maramures village looked like until a few decades ago.
Check the visiting schedule on www.muzeulmaramuresului.ro
Location: Eftimie Murgu, Caras-Severin County
Watermills and windmills were once a typical sight in the traditional village as in the absence of electricity, wind and water were the natural resources used for energy. Today, you can barely see these installations outside a museum, and this makes the village of Eftimie Murgu a rare attraction in Romania. The 22 water mills located just outside the village, in Rudaria Gorges from Almajului Mountains, are still used for grinding cereals, a strong tradition in the village where 51 installations of this kind were documented in the 15th century.
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Cluj County
Cluj-Napoca is right now the trendiest city in Romania. Plenty of concerts, festivals, and a dynamic young population make it the place to be. If you plan a visit, the open-air Ethnographic Park should definitely be on your to list. To begin with, it was opened in 1929 which makes it the first open-air museum in Romania. Named after its founder, the museum managed to survive through the critical years of the Second World War when many of its houses were destroyed. It stands today as one of the best places to discover the traditional peasant life of Transylvania.
Check the visiting schedule on www.muzeul-etnografic.ro
We hope that our top open-air museums in Romania guide we’ll make you curious to visit as many as possible as each and every single one of them is worth it. Even better, except for the watermills from Eftimie Murgu, all the other museums are located close to the city centers. You can easily include them in your walking tours.