Monday, November 16, 2015

from B towns to S towns

from Brasov and Bran to Sibiu and Sighisoara... yes that was our path as we checked out of our "soviet central" style hotel and headed further north and further east in Romania.

Before we leave Brasov though Cornl has arranged for us to go back to the museum of the first school and visit with the curator there.  There are still tourists but a much smaller group from England... and the visit with the monk/priest/curator/scholar/teacher was wonderful.  He was so charming I asked if we could take him with us.  He stood a full five feet tall LOL and was rather round but despite my attempts to entice him into running away with me he said his wife wouldn't let him...LOL

here are a few photos from the museum- apparently in the tower of the orthodox church across the lane there was a treasure trove of old books and manuscripts (illuminated and illustrated) and these were kept secret during the communist era so as to protect them - now my old round adorable scholar and one assistant are doing their best to preserve them and the information they contain...

they also found a number of paintings on tin shields...

then we were off to another town with a stop along the way for lunch near an overcrowded monastery (weekend visitors making pilgrimages) where we see the now familiar RIVER of Fire and judgment day illustrations-

but we had a very nice lunch outside and also learned about another Romanian treat - no it is covrigi- LOL or papanash LOL or even ice cream...

it's kurtoskalacs!!! really rolls off the tip of your tongue doesn't it? LOL

they are made over a charcoal fire - and the pastry part is wrapped around a cylinder and browned/toasted like marshmallows to a golden brown and then coated with various goodies- sugar or nuts or cinnamon and sugar or sprinkles- below a done one and one just put on the fire-

coating the done one-

a display of finished and wrapped ones for sale -

then it was on to the town of Sibiu-

Sibiu or Hermannstadt in Transylvanian Saxon dialect is a city in Transylvania, Romania, with a population of 147,245.  Located 134 miles north-west of Bucharest, the city straddles the Cibin River, a tributary of the river Olt. Now the capital of Sibiu County, between 1692 and 1791 and 1849-1865 Sibiu was the capital of the Principality of Transylvania.

Sibiu is one of the most important cultural centres of Romania and was designated the European Capital of Culture for the year 2007, along with the city of Luxembourg. Formerly the centre of the Transylvanian Saxons, the old city of Sibiu was ranked as "Europe's 8th most idyllic place to live" by Forbes.

The first official record referring to the Sibiu area comes from 1191, when Pope Celestine III confirmed the existence of the free German settlers in Transylvania.  In the 14th century, it was already an important trade centre. In 1376, the craftsmen were divided in 19 guilds. Sibiu became the most important ethnic German city among the seven cities that gave Transylvania its German name Siebenb├╝rgen (literally seven cities), and it was home to the Universitas Saxorum, the assembly of Germans in Transylvania.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the city became the second and later the first most important centre of Transylvanian Romanian ethnics. After the Romanian Orthodox Church was granted status in the Habsburg Empire from the 1860s onwards, Sibiu became the Metropolitan seat, and the city is still regarded as the third most important centre of the Romanian Orthodox Church. 

After World War I, when Austria-Hungary was dissolved, Sibiu became part of Romania; the majority of its population was still ethnic German (until 1941) and counted a large Romanian community, as well as a smaller Hungarian one. Starting from the 1950s and until after 1990, most of the city's ethnic Germans emigrated to Germany and Austria. Among the roughly 2,000 who have remained is Klaus Johannis, the current President of Romania. (wikipedia)

We arrived later in the afternoon but not too late to spend a few minutes getting oriented to the town. Our hotel is outside of the city a "resort" hotel near a large green space.  The room is fancy but the AC didn't work (actually it pretty much didn't work in any hotel on the whole trip because despite high temps outside they think it is fall here and no need for AC- which they use by the calendar not the need... a bone of contention for us with virtually every place we stayed)

we stop in a church where a couple is getting married - they are a gypsy couple Cornl tells us- and the wedding is very fancy to show how much money the family has - we have seen very very large gypsy houses along the roads in gypsy villages- the way they make their money is suspect... according to Cornl - most of it is from illegal activities like auto theft rings etc... but they do have legitimate businesses as tinkers - and we see many villages with copper and tin wares for sale at stands along the way....

We head back into the town for dinner at a cafe along the square. We had pizzas with varying degrees of success but it is something a bit different and it is a night to be eating outside while we still can.  A night market in the main square kept the people out later and the pleasant weather added to the lovely evening-

tomorrow we will do the full tour of the town and then move further through our explorations of Saxon towns of Transylvania... much interesting history here- the Germans were here for centuries (as noted in the wikipedia entry) and the seven towns had their own culture apart from either the Romanian or the Hungarian dominated towns...

the town is still known by both its Saxon and Romanian names - hence the manhole covers-

and a map showing the town walls and the main and small "squares"- which is right outside the Tourist Information office-

so more to come- and then we are on to Sighisoara to round out the S category after two Bs (Brasov & Bran)we get two Ss (Sibiu & Sighisoara) and then go on to other letters- LOL but you will have to follow along to find out where we head before our final night in Romania in Iasi (you pronounce it YASH because the S has a little squiggle under it make it sound like SH and the last I is lost... LOL) 

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