December 31, 2009

Transylvania and Beyond

I am busy reading this lovely bock byDervla Murphy entitled Transylvania and beyond.. Excellent, excellent book.

I'll review it in the new year, since I am half way through it, but it is becoming a must recommend book about Transylvania.

December 29, 2009

Controversy Still?

Okay Yes I understand, this map isn't correct, except it is from before World War I. There is a reason for this, some time ago I wrote about Romania and Transylvania and made mention that Transylvania, for much of the 20th Century was a part of Romania.

Then I got an email, and I published a hub about it.

I got a email in a similar vein from a different email address, so I'll let you read the original email and my response on the hub.

Is there really controversy still?

December 28, 2009

The Transylvania Matter

Soon, come the beginning of January I'll have a wonderful new guest blogger come and visit us here, but I should tell you that she is intelligent and a published author.

So, get ready, Things about Transylvania, as Petra Vlad will be gracing us here soon.
A new year and a new beginning to this blog. Don't worry it won't change all that much just it will be more interactive.

Transylvania and Saxons

They probably didn't come from Saxony, but they were called Saxons.
Can you tell me where they might have come from in what is now Germany?

December 26, 2009

Goals For the New Year and Transylvania

Here are my Top Five To do For this Blog about Transylvania:

1) Encourage Comments

2) Post often

3) Get more pictures

4) Have guest bloggers

5) Make this a fun place to go to.

December 23, 2009

A Transylvanian Christmas

I love Christmas, and in Transylvania, it is, for the Saxon, population as least, a big event, filled with family and singing and food.
My family still talk about it every year how the entire family would get together and sing and share gifts of toys (wooden mostly) or food. it was a time of extended family and cousins and all the other wonders the holidays held.
I wonder what it is like there now.
What is it like for the Romanian population or the Hungarian?

December 20, 2009

Oh Transylvania--- Or better yet Alba Iluia

The ancient almost seems alive this time of year, and I wonder why Transylvania won't make this into more of a tourist attraction.
History is vital to The people of the land. It would be great to know that people will learn about it.
I mean from history you can learn about the land, you can learn about the people, and are not doomed to repeat it. I found out that the last election in Romania were very interesting, but that is all.
Anyone heard more about it?

December 18, 2009

Which is Where?

Which highlighted part on this map is Transylvania?
Which is Moldovia and Wallachia?
Are there others?

December 16, 2009

Demise of Transylvania?

I'll be hitting some "hot topic issues" come January from legends to royalty to politics to just about everything. Some will deal with the past and some with culture and some a debate on the demise of Transylvania.

I'm hoping to have a few more volunteers for a guest blog or three come January as well.

You're probably wondering demise of Transylvania?

Demise of Transylvania?

What you? You think demise of Transylvania?

No, I don't but I wanted to point out how much we look at life in terms of the past and not the future, especially when it comes to an area such as Transylvania.

December 13, 2009

Tours and Transylvania

I recently was looking into a trip to Transylvania, and as I read it, I began to wonder, why does every tour need to go to Bran Castle?
Is it for the money?
It is possible since upon finding out that the descendants of Queen Maria of Romania are making it into a tourist attraction for Dracula lovers makes me wonder what's important...
The money or the history?

December 12, 2009

Why This For a Queen of Romania?

I've been reading chapters of my life by Queen Marie of Romania, and I'm really enjoying it. so my question is this what do these two pictures relate?

More to the point why do I mention her so often, what did she do in Transylvania?

December 9, 2009

The Demise of Transylvania and Culture?

Someone asked me yesterday that since there are now more Romanians in Transylvania is this the demise of Transylvania's Culture?

Okay Two things:

1) in Transylvania there was always a large population of Romanians, in many parts they were the majority of the city or town.

2) Define The culture... which one? what era?

If we're referring to say the German population, I suppose then yes there is a demise of the German culture in Transylvania, but I would disagree for the Romanian Hungarian cultures due to their larger population bases in Transylvania.

What are your feelings?

December 7, 2009

Why Mama Regina for Queen Maria?

This is a picture of the Crowning of Queen Maria and King Ferdinand of Romania. They became King and Queen upon the Death of King Carol I in 1914. Carol I didn't rule over Transylvania as King, but a smaller part of what is now Romania.

But here is the question: Many Romanians called Queen Maria Mama Regina why? And what did they call her husband?

December 5, 2009

Romania and Transylvania

I recently had the privilege of getting an email from the Romanian Consulate in regards to my book.

It was cool. In it, I asked them about Transylvania and what the area is a part of. One of the most interesting responses as that Traditionally they regard Transylvania as being a part of Romania, and the Banat and other smaller territories fall under the region.

I asked why in another email.

The reply?

It is easier for most of the other countries outside of Europe to think in bigger territory than smaller. I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to tell others of all the smaller areas in Romania instead of just the "three main ones" (Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania.)

December 2, 2009

Transylvania on TV

I spent the last few days thinking about a new program which has hit our local airways. Transylvania on TV. That is the program title, which is a part of the Romanian hour.

The biggest thing thus far, is Dracula, and the Countess of the Blood. They've shown a bit of the rolling countryside, which comes right before they show a castle.

All of this is elegant but since my Romanian is not the finest, I have a hard time following what it says. The commentator loves to speak of "Tepes family" which at first took me by surprise, I wondered weren't they princes of Wallachia.

Turns out Transylvania was the natural hiding place for many a prince, castles and fortress, and people who could defend them.
Still looking at this older map, you can see why it was so important a place to hide and gain support, either from Poland or Austria or Hungary or the Ottoman Empire...
So if you were a noble prince who needed to leave Wallachia where would you go?

November 30, 2009

Holidays to Romania

My next big trip will be to Romania as you all know, I've said it many times on this blog. I'm writing about the Second World War and its effects on Transylvania's population, but still holidays to Romania, now that would be a dream come true.
My biggest hope is to go to Bistrista, or Bistritz, as it would be called in my family. Of course it has special meaning as two little villages near the city are where my family lived.
It is partly this reason that my profile has this picture to remind me of why I write this blog. I want people to love the land, the country and the people as much as I do.
So I'll be taking about three or four cities in Transylvania, and the Banat, and telling a bit of their history and lore. If you have a city you want me to feature tell me, I'll be happy to do so.

November 28, 2009

An Unlikely Link.

When I speak with my friends about where my ancestors come from I can get a variety of answers, most ranging from Saxon? it's that British (well, in this case no, German) to Where is Transylvania? (In Romania, on the Border of Hungary)

There is the ever present question of Dracula... so here's an unlikely link. The birthplace of Vlad Tepes, is the Saxon city of Sighisoara was the birthplace of this famous man. Yet no one seems to know this.

It is Bran Castle which is linked to Vlad Tepes in the novel Dracula ( novel people novel!) yet he never lived in the castle.

Very unlikely link, and it is through a novel that people know of these two places.

November 26, 2009

A Transylvanian Paradox

My biggest question that some will find interesting or not...

Why is Transylvania so important to people, and why do we think about its past when it's a part of a larger country?
In the most recent past it's been a part of the Austrian Empire, Hungary, and Romania... so why do we care?

November 24, 2009

Transylvania, in Cities

Below are three view of three cities, in no particular order, Alba Iluia, Sigisoara, and Sibiu

Does anyone one of them fascinate you more than others?

November 22, 2009

November 21, 2009

Do As The Romans do or Did...

Transylvania has a long and proud history and one that I am learning More about is the links between the Romans and Transylvania. So why did they want to have this land?
Simple, they wanted to have more land, and land that would protect Rome. Trajan wanted power. It was under his time in power that the Romans conquered the province of Dacia. Dacia was on the very edge of the Roman Empire...
Transylvania was a part of Dacia, and then a part of the Roman Empire.

November 19, 2009

Translyvania and Another "What If?"

To have a bit of fun, with this post I'm adding another what if, and this has to do with the German Saxons of Transylvania. (There are other Germans in the Banat and in other areas of Romania, but since this is Transylvania...)
According to the "real" history after an invitation from the King of Hungary to help populate and defend the area he asked many farmers from the Rhine, Mosel, and other areas, and many came, of course it wasn't until later last century before many of the Saxons admitted that it was only 300 families, about 3,000 people (Given my history as a Saxon I find this amusing)
But an alternate history comes from Robert Browning and the Pied Piper of Hamlen, where he suggests that the children in fact form the nucleus of the German populate in Transylvania.
Now what if he was in fact right? ( In case you're wondering I do have this version of the poem at home in my personal library.)

November 17, 2009

Transylvania and a What If?

The thing which fascinates me most about Transylvania is its place in history.
What If Vlad Tepes didn't die when he did and led the Wallachian Army to Victory?
What if The Russians looked upon him with favor?
What if he reacted with favor to the Germans of Transylvania would history be different about him?

November 15, 2009

Romania, Austria and Transylvania

I've long since been fascinated by Transylvania and the place it has in the World, The Empire of Austria held it until 1918, and then Romania received it. Some historian have suggested that Queen Marie got it for Romania, during the Paris Peace Conference.  However, she was there and played a strong role in promoting Romania, the fact remained that Romania had signed a separate treaty before the end of the war.  They were however, still allies, which did mean they would get some territory as a result of the victory by France, Britain and the United States.

The map above shows Austria (or as it was called at the time the Empire of Austria, or the Empire of Austro-Hungary) in Gray, yes a bit bigger but this is a map from around 1918. Transylvania borders Romania, and At certain points, Germany and Russia. ( Before 1918, the Ukraine was a part of Russia and Poland was divided between Imperial Germany and Russia, Transylvania was a part of the dual Monarchy.)

I wonder though one thing, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria and Hungary was more liberal than his father and would have ruled Austria had he not committed suicide before his father's death. Here is an interesting link between the Crown Princess of Austria, Stephanie, and Queen Marie of Romania, they were distant cousins.  Also, had Archduke Franz Ferdinand not been shot to begin the Great War, it might have turned out that Transylvania would still be a part of Hungary.

November 13, 2009

Romanovs and Romania

I know You're probably asking what do the Romanov family have to do with Romania?

Simple, a lot, like so many other Balkan provinces before the First World war, the royal families had many links between them. In 1913, there were rumors that Grand Duchess Olga of Russia and Prince Carol of Romania were to be engaged nothing came of that, and Olga would be murdered in 1918.

Carol would eventually marry another woman of Romanov descent, Princess Helen of Greece, whose grandmother was also a Romanov.

As you all know Queen Marie of Romania was a granddaughter of Tsar Alexander II.

November 11, 2009

Alba Iluia and Transylvania: Royalty and Beauty

When I think of Transylvania, I also think of this city, one that fascinates me so much, partly because of it's history and the many links to royalty.

Alba Iluia and Transylvania: Royalty and Beauty

November 10, 2009

When in Dacia, do as the Romans?

What does Dacia have to do with Transylvania?

Dacia was the ancient area of Transylvania, and present day Romania, while I'm not entirely certain of the range to the present day Romania, (help is greatly needed) it is interesting to see how much the land was valued back then.

By the Turks, and Mongols, later, but also by the Roman Empire, who wanted Dacia to be a part of the territory to the East of Rome. After many battles, it became a province of the Roman Empire for a time.

According to some books, many of the Roman settlers left, some stayed, and for the most part, the Dacians remained there.

November 9, 2009

Why I write about Transylvania

I write about Transylvania to learn.
I write about Transylvania to tell people about its past.
I write about Transylvania because it is in my blood, and a part of me that needs to be told.
I believe in my book on the Second World war and the effects on the people of Transylvania. The Second World war changed the fave of Romania for many years, for the most part the effects were felt in the areas such as Transylvania and the Banat and other smaller provinces by a loss of cultural heritage that was prevalent in the area.
Why I write...
Why would you write about a place that is full of legends and myths?

November 6, 2009

Please... A Bit of Facts!

I love my friends dearly, I really do, but sometimes, they appall me with Dracula. Yes, he was born in Transylvania. This much is true. But he wasn't born in Bran Castle.

So, why the link between the castle which he never lived in and him? Well.. you can thank Bram Stoker and his novel Dracula. This castle is the "main" castle which Stoker refers to.

Still the question of where: Vlad III, a Prince of Wallachia, was born in Transylvania in 1431. He was a prince of the southern neighbouring land Wallachia, which, is now a part of present day Romania. The reason for his place of birth was simple; his father Vlad II prince of Wallachia was ousted from Wallachia due to the nobility, or boyars, who supported the Ottoman Empire.
Vlad II fled to Transylvania for protection against any attempts on his life. During his early years, he grew up in Transylvania. Then his father gave him and his younger brother Radu, over to the Turks. His father became a vassal under the Sultan and for his price; he gave up his two younger sons. It was under the Turks that Vlad honed his torture methods.
So there you g a bit of early life of Vald Tepes.

November 4, 2009

A British Link to Transylvania

This picture is of the Second British Link to Transylvania... The Crowning of Queen Maria of Romania in Alba Iluia

If This is teh second what is the first?

I was Busy today buried in Alison Weir's Britain's Royal Family ( Okay older copy but the point will come out soon)

Did you know about the links in Transylvania? They go back far: in fact it was in the battle of St. Georgen in Transylvania, that King George I of Britain's younger brother Fredrick Augustus died in 1691?

Had he not died, he would have been in in line for the British Throne... if you have this book you can read all about the information on page 274. The place of death is listed as "Siebenburgen, Transylvania"

hmm... I suppose.

November 3, 2009

Is it Worth Saving?

I'm asked about the natural beauty of Transylvania all the time so I'll send it back to you:

IS the natural beauty of Transylvania worth saving?

There are castles and hundreds of thousands of years of human history in the area, with the beauty of old ruin front and center in many places but still why save it? I believe it should be preserved as much as possible, as if you look at the ruins of Alba Iluia, above the land is green almost like Ireland ( okay I know pushing it!)
Still back to you, is the natural landscape of Transylvania worth saving?

November 2, 2009

The Castle of The Countess of Blood.

This is an image of the castle of the countess of blood. Elizabeth Bathory, was a Hungarian noblewomen who lived in this castle.

So why did she do what she did?

Why don't we really remember her and associate her name with that of vampires?

October 31, 2009

Does Transylvania Celebrate Halloween?

Sorry I am at a loss for answers, and have hit a brick wall, I need help!

This was asked to me by a little child, and although I'm not sure of a proper answer I did tell her that Transylvania celebrate Halloween in its own way.

Safe Answer.

But For those in the know, Does Transylvania celebrate Halloween?

October 30, 2009

Just a Few Pictures of An Area Known As Transylvania

Why these two cities? Well for one thing, My family is from a small village near Bistrita, and a cousin is originally from Alba Iluia, I'd add Timisoara, but I'm sure to get a nasty comment =)

My Aunt is from Timsoara, and she is a Swabian. It's to those who don't know an ethnic German, somewhat like the Saxons, but with a totally different culture and I might add dialect. Rather fun when we all get together, and it's German, Saxon, and Swabian languages in the house..


Alba Iluia

I was talking to the Romanian consulate, and wonder of wonders, they list the three provinces of Romania to be: Moldovia, Wallachia and guess the last one.... =) On A big map no less in the waiting room. ( Makes me wonder, how many more culturally diverse areas are in Romania.)
Oh and one more thing a new hub on Transylvania

October 29, 2009

Relations between the Cities of Transylvania and Bucharest ( My Mistake!)

I've always wanted to talk about Transylvania, mostly because my family is from the area, but one relative in particular is from Timisoara, and she tends to refer to the area as a "part of Transylvania"

My mistake. (Read it here.) As Lucien M. pointed out, it is a part of the Banat, which really isn't a part of Transylvania, and it is distinct. I found this map, now in the darker region this is the Banat area, and the Transylvania region is the lighter colour.

Maybe I should start saying that this is a Transylvania and Banat blog!
You tell me.

October 28, 2009

Relations between the Cities of Transylvania and Bucharest

Below are pictures of Timisoara, one of the many cities in Transylvania, and since 1989 the relations between this city and Bucharest haven't been the greatest.

Some of teh beutiful building in the city.

Why is this?
They were one of the first cities to join the Revolution of 1989 which led to the downfall of the communist government.

October 26, 2009

Why Restore Old Buildings?

Bran Castle in Transylvania

Another view of the Castle from a different angle

Later in the day again a different angle.

My Answer is simple for the cultural value they hold. I know that the Bran Castle is tourist attraction, but its history is vital to the community. All of the about pictures are from Bran Castle.

October 25, 2009

Why Restore Old Buildings?

Why should old buildings be restored? Is there a cultural value to it? Would it help the people living in Transylvania, and improve the combined value that Transylvania (and its many names that Transylvania is called) has to the world. Here are two pictures below

Elizabeth Bathory's Castle: IS there value in restoring this castle or are the native plants around there more vital? ( They are in some cases endangered.)

One of the ancient castles of Alba Iluia: Would it be better if restored? What if it was the castle that Michael the brave entered in?

October 24, 2009

What does Money have to do with Transylvania?

What does this image have to to with the image below it?

In this case, money is needed to repair the many churches and villages neglected during the communist rule, when religion wasn't valued, and there was a push for collectivisation.

October 23, 2009

Dracula and A Queen

The Birthpalce of Vlad Tepes, in Transylvania, not close to Bran Castle.

Queen Maria in her home in Transylvania, Bran Castle.

Why are these two so important to people in North America simply put because they have the influcen of our imagination to work with.

October 22, 2009


For some this is the meaning of Transylvania.

Castles such as Bran Castle, the home of the Teutonic Knights and of Queen Maria of Romania.

But not for me....

This is what Transylvania means to me...

Peace, nature and beauty.