May 31, 2009

Transylvania and the Cities Within It Part 11 of 17

As always comments are welcomed, see today's earlier blog to discuss what series comes next. On to the city of the Day.

Miercurea Ciuc or Csíkszereda, is one of the younger cities in Transylvania. It was for a time part of the Kingdom of Hungary and between the war years of 1940-1944. It is one of the few larger cities where the Hungarian population is the majority, with nearly 81% being Hungarian. During the years of 1927-1938 it used the Romanian version of it name.

Now, It uses both languages in public signage and in many other aspects of public life. On a side note I went on to the official website and it is in both Hungarian and Romanian.

The group of Hungarians who live in the city are the Székely Hungarians. From what I've learned this group are ethnically Hungarian, but who lived in Transylvania for centuries.

There are hundreds of shops and churches to see, many built in Renaissance style.

I don't speak Hungarian, but to see this city I intend to. It is supposed to be a wonderland in winter, so I'm hoping to see it then.

If anyone can provide more info about this city this would be most helpful.

New Series Coming Soon!

We're more than half way through the city series. Now comes the time when I tell you all what the next few series are. I want to hear your voice. Comments are great since this will tell me what will make you want to come and see this series to the end. The next part of the city series is coming this afternoon so check back.

If you feel that I'm missing pieces of information, please post the comment to the city you want more information on.

Here are the series:

Royalty of Transylvania: I'll deal with many of the historical figures of Transylvania, who were royalty (and who are) this will be a 10 part series

Cultures of Transylvania: I'll talk about the Cultures that influence Transylvania to this day. This will be a 12 part series.

Legends of Transylvania... but not Dracula: I'll talk about local legends and how they affect Transylvania in the eyes of the North American culture. This will be a 10 part series.

History of Transylvania. the title says it all. I'll take the cultures point of view and give the history about each, or at least their version of history. This will be a 12 part series.

May 30, 2009

Transylvania and the Cities Within It Part 10 of 17

If you've just joined us welcome, this is a series on the cities of Transylvania. If you want me to add a city or to do a city sooner, please tell me, I'm always willing to write about a city sooner, or to add one if need be. Many of these I want to see on my upcoming trip to Transylvania, either next year or the year after. Comments are most welcomed.

Sfîntu Gheorghe (Romanian) or Sepsiszentgyörgy (Hungarian). This city is unique because of its large Hungarian population. Nearly 75% of the population in this city is Hungarian, with Romanian and Roma making up the rest of the population.

Name after Saint George, this is one of the oldest cities in Transylvania, with documentation about it dating back to the 1300s. It is also home to the heart of the Hungarian population, which had an autonomous province there from 1952-1968, when the Romanian government abolished this in favour of counties. I am speculating here, but perhaps it was because of the strong Hungarian population which would not be uprooted of become more Romanian that this took place.

This is home to a light industry of textile and a basketball team. I'd love to see the team play as they are supposed to be very good.

Of the city attraction that there are to see, there is the Theater which was used for a time as the city hall and the County library along with the State archives. Being a history buff and a lover of Transylvania, I would love to go and see many of the archives. They offer a look into the city's past. The fortified church is the other place that I want to see as it is built in Gothic style.

Many of the buildings I've listed are all built in the 1800s. I still want to see this unique city and learn more about the Hungarian heritage of Transylvania.

May 29, 2009

Transylvania and the Cities Within It Part 9 of 17

This is a series of posts about the cities within Transylvania. Feel free to add you comments about each city. Today is city number 9, so if I haven't gotten to one yet, please tell me which ones you might want to read about. I'll be adding a small comment post, where you can decide what is the next series.

Sibiu (Romanian), Hermannstadt (German), Nagyszeben (Hungarian) is one of the most interesting and unique cities in Transylvania. Once the heart of the Saxons in Transylvania, it was also the seat of the Principality of Transylvania from 1692-1790. The city's rich heritage seems from it ancient fortress.

I've seen many pictures of this beautiful city, and the most striking feature is the church tower that seems to rise above the city. It is home to many first, a pharmacy, a paper mill, a lighting rod installation, the city that became a fixture in the eyes of many.

As the heart of the German population in Transylvania, it didn't lose its larger Saxon population due to growth and migration by the Hungarian and Romanian population until 1941, after this time, it was the Romanian population that grew, but Sibiu retains its German roots. The place still has a number of Germans living within its borders, and oftentimes the signs have the German name to the city on them.

During the Romanian Revolution of 1989, it was the third city to revolt in Romania after two other cities in Transylvania. This caused tension between the city and the capital, but over the years, Sibiu has prospered.

It was in 2007 that it was named, along with Luxembourg as a European capital of culture, due to the restoration of it old fortresses and other buildings.

I hope to see this city since it is so full of history and culture that is recognized the world over.

If you're wondering more about what I'm writing see this blog.

May 28, 2009

Where Did Dracula Come From?

He came from a book by the same name called "Dracula" by Bram Stoker.  Stoker was an Irish writer, living in London and this would become his most famous novel.

This is where the majority of the myth is built. (Please see comments a few back the exact question is "where did Dracula come from then?" The blog post is a few back look under the tag of Dracula)

Otherwise there is no Dracula per say, other then the Vlad Dracul, which is from my study: the clan Dracul, and his father was also a Dracul.

The Name of this person is : Vlad Tepes.

He was born in Transylvania and was a Prince of Wallachia... returning after uprisings.

Transylvania and the Cities Within It Part 8 of 17

For those of you who are new, welcome. Feel free to leave a comment, this is the eighth city in this series. Take a look at the others, and add to the comments if there is something you think might be left out. If you think that I should add a city please comment, as I'm willing to write about a city sooner, if there is enough comments for it.

Târgu Mureş (Romanian) Marosvásárhely, or Vásárhely (Hungarian), is a city in the center of Transylvania. Its history is a long and strong one, with records dating back to 1300. Over time it was allowed city fairs and a coat of arms.

One of its main features is its culture which is almost evenly Hungarian and Romanian in culture and population.

It has had many times of great economic success, and is the center of a push for an autonomous region in Transylvania.

There are several religious buildings and places of worship. The most notable tourist attraction to me, would be the city hall, though many of the important artifacts have gone missing after the last renovations.

May 27, 2009

Transylvania and the Cities Within It Part 7 of 17

For those who have just joined us, welcome. Please see the other cities and feel free to add more to them, via the comments section. I'm always reading them, so don't be shy! If there is a city you'd like me to add, then put it down in the comments...I'm always reading them.

This city is located in the most North-Western corner on the Border of Hungary and the Ukraine. It was once had a strong Jewish community, before World War II. Satu Mare (Romanian), Szatmárnémeti (Hungarian), Sathmar (German) and Satmar. (Yiddish) Of all the cities I would want to talk about this one is by far the most unique and interesting of them all, not because of the history, as they are interesting, but because of the community that lived there.

This strong population of the Jewish community came form the Stamarer Hasidic Jews. These people have their origins in with the Hunagarina and Romanian Jewish population. It is through their name that Satu Mare gets it name. It is the most unfortunate event of the Second Wold War that these people were killed or dispersed from their homes.

As I didn't live during this time, I wonder why the Hungarian government didn't protect them. Under the regent Miklos Horthy, their destruction was not complete it wasn't until the end of the war that history began to change. Horthy lost power and a more repressive regime came to power. I'm in no way suggesting that there was not repression before, only that it became worse.

The city has many monuments which are historical in nature but also commemorative. There is a citadel which was rebuilt under the Hapsburg dynasty. Destroyed by both the Mongols and Turks, it was rebuilt. There is the administrative Palace, a tall structure where if one goes to the top, you can see to Hungary. It has three smaller tower representing the German, Romanian, and Hungarian communities, while the largest is representative of the bond the three share.

The Satu Mare chain church is one of the oldest in the city and house many artifacts. It beauty is visible to many tourists.

It is unfortunate that in all my travels I was unable to find any monuments which relate to the Jewish population, if anyone knows of any, please leave it in the comments section.

May 26, 2009

Transylvania and the Cities Within It. Part 6 of 17

For those who just joined us, feel free to comment on these cities, and to take a look at the this series, if you have an idea, or city that you'd like me to talk about, send a comment, I'm happy to add, or do one sooner.

This city is also on the border to Hungary, and is a city rich in culture and history. The city of Arad (Romanian, Hungarian, and Serbian) is similar to yesterday's city of Timisoara. It is vital to the history of Romania, in the fact that it was the second city, after Timisoara to rise up against the communist regime in 1989. It boast of many historical firsts.

One of them is the beautiful stone theater, known as the Old Theater. This is the oldest stone theater in Romania, built in 1817. Its beauty is renowned. There is also the Classical theater, built by Anton Czigler, which was built in 1874. The white colums and windows are reminiscant of white Western European Palaces.

For the more religious side, there are hundreds of churches. The Romanian Orthodox church also has a seminary located there, almost as if it is the heart of Romanian Orthodoxy in Transylvania.

Arad also has a strong Hungarian population, and some German population, as well as the Roma population. This gives the city its beauty and movement. Yet at the same time, it gives it the sense of religion and peace that is proper to this city.

There are so many sites I can't begin to say which one I would want to see first. I suspect that I would go and see the Red Church and afterwards, take in a puppet theater, as I hear that this type of theater is one of the best.

I can't wait.

May 25, 2009

Transylvania and the Cities Within It. Part 5 of 17

This is the fifth in a series of blogs about the cities of Transylvania. Many I'm fascinated with and many I want to visit on my trip to Transylvania. Now, this city is not officially a part of Transylvania, but it is still a place that I want to visit, and learn more of. (It is found in the darker yellow part of the map of Transylvania)

Timisoara (Romanian), Temesvár (Hungarian), Temeschburg, Temeswar, or Temeschwar (German) is a lovely city located close to the border of Hungary. It is also, like its counterpart of Brasov, a city with strong German influence, though this time not of the Saxons, but of the Austrian Empire. This time, there is more multicultural diversity in the city.

It is known to some people as "little Vienna" due to the buildings that are there. This was one of the centers of the Hapsburg monarchy. I would have to say since it was close to the border of Hungary (in Hungary at the time) it still is influenced by by this link.

Even today one feels that they are stepping into the past with all its old baroque style buildings. It is the second largest city in Romania. In the last census, done by the Romanian government, I would also suggest that it is still the most multicultural city in the area, with many Germans, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Jews, Serbs, Roma, and Slovaks living within the city borders. This is along with the Romanian population living there.

The places I would want to see in this area are: the Bega canal, some of the old administrative buildings, and of course, the old city. Of the more modern places: the Iulius Mall.

I think Timisoara shows the beauty of economy and the intelligence of the world in loving this city, and Transylvania.

May 24, 2009

Transylvania and the Cities Within It. Part 4 of 17

This s a series of blogs on the cities of Transylvania. I'm trying to get as many historically important cities that I can. If you know of one that I missed, or you think should be added, simply write a comment.

This city that I have an interest in the city ancient city of Brasov (Romanian) or Brassó (Hungarian) or Kronstadt (German). Today it is one of the largest cities in Romania. It is unique as it still contains many Germans, Romanians, Hungarians, Russians, Greeks. and Roma. This is wonderful to see that the cultures of Transylvania still live on in this city.

I'm enchanted with this city primarily since it proves that while people of different cultures could live in harmony it did show what happens when power is misused. As this was one of the economic centers of the Saxons, they denied many right to the minorities of the city, most notably by the Saxons of Transylvania. I have noticed that the Saxons have not mentioned this in their own history.

Still it is a beautiful city with many place to explore. The one place that interests me the most, I have yet to find much information on, is the Mayor's Former Residence, where the administration was run for more than 500 years.

The Rope Street, one of the narrowest Streets in Europe. I wonder how people would live in the area, since it seems so close to shops and other buildings. Not much space... or privacy. I also wonder why the people of Brasov would build this.

There is some wonderful things to see in the city. I can only name the ones I want to see. Of course, the history dates back for hundreds of years, being a part of Dacia, and later Rome. this is a city where present and past seem to met, and where life is set of the economy and mineral wealth around it.

May 23, 2009

Transylvania and The Cities Within It. Part 3 of 17

This is an ongoing series about cities in Transylvania. I'd love your comments, if you have anything to add about each city, tell me, and I'll add them on my next series. I have about 17 cities I'll be talking about, ones I wish to visit at some point.

This blog deals with one of my favorite people, Queen Maria of Romania. the City is Alba Iulia (Romanian), Erdel Belgradi (Turkish), Gyulafehérvár (Hungarian) and Karlsburg/Weißenburg (German)

For a time this city was the seat of the Principality of Transylvania. It is historically significant for the Romanian and Hungarian population of Romania. It is one of the most beautiful cities that can trace it history back to the Romans. Ptolemy even mentions this area, possibly this city in his writings, but under a different name.

Michael the Brave united Transylvania in 1600 to Wallachia and to Moldova, thus for a time, the three areas of the future Romania were under one ruler. Hungary would use this city as its seat of power, in Transylvania.

My most fondest historical fact I can only imagine. It is the year 1918, and the First World War had ended, The people from the area meet in this city to discuss the fate of Transylvania. The Saxons, the Romanians, and other minorities of Transylvania met there to discuss and eventually agree to unification with Romania.

This would happen in 1919. A new church was built called the church of the Reunification. There King Ferdinand and Queen Maria of Romania were crowned as ruler of Greater Romania. This was in recognition of Michael the Brave.

Another person who influenced and gave his name to the town was Charles Holy Roman Emperor. In the German it is called Karlsburg in honour of him. He was not the most influential of the people but he did give his name to the city.

I want to see the city for its history and also for its links to Royalty. The upper city fascinates me the most. It will be on my list of places I'll see in Transylvania.

May 22, 2009

Transylvania and The Cities Within it. Pat 2 of 17

Transylvania has other cities that are unique and have so much history within in them it is hard to begin but I'll continue. If you think I should do a city, you tell me why, and If it's not on my list I'll add it.

The place I'm talking about next I'll be putting a bit of "fun" into it as it has such a long history to tell dates it would diminish what it means to me. The Place is called Cluj-Napoca in Romanian, Klausenburg, in German, Kolozsvar in Hungarian, and Nopoca or Castum Clus in Latin..

This is one of the Northern cities cities in Transylvania and I would say one of the most, beautiful, and exciting. This is of course not saying the others aren't except I know of people who speak of it with fondness.

The Romans legions came to Dacia under the rule of the Roman Emperor Trajan, the legions made it the future home of their seat of the procurator. Thus, Napoca (as it was known.) was a center for the Romans in Dacia. Latin must have been spoken, and the Romans undertook building programs... until 274 and the evacuation of the Kingdom of Dacia. As there are no references to settlement in an urban form this didn't mean that Napoca was abandoned, the fort was to valuable

How the people must have felt when Napoca fell into relative disuse. It was not until the 10th Century with the arrival of the Hungarian Kings, that Napoca felt some form of revival. New building began in this site, mostly wooden though, and Napoca receive a new name.
It was to this city fortress that the Transylvanian Saxons came.

In keeping with the time they renamed it. Klausenburg, which is close to the Hungarian name Kolozsvar. There the city was built up this time, with Hungarians and Romanians, and Germans residing in it. This didn't change for hundreds of years, until the last Century, when many of the Germans and Hungarian population left.

It wasn't until the late 1960's that Clug-Napoca became more Romanian, until that time, the Hungarian population was the largest. After nearly a century there is a revival of fortunes int eh area. i hope this will help people see the ancient history and beauty this area has to offer. Many of the castles are being restored to their former glory, and people are coming to see the botanical gardens.

I'll be talking about another city tomorrow. If there is anything which I am missing ( I'm most likely doing so.) feel free to add in the comment section.

May 21, 2009

Transylvania and The Cities Within it. Pat 1 of 17

Part of a journey begins with knowing a bit about the area that a person is talking about. To say you've lived somewhere but can't explain why you like it, doesn't help anyone else. For the next few blogs I'll be trying to show the land and its people by telling about cities where they live.

For those of you new to this blog, welcome, fell free to comment, I do respond to comments, so do check it out... The first city I am introducing to you is more of my own interest as it is the city that got me to see Transylvania for the land and beauty it is. Bistrita (Romanian), Bistritz/ Nosen (German) and Beszterce (Hungarian)

It is located in the Northern par of Transylvania, close to the Hungarian border. For a time it was inhabited by Romanians, Germans, Hungarians, Jews, and Roma. These were the largest populations, but there were others.

Today the population is composed of: Romanians and Hungarians, and Roma, as many of the other fled or migrated out after or during the Second World War. It is a beautiful and old city, with some part dating back to the 14th Century. The people are friendly, and the history seems to come out. It was originally a church-fortress, designed to protect the local population from invaders. Some of these invaders were: the Turks, and the Mongols.

For many people who lived in Bistrita, the highlight of their lives was the fairs that it held. I don't know if this tradition has continued, but for many children, the food and the games always held a special place.

The Lutheran church in the city, is a landmark, simply put it is one of the older buildings, and much of the church itself is intact. Recently thought here was afire which destroyed the tower, but left the church itself intact. The Lutheran community is small, so repairs will take time.

There is a National Park situated close to the city now, and people seem to be very impressed with the beauty that the land offers. I've been told to go and visit the area when I'm able. I hope this will be soon

May 20, 2009

I've fallen in Love with Transylvanian Royalty.

With all the enjoyment I get out this blog, I am adding one more piece to it today. My love for Royalty and the people who ruled the areas. Part of the cites and their history will also be included since the people did have a castle or seat of power in Transylvania

Transylvania didn't have Kings in the area, they had Princes of Transylvania. This didn't happen until 1570, as before that time it was a voivide, under Hungarian authority. It wasn't until 1765, and the rule of Empress Maria Theresa, that Transylvania became a Grand Principality. Afterwards, it remained this way until 1867, but the Hapsburg royal house used the Title "Grand Prince" or "Prince" of Transylvania, even today.

After 1919, Transylvania was a part of the Kingdom of Romania, and didn't have an official title, per say, as it was part of Romania.

Okay. Sounds great, but the people and the places are the most interesting to me. For one thing, if you were to go to wikipedia, you can check on the people and places. I started there. I found that Queen Maria was beloved by her people. She had six children and had a place in Transylvania. She was also crowned in Transylvania in 1922.

Others were even more interesting, as the links in Hungary i never knew came to my attention, the Bathory clan in particular. Some were allies with Vlad Tepes, who was born Transylvania. The more famous is Countess Elizabeth Bathory. (See my blog under legends for more on her) Each of these men came from this noble family, which had at least two branches.

Then there were the Hapsburg, and although they seem to not take much of an interest in Transylvania, they are interesting in and of themselves, as the seat of politics was in the Southern area of Transylvania, Known as Hermannstadt (German), Sibiu (Romanian), Nagyszeben (Hungarian) was the seat of it principality, with many a governor living there.

The people.. the places.. the past...

May 19, 2009

What does Transylvania have to do with Dracula??

I'm thinking I should tell people vampires are in my blood... or something like that. I was with some friends and of course, they asked me how my book on "Europe" was going. Was it done?

Okay, some explanation, my book is on Transylvania and the Second World War, the effects on the peoples and cultures. It has something to do with Europe, but that seems to be as far as people hear. My goal is to educate people in regards to Transylvania and how the effects of the war almost destroyed this unique and wonderful place.

I almost waited for them to ask the next joke.. but I told them ahead of time "Yes, this was where Vlad Tepes was born, although he was prince, but not of Transylvania."

Of course this draw blank stares from them. The long silence was enough for me to know they had no clue what i was talking about. Finally one said You mean Vlad Dracula? No. Vlad Tepes.

Oh what's with the name? Well, that was his name and no, he wasn't a vampire. Kindly read Bram Stoker if you want that.

The real person and place is so much more interesting. There is not only Romanians who live there but Hungarians and Germans as well. That means, I continued, there are many different names that the land and the cities can go by. For example: all the cities in Transylvania go by differing names, dependant on which culture I'm referring to.

Finally one asked, :What does Transylvania have to do with Dracula, the vampire?

To which everyone else responded: nothing, Dracula, the vampire, doesn't exist...

Finally, they get it, well sort of.

May 18, 2009

The Many Names of Transylvania

On my search to look for towns and cities and their histories. It is fun and enlightening. This search is teaching me a lot about Transylvania.

One of these fun facts that I found interesting is the many names that Transylvania goes by. The Romanians, the Romans, the Germans the Polish and the Hungarians each have or had their own versions of the name which Transylvania goes by.

For example, in the Germans called the area, Siebenburgen or translated "seven fortresses" which denoted, their seven major cities. According the the Saxons they fonded all these cities, though they probably helped rebuild them. The Polish used a similar wording, Siedmiogrod.

The Romans, who spoke Latin gave the area the name : ultra silvam, which means beyond the forests. Given that Transylvania is lush with forests, this is a good name, although a bit misleading. Another form in the Latin is: Ultrasylvania.

The Hungarians gave Transylvania the name of Erdely. It can be found in a document in Hungarian, so the name was known early.

The Romanians also gave Transylvania a name: Ardelui. The name to me seems closest to the Hungarian version, but I haven't had much time to look deeply into this. (I took this spelling from wikipedia, listed under Transylvania)

This is all interesting to me, since much of the history of a place can be found in its name. Transylvania is unique as a place, and I am still looking for some information on a few of the major towns to tell people about this.

May 17, 2009

Sunday And Transylvania

I wonder what the weather is like in Transylvania right now, of course I could go on the Internet and look, but that is not the point.

Transylvania seems so close to me right now. I've buried myself in reading some books on Transylvania.There isn't much that I can get from or chapters... of well I'll keep looking.

Fortunately I do have some books that were self-published for the Transylvania Saxons who live in North America. I have to take much of what they say with some though as they often give there version history.

It is ironic that Transylvania is such a beautiful land, and yet, so little of it is known to North America at large. I wonder what would happen if Romania, the country, would promote Transylvania as a place to see varied histories and cultures who live in harmony?

It would help the people who live there and would promote Transylvania in a more positive manner than the "Dracula" tourism.

I'll be looking up cities and towns and writing about them over the next few blogs,

May 16, 2009

The Great War (World War I) and Transylvania

I think that the most important thing to happen to Transylvania was the First World War, also known as the Great War or World War One (I). Its effects in the area were profound.  Before this time Transylvania was a part of Hungary which was a part of the Austrian Empire.

From 1867 onwards Transylvania was a province within the Austrian Empire, after the unification of the Kingdom of Hungary with Austria. Although at various stages in history Transylvania was linked with Austria, but not in this way.  It was for a time a part of Romania but for less than a year between 1599-1600.  Before then it was an independent principality.

After this time, Transylvania was a part of the Kingdom of Hungary which was a part of the Empire of Austria.

As a result many men from Transylvania served with honour and rose in ranks in the Austrian Imperial Army. The ruler of this Empire was Emperor of Austria, and King of Hungary Franz Joesph. He was a focused man, who wanted nothing more than to up hold traditions, and keep power in Vienna.  He had already faced a revolution in 1848.

Still, when his heir died in Yugoslavia, in August of 1914, he needed help from Germany. This created the war that changed Europe, and Transylvania. At the end of the war, anarchy was descending upon Austria and Hungary. Romania wanted more land to fulfill their dreams of Greater Romania, which included Transylvania and the Banat, a small piece of land south of Transylvania.

There were many who supported this idea in Transylvania, included in this group were the Saxons and the Romanians.

To this day, except for a time when the Northern area of Transylvania went back to Hungary, between 1940 and 1945, Transylvania has remained a part of Romania.  Where is Transylvania?

It is on the western part of Romania.  That is where Transylvania is, but it is also important in North America... for a different reason.

May 15, 2009

Translyvania and America

I can say that there is a disconnect with living in North America, and telling people where my ancestors were from.

I'll start by telling them that I am a first generation Canadian, and that my family came from Transylvania. This always gets a funny look from people. Even long time friends who don't know my family history. Then their eyes light up. The question doesn't surprise me. "where exactly is Transylvania?" I always take the time to explain to them where it is.

While it should be to much of a big surprise the next question is generally "Is that where Dracula came from?" Well, depends what you mean by Dracula. They tend to look at me with a question in their eyes. "I mean the guy from all the Vampire stories."

With this I try not to laugh, though sometimes I feel I should. No, not vampires. He was a real person, who is not immortal. His name was Vlad Tepes. He was born in Transylvania, but was a Prince of Wallachia.

More blank stares. Besides, I add, he's not the real influence in Transylvania, it is the people who once lived there, and who still live there. There are Romanians who make up the majority of the population, but also Hungarians and Germans. This is what makes the land so unique. A more important person who lived a short time ago would be say, Queen Maria of Romania. When I mention her, they all seem to know where this place is located.

Perhaps a vacation there is in order? They always laugh.

May 14, 2009

Effects of Transylvania in my Life

It would be fair to say that Transylvania is in my life often. Even though I am born and raised in Canada, I still have a sense of a part of my own life missing.

That was until I found more about the homeland my parents left from. Of course, it is not the same as it used to be, depending on the person doing the talking, Transylvania is better... or worse because of the last sixty years.

Both have valid points, before 1947, there were far more people of different cultures living in the area. Afterwards there were far less. In a way it diminishes the land, since it is harder to find a different point of view or common ground. I am looking for that common ground in my life.

Many of my family have of course, lived in Canada for a long time, but only recently was there an interest in our homeland. During the intervening years, the family welcomed into its life friends from the land they once lived. Hungarians, Romanians, Germans, and Italians, who came from Transylvania.

Last evening we had several of them over, they each spoke of their longing to return but the fear that should they return it will not be as they remembered it. Some felt it would be better others, worse. Each agreed that Transylvania is a special place in their lives.

To me that is the most important thing, and that is what I find in my life, Transylvania, its past and present is important, and I care about the land more each day.

May 13, 2009

I am Sure that I can find Transylvania on a Map.

I like to read my comments before I post them, mostly because many people give great comments, but there is the off chance that I might miss something of importance.

Such was the case yesterday. Someone commented where was Transylvania?

Well I suspected that I wasn't clear, after all, it is hard to define an area in Europe, but I shall try to do so. I am fortunate that the area in question has not changed much in the past 60 or so years. Although there is one place that faced great changes, it is not where Transylvania is located.

Okay take a map of Europe. Now look to the near bottom right. The countries that you will find are as follows: Austria, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine.

Now Transylvania is in Romania. If you look closely, Transylvania borders on Hungary. Does this help a bit? I am sorry if I confused anyone, but I felt that perhaps I should give people an idea where this place I write about is.

I am passionate about this land and people, and hope that with my blog I might be able to give people a view of this land.

May 12, 2009

Austria, Hungary and Romania

What do these three countries, Austria, Hungary, and Romania, have in common?

Okay, since you're reading this blog, than you might as well have guessed that at some point in the countries mentioned above held Transylvania in their possession.

I am not sure, but I feel that each country contributed in both good and bad ways to the growth and development of Transylvania. I am making general comments to help you make your own.

Austria gave Transylvania a chance to "see the West" as the Empire looked Westward to claim its influences.

Hungary gave it a culture mosaic in the early twelfth century with the inclusion of Germans, Wallachians, Teutonic Knights and Hungarians.

Romania, gave it Royalty and books about the area. It also influences the land at present. Transylvania now has a strong population of mostly Romanians.

What part of Transylvania's history interests you the most?

May 11, 2009

Transylvania and Germany,and the Saxons of Transylvania

I think I am about to surprise everyone with this blog, not because of any controversial statements, but possibly with some facts.

There used to be a strong minority of Germans who once lived in the area of Transylvania and they lived there for almost seven hundred years, having come to the area with an invitation from the King of Hungary to help protect and populate the land, this they did until the middle of the twentieth century. They were ordered to leave the northern part of Transylvania and deported to Russia from the southern.

Okay, now that is the basic outline that most people known as the Transylvania Saxons give.

There are things which I am critical of, as it seems to forget the other people who lived int eh area long before the Saxons came. For example there were many Romanians and Hungarians in the area, and they had large towns and cities of their own.

The other thing that they like to argue is that there were many Germans who came to the area, heeding the call. in reality it was closer to 3,000 people, or 600 families. They also didn't come from one specific area, often not from the province of Saxony.

I suspect everyone likes to say how great their culture is. This is true for the Saxons, they tell of their works in the early period when they first came. it gets a bit vague near the end. Not as many heroes not as many strong personalities.

The Saxons have come to live in many countries beyond the land that they once lived, but romanticism it seems has not died. Some of the more recent author will admit to such but not often. Maybe a hard look at their history will help their culture survive.

May 10, 2009

Romania and Hungary and Transylvania

Okay I'm putting this question out, since there is no real Sunday best comments this week:

What is the most important thing to happen between Hungary and Romania in regards to Transylvania in your mind?

It could be the cultures that lived in the area, the buildings, the peoples, the history, it could be the legends from the area. You tell me.

I'll lay out the ground rules:

1) no history lesson, just what you think is important.

2) no "Transylvania is... (add the country name)"

3) No Attacks on myself, I know the history of the area, as my family is from Bistritsa, (Bistritz in German) and I am asking this question as a debate for Sunday.

I will publish anything which follows teh ground rules. Take you time.

May 9, 2009

Transylvania Style

Just a question this entry:

What makes Transylvania so wondrous in your eyes?

Come back later today when I tell you what I think makes Transylvania wondrous. You'll find it interesting and exciting.

May 8, 2009

Transylvania and Royalty

i am fascinated by Royalty and History , and more specifically about history and royalty that deal with the Eastern European area.

I'm interested in the Romanovs, who were the czars of Russia until 1917, and are the current pretenders to the Throne of Imperial Russia. I'm interested in Greece and its kingdom, as well as the Empire of Germany and Austria. The one that fascinated me the most is the Kingdom and Royalty of Romania.

In the early part of the last Century (That would be between say 1919-1947) the monarchy had a profound influence on the lives of the many peoples of Transylvania. They also took much of the blame for perceived failures.

For example when in 1940 the Northern part of Transylvania was placed under Hungarian control it was King Carol II of Romania who received much of the blame and would eventually lose his throne to his son, King Michael of Romania.

I also find it interesting that they have a link with Western Europe, more precisely the United Kingdom. Queen Maria of Romania.

Her grandmother was Queen Victoria. Had she not been married at seventeen to Crown Prince (Later King) Ferdinand of Romania she might have become Queen of Britain. She did have a romance with her older cousin George (Later King George V), but nothing came of it.

Queen Maria did much for the land. Can you name some of the major places she visited or had ties with in Transylvania?

May 7, 2009

Royalty and Transylvania

Can anyone name how many princes of Transylvania there have been?

Who would be the greatest?

Here are some names: Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, Prince of Transylvania, Joesph

Micheal the Brave Prince of Wallachia, Prince of Moldavia, Prince of Transylvania

There is no Prince of Transylvania at the present time, as Otto von Hapsburg is the pretender to the title of Prince of Transylvania.

Yes there were many, and yes you can find it on wikipedia.

Have fun!

Transylvania and New Blog Address

Look above to see the new blog address

Hi again, this is the new address, so hopefully there will be no more problems!

Transylvania and Me

To see what kind of book I am writing see my other blog.

Great comments from people:

Actually my family is from the region of Transylvania, they would be known (to North Americans as "Transylvania-German Saxons") the Saxons. I know more about the Saxons than the other cultures, but I am fascinated with the history of the land, and how to improve its people and cultures and its place in the world.

I am not sure if that is possible, but I am hoping that it can be to make Transylvania a better place to live, and to hope for a return of the peoples that made the land unique.

My other passion is cultural history and the links between peoples and their original homelands. I feel that there is a need to learn and to find about about the past the cultures of the past are important to the people in the present.

For example: Would Transylvania be better off without the influences of the Germans, Italians, Romanians, Hungarians, Austrians, Roma and countless others?

What about Royalty? would Transylvania be better off without their influences?

May 6, 2009

Transylvania and Its Futures

No I didn't make an error in the Title, I really mean Futures.

I wonder what would happen if the peoples in Transylvania found a common dialogue to speak of their pasts and presents, and their futures.

Transylvania has a history that goes back thousands of years, and the cultures bring more than what most feel is vital. Some peoples came from the Romans, some from the Turks, others lived in Transylvania. All of the cultures were and are vital. There are still many of the people of Romania whose ancestors came from hundreds of different parts of Europe and Asia.

Can you name at least three influential cultures of Transylvania?

Romania and Hungary and Transylvania

I find that sometimes many people have strong feelings about their homelands. Especially those who live in Transylvania. Each feels that their culture was under valued at some point.

Often from the comments I can tell that I've hit a point that some disagree with. That is exactly what I enjoy seeing from this blog, and on this blog. Keep the comments coming.

I don't think that Hungary or Romania are helping Transylvania, what does help are the people of the country. They make the culture and the area wonderfully unique.

The most interesting thing that I've found in my travels is how much people want to learn about Transylvania, now the question is, what is the best thing that has come out of Transylvania?

Many wonderful and unique and valuable cultures.

May 4, 2009

Transylvania and Dracula and the Countess

What are the links to Transylvania and England- or more specifically the British Royal family?  One might suggest based on the post title that Dracula would be the correct answer.

However, the person who Bram Stoker based his most famous on one man who has links to many famous people living today.  Though he was a minor warlord and a prince of a small principality Vlad Tepes would have direct decedents who would come to occupy the British Throne.  A cousin of King George V of Britain, Queen Marie of  Romania would by virtue of this link be assumed as a descendent of Vlad Tepes.

The links between Transylvania and England (or the United Kingdom) go deeper than that however, as one of the many Romanian Royal Family residences was the main castle in a famous novel by an author of British citizenship. (Bram Stoker was Irish)  

The book? Dracula.


If you guessed Dracula as the main person who was the link between the British Royal Family and Transylvania you would be incorrect. Bram Stoker wrote the novel Dracula very loosely based on Vlad Tepes who was a Prince of Wallachia and was born in Transylvania where his father was exiled. He was part of the basis for Dracula, but not all of it.  The stake in the bodies of his prisoners was one idea Stoker used, but blood was a different matter.

 Though he took some of the other parts from the Countess of Transylvania.  Elizabeth Bathory was related to Vlad Tepes, as were many people of noble birth, but she was an infamous serial killer who- it is said- killed 600 young women in her quest for immortality.

These two never saw or lived in England, but they influenced the English literary culture.

What about others who lived and are still alive?

May 3, 2009

Ten Things I like About Transylvania

1) The Cultures

2) The peoples

3) The Music

4) The Mountains

5) The Myths

6) The Royalty of Transylvania

7) The peoples who lived there

8) The Beauty of the land

9) The Cities and their Histories

10) The Cultures.

May 2, 2009

Transylvania and Queen Maria

Would you say that Queen Maria was important to the people of Transylvania?

IF she wasn't why not?
IF she was why was she?

Was it because of the aftermath of the First World War? or another thing?

Was it during the reign of her son or grandson?

May 1, 2009

Transylvania and Questions

I am giving you five questions today: They are not easy ones, and will require a lot of thought. I want some good answers and of course the best comment is posted on Sunday Weekly best Comments.

1) If Northern Transylvania had not gone to Romania at the end of the Second World War, Would the culture be different than what it is now?

2) Before the Roman invaded the Dacia provinces (a part of Transylvania) what methods of culture was there?

3) Name at least 10 distinct and unique cultures of Transylvania.

4) Which of these cultures are still within Transylvania?

5) What was to you the most important historical event to happen in Transylvania?

I'll be giving my answers at a later date to give you time to respond to these.