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?