March 31, 2011

The Reason For this Blog? I Find Transylvania...

Because I am close to publishing my book on Transylvania, I am about to take the time to write a bit about what it means to be here, and well writing a book.

I had never intended to take 2 years in writing this book, but Transylvania has a way with people.  In fact to write a book on the Second World War is a big enough subject, but to write a book on the Saxons of Transylvania and how they were affected was.. smaller I thought.

I am planning to write more, and to publish more on Transylvania.  Although it is self-published through CreateSpace, I think the journey has been one where I am planning to write about two cultures which I am learning about, the Hungarians and Romanians of Transylvania...

Wish me luck in this self-publishing adventure.

March 28, 2011

Dracula and Hunyadi

The most recent email I received about Dracula, and John Hunyadi, is this one:

Would you think that since Stoker based his novel on a person, and that person was similar to Vlad Tepes, that Van Helsing was written with John Hunyadi in mind?

I'll give a short answer to that question: No I do not.

Bram Castle, The "home" of Count Dracula, not of Vlad Tepes

Tomb of Hunyadi, after his death in 1456
 I do not think that Stoker knew too much of Transylvania's history and because of that, only loosely based his writing upon the land of Transylvania

It is a well written story, and I am sure that Van Helsing might have been an interesting character but, he was based upon a friend of Stoker.

March 27, 2011

Vlad Tepes ( Dracula) and His Old "Enemy"

I would like to point out an email I received.  This person pointed out that John Hunyadi was an arch enemy of Vlad Tepes III. 

Well, in a sense he was perfectly correct, however the famous Vlad Tepes, which most people associate with him was to young to be his enemy, rather the Vlad Tepes with whom John Huynadi took issue with was Vlad Tepes II, his father.  He was also at odds with Mircea Vlad Tepes II son, and Vlad Tepes II's brother.

Hunyadi and Tepes are both famous, but they did not live at the exact same time.

You can read more on Dracula here.

March 25, 2011

Why Have Photos in A Blog?

No not because it make you money, but rather because it helps with certain blogs.

This is a prime example, I need photos to describe the land and area of this place.  It is important that there are photos about Transylvania, maps or pictures of people as this is needed to help a reader with the "telling" of the blog.

Nothing helps better when dealing with a person or a country better than a blog photo.

Before I started putting in photos, I would try to describe thing through words, unfortunately this is not the way people see Transylvania.  Take this photo for example.
This is library in Alba Iluia.  Now if I didn't have a picture of it, you might "see" it differently than I would, I could say it was white and large with many window.  But you might say it is cream coloured with rectangular windows.

The point is that you need photos to show what you are talking about, and that is why I have photos on my blog.

The people I deal with Dracula for instance needs more "pictures" to understand where and what he was in Transylvania.

March 24, 2011

Transylvania: Rich and Poor?

Is there a place where there is no difference between the rich and the poor?

Unfortunately I would have the say that in Transylvania there is still s gap with the rich and the poor, and with some interest I was reading a book, aptly titled "Transylvania" it mentioned that these days many of the people who can work go to other countries to work.

I would have to say this is a spark that makes people talk about Transylvania politics and want to have a say.

In a land where they have so many choices to focus on: tourism, travel and natural resources (gold, and coal and other minerals) they have such a disperity and that sadly people leave for other coutire in Europe.  I am certain this happens in many countries, but it is still of an interesting fact.

March 22, 2011

I Think of Transylvania As.....

When one thinks of "Transylvania" what might they be thinking of?  Would it be Transylvania, or would it be something else?

For many people when they think of Transylvania, they think of Dracula.  As in Bram Stoker's Dracula, but it is not quite what I had in mind.

Dracula is one thing, but he really didn't have many ties to the land.  In fact he was a fictional character based upon a prince, of Wallachia no less.  This is a fascination which, most people have.  Still, he is not what I think of. Not Vlad Tepes, or Count Dracula.

I think of the past when I think of Transylvania since much of my history is in the past, and it is where my family had come from.  Of course, Transylvania this means digging farther I would say that I am also interested in the history of Germany.

Yet, there are and always were others (cultures, religions, peoples) who lived in this place.

So what do you think of Transylvania as?

March 20, 2011

No Really, Seven Castles

Some one asked why my hub profile has four castles...

The simple answer is that it was all that could be fit in.  This particular image is better is does show the seven castles found on the shield of Transylvania.

March 18, 2011

What do these two places have in common?

They are both in Transylvania.

They are both historical, and in one case have been hundreds of years.

What else do they have in common?

These days one of them is a library, and the other a Romanian Orthodox Church.  Yet, it is the religion which binds them.  At some point in their history they are or were churches of worship.

March 16, 2011

Saxon Dress and Jewelry

I had to ask a few people about this answer but it seems that for the most part much of the dress for the Saxon women were hand embroidered, and this was their "jewelry."  When I asked why, the answer was pretty amazing.

For the most part the Saxons, like the peasant Hungarians and Romanians, did not have much money, and what they did have was put towards taxes.  The taxes were very much dependant upon the culture and when and who was ruling the country.

The Saxons were considered "outsiders' and the taxes they payed did not change much.  They had lived in Transylvania for many years, but this was true for much of the time they lived in Transylvania (the same thing applied to the Teutonic Knights.)  However, it was because of the taxes that the dress was done so elegantly, and it was done with a few specific things.

* When the women and men were confirmed they received a special "dress" and this would be worn on Sundays and other special days.

* This was embellished with headdresses, after the girls were married this headdress would change.

* For the older men and women, the dress code would "go black" after a certain age or once the eldest child was confirmed, which usually happened in their late 20s or early 30s. 

* Because the material cost so much, they did not buy jewelry such as necklaces or ring or earrings.  They would have a wedding ring, but often, it was only the wealthy in the cities or people of the nobility who wore jewels.

March 15, 2011

What Is The Frist City You Would Want to Visit in Transylvania?

There are hundreds of small towns and villages in Transylvania that are of historical significance.  There are a few that mean more to someone like myself, who will visit them a lot.

But what about the cities?

Which one is one your list to visit?
Better write out...

Which city or best still which castle or village do you want to visit?

March 13, 2011

Bran Castle and the Teutonic Knights

Along with the Saxons settlers who came from Germany, the Teutonic Knights were invited to come and protect the land of Transylvania from invaders.  In and around this area the Knights constructed a wooden fortification.

Later, this wooden fortification would become a citadel.  There is documented writings from the time of Louis I of Hungary that mentions this Castle.  It was later constructed in the form it one finds it now.

The key to its building was the Teutonic Knights, and then later the Saxons, however, later would become a royal residence of the Romanian Royal Family.  There are more links to these Knights (such as Alba Iulia and other southern cities) in the general area, before their expulsion to Prussia in 1226.

It was there that the formation of Brasov would happen and this would lead to a growth in population later on.

Still there are more links to the Teutonic Knights than there are to Dracula.  There are even more links to Queen Marie than to Dracula, but most Westerners associate this castle with "count Dracula"

March 11, 2011

Alba Iulia: A Romanian City in Transylvania.

If there is one place which most people want to visit it is Alba Iulia.  It is a beautiful, historic place.  Michael the Brave made his entrance into Transylvania there.  The second King and Queen of Romania were crowned there in 1922.

It is to Romania a historically important place to go to.  In this case this is a Library but it is also a former church.

This holds so many historically significant manuscripts.  It is a part of Transylvanian history.  It is one of the many places one must see in this city.  One should take the time to go and see this amazing city.

March 9, 2011

My Book on Transylvania.. Coming Soon

I am excited to announce that the edits to my book on Transylvania are coming along.  This is huge for me.  It has been two years in the making.  While I have not lost money on this, I think there are plenty of people willing to read it.

Tomorrow... a bit of a change on Dracula.

March 7, 2011

Would You Spend Money to Go on A Tour of Transylvania?

I was asked would you spend a lot of money to go on a tour of Transylvania and Romania?  I didn't think much of the question, but then I began to think about it.  There are tons of deals out there, but to get what I want, which is to visits all the sites and cities I want to visit, means I am going to be spending money.

It is funny that a long time ago, I would have gone to a few cities which were of Saxon origin or had the Saxons who lived in them, but now, when I go again there are many more cities which I want to visit.  Dracula is one of the reasons I want to go and see things again, but I also want to see more of the history of the many peoples and cultures that lived there.

March 5, 2011

Vald Tepes and Dracula

The myth of Dracula comes from the fact that the writers of German origin did not like this man.  It is true that he did a lot of killing, and he destroyed many lives.  It is true that his power came form the fact that he learned his techniques of torture during his years as a vassal under the Ottoman Turks.

The problem lies with the fact that he was cruel to one community which sent letters of said cruelty to them to Germany.  This is where most of the Western European historian take their information from.

His family was at odds with a powerful Hungarian nobleman, John Hunyadi, and with power, comes the ability to have money, and money to raise an army to defend is important.  The other key is that John Hunyadi died fighting the Ottomans, and Vlad Tepes was an erstwhile ally, the same can be said with his father.

Still, Dracula, the myth, the character, comes from these writings.  Stoker would have not had a character to write about had he not had access to a western based book, and Dracula, would never have been created.  This creation has lead to tourism for Transylvania, and more money for the area.

So Vlad Tepes was important in terms of money later on, but it took writings from a darker, more negative point of view to do this.

March 3, 2011

Getting a Blog IS Excitiing... Getting a Website.. Even More

Never fear all.  I am getting a website on the things about Transylvania, teh key to it all is my blog, and that will be on there, with the smae URL and everything, so don't fear about that.

As for blogging, it is and exciting thing when you can write and do what you think is best.  Getting this wbesite is even mroe exciting.

On that basis I am going to keep talking about the place I love Tranyslvania.

The key thing is that building a website means that I am going to be even more focused with improving this blog (which to some is a good thing!)  and it will be interesting to see which pages will be viewed a lot more.  Dracula or Tourism or History....

March 2, 2011

Where Else Is there a Royal Connection to Hungary?

This was an email, and the person was great in asking about the connections with Hungary.  More specifically they asked if there was any royal connection with Transylvania to Hungary.  There are a few more.

Within the borders of Transylvania there lived a minor Hungarian noblewoman by the name of Elizabeth Bathory.  Her connection to the Hungarian royal family?

Her cousin became a prime minister of Hungary.  It was this connection that saved her life.  King Mathias of Hungary did not have her killed for her crime due to the connection between the royal family and the Bathorys.

Transylvania and Hungary would have another connection with was more "limited"  The Grand Princes of Transylvania would become: Emperor of Austria and in 1867, kings of Hungary.