November 24, 2014

The Beauty of Transylvania

I love everything about Transylvania. It's an amazing place to live and more importantly to visit and learn its history.  Some however, need to see it to believe the beauty of Transylvania, and I have been fortunate to find a lovely Facebook page on Alba Iulia.

Some of the photos are amazing and truly show how lovely Romania is.  Of course, one must not forget other beautiful places and landmarks which are found all over this land.

The Black Church in Brasov

The key to loving this place is its history and its cultures which have been around for centuries, and some of the most amazing videos one can find are also found on Romania Original, another Facebook page I recommend to people.   They showcase the beauty that is Transylvania, Romania.  

It is a wonderful land, and has much to offer people who want to explore it.  Since this blog has become more active on the social media, particularly on Facebook, we've been treated to some wonderful photos, which add substance to the history of the people and their land.

 Bran castle will always be a favourite, but the city of Sibui- the home of the new president of Romania will always have its links to its German roots.

November 11, 2014

Politics and Romania

The Romanian elections are coming up, and on Csikszereka musings, there is a blog post which is something most people should take a moment to read if they aren't well versed in the politics of Romania.  This is a good read, and is one which is very much the author's point of view, but well written none the less.

The poster's commentary is about Victor Ponta, one of the men who seeks the Presidency of Romania, and what this might mean for Romania.  It's personal and holds a very pointed view of what might happen to Romania should Ponta win.

The mayor of Sibiu, Klaus Iohannis is his main rival for the post, and there is concerns about corruption in Romania already- politics and Romania, it seems, are larger topics people need to follow.  Romania, according to this article is one of the poorer European Union members, and this could have an effect on this economy.  It is not nation which its debts are high but one which has only a few strong economic pillars.

November, 16 2014, when the election runoff happens will be important for many people, should Iohannis win, this would be important victory for Transylvania as a whole, as he was born in Sibiu, and understands Transylvania and its history better than most people.

This might mean a stronger political focus on Transylvania within Romanian politics, although for many years, it is Transylvania and the surrounding areas which have always been something of a 'bell weather' area for knowing if the people are happy with the politicians or not.

Update/ Note: Victor Ponta did not win the Romanian Presidential Elections, and it was Klaus Iohannis, who became the new president of Romania, taking office on December 21, 2014.  Iohannis is a German Saxon from Sibiu, who sees himself as Romania with German origins.

November 3, 2014

Ask Me Anything: People and Cultures of Transylvania

How many cultures/ people live in Transylvania, Romania?

It may seem to a lot of people the best answer would be: one, and they would be wrong.  There is are many cultures, or people if you will, who live in Transylvania, Romania.  The majority of the culture is Romanian, based upon numbers alone, there are about 70% of the people who live in Transylvania who see themselves as Romanian.  This 70% includes people who are Romanian by birth, but also people who view themselves culturally as Romanian.  Some are Romanian in terms of one parent being of Romanian decent and not the other.

That still leaves 30% of the people and cultures a person can identify.  They have influenced and still influence much of Transylvania.  Bran Castle was built by the Teutonic Knights while they lived in Transylvania as a fortress and protection against the neighbouring principality of Wallachia.  Later the Saxons of the area would maintain it for many years until it became an official residence of Queen Marie of Romania.

The Transylvanian Saxons and the Hungarian population- most notably the SzĂ©kelys- left buildings and cities where their culture flourished before the end of the Second World War.  There are still pockets of these people who are left in Transylvania, but the Hungarians who live in Transylvania make up to 20% of the population there, mostly concentrated in several cities.

There are other cultures and peoples who have had influence in Transylvania, and these were: Greeks,  Albanians, Armenians and Bulgarians.  This is due to the area being in constant political flux.  There was also a strong Jewish population in Transylvania, but this is much smaller now due to the Second World War.

Language is also part of the culture of Transylvania, and while most people speak Romanian, there are people who still speak Hungarian, German, Ukrainian, and the Turkish languages are the most common in Transylvania.

The people, languages, and culture have left their mark on Transylvania, and it is because of this Transylvania has remained as unique as it is.