September 20, 2016

Transylvania and The Reality of It Place in the World.

Transylvania, as a part of Romania does have some value in terms of people knowing it is "where Dracula is from?" (or in North America at least!) which in turn allows for the tourism to grow and keeps the economy running.

In the greater world however, Transylvania is not important.  It is a part of a medium sized country which for many years was a part of the communist bloc, and did not have the same economic benefits- and challenges- as its Western European counterparts.  Transylvania was filled with many ethnic groups who had diverse interests.

It could have been a nation, but the majority- ethic and cultural Romanians- wanted to be a part of the newly formed country of Romania.

Transylvania and the surrounding area.
The reality is that while Transylvania is only a part of a country, it had an effect on it.  Within its borders was oil.  As such it made it an important strategic land for Romania during the communist era.  It allowed the country to have very nominal independence from the Soviet influence everywhere else.

If it were not for this important natural resource, the chances that Romania would be controlled as was Poland, or Hungary or countless other countries in the Eastern bloc, would have been high.  No matter how much the politicians, or even some people who lived in Romania, would argue the point, it would have been under more control of Moscow.

The reality of Transylvania now is that it still has the natural resources, but they are harder and more costly to come by than the oil found in some Middle Eastern countries.  The power it holds now is its tourism industry which creates many job opportunities within Transylvania.  However, upon deeper reflection, this is also not the entire story.

Dracula's Castle
Bran Castle, Romania
In some cases, such as Bran Castle, it is privately owned by others. When one thinks of Dracula and his castle, and the power it has over some people in North America, it comes as a surprise that this was a part of the castles of the former Romanian Royal Family.  In some cases, the power of the tourism dollar does not always flow back to Transylvania, but rather to corporations or the government of Romania.

The place of Transylvania within Romania is important, however, the place of Transylvania within the world is not.

Not because of the land and the valuable natural resources, but rather because it is a part of a country which is still growing and learning its own place within the world.

July 6, 2016

Transylvania and Updates

Things about Transylvania and regular updates will return soon.....

Until then, enjoy these photos.

March 8, 2016

Dracula and His Power

Dracula is one of the more famous gothic characters most people know of, besides Frankenstein's monster.

Which is all well and good, and the fact that Dracula brings to Transylvania the all important tourist dollar, it's wise to begin to think about the power of the Dracula myth on Transylvania.  After all there is no doubt that although it was the home of Queen Marie of Romania, Bran Castle is commonly known as "Dracula's Castle."

For a small fee, tourists can go inside the castle and see what life was like for the Romanian Royal Family between the wars.  There is a bit of the gothic history, and a mention of the Teutonic Knights who were the original builders of the castle.

However,  Transylvania, and Romania do not get income from the castle, the descendants of Queen Marie and King Ferdinand of Romania, through the Princess Ileana of Romania, are the ones who receive the income, since the castle reverted back to their ownership.

This being the case, how the Dracula and his power help Transylvania?
Simple, the extras and the area around Bran Castle.  A tourist can go and see the castle, then can go explore the cities around it.  For example, the city of Brasov, is a popular tourist destination, and it main drawing power outside of the Black Church is the man known as Vlad Tepes, who was the person used by Bram Stoker as the idea, and the character of Count Dracula. Tepes was a brutal warlord who would show no mercy to his enemies and his countrymen.

Vlad, for all is supposed extensive power, he would ultimately lose his life in battle having never really had the power of his title in Walachia- he was born in Transylvania, but was a prince of Walachia- he might have fallen through the cracks of history.  

The key to his power is simple: if he had not been "found" as the idea for the main character, of Stoker's most famous novel, I am sure that Queen Marie of Romania and her writing, and hard work on behalf of the Romanian people might be better known.  She was passionate and accurate about the land, but had a flair for the dramatic.

Dracula's power, however is more concrete these days, he holds the power and the passion of many people who have read the book, or have seen the movies which made him famous.  Ironically, for example, Van Helsing, filmed in 2004, was filmed in Prague, whereas many assumed it was in Transylvania, but that is the power of Dracula, and Transylvania.

February 17, 2016

Being Passionate and Accurate About Transylvania

Below are statements about Transylvania, which over the last few years I've come across, or had said to me.
Transylvania is all about Dracula.  Transylvania is full of mountains, but not many other things to look at if you are a tourist.  Transylvania is part of Romania.  Do any of these three statements sound accurate?

If you are passionate about Dracula, the first one might be, the second statement is certainly not, and the last is true.

When a person is accurate about the statements they make, then and only then can they be passionate about the subject matter.  Why should a person be accurate about facts and figures especially when it comes to history or places others can go to?  In part because of how easy it is to check the facts, and the numbers.

For example, let's take the number two 'statement'.  While it is in accurate on one of the fronts, the one which is the fact that while Transylvania has the Carpathian Mountains (or is full of mountains), there are countless things to go and see while you are in the area if you are a tourist.  If you love Dracula, then look no further to Bran Castle, if you are a fan of Royalty and the places they lived in, Bran Castle is one of the many places you can go, along with Alba Iulia.  Alba Iulia, is the city where King Ferdinand and his consort Queen Marie were crowned King and Queen of Romania.

There are many places where both the Romanian Royal family and the Kingdom of Hungary had made their mark on the land.  There are centuries old castles, and villages which have historical and cultural value, and give a person a peek into the area and its cities.

Then, there is the many cities, such as Brasov which give people the idea of the cultures and peoples who have lived in Transylvania for centuries.  This is another popular tourist city, which had taken part in the Protestant Reformation, and, its church is known as the Black Church due to the fire it suffered many years before.

Should a person be passionate about the area, and be willing to learn about the myths and the people of Transylvania?  I believe that they should.  It is a balance of both passion and learning, and when a person feel confident about their place and the people of the area, they are more likely to want to know more about the people and the place that you know about.

Wikipedia and other sites, also force people to be accurate, as there are often some inaccurate statements which are found online.  The best places to go are to books, and there are many to read and to help learn about Romania and Transylvania.  The more accurate a person can be the more they will become passionate about the subject.

January 23, 2016

Creative and Transylvanian?

When sitting back and talking about Transylvania, one has the option of being the person who writes about one thing.  You can be passionate about it, and you can post at length about how something is great and wonderful, and the last thing you find is people don't care, or don't know about what you are talking about.

What this means is when a person asks if you can be creative and still have a link between something as small or large as you want to have. This is where I began to ask myself the question: "is being creative and talking about Transylvania something that can't be put together?"

I journaled about the fact that people have to be passionate about what they work on or what they share with others.  The lives of Queens and Kings came into my mind, but also of how creative people saw Transylvania, and the many things they did as an area.

The idea, is simple.

I've been a fan of maps for many years, and one thing that struck me is how creative a map maker is.

 These two maps are artistically amazing, it shows the artist was the reason the maps were drawn.  It is map reader beware in the one on the left, as it seems to be more for artistry than it is for fact based.

Part of the reason I say that it is less fact based is in part due to the locations of the borders, but also some of the titles used.  However, it is as close to what 1500s Europe would be like, although Wallachia and Moldova were vassal states of the Ottoman Empire.

With this map of Transylvania the artist was also detailed, but creative, and proves that you can be creative and Transylvanian at the same time.

One of the aspects which capture the eye is that the map on the left has many of the names placed as the German names, and not Hungarian or Romanian.

The rivers and the mountain range are there, and one can get the feeling the most important part to this map was Hungary played a role as a country whereas Romania was not even founded at the time.

January 1, 2016

Why Transylvania Needed A Queen

I'll be blunt, I do like royalty, but I can say that I can see a lot of faults in many of the past members of the various royal houses.

One such person whom I admire is Queen Marie of Romania, who transformed her nation, only it was during the Great War (commonly known as World War One.)  Before this time she was an irresponsible, and somewhat absorbed woman who wanted to be more than what she was.

She wanted a family, but was unwilling or unable to stand up to pressure to have her two elder children taken care of by people she didn't choose. While one can make the argument that it was a product of the time, and she was married reasonably young, she also had two mentors who she should have sought help from- her mother and grandmother. Both of whom were formidable women in their own right.  She did learn she was important, but she didn't learn that she had to prove why she was important.

That is until she learned from others.

She learned to lead.  Not as a leader with a specific title, although by this time she was a queen of a country which was fighting a losing battle, but a Queen who could lead and show courage to others.

Why did Transylvania need a Queen?

In 1914, Transylvania was not a part of Romania, but rather the Kingdom of Hungary.  It didn't have a Queen of Hungary since Elizabeth, the wife of the Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary- Franz Joseph was murdered in 1898.

In 1916, the new Queen of Hungary, Empress Zita of Austria, was crowned in Budapest but by this time she was Empress to a dying Empire, and would have little influence on Transylvania as a whole.

Transylvania needed a Queen, not of Transylvania proper, who saw its importance, and Marie did think highly of Romania's newest province, so much so she was crowned in Alba Iulia in 1922, almost eight years after she became Queen.

Had it not been for this war, and the fall of the Hapsburg Empire things would be different and people would see Transylvania in a different light, in terms of it needing a dynamic personality to bring more people to the area.