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Photograph by Erdelyi THE PUREST RUMANIAN STOCK These fruit-sellers were not always agriculturists. They are mountain folk from the vicinity of Alba Iulia, and for centuries they worked the Transylvanian gold mines and were very prosperous... When the Hungarians came into possession of the land and took over the mines the "Moti," as these people are called, took up fruit-growing and wood-carving. They never sell their products, but barter them for wheat, corn, and other necessities that they cannot grow. They represent probably the purest strain of Rumanian blood. handicraft of the Saxon population and desirous of outdoing its neighbor, hung some fine specimens may be seen in the its pews with the finest rugs obtainable. Museum opposite the Black Church, which The societies were long ago disbanded dominates the town.
and the burghers are buried beneath the
stone floor of the church, but these works BLACK CHURCH HOUSES RARE ORIENTAL
of oriental hands still give color to a buildRUGS
ing made barren by the Reformation. This edifice derives its name from the There are more than 200 pieces in this fact that it was burned about 1689 and collection, and while many show signs of never properly scoured since. The result neglect, most of them are in excellent conis both dour and impressive. It is a good dition. example of fifteenth-century Gothic, with- The chancel is lined with prayer rugs out any tower.
with ruby-red centers. The pulpit and The interior, though marred in the early pastor's seats are backed by the same type zeal of the Reformation by the destruc- of rug with deep-blue center panelstion of all the stained glass and the re- specimens so rare that they are not demoval of images, is still a colorful sight, scribed in any of the standard works on due to the superb collection of small ori- rugs. The balconies are hung with splenental rugs which hang over the balconies, did specimens of Turkish and Persian from the back of the choir stalls, and carpets in small designs of rich color. which decorate pulpit and chancel.
There can be little doubt that this These woven prisms of the past owe church houses one of the finest collections their presence to the rivalry of the guilds of rugs in the world. at Brasov in the Middle Ages, when that The old Saxon sacristan assured me city was the center of trade with Turkey with pride that nearly all of the museums coming over the Sinaia Pass. Each guild, in Europe had made offers for their choice of Ghiordes, Ladik, and Shiraz carpets,
The castle's five towers are grouped but the church had never considered part- around a small court, in whose center a ing with them. Moved by our praises of well pierces the hill for 150 feet to the the collection, he unrolled several speci- water, on the level of the stream in the mens on the floor of the sacristy and al- valley. There are no interior corridors, lowed us to admire their texture and to but carved wooden galleries clinging to count the knots of the particularly fine the ramparts lead from tower to tower ones.
on different levels. The other architectural feature of the
RUMANIA'S YOUNGEST PRINCESS OCCUPIES town is the castle which crowns a hill just
A FAIRY-TALE TOWER north of the center-a fortress with picturesque walls built in 1553 by Count According to the present arrangement, Arco to defend the city against the Voi
the Queen has her apartments in one vode Peter of Wallachia and now used as
tower, while the Princess Ileana occupies a military school. The promenade along the round tower overhanging the roadthe terrace before the castle affords a magnificent view across the Burzen plain. tale princesses, within waving distance of
way, reminiscent of the plight of all fairyWHERE TEUTONIC KNIGHTS KEPT THE the world. BORDER OF HEATHENESSE
The castle has been carefully furnished With Brasov as a center, one may ex
with copies of medieval tables and chairs plore the Saxon and Szekler regions at
and is hung with colorful hand-woven the base of the mountains. Southward
materials of Rumanian and Hungarian lies the Saxon town of Rasnov ( Rosenau), designs. The floors are strewn with bearover which towers the massive ruin of the skin rugs, trophies from the neighboring Burgberg, now owned by the former mountains. Crown Prince Carol of Rumania.
As a contrast to this simplicity, an ocThere is no approach by road to this casional piece of glittering oriental brogiant fortress, but a sharp climb brings cade or a fine Persian rug recalls the fact one to what was a little city inclosed with- that the castle is situated on one of the in the great walls of the castle, whose trade routes to the East, and that even in massive keep still dominates the plain. the Middle Ages such contrasts must have
This once populous village is now in- existed in the habitation of the lords of habited by a single farmer and his wife, Dietrichstein, who built it in the thirteenth who occupy the fortress where once a century. hundred Teutonic knights kept the border North from Brasov stretches the road of heathenesse ( see illustration, page 351). to Bistrita, the second of the seven castle
Beyond Rasnov we continued into a towns to be visited in a motor circuit of narrowing valley toward the pass at Bran. Transylvania. Just where the mountain walls almost The first portion of the trip skirts fermeet, a little knoll with the river and road tile plains largely given over to wheat curving sharply at its base is topped by cultivation by Saxons and Szeklers, who the castle of Bran, a gift to the Queen come out from the little towns to their of Rumania by the city corporation of fields every morning, leaving the villages Brasov (see page 326).
deserted. They return at evenfall in picThis, perhaps the most perfect fairy- turesque procession - young men, fair
, story castle in the region, hangs above the faced and strong; girls and women, ruddy little Rumanian village, intimate yet aloof. from toil, with rakes and hoes over their From its narrow windows one can shoulders; and a lumbering line of sleek every movement in the village beneath. cattle and waddling geese. Every market wagon coming down from One of the finest specimens of fortified the pass must move practically around the church in the whole plain is to be found castle, and one can readily imagine that at Toarcla (Prejmer, Tartlau), where, in such caravans of merchants as made use olden days, upon hearing an alarm of a of this pass in the olden days paid heavy Turkish raid, the whole population could tribute to the lords of Dietrichstein, or gather, for the ramparts about the church Torcsvar, as it was then called.
are formed partially of dwelling houses
Hungarian Press Photographic Exchange A TRANSYLVANIAN TYPE OF VILLAGE SMITHY This Saxon blacksmith of Sibiu (Hermannstadt) combines the functions of a smith and wheelwright, and in a locality where automobiles are scarce and horses still hold their own he does a thriving business.
Photograph by Merl La Voy HORNS THAT HAVE BEEN BLOWN THROUGH THE CENTURIES These gigantic instruments are now used only on fête days, but in times past, when Transylvania was one of Christendom's outposts against the Turk, they were blown to warn the countryside of the approach of invaders from the East. The horns are made in two sections, then bound together, and they cannot be blown until soaked in water and allowed to swell tight. Photograph by Merl La Voy WAITING FOR THE PARADE While for the most part Rumanian costumes are riots of color, the traveler occasionally encounters villages where for many years nothing but black