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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 some fine specimens may be seen in the Museum opposite the Black Church, which dominates the town.
BLACK CHURCH HOUSES RARE ORIENTAL RUGS
This edifice derives its name from the fact that it was burned about 1689 and never properly scoured since. The result is both dour and impressive. It is a good example of fifteenth-century Gothic, without any tower.
The interior, though marred in the early zeal of the Reformation by the destruction of all the stained glass and the removal of images, is still a colorful sight, due to the superb collection of small oriental rugs which hang over the balconies, from the back of the choir stalls, and which decorate pulpit and chancel.
These woven prisms of the past owe their presence to the rivalry of the guilds at Brasov in the Middle Ages, when that city was the center of trade with Turkey coming over the Sinaia Pass. Each guild,
desirous of outdoing its neighbor, hung its pews with the finest rugs obtainable.
The societies were long ago disbanded and the burghers are buried beneath the stone floor of the church, but these works of oriental hands still give color to a building made barren by the Reformation.
There are more than 200 pieces in this collection, and while many show signs of neglect, most of them are in excellent condition.
The chancel is lined with prayer rugs with ruby-red centers. The pulpit and pastor's seats are backed by the same type of rug with deep-blue center panelsspecimens so rare that they are not described in any of the standard works on rugs. The balconies are hung with splendid specimens of Turkish and Persian carpets in small designs of rich color.
There can be little doubt that this church houses one of the finest collections of rugs in the world.
The old Saxon sacristan assured me with pride that nearly all of the museums in Europe had made offers for their choice
of Ghiordes, Ladik, and Shiraz carpets, but the church had never considered parting with them. Moved by our praises of the collection, he unrolled several specimens on the floor of the sacristy and allowed us to admire their texture and to count the knots of the particularly fine
The other architectural feature of the town is the castle which crowns a hill just north of the center-a fortress with picturesque walls built in 1553 by Count Arco to defend the city against the Voivode Peter of Wallachia and now used as a military school. The promenade along
the terrace before the castle affords a
magnificent view across the Burzen plain.
WHERE TEUTONIC KNIGHTS KEPT THE BORDER OF HEATHENESSE
With Brasov as a center, one may explore the Saxon and Szekler regions at the base of the mountains. Southward lies the Saxon town of Rasnov (Rosenau), over which towers the massive ruin of the Burgberg, now owned by the former Crown Prince Carol of Rumania.
There is no approach by road to this giant fortress, but a sharp climb brings one to what was a little city inclosed within the great walls of the castle, whose massive keep still dominates the plain.
This once populous village is now inhabited by a single farmer and his wife, who occupy the fortress where once a hundred Teutonic knights kept the border of heathenesse (see illustration, page 351).
Beyond Rasnov we continued into a narrowing valley toward the pass at Bran. Just where the mountain walls almost meet, a little knoll with the river and road curving sharply at its base is topped by the castle of Bran, a gift to the Queen of Rumania by the city corporation of Brasov (see page 326).
This, perhaps the most perfect fairystory castle in the region, hangs above the little Rumanian village, intimate yet aloof. From its narrow windows one can see every movement in the village beneath. Every market wagon coming down from the pass must move practically around the castle, and one can readily imagine that such caravans of merchants as made use of this pass in the olden days paid heavy tribute to the lords of Dietrichstein, or
The castle's five towers are grouped around a small court, in whose center a well pierces the hill for 150 feet to the water, on the level of the stream in the valley. There are no interior corridors, but carved wooden galleries clinging to the ramparts lead from tower to tower on different levels.
RUMANIA'S YOUNGEST PRINCESS OCCUPIES A FAIRY-TALE TOWER
According to the present arrangement, the Queen has her apartments in one tower, while the Princess Ileana occupies the round tower overhanging the roadtale princesses, within waving distance of way, reminiscent of the plight of all fairy
The castle has been carefully furnished with copies of medieval tables and chairs and is hung with colorful hand-woven materials of Rumanian and Hungarian designs. The floors are strewn with bearskin rugs, trophies from the neighboring mountains.
As a contrast to this simplicity, an occasional piece of glittering oriental brocade or a fine Persian rug recalls the fact that the castle is situated on one of the trade routes to the East, and that even in the Middle Ages such contrasts must have existed in the habitation of the lords of Dietrichstein, who built it in the thirteenth century.
North from Brasov stretches the road to Bistrita, the second of the seven castle towns to be visited in a motor circuit of Transylvania.
The first portion of the trip skirts fertile plains largely given over to wheat cultivation by Saxons and Szeklers, who come out from the little towns to their fields every morning, leaving the villages deserted. They return at evenfall in picturesque procession young men, fairfaced and strong; girls and women, ruddy from toil, with rakes and hoes over their shoulders; and a lumbering line of sleek cattle and waddling geese.
One of the finest specimens of fortified church in the whole plain is to be found at Toarcla (Prejmer, Tartlau), where, in olden days, upon hearing an alarm of a Turkish raid, the whole population could gather, for the ramparts about the church
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.
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.