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SZEKLER (HUNGARIAN COLONIST) FARMERS FROM TRASCAU (SEE, ALSO, PAGE 350) In the mountainous Carpathian country oxen are commonly used as draft animals because of their superior strength and endurance.

cient Saxon border stronghold amid Frenchified public buildings, such as modern architects would be likely to erect to house the official departments of this highly centralized government.


Unaware of an impending fate that might bring financial prosperity and esthetic ruin, the city glistens in the sun as the motor coasts from the Predeal Pass into the suburbs. Wide, mountainous

streets are lined with neatly painted, lightblue and chrome-yellow, one-story houses. attached to one another by elaborate area gateways, all shut.

The streets narrow toward the center of the town and lead to King Ferdinand Square, in which stands the Renaissance Town Hall, built in the fifteenth century and remodeled with baroque fervor in 1777 (see page 320).

Here are held the markets, which bring together a rich variety of racial and national types. The burghers of the town.

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It is customary in Transylvania for nearly all the young people in a village to take part in the ceremonies and festivities attendant on a wedding. The young men are seen accompanying the bridegroom to the house of the bride, followed by musicians. The women, bringing up the rear, are carrying food for the marriage feast, one basket being piled high with waferlike plum cakes.

are Saxons, proud descendants of Franconian ancestors, who have been settled in the city for 600 years. Despite this long separation from the homeland, closest connection with it has been maintained.

These outposts of their race early felt the influence of the Reformation in Germany, and Honterus, known as the Apostle of Transylvania, during the lifetime of Luther won converts to Protestanism in the great Black Church which looks down upon the square.

The present-day citizens of Brasov look not unlike German university students; no trace of centuries of battles with the heathen gleams in their spectacled eyes, and no frontiersman's freedom of motion betrays itself through their stiff-cut clothes. Blond they are and blue-eyed, but they are obliged to yield in freshness of complexion to their rustic cousins of near-by agricultural villages.

This prosperous farmer folk drive into town in springless carts, dressed in a national costume which has remained

practically unchanged since they came from Franconia six centuries ago.

The men wear full-length, flaring, single-breasted coats of dark blue, heavily braided across the chest, with a small, flat, soft hat, which on festal occasions is decorated with two heavy tassels lying on the shoulders.

The everyday attire of the women is a tight bodice of dark color, flaring skirts. and many petticoats of another dark shade braided in a brilliant hue. If married they bind their hair so as to conceal every vestige of it in a silk handkerchief, on top of which is perched a sailor hat like the mode of the nineties in America.

On great holidays this costume is exchanged for heavy damask with a long white apron, while about the waist is clamped a silver-gilt belt with heavy bosses studded with glass or semi-precious stones, and ornaments of the same fine workmanship adorn the bodice and fasten the embroidered fillet binding the hair.

This silver-gilt work is the principal

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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.


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.


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 Torcsvar, as it was then called.

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.


According to the present arrangement, the Queen has her apartments in one tower, while the Princess Ileana occupies the round tower overhanging the roadway, reminiscent of the plight of all fairytale princesses, within waving distance of

the world.

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 are formed partially of dwelling houses

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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.

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