Friday, November 11, 2011

History and Culture. Romanian History and Haplogroups. Dacians and Danes.

Haplogroups. Genetic identity, and common ancestry. 

Populations can now be tracked as to their earlier migrations thanks to haplogrouping.  Romania, with its proud history of Dacians dating back to Roman times, and now perhaps earlier, can claim a new connection to Dacians in Denmark.  First, as to haplogroups, see  Second, Romanian history and haplogrouping, this particular page focusing in Vlachs, at

Romania:  The name derives from the Latin (Roman), with its influence in the north, Greek influence in the south.  There were migrations to Europe, the Danube.  Migrations back to Iran, Indo-Asia.

Now:  With strong northern European connections to Middle Eastern haplogroups, and a migratory path through Romania, the Caucasus, who can track, or is there a connection, between the Middle Eastern haplogroups and the Jewish.

 Is there an identifiable haplogroup, for example, for the tribes of Israel. Looking at the World Haplogroups site, above, I see none specifically for Jewish persons in the Middle East. Biblically, is that few of the 12 tribes can be tracked.  Others are lost. However, efforts are ongoing to identify by a Jewish haplogroup, see  A more cautious note is laid out in a more scholarly way at

Speculate responsibly about the lost Israelite Tribe of Dan, for example, and the origin of the Danes, and that migratory path, see

Monday, October 10, 2011

Saxon Villages. roadway oxcarts, current events: Siebenburgen, Transylvania

2012 Update for a lovely area. 
 Tradition protected; while seeking more than sustenance.

This area of Saxon villages in central Romania is increasingly a destination point.  The Mihai Eminescu Trust, as well as the Charitable Foundation set up by the Prince of Wales, have been revitalized, supported.  The settlements began in the 11th Century, and the way of life is difficult there, and has been since about 1240. It is at the crossroads of invaders from several directions:  Mongol from the East, Ottoman from the South, and Hungarian from right next door; add other Romanians, and the Plague.

When we were there, the agricultural methods in use look nostalgic, but were backbreaking. 

The bucolic, with slow oxcarts laden with hay, cows following a leader (human or bovine) down the village street, peeling off to houses in the lane, are deceptive.  This is subsistence living. Mechanized ways were not prevalent in this section of eastern Romania. The west is more mechanized, with tractors. Romanian history:  An Australian tour site gives a comprehensive look -- see -- Asatours, Australia, on Romania.
Saxon areas:  After WWII, Saxon adults (as German heritage) were largely sentenced to hard labor and deported to the Soviet Union.  Only about half survived to return.  The country by then was communist. See Financial Times June 16-17, 2012 at p.2. In 1990, they were invited to return, upon Nicolai Ceausescu's removal as President.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Culture. Horsecarts now banned, major roadways. Near Sighisoara.

Sighisoara Area Walled villages. Saxon? 

Horsecarts, wagons with auto wheels, are built with divided supports for flexibility front to back, and can carry whole families on board, goods, equipment. They are also on all the roads, including major highways, until we now read that they are banned from major roadways.

We never saw any accidents, even on the motorways.  The carts kept well to the side. There were only courteous drivers slowing up, going around, blinking lights if a cart happened to be in front, and that was the reason for the slow-up. So many of them - on main highways, everywhere. A rule for us was never drive after dark if we could help it - many carts had no reflectors, and no lights. In foggy areas, we crept.

There was a massive road-building program in progress, however. We were there in the fall, also, and that meant end-of-summer pothole filling in preparation for another winter. The best time to travel in Romania then was in the fall. Spring meant the new holes gaping out there, and worst for the horses. So, European Union aspirations mean big bucks for some, and a hindrance to an already marginal life for so many poor.

See the issue of those who prosper from their investments and properties, at the expense, again, of the peasant (andthe gypsy) who cannot get to their destinations in many cases, except by the major roads.  See

Horsecarts are now banned from major roadways. The funding is for the roads for the rich, and to draw in tourists;  not for the poor areas at this point:

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Saxon Fortified Churches - Sibiu-Sighisoara area; World Heritage

Saxon Romania.  The road from Sibiu to Sighisoara extends through lands known as the Saxon region, south of Targu Mures. It consists of some 200 villages in an area about the size of Belgium, estimates the Financial Times in its article, A stake in Transylvania, 3/18/2012, see

Targu Mures, walled Saxon Churches, Transylvania, Romania

These walled Saxon churches are World Heritage sites. See The old German script is still over the door. There were substantial migrations of Germanic people into Romania beginning in 1123, by invitation of the Hungarian King Geza, and during the centuries.
The new groups kept their own language, and protected themselves with walls like these around towns and churches in the 15th-16th centuries. See We were told that funds are coming in again, from Germany, and from the descendants of those expelled by wars and other invasions. People also moving back.

There is a map for them at
These church walls, seen from the inside, have rooms in them for entire families. We were told that if a couple wanted a divorce, they would be put together in one of these rooms for 60 days, be fed and taken care of, and as a result, they seem to work it all out and no divorces were recorded there. Most of these churches are between Sibiu and Sighisoara. Here is a fine photo of a walled church:
More specific ethnic-cultural roots:

Other sites say these were Swabians, from the Danube area in Germany - see the Schwabisch Hall post at Germany Road Ways; and that would place them from the Augsburg area, see  Saxons were from farther north, but it appears that the Hungarians specifically felt an affinity for the Swabians, but the Saxons also came.  Their own old mythologies refer to the migrations, see

Village women, near a Catholic Church, near Targu Mures, Romania
Label this episode: To the outhouse.
This picture is not of an outhouse, but we had been going back into villages off the road to try to find our own walled churches.  The DK book is not detailed enough. We came to one lovely church - and it turned out to be a Catholic one, not German - and these ladies kept gesturing to the outside and indicating, come on.
So we did, through mud, over yards, around puddles, through gates and gardens, all winding through the village until we came somewhere and they gestured us over with great ceremony.

The ultimate destination was indeed an outhouse. Very hospitable. Where else would fine local folk invite tourists to their outhouse? We didn't need it, but appreciated the thought and saw parts of a Romanian village no bus tour could match. Thank you.
There are many Roma, or gypsies, in Romania.  They were brought in as slaves and as a group have not been allowed to advance.  The cultures do not mix. See Gypsies, Roma, Romani.   This is not yet a fully automobile society, and rural areas are served by horse carts.  My understanding is that most of those belong to the Roma, not the other ethnic peasants.  We didn't see a motorized tractor for 10 days.
Horses and carts are also in the cities and the highways. The construction of the carts is ingenious, with a break in the axel (what is that connector not between wheels laterally, but going the length of the wagon to accommodate the huge potholes and ruts? Car tires are used.

This horse cart was outside the walls of a rural village, but not the Saxon walled church village.
Roma horsecart, near Targu Mures, Romania

Friday, September 30, 2011

Accommodations: Prince Charles in Romania. Saxon areas, Transylvania. Guesthouses; Other Projects

Projects in Conservation, Guesthuoses, Education, Trusts and Charities
International Benefactors
Preserving, Conserving Old Ways
By Accommodating the New

Saxons in Transylvania
Old villages; historical renovation sponsored by accommodations
Update on international benefactors:  Even the Financial Times recognizes the efforts by Prince Charles, through his trust, and others to preserve the heritage of Romania, here the Saxon: at Romania property, a stake in Transylvania, at  Read that entire article, by Teresa Levonian Cole 3/17/2012.  The history of Saxon migration into Romania, at the invitation of a medieval Hungarian king, growth to some 200 Saxon villages, then World Wars, expulsions, and now interest back again.
1.  Housing:  Citizen and Visitor
Prince Charles of England has made and is making a substantial difference, in Transylvania in particula.  He promotes and otherwise sponsors saving old houses, conservation, encouraging visitors with planned guesthouses at intervals, and training villagers in traditional building methods that use local materials.
He has bought "endangered" properties and is turning them into guesthouses, or showing local people how to do it. 
William Blacker wrote Fit for a Prince, The Financial Times, August 28-29, 2010, at page 8, Life and Arts.  See  This is a well-written description of Romania.

Look up also the
These organizations foster "traditional craftsmanship" as well as how to succeed at small-scale farming, and raise money in many ways that attract non-builders..
Prince Charles - Royal Highness, Prince of Wales, with a worthy set of projects here, rescuing traditional properties, morphing them into guesthouses; sponsoring education, skills.
We found the small hotels along the way, well-spaced for the traveler,"cabanas" or pensiones, to be just fine.  We found them clean and warm.  No complaints about any of the accommodations we found in Romania, but choice is nice.
Many little hotels were threadbare.  Inside the duvets were blankets, heavily felted, but with holes. Nonetheless all bedding was spotlessly clean.  We never minded threadbare in felted blankets, or sheets. We never questioned the cleanliness. Bricks, tiles from terracotta techniques.
Villages we missed, but you could see: Visceri, Zalanpatak (Hungarian:  a Romanian friend told us that the old people in her family would say, Hun-GAR and spit. Those times, we understand, have passed. Hungarian and Romanian history are intertwined, although village animosities remain. The Prince owns his own house in Romania, address not given.  Smart.  It is said to be modest, delightful.
2.  Welcome to preserving.
The Prince is not against modern development, but wants it to proceed alongside the preserved original, where the original is also now productive.  It is too late in many places. Whole villages were destroyed even after Premier Ceausescu was executed in 1989, along with his pattern of bulldoze it now, think later. The bulldozing did not stop. Was this mainly for Roma villages, or other peasant? Or did it matter?
Euros pouring in do not help in conservation of culture.  Euros just find pockets, as dollars do here -- it all does not get to the purpose intended. The article correctly states that the replacement block building for mass residences are hideous.
I am tempted to reproduce here all our (to us) wonderful rural photographs, people, costumes, ox carts.  What about the gypsy village where we stopped to ask directions for a night's lodgings, got a fine deli sausage sandwich and an orange soda.  To take pictures seemed intrusive, so we did not. Now I wish we had.  Will others see the same hospitality, open welcome.
Prince Charles of England. Good work. Tell Wills. Tell Harry. Welcome to Romania.  Carry on. Sally forth.  Even ordinary people want to see your fostering of traditional talents and lifestyle and architecture, remain.  Salute. Prince Charles fosters Romanian guesthouses.  Yes. More. Cultural conservation in Romania. Cultural trusts.  High time. Go there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bistrita, Piatra Fontanele and Hotel Castel Dracula: Bram Stoker's Dracula Story

Bram Stoker's "Dracula"

Bistrita is the town located near the area where the "Dracula" author, Bram Stoker, located his fictitious Dracula's castle.

His character, Jonathan Harker dined at the Golden Crown here.  Bram Stokerwas born in Dublin -  see This is the Literature Network site.

1.  Weekend slowdown.

On weekends in Bistrita and other towns, things do close down, so don't plan for museums or sites after lunch and especially on Sundays. Find an overview of the town at

A walk around was all we wanted.

2. Hotel Castel Dracula

It was time for kitsch, so we stayed here.  The good news is that the kitsch is restrained, and localized. The rest of the accommodation is a fine hotel, although in need of some repair. 

Hotel Castel Dracula, near Bistrita, Romania

Hotel Castel Dracula is to the east, past Bistrita, and supposedly at the place where the fictitious castle in the novel, Dracula, was supposed to be located.

3.  Kitsch

The hotel has a secret passageway and room, that you have to search for yourself and then - gasp - it is there. The Coffin. And cape for dressing up.

Dan Widing locates The Coffin, Hotel Castel Dracula, Romania

Other than that, it is a full-service, comfortable hotel: good food, books for sale in the lobby, much research on the Stoker's Dracula-Vlad comparison.

Wish for a foggy morning so that driving is risky. The horsecarts are a hazard despite reflectors.

Then you will have to stay a few hours longer, and curl up with a good book.

4.  Hiking Center

The hotel has been discovered by serious hikers. It is near a wilderness park, with Big Animals (real wolves and bears), and the trails look great.

5.  Games

There is also a pool table and pub up the tower. For enviro-tourists, despite the touristy name Castel Dracula, stay here as your base for side hikes. Any big facility needs upkeep, and they are working on it.

Other accommodations:

6.  Warmth

We had no difficulty with cold nights.

Usually we stayed at any family pensione, or a "cabana" in outlying areas. A cabana is like a villa, small hotel-hostel-pensiones for travelers, at well-spaced intervals in mountain or recreation areas. All clean, safe, warm, with thin compact mattresses, but plenty of felted blankets in the duvets. The felted blankets, think heavy, tight wool blankets, soaked and dried several times to tighten it up and make the felt, very thick - not like hats. We sometimes put the additional duvet underneath.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Romanian Food

 Time to Eat
But what? Not to worry.

1.  Staples

Cornmeal.  Food is excellent in Romania; hearty, with a great deal of cornmeal, as in mamaliga, a cornmeal mush (like polenta, formed and unformed) with or without other vegetables, cheeses.  See

See also cornmeal porridges (that that mamaglia, served like a mellow and rich polenta), soups -- especially ciorba, a sour soup. Recipe at
Hearty. It is not a spicy cuisine. See overview at

2.  Root vegetables, regular barnyard meats.

Overall, think home cooking.  Root vegetables and potatoes, cabbage dishes, chicken and lamb and beef stews, sausages, cutlets, 

Breads are whiter than we expected, but there is plenty of it.

Romanian Music: Roma, Traditional. Bucharest

 Romanian Music


Music -- gypsy fast-fast at the hotel

At this hotel, we joined with another traveler who was on her own. Good times. The Rom, Roma, Romani, or as too-casually known, Gypsies, have a long history, see

The language and culture of Rom groups vary from country to country, but with common roots. See also Gypsies, Roma, Romani  The persecution and killing of Roma during the holocaust has been buried beneath the more publicized persecution and killing of Jews and other groups.

Traditional trades, now diminished with the stopping of the caravans, and warehousing of populations in high-rises, include:  musicians and dancers, tinners and coppersmiths, jewelers, blacksmiths, panners of gold, sieve-makers, horse-dealers.  See the Eliznik site.

Local pubs also provide local music, as well as the sophisticated jazz.  Enjoy the local pub and its music. Even watch a video of a wedding that day. See Romanian music.

I believe Bercuvlahu is the video producer, not the musician. Is that so?
Dance music: This sound was on the car radio - there had not been a supplanting by Western music yet. Good.

Songs:  Hear Maria Tanase 1913-1963, at, at  Maria Tanase, a mid-20th Century, highly talented singer, see

And the concertina -  Keyboard, accordion, often Roma.  We saw shocking poverty among the Roma. This video of some Roma music is misleading, and highly idealized for the market, see

Itinerary after the fact - Places unfolding. Improvised travel.


Bucharest (includes some Vlad sites),

Snagov - Vlad burial tradition,

Brasov - castle Bran, but he was not there or, at least, just as an occasional guest,

Curtea de Arges,

Poinari - Vlad Castle ruin

Sighisoara - birthplace of Vlad


Bucovina  - painted monasteries,

Voronet - painted monasteries,

Putna - painted monasteries, hermit cave,

Vatra Dornei,

Moisei - see Jewish memorial, holocaust (villagers burned),

Sapinta - Merry Cemetery,

Sighetu Marmetiei - see prison there, intellectuals, political prisoners, interrogations, a US black site?,

Ieud - old wooden churches,

Maramures - ancient area,

Cluj Napoca - city now very modern,

Alba Iulia - watch the smog; castle and town walls,

Hunedoara - John Hunyadi, for a time, foster father of Vlad, killed Vlad's father

Targu Jiu - Vlad held court here

Horezu Monastery,

Ramnicu Valcea, - political rally

Mogosoaia Palace near Bucharest,  see Lenin statue toppled near the kitchens

Bucharest.  Vlad's Princely Court

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Vlachs Ethnic Group. A Welshman among the Vlachs (WWI)

Romanian ethnic Vlachs. Dafydd Ellis.  A Welsh soldier, a medical orderly, in World War I, deserted and apparently lived among the Vlachs, a group identified with Romanian gypsies at the time, and currently.  He and friends had been known to frequent a shepherd community, perhaps that Romanian "Gypsy", and ultimately is believed to have continued to live but in Macedonia.

Dafydd Ellis:  In 1918, he went missing from Salonika, where he was stationed at a quiet field hospital far from any fighting, a teacher, a poet, a pacifist, who found that he was likely to be confronted with orders to serve with a combat unit, despite earlier military promises contrary.  See The Forgotten Story of Dafydd Ellis, at!topic/ and

A film of this experience would educate and enrich many.  Carpathian origins now spread to Texas, see

Adding to fine galleries: See Romania.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

History, Culture. Vlachs: Dacians, Geto-Dacians, early settlers in Romania, nomadic shepherds

Vlachs, Dacians, Geto-Dacians, Migratory Ethnic Groups

Vlach shepherd, Romania

This shepherd was alone in herding a large flock of sheep, as we all waited for them to scurry among the 18-wheelers and cars, through the village. Their dogs are indispensable. See more on the Romanian shepherd dogs at
The shepherd we watched leaped across the road, carrying his possessions (no carts seen); and was gone. Stragglers among the sheep ran to catch up, and did, but he did not call. No sheepdogs.  Vlach origins, north and south of the Danube:  Traders, shepherds, craftsmanship. Chronology there of dates and events.
Someone described that kind of sight as a cloud of sheep. Exactly. Find one such reference at Dominick Finello's Pastoral Themes and Forms in Cervantes' Fiction/.
Vlach sheep, crossing road, Romania

The Vlachs are an ancient people that are in many eastern European countries. Tradition roots them in the Indus Valley, India migrations of an ethnic group commonly called "gypsies", or Roma (nothing to do with Rome, however), whether accurately or not, these peoples have kept their own ways.
See Gypsies, Roma, Romani.
Vlach may the root of "Wallachia" or "Vlachia". Some believe that it was the Vlachs who originally founded Romania, and were the indigenous people when the Romans came. See the Romania section at
The Vlachs remain distinct. There were also, however Dacians in the area, another group also laying claim to the indigenous people-founding Romania status. Their leader, Burebista, 82-44 BCE, opposed Caesar. The society was strong and well organized: they conquered some area Greek cities, and fended off the Celts. Also known as Geto-Dacians, they are referred to from the 6th Century BCE, with Herodotus the first to use the term "Getae" for the peoples north of the Danube. Danube?  Germany?
The Danube stretches from its mouth at Moldavia-Romania (delta), back through borders with Bulgaria, then Serbia (old), Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, etc. See map at  The mighty Danube became the border, back at the Romanian history site now, between the Geto-Dacians and the Romans.  Finally, after fierce wars, the Romans, through Trajan, won.  Migrations ensued among tribes opposing Rome. Greek and Roman documents, says, called these people Thracians. Other kings:  Decebal and Dromihetes.

Geto-Dacians. This also puts the Getae in line, possibly, as the Geats, the tribe later found in northern Europe, the tribe of Beowulf. Beowulf, earliest poem, Saxon, see

Hwaet! That is the word commonly translated as "Lo!"  or "Hark!" See first line of poem, Beowulf.  Nuts.  it is Hwaet!. See

 See  Much speculation as to the origin of the Geats. Did they migrate, with many others, north, right up the Danube? Across Carpathians, through Caucasus? Why not look here, scholars? Wikipedia starts its analysis of identity long after the migrations of north-of-Danube peoples unwilling to live under Caesar, see  I started far earlier, see Sigge Fridulsson, Fridulfson, and the Swedish legends (legends themselves rooted in unknowable events?) at Sigge Fridulsson, Caucasus Migration North, Caesar Era

 More Vlach history http//:, and at; and :// And, of course, a book:

Road manners.

The fun part here was the good humor of the truckers stopped in their tracks in the village -- no anger, no fingers, just open the window, lean out and chat and smile in good humor as, when all seemed to be past, somebody went under the truck to coax out the last straggler. To an outsider, it looked like respect for someone else's assets and way of life. Room for many. What's the rush.
Less developed countries respect others' lives more.  Is that so?  I seldom saw any kind of road kill. That may not mean a particular love of animals -- stray dogs are everywhere -- recognizable breeds --  from the edicts in Bucharest that people whose neighborhoods were destroyed by Ceaucescu's urban renewal.  Apparently, people could not move into the new apartment highrise boxes, with dogs. The absence of road kill could mean, rather than altruism:  1) skill in veering; and we agree; or 2) the practical side. A hit may damage your own vehicle.
We have found them in Greece and Croatia, for example, see more about "Aromanian Vlachs: The Vanishing Tribe," at

Wikimedia Commons provides this map of migrations, and the resolution is as you see it: see
File:Migration des Roms.jpg

There are supposed to be some Vlachs in Texas - see map and discussion of migrations at
Modern map of Eastern Europe, for identifying the foggy lettering above: Wikimedia Commons at

File:Eeurope rel84.jpg
The mother of the Hungarian hero, Janos Hunyadi (governor of Transylvania in the 15th century, castle at Hundoara, Romania) was said to be Vlach. The Vanishing Tribe site says that Vlachs set up Wallachia.
Update - from our 2007 trip to Poland:
Some Vlachs migrated to Poland - see the Magurski National Park site at There, the people were called "Lemks," and lived in the Low Beskid region, with only a few survivors now. There are vestiges of their culture, and later orthodox religion there, and in roadway shrines. The article says they were deported in 1947 for political reasons. See populations post at Poland Road Ways.
Vlachs - Once there is an awareness of something new, all sorts of other information comes out - now we find Vlach references in many places and contexts. More at a Vlach site,

Monday, June 06, 2011

Suceava, Painted Monasteries. Bucovina, Humor, Sucevita. Byzantine frescoes.

These Painted Churches, at the monasteries in the north, are World Heritage sites. See The Byzanatine frescoes date from the 15th-16th Centuries, see The paintings are sequential, a way to teach the Bible stories to villagers who could not read or write. Churches and painted monasteries in Bucovina (for Voronet, the nearest large town is Suceava) and Moldovita often also served as forts. War and peace at once. Many painted monasteries were mustering areas for gathering fighters,and the stories on the outer walls were a scriptural teaching tool for the orthodox while they waited - also for villagers seeking refuge inside. The monasteries usually have walls around for that defense, and many buildings for functions and shelter.

1.  Voronet Painted Monastery

Voronet painted monastery, Bucovina, Romania

Voronet was founded by Peter the Great, who then ruled Moldavia (the country of Moldova is nearby) in gratitude for his victory over the invading Turks.  The hermit Daniil, or Daniel, convinced him to undertake the effort. See'

See Voronet and others at See details also

2. Sucevita Painted Monastery

Sucevita Painted Monastery, near Suceava, Romania

There are many of these painted monasteries at Suceava, northeast Romania. See similar one at Arbore,

Sucevita was also a noble residence, and is on extensive walled grounds.

3.  Humor Painted Monastery, interior.  Humor is the name, not a description.

Humor painted monastery, interior, near Suceava, Romania
At many Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, there will be prayer shelters: a receptacle with beeswax candles, water and a layer of sand on bottom of a sheltered tray. Candles are placed to remember a life or make a prayer. The candle burns down to its natural extinguishing in the water.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Poinari Citadel. Global Menswear - The Cap. Measure by Pi.

 The Driving Cap
The Practical Cap at Poinari Citadel

Universals in travel.  The men's driving cap. See it here at Vlad's castle ruin in Romania, worn by The Guide.

Many of us know little of the stitcheries of driving caps vs. newsboys' caps, and other similar caps around the world. The fashion is global because it is practical, the cap is easy to carry, stays on, and looks good.

Style details.  We understand this about details: the well-designed and well-fitting cap accommodates base of skull to hairline, no puckering.  It should be stitched (not snapped) at the front (we do not recall here).  There should be three panels to be a driving cap, and more like eight for the more circular, wider newsboy's cap.  Think of the 1930's - kids on the streets hawking papers.

Sometimes there is a buckle in the back.  The longer the brim in front, the tougher the look.  This fine guide, who lives near the ruin, was gentle and had a welcoming cap.

Measuring for a driving cap.  What is your size?  For a European cap, measure your head, say in inches for Americans, then multiply that times 2.54;  or, for an American cap, divide by 3.14 or pi.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Putna. Painted Monastery; Cabanas for Hikers Trekkers

Monastery, Putna, Romania

Timing is important at monasteries. Arrive before 5 PM in order to hear the chanting here at Putna Monastery, in the north. We just missed it.
Putna is a welcoming place, with a fine hostel for the night. Look for "Cabana" on the signs. Stay at the local hostel. A late arrival is welcomed, and there will be good food nearby. 

Hostel, Putna, Romania. Cabana.

There are Cabanas for hikers and trekkers, and the rest of us, ranging from the clearly hotel-like, to the more informal youth rooms, conveniently spaced around Romania.  They were always safe and clean.  See

Cabanas:  Some boast their own companionably loud cafe. We chose some exercise and walked to another cafe in Putna on the main street. Dan, with Down Syndrome, often brings nods and smiles of recognition. In the town cafe, we sat in the pub room and watched the only tv show going:  a local wedding from earlier in the day,  If you are not an immediate invitee, participate in the pub later. Then someone motioned for us to follow, so we did, into another room where  another Down syndrome young man had been sitting with his parents, and were just leaving. We all gave especially long handshakes and smiles. Universals.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Maramures. Carved Wooden Gates. Prislop Pass. Mongols. Gates: Barrier; Protection; and Status.

Prislop Pass, and Gateways Against Evils; For Recognition.
Gates Against Incursion, and as Memorials.
Genghis Khan

I.  Residence carved gateways.

Maramures, Home Gateway, Romania
These are elaborate, see with recurrent twisted rope and other motifs.  The gates served notice of private property beyond, and against incursion.There are seldom high walls on the sides, however, so protection is minimal as a practical matter. here, roosters adorn the gate openings on top. See
Elaborate carved gates mark the homes, out at the street, with walkways to the compound beyond. See Maramures gates at The bigger the gate, the more prestige sought or claimed, as anywhere else in the world. Gated communities are an old concept.
II. Historical Gateways

Prislop Pass.

This gateway at the Prislop Pass, see video at is in the mountains on the way to Maramures from the Suceava area. There is no residence, no building or community nearby, and it signifies instead the farthest advance of the Mongols. In about 1242, the Mongols had reached Brasov, destroying old churches, see

What stopped the Mongols? It was not a battle.  Mongol and other horses could not manage the pristine forests.  The Mongols, a/k/a Tatars, began in about 1214, kept at it until 1717, as far as they could canter in.  See

Reminiscence:  The film  Cold Mountain - with its vistas. No wonder. The movie was was filmed here.
 Currently there is much logging in the mountains, but the logging is turning to clear-cutting. 

III.  Ethnic Groups in Romania and elsewhere.  Mongols, Tatars.
Mongols:  Western contemporary accounts are inaccurate in many respects.  The Mongol culture was far more than our lens showing brutality.  The interesting angle is that initial brutality to subdue an area was followed often with wisdom and accommodation in the subsequent administration, adaptation, adoption of ideas, fostering arts, culture, see  Theirs was the largest land empire in history, and remains so, see
Mongols contributed to Romanian culture and the gene pool.  See  After the Romans and Dacians had long blended, see Romania and the Eastern Question, 1989, at, enter the Tatars or Mongols.

What is the ethnic makeup in Romania now? Apparently, 1 in every 200 men (need to check if this in all Europe?) carry the Genghis Gene.

That is some 16 million men and who knows how many women that carry his genetic makeup, and it is unique and measurable, see Forbes Magazine on High Achieving Genes, the Khan's chromosomes, at
Genghis himself fathered so many children, as did his followers, that any gateways on the highways designed to keep him out, did not keep out the conquest by chromosome. Epicanthic folds at the inner eye? Many disappear in Caucasians by age 2 or so, I understand.  Mongol history: see