Authentic Romanian villages

authentic village of viscriI aim to contribute to keeping rural Romanian heritage alive as villages are going through a fast process of modernization. Tourism can play a catalytic role in preserving the authentic Romanian villages.  I’ve found role-model villages having done this successfully and these are 3 of them.

Viscri – is a village built by German Saxons and which has a fortified church declared UNESCO Heritage site. A major conservation project is under way. Houses are being renovated keeping the traditional look, blue is the preferred color and windows have wooden frames. Mihai Eminescu Trust is the foundation running the project, HRH Prince Charles of Wales being a great supporter. He even owns two houses in the village. 20 Romanian, 70 Germans and 400 gypsies live here. Cows and carts go up and down the main road,  there are sheepfolds nearby and charcoal makers and in the warm months hundreds of tourists visit and stay overnight in the village. Traditional occupations such as brick making and knitting are being revived.

Another of our authentic Romanian villages is Rimetea.  It is inhabited by Szeklers and it received the Europa Nostra Award in 1999. Since then it is under conservation: houses are renovated keeping their authentic look and the preferred color is white. There is a small museum about the identity of the Szeklers and of iron mining. There is a person who can teach you how traditional furniture is made.  The conservation project was led by the Transylvania Trust with funding from Hungary.

The village of Ciocănești is also nicknamed the living village museum as here the houses and clothes have the same decorations as the painted Easter eggs, famous for this region. It is surrounded by mountains, a river winds through and in the nearby forests  the enigmatic “huțuli”, or people of the forest, live. Unlike the other two villages, there is no conservation project. The locals simply understand it is good to keep their heritage alive and it is benefic for attracting tourists and an income they can live from.

If you get to visit these authentic Romanian villages you can stay in rural guesthouses keeping a traditional architecture and you will experience true hospitality of the locals. Most food comes from the garden and local animals.

In the near future we want to have a more active role in such rural heritage conservation initiatives. For now we’re learning how it can be done and contribute by bringing travelers to those places and giving them as an example to other villages and pension owners.

Please click on the links to see examples of trips including Ciocanesti, Rimetea and Viscri.


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