Romania and Transylvania

Romania and Transylvania both are areas with a troubled history. It started with the Dacians who fought violently against the Romans. The car-brand Dacia, the national pride of Romania, got his name from the Dacians. Romania nowadays is a nation which consists of five small States who fought against each other over the years or fought together against a foreign Conquistador such as the Ottomans, who we call the Turks nowadays. All five States can be found in Romania’s coat of arms. One of them is Transylvania. Transylvania is, amongst others, known for Vlad Tepeş, Dracula. This cruel but also smart ruler of Transylvania was born in Sighisoara. An example of his smartness is that he shoed his horses with horseshoes in the opposite direction so his enemies would be tricked. Nowadays many tourists go to the Bran-castle, where Vlad Tepeş stayed for maybe one night. His real castle lies high up in the mountains near Arefu, close to the Transfagarasan road. Horse riders inn Merlelor is situated in Transylvania.
Transylvania alternately used to be an independent State, was part of Austria during the Habsburger hegemony, was added to Romania and back to Hungary but now is part of Romania since WW I. During the 12th century Transylvania was a kind of no-mansland where gangs of robbers, Turks and Hungarians fought with each other. The Hungarian king asked the Germans for reinforcement. They founded Siebenbürgen, which is besides seven fortresses also the German name for Transylvania. There is still a German minority living in Transylvania. In villages near Halmeag you can see signs of their presence by texts and names on houses. After the revolution of 1989 many Romanian Germans moved to the ‘original’ Heimat, even though they had live in Transylvania for centuries. Their departure left many houses uninhabited. Today many of these houses are inhabited by gypsies. From the seven fortresses the cities of Sighisoara (Schassburg), Braşov (Kronstadt) and Sibiu (Hermannstadt) are the ones that are preserved best and are worth a visit. Halmeag is in the middle of these cities at about 1 ½ hour drive. In 2007 Sibiu was one of the Cultural Capitals of Europe and Sighisoara is listed as an UNESCO-monument. Because of the Dacia, the car – who has been taken over by Renault – no one has to walk along the roads anymore as they used to do until 1989.