luni, 26 noiembrie 2012

Myths and legends about the Hungarians of Romania

Romania is a relative homogeneity  population (90 % are Romanian, 80 % are Orthodox and everybody likes wine!). From the rest of 10 % the overwhelming majority consists on Hungarians (also, totally, between 1,5 and 2 million people).
The traditional way to cook paprikas

From this many people the most lives in Bucharest, which is, after Budapest, the most populous city with Hungarians. Other important part are typical Hungarians (Magyar) living peaceful with the Romanians for centuries in all cities or villages of Transilvania. Another Hungarian population, namely the Szekely) lives very compact  in two mountains districts (Harghita and Covasna) as a majority, enjoying a certain autonomy.

The fact is that they speak a language almost identical with Hungarian, and very different comparing to Romanian. Also, culture, way of life are completely different, despite some similarities. They are also good people, not fundamentally different than Romanians. They build here a total special county, Tinutul Secuiesc/Szekelyifold, where is practically impossible to hear Romanian.
The Szekelyi gates are a typical landmark of the region

The origin of this Szekelyi population is very controversial. The Szekelyi self say to be direct descendants of the bloody cruel Attila, king of  Huns, whose son Csaba came and set in the area in the IVth century. After collapse of the Huns Empire Csaba remained the ruler of this population of fugitive horse riders. According other sources, they were first surviving Avarians from a rebellion against Francs. Other ivestigated possibilities: they are Khazars, a Turkish people converted to Judaism ; they are unconquered and unromanised Dacs;  Hungarians having a separate evolution. The fact is that those 600 000 Szekelyi living today in harghita and Covasna districts keeps their identity, language and traditions, organized around the interesting town of Odorheiul Secuiesc.
The Miko castle from Miercurea Ciuc

I strongly recommend not to avoid this Tinutul Secuiesc/Szekelyifold. Even the gastronomy is completely different and you have a lot of things to discover, as the county is totally in the mountains, with picturesque villages, valleys and castles. They drink mainly palinka, and cook in a special way, different even from the Hungarians. Prince Charles of Britain was seduced by the area and bought a property here!
 Thus, you can discover the salt mine from Praid, used for healing the lungs pacients. Observe the wonderful wood gates to the entrance in villages or yards. Discover Sovata, an interesting spa retreat with a very salt lake (very easy to swim, but there are precautions needed)

Take a look to the ruinated castle from Lazarea and drive further in the sleepy Gheorgheni. In the central market named Petofi Sandor there is an interesting Armenian church, unfortunately closed most of the time. The next stop in Miercurea Ciuc/Csikszereda, the coolest town in Romania for real! Visit here Csiki Szekelyi Muszeum (The Szekelyi Museum of Ciuc country). It is also a good place to eat something, enjoying the spicy local gastronomy.

I personally am very fond of the Hungarian and Szekelyi, koszonem!

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