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Mărginimea Sibiului (Romania) – guidebook

Jina (Rumunia)

To write about the region of Transylvania that picturesque landscapes are its distinctive feature is nothing new. The entire Transylvania looks exactly like this. So, what else and surprising could be written then? Villages in which time has ceased to flow, horse and carts, painted chapels, roads without asphalt, hospitable people – I have already mentioned all this. Is there any point in describing something such repeatable? What is the true reason why I still feel like returning there again and again? It might be the fact that places like that are nowadays only hardly to be found in Europe…

ATTENTION! Everyone who visited Romania or is planning to go there soon is kindly invited to contribute to this guide. Any inquires regarding this matter should be referred to the editor's address redakcja@libertas.pl.

About the region

Rasinari (Rumunia)Zbiory muzeum ikon (Rumunia)Rasinari (Rumunia)

Mărginimea Sibiului – is a region whose name can be translated as ’Borders of Sibiu’. A small region covering circa 200 square kilometers comprises towns, cities and villages which are the cradle of the Saxon civilization in Transylvania. Part of the region are villages situated at the foot of the Cindrel Mountains, among others, Rasinari described by Andrzej Stasiuk, the place of birth of Emil Cioran.

In the furthest point of the region, in the village Jina, the famous Transalpina starts (or ends) – a road, which runs, like the Transfăgărășan (DN7C), at an altitude of more than 2000 meters above the sea level.

Despite the fact that the region was mostly inhabited by German speaking people, there are also Romanian villages in here. At first sight one would only hardly distinguish them from the Saxon ones since the architecture is strongly dominated by high gates and closed interior courtyards – elements characteristic of Saxons.

In the villages old customs and traditional professions are still preserved. People wear traditional garments on Sundays and during holidays. Shepherds wear traditional headgears – these are very tasteful small hats looking like bowler hats.

Festivals of folk music which have been popular among all generations are held. I know what I am writing about – a teenage boy, whom we gave a lift to Sibi, encouraged us to visit the festival in Gura Raului. He himself was going there with his friends and told us it would be a great fun.

After all, the impressions from the festival were rather not breathtaking – it was neither a festival nor a countryside picnic even though the scenery was, unforgettable – it was surrounded by high mountains. As far as watching the variety of people is concerned, it was, however, a very interesting event.

Romanian people are real fans of highlander folk music – gleeful audience sings together with the folk stars wearing heavy makeup.

Another, local people’s artistic activity with centuries-long tradition is glass painting. The basic motif are religious themes. In the village Sibiel there is an impressive museum of icons made by using this technique.

It took for us three days to visit Mărginimea Sibiului. I think it was enough if we focus on villages and mountains. For visiting the city of Sibiu you need one or two days more.

Accommodation you can actually choose in almost each village in which there are guesthouses on farms. It is a good idea to order some food in advance since there are only a very few bars and restaurants in the neighborhood. I have already mentioned that food served in Romanian farm guesthouses has no equal.

I was accommodated in Sibiel due to the proximity to the mountain trails. It is one of smaller villages. It is also not far away to the mountains from Gura Raului. (within walking distance). However, if you would like to stay in a bigger ‘center’, it would be better to choose Saliste or Răşinari.

The region is not ‘overcrowded by tourists’. Most tourists come here in order to visit the museum of icons; there are also tourists from Sibiu to Cisnădioara. Apart from this there is a lazy peaceful atmosphere in here; it is silent and one has the impression to be miles from nowhere.

Popas turistic Transalpina (Rumunia)Cisnadioara (Rumunia)Cisnadioara (Rumunia)

Interesting sites in Mărginimea Sibiului

Rasinari

Rasinari (Rumunia)Rasinari (Rumunia)Rasinari (Rumunia)

Rasinari – is a village with a population of circa 5000 inhabitants; it is the place of birth of the Romanian poet Octavian Goga and the philosopher Emil Cioran. A travel guides, also the online ones, inform that Rasinari is connected with Sybiu by a tramway line. The truth is that in 2013 there was no tram. Instead of it there is a bus running on this distance. In the village there is a memorial house of the poet, an ethnography museum (which we could not find) as well as a church decorated with monumental external frescoes. The village actually looks like a small town with a beautiful walkway along a brook. The elevations of houses are renovated. In my opinion it is a perfect place for an afternoon walk.

Sibiel

Sibiel (Rumunia)Zbiory muzeum ikon (Rumunia)

Sibiel is a Romanian village with Saxon architecture. It is a must to see a museum of icons painted on glass. Collections of naive art (naive painting) are located on two floors and are in my opinion truly impressive. At first sight the icons look quite similar; the same colours (red, green and blue) are dominant. However, if you take a closer look, you will see a special attention to details, fineness, sense of beauty and a deep faith of the painter.

Zbiory muzeum ikon (Rumunia)Zbiory muzeum ikon (Rumunia)Zbiory muzeum ikon (Rumunia)Zbiory muzeum ikon (Rumunia)Zbiory muzeum ikon (Rumunia)Zbiory muzeum ikon (Rumunia)

From Sibiel one can make a trip to the Cindrel Mountains. After passing by the last house we are entering a forest and here the mountain trail starts.

In Romanian villages I like drinking beer near a shop since it is, in some respect, a local social center. On this occasion one has a chance to watch people and they, when seeing foreigners, sometimes start an interesting conversation. At each of the shops there are tables, one with an umbrella and the second one standing in a tastefully arranged ‘backyard’. Here is tidy, my ladies and gentlemen; there are no heaps of paper pieces or plastic carrier bags, as it is the case in southern Europe, in some disgusting Paris or Naples.

We are buying beer, ice cream or coffee from a coffee machine, taking a seat near local workers having a break at the moment or Gypsies offering raspberries and are just waiting for who and how starts a conversation. Sometimes no one tells anything and this is how one holiday afternoon is lazily passing by.

This is how I have committed Sibiel to my memory. If you would like to find a peaceful place to relax at some point of your lives, I highly recommend this place.

Kapliczka w Sibiel (Rumunia)Szlak do ruin fortecy (Rumunia)
Sklep kawiarnia w Sibiel (Rumunia)Góry Cindrel (Rumunia)

Cisnadie

Cisnadie (Rumunia)
Cisnadie (Rumunia)Cisnadie (Rumunia)

Cisnadie – a city founded in the 13th century by Saxon settlers. The city had a turbulent history. At its beginnings local people were forced to fight back numerous Mongol invasions and next – the Ottoman ones. That is the reason why the most impressive monument – a fortified church is still preserved.

After the World War II Soviets began deporting the German inhabitants into the deepest areas of the Soviet Union.

In the period of the Communism in Romania the city gradually developed in industrial respect. The fortified church was not destroyed though; it is located in the city center and looks very impressive. It is surrounded by three wall circles, but the third circle was converted in the late Middle Ages into tenement houses. The church looks, therefore, different while being watched from the main gate, and different – from the market square (houses built on a circular plan).

In my opinion it is one of the most captivating architecture details in Romania – houses without edges, walls cornering in such a way that each house stands along the turning street.

Cisnadie (Rumunia)Plan ewakuacji w naszym pokoju (Rumunia)Początek Transalpiny (Rumunia)Początek Transalpiny (Rumunia)Popas kawiarnia na Transalpinie (Rumunia)

Cisnadioara

Cisnadioara (Rumunia)Cisnadioara (Rumunia)Cisnadioara (Rumunia)

Cisnadioara – is a village whose main monument is the castle chapel with a beautiful Romanian entrance. The chapel was once a part of the fortified church; it is located on a quite good exposed hill from which there is a beautiful view at the Cindrel Mountains.

Inside the chapel there are gravestones of soldiers killed in battles during the World War I. There were also many Polish inscriptions.

Cisnadioara (Rumunia)Cisnadioara (Rumunia)Cisnadioara (Rumunia)Cisnadioara (Rumunia)Cisnadioara (Rumunia)

Jina

Jina (Rumunia)Muzeum etnograficzne (Rumunia)Właścicielka muzeum z autorką

Jina is a picturesquely situated village at the edge of the region. From here you can go towards the Transalpina. In the village there is a private ethnography museum (you have to ask the local people of how to get there). Its owner (a woman who speaks French and Romanian, but no reason to be worried; she is very ‘sociable’), can really vividly tell about the local customs. She has managed to collect a really great number of old domestic appliances as well as handicrafts. She also has pictures of travelers wandering along the Transalpina prior the World War II (Transalpina is one of the oldest roads in Romania).

Joanna Kuklińska
Translated by Jacek Konopka.

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