Flavors, Prayers, Transylvania
Are you planning to visit Transylvania this year because it has been on your bucket list for a long time? According to Tropical Magazine, here are some tips on how to organize your trip.
The catchphrase “Transylvania – Fairyland” can be attributed to the reign of Transylvanian Prince Gábor Bethlen and the golden age of Transylvania. In the spirit of humanism, Bethlen invited many craftsmen to the country (mostly from Venice) to carry out various construction works. This is how Transylvania became an economically, politically, culturally and artistically prosperous place that is rich in natural resources and enchanting architecture. It lies in the picturesque curve of the Carpathian Mountains. Transylvania is basically about coexistence, acceptance and tolerance. In the spirit of the Unio Trium Nationum (the unification of three nations), the Hungarian nobles in Transylvania, the Székelys and the Saxons concluded peace among themselves.
Since the 17th century, there have also been a large number of refugees from Armenia who have been accepted by the community. Although the price that they had to pay for asylum was the religious union, the essential religious language remained Armenian and they were allowed to keep their ancient rituals, just like the Romanians did. Thus, the Church was the patron of cohesion and ethnic consciousness for a long time. The Székelys are hospitable and caring which can be sometimes too much. Perhaps the typical Székely nature can be attributed to the history of tolerance. It is certain that the visitor in Transylvania will not be left without food, drinks and love if they dine with a Székely family. After this brief historical review, let us look at the surprises this fancy jewelry box might hold if we decided to open the lid…
The flavor of the Carpathians
Transylvania has a tradition of mushrooming. There are many kinds of mushrooms in the mountains, of which truffles and flap mushrooms are in the highest regard. These mushrooms are exported in high quantities. Within the framework of the Transylvanian Truffles program, mushroom lovers have the opportunity to try truffle hunting.
Forests and fields provide excellent stuff that is worth to taste: rosehips (the jam is amazing), juniper berry, cranberry, blueberry, raspberry, mulberry, strawberry, pine-cone (the syrup is incredibly tasty), ramson, sorrel and herbs of course. So, it is a good idea to take an herbal trip as well.
Waters and gases
In the Csíki Basin, Lázárfalva is a settlement with the population of 600. It lies south from Csíkszereda. There are many medicinal springs in this area. As a result of a joint effort, the locals established a small spa complex called Nyírfürdő. There is neither entry ticket nor classic bathhouse atmosphere. Instead, there is blooming nature and absolute tranquility. After we managed to immerse into the smaller and larger pools, it is worth to try the so-called “mofettas”. The mofettas are natural gas leaks associated with volcanic activity and healing effect. In addition to carbon dioxide, these so-called “stinky pits” contain hydrogen sulfide. Besides curing the chronic musculoskeletal symptoms with circulatory disorders, they also show good efficacy in treating post-traumatic complications.
If you desire a lake-side experience, Lake Medve (Lake Bear) is the ideal choice. Lake Bear in Sovata is the world’s largest heliothermal lake which absorbs and retains the heat of solar radiation. The lake’s water is even saltier than seawater because it comes from natural salt crystals. The lake is named after its shape, as it looks like a bear skin from above. In the vicinity of Lake Bear there are several small lakes: Lake Mogyorósi, Lake Zöld (Lake Green) and Lake Piros (Lake Red), Lake Fekete (Lake Black), Lake Rigó (Lake Blackbird), Lake Piroska. In case we have more time, it is recommended to discover these lakes as well, since salt rocks can be found at Lake Red and Lake Piroska. The unique surface of the rocks has been created as a result of volcanic activity. These also belong among the attractions of Sovata since the 19th century.
Sauntering in Csík
If you are tired of hiking and more interested in a city experience, then you should head to Csíkszereda. The city is characterized by a vibrant cultural life, which is described in the Origo Program Magazine. Every summer, the Early Music Festival in Csíkszereda is meant to recall the music of old times. The beautiful location also plays a role, as the main venue of the festival is the Mikó Castle, which is a chateau built in late Renaissance times. If you are interested in folk dance culture and dance traditions, you should visit one of the performances of the Hargita National Székely Folk Ensemble, which will undoubtedly be a decisive experience in your journey. If we were to visit Csík on Monday and we are in a dancing mood, we can join the dance session and class organized by the dance ensemble. In the field of fine arts, the works of Imre Zsögödi Nagy are worth to be noted. We can see the works of the artist in the Imre Nagy Gallery. Before his death, the painter had handed over almost 8,000 works to the town of Csíkszereda. If we are in Csík, we cannot miss Csíksomlyó, the famous pilgrimage place. The saddle between the two hills is the pilgrims’ gathering place. A hearty walk in the fresh air of the mountains can help to process the experiences. The Hármashalom altar (Three Hill Altar) on the saddle is an excellent place to rest. The brave ones can climb up to the lookout tower at the top of Nagysomlyó hill which is 1033 meters high. The wonderful panorama will be well worth the efforts.
For those who seek adrenaline
Those who enjoy extreme recreational activities should visit the Icelandic Horses Riding Hall in Ivó. Here we can explore the local Wildlife Park on horseback. If you want more excitement, you can go to the Blau Park in Hargitafürdő, where you can try climbing, crawling and flying. Finally, an off-road trip with military vehicles is available, which leads to untouched and quiet places where you can hear your own heartbeat.
Székely – English dictionary
pityóka – potato
potyoló – meat mallet
lapító – chopping board
bikkfafejű – capricious
borvíz – mineral water
gübben – immerse
eregel – flounder
sirülő – turn
Source: by Mónika BÁRÓ, Photographer – Tropical Magazine