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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Romania," A Word Meaning Beauty, Faith, Struggle, and History

As dusk approached on January 11, 2009, I was driving east on RO 1, aka EU 60, into Transilvania Proper* from Bihor County, Romania.  I had just enjoyed a bowl of ciorba de burta cu pâine (tripe soup with bread) at the Restaurant Vegas at the road's summit at the eastern edge of Bihor County, and was bound for my apartment in Cluj, having spent my Sunday touring downtown Oradea with fellow-Fulbrighter Nancy Sherman-Hayes, who taught there.  The church above appeared, glowing in the distance, the last brightly lit object in view.  In awe, I stopped and took a couple of pictures, this one with the shadowed haystacks in the foreground providing contrast.

This week I happened to choose one of those pictures (below) for my Facebook Timeline header photo.  Then I realized that I didn't recall where this beautiful church was, except that it was on the road from Oradea to Cluj. 

Today, with the help of Google Earth, I found it to be in Bucea, Comună Negreni, Județ Cluj, just east of the mountains that form the western boundary of Transilvania Proper, in the valley of the river Crișul Repede.  There is a story (in several languages) on the website of this New Church (Biserica Noua) that explains the title of today's post.  I hope that you have time to read it.  Here is a LINK to the English version.
Biserica Noua de Parohia Bucea
*The counties of Satu Mare, Bihor and Maramureş are Transilvanian in culture, though they lie, in the main, just outside of the ring of mountains that encircle the legendary region that geographers have long called Transilvania.  Hence, I distinguish between Greater Transilvania, which includes them, and Transilvania Proper, which does not.


  1. Thank you Duncan for providing me the opportunity to remember the places where I wandered
    You're the best and consistent promoter for
    Romania and Romanian culture !

  2. Dear Anon,
    It is a great pleasure to remember these visions, and to learn more about your country in researching them. (Please e-mail me at so I will know who has paid my blog this nice compliment.)

  3. Dear Duncan,
    this is a lovely picture which illustrates perfectly the idea of Easter. Thank you!

  4. Thank you, Duncan, beautiful picture and nice story.


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