CATCHING THE “ROMANIAN SUN” IN BLAJ


Text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
Design Florin Alexandru Stancu



In 2019-06-27 I left the Moon in Baia Mare,
the Capital City of the Maramures County
and I began to go south by train, crossing Transylvania.

In the Salaj County, on the bank of the Somes River,
I had the pleasure to see,
through the window,
an interesting sunrise,
after which the train stopped for a few minutes in Jibou,
where I could see, from the distance,
the local Botanic Garden,
founded in 1968 by teacher Vasile Fati
on the hill which had belonged to a Magyar noble family, Wesselenyi,
who had made over there a castle
and left an encouraging botanic legacy.

















































And I tried to transform the place
into a solar halt.























Then, in the Cluj County, passing through Gherla,
I tried a religious-industrial vision.











The next halt was in the station of Cluj Napoca
(the unofficial Capital City of Transylvania),
where I could see the Train of the Centenaty
(of the Great Romanian Union).



























Then I tried to catch a few other historical railroad stations
made in the 1890s,
during the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire:
Campia Turzii, Razboieni, Aiud, Teius…















The train also passed through “Weinland” and “Konigboden”
(“the Land of the Royal Guests” -
Transylvanian Saxons who were brought here since the 12th century
by the Magyar Kings).





















But for me, the most moving (short) halt
when the train crossed Transylvania
was in the station of Blaj,
a small town (over 20,000 inhabitants today),
able to create a fantastic team of feminine volleyball,
which was runner-up in the 2018 edition of Champions League
and in the 2019 edition of the Challenge Cup,
the major club competitions in Europe,
which attract the best players from all over the world.

However, this extraordinary performance in sportive management
was just a secondary aspect for me
just because I preferred to meditate about the history of the town.

Firstly evidenced in documents in the 13th century,
Blaj was a modest town until 1738,
when, becoming the propriety of the Greek-Catholic Church
during the Habsburg Empire,
it was transformed into the spiritual and cultural Capital City
of the Transylvanian Romanians
(previously kept in the dark by the Magyar domination)
for about 150 years.

The Greek Catholic Cathedral
(of the “Romanian Orthodox Church United with Rome”,
a more realistic denomination)
was built here,
more Romanian religious and educational institutions
were created here,
many books in the Romanian language
were printed here.

And the “Field of Liberty” in Blaj
was also the place in which the Christian-Orthodox Romanians
(who remained faithful to the Patriarchy of Constantinople)
and the Greek-Catholic (or rather Roman-Orthodox!) Romanians
became brothers, making together big demonstrations
for their rights and condition in 1848 and 1881.

About Blaj,
the great Romanian man of culture Ion Heliade Radulescu
(the first President of the Romanian Academy)
said in the 19th century:
“The sun of the Romanians rose over here!”,
while the Romanian national poet Mihai Eminescu
nicknamed it “Little Rome”…

Unfortunately, I could take only 3 pictures in the Blaj station
(the time was too short)
and one through the window
(with the Sun right in its highest place on the canopy of heaven)
just when the train started,
but the feeling was great.







The “Romanian Sun” of Blaj
Seemed to have much darkness around it.
That’s why it looked brighter
When, by its light, I felt lit.



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© 2019 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)