SARM’S ASTRONOMIC JUBILEE
IN TERRA BLACHORUM
COSMIC ROMANIA 22
-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe;
design Florin-Alexandru Stancu;
with the special participation of
Gelu-Claudiu Radu and Valentin Grigore-
(Sunrise in Fagaras)
(Folkloric model on a mat in the Fagaras zone,
suggesting a central star
surrounded by more colored planetary orbits)
Valentin Grigore decided to celebrate 20 years of existence of SARM
organizing in October 2013 an astronomical conference
in the Fagaras Mountains.
So I had to cross the Meridional Carpathians by train
from Bucharest to Fagaras,
a small town (about 30000 inhabitants) placed between
Brasov (where Johannes Honterus published in 1542
Rudimenta Cosmographica, the first astronomical manual in verses)
and Sibiu (the native city of Herman Oberth -1894-1989-,
one of the pioneers of astronautics),
in the south-east of Transylvania,
right in the centre of Romania.
Transylvania is a historical province placed in
the centre and the north-west of current Romania.
It was initially inhabited by Dacians,
who were conquered by the Roman Empire in the second century AC,
a fact that gave birth to a Daco-Roman (proto-Romanian) population.
In the 10th century the Hungarians began to conquer Transylvania,
defeating a few local leaders and the Romanian Voievode Gelu.
However, in the beginning of the 13th century,
Western chroniclers mentioned Terra Blachorum
(the Land of the Vlachs or Wallachians = Romanians),
a kind of Romanian enclave right in the Fagaras zone.
Romanian traditions said that in the end of the 13th century
the Hungarian King dispossessed Radu Negru (or Negru Voda) of this territory,
so the Romanian voievode (leader) crossed the Meridional Carpathians
to the south of Romania,
where he unified the tribes of Romanians
and drove away the Tatars from the Romanian Field,
this operation being consolidated by his son Basarab I,
the official creator of Wallachia (the Romanian Land).
His memory is honored in Fagaras by a high school founded in 1869
and named after him.
After the Hungarian conquest
Transylvania became a voievodeship (the traditional local form of organization)
under Magyar suzerainty,
then part of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom,
then a principality under Ottoman suzerainty,
then part of the Habsburg Empire,
and after World War I in 1918
the Transylvanian Romanians (always majoritary in this region)
decided the Union with Romania.
In this tumultuous history,
the town of Fagaras became a cosmopolite one,
so I could find in it more historical confessional monuments:
Orthodox, Evangelic, Reformed etc.,
and I was astronomically glad to see
the tower clock of the Roman-Catholic Church in the Franciscan Monastery,
the Star of David on the synagogue,
and more cosmic symbols on the Unitarian Church.
The main attraction of this town is a fortress
(initially built in the 14th century, then completed in the next centuries),
which was one of the residences of the Hungarian rulers of Transylvania
(and, a few times, of the Romanian voievodes of Wallachia).
In the last years
a large Christian Orthodox cathedral with an impressive sun cross
was built in front of it.
In the time of my expedition,
that cathedral seemed not to be finished,
but its brick walls interestingly assorted with the walls of the fortress.
Here I made the junction with my old friend Gelu-Claudiu Radu,
a veteran from the “old guard of SARM”,
who came from the north (Cluj Napoca).
The pale rise of the Moon enriched our visit.
The town of Fagaras also remained a kind of Capital
of the Transylvanian Romanians till the 18th century.
This is the reason for which Constantin Brancoveanu,
the very creative “voievoide and domnitor” of Wallachia,
founded here a church for all Romanians in 1697,
where we could admire his family coat of arms,
which, for a while, replaced the older Wallachian coat of arms.
As a comparison between the two coats of arms,
in that of Brancoveanu
the older eagle was replaced by a raven
(the constellations Aquila and Corvus?),
while the Sun and the Moon were replaced by
two (astral?) spheres.
After that, before going to the astronomical conference,
we decided to visit another historical monument in Terra Blachorum,
created by the same illustrious Romanian leader.
But for this we had to make a…
RUSH THROUGH TWILIGHT
-driver Gelu-Claudiu Radu;
photo-poet Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-
The Fagaras Mountains called us
for an appointment with the Moon.
Obviously, we were in a hurry,
the Sun had to set soon.
It was quite refreshing for us
that amazing rush through twilight,
we felt that the world never stops
and we live through ideals and flight.
Our objective was the monastery built near Sambata de Sus
(Sambata = Saturday in Romanian;
it is interesting that in Romanian mythology
each day of the week was “patronized’ by a woman-saint),
around a church made by the same Constantin Brancoveanu
in the 1700s.
We will never forget the natural scenery, the wood gate,
the entire complex of buildings, the solar-floral models,
the fireball (burning sinners) painted on the entrance wall of the church,
and… the complicity of the real Moon.
Andrei Dorian Gheorghe and Gelu-Claudiu Radu:
AT “PLAIUL LISEI” (THE REALM OF LISA) CHALETS
Terra Blachorum is ready:
any astronomical conference
is a festival for sky lovers, apt
for an existential essence.
The astronomical conference included many
memories, technical works, and plans for future.
The lectures were presented by Valentin Grigore (President of SARM),
Adrian Bruno Sonka (coordinator of the Admiral Vasile Urseanu
Bucharest Municipal Observatory), Sorin Hotea (editor of AstroInfo),
Marian Lucian Achim (leader of SNCSTV), Cornel Apetroaiei,
Gelu-Claudiu Radu, Octavian Blagoi, Cristian Danet, Erwin Sever David,
Emil Pera (the last national laureate for technical astrophotography)…
I presented a moment of Romanian astropoetry and,
together with Gelu-Cladiu Radu (and George Ianculescu)
I performed (in Romanian) an astropoetic drama,
Suffering in the Universe because of the Meteors,
18 years after I composed it,
and 16 years after we played it (in English)
at the International Meteor Conference 1997 in Serbia,
a moment that became the first of fifteen astropoetry shows at that annual event.
a jubilee cake crowned our conference…
Photos by Valentin Grigore:
OBSERVATIONAL NIGHTS AT SARM’S JUBILEE,
PLAIUL LISEI, FAGARAS ZONE (TERRA BLACHORUM), OCTOBER 2013
-text Andrei Dorian Gheorghe;
photos Valentin Grigore-
Terra Blachorum is a superb place,
good for observational nights.
Sky lovers know to find in the same stars
new and new fascinating lights.
© 2014 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)