THE SOLAR HILL OF A NATION
COSMIC ROMANIA 24
-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design Florin-Alexandru Stancu-
Normal people do not care too much of the
photosphere, chromosphere and crown,
they see the Sun as their king
in the Universe, or rather as
the most important thing.
It was a sunny morning in the summer of 2012
when I passed near the Mitropoly Hill in Bucharest,
for which my mother had had a real cult before her death,
and which I would name just
the solar hill of the Romanian nation.
That short stroll made me remind the winter days of my childhood
when my father walked me over there with a sledge…
The Mitropoly Hill is placed near the Union Square
in the centre of Bucharest.
In 24 January 1859
in this square the Romanians danced the Hora of the Union
between Wallachia (the Romanian Land) and Moldavia,
the basis for the birth of current Romania.
They were inspired by Vasile Alecsandri’s lyrics of a song
(with music composed by Alexandru Flechtenmacher)
which was first published in 1856 in the Star of the Danube (Iasi city).
A “hora” is a ring dance as a solar ritual
with many variants in the Balkan Peninsula,
its denomination deriving from the Greek word “horos”.
However it seems that evidences of the oldest European hora
were discovered in the territory of current Romania:
the famous statue named Hora of Frumusica,
belonging to the Cucuteni culture (4th millennium BC)
and representing 6 women performing a solar ring dance.
Thus, this statue provokes the suspicion that
the hora initially was a word from the Romanian territory,
overtook by Greeks later.
I think it is interesting that the connection between
the Hora of Frumusica and the Hora of the Union
was continued in 24 January 2006
by 13828 people in the Romanian town of Slatina,
who made the largest hora in the world,
a record homologated by the Guinness Book.
But in time too few traces have remained
from the aspect of the Union Square in 1859.
Today in this place there are modern buildings,
views to the Romanian Parliament and the National Library,
and only the Manuc Inn (built in the 18th century,
which also served in the past as theatre and place for political meetings)
recalls those times.
It is dangerous to watch the Sun during the day time.
In exchange, we can admire him for a few tens of seconds
when he rises or when he sets.
Thus, the Sun was the first circle which appeared in the people’s lives,
became the symbol of perfection and the “divine circle”,
and insinuated forever into the people’s subconscious.
Depending on his blinding light,
people always represented him in artworks and symbols,
and, at the same time, any circle made by them,
from the simple geometrical figure
to the most complex artistic model,
via the wheel,
is, more or less, a secret ode to the Sun,
its ornamentation depending on the people’s
inspiration, culture and ability to express feelings and ideals.
The Sun also became for people
a supreme comparison or metaphor dedicated to
great deeds, places and heroes.
Such a place in Romania is the Mitropoly Hill,
both soul and mind
of the Romanian nation,
but rather its Sun
just because it is the centre of Romanian Orthodox Church,
and especially it was the place where the Romanian politicians voted
the union of the Romanian states in 1859
and the independence of Romania from the Ottoman Empire in 1877.
Thus, in January 1859
about 30000 people assaulted the Mitropoly Hill
asking for the union of Wallachia with Moldavia,
giving a decisive message to politicians, and confirming the anticipation of
Vasile Alecsandri (1821-1890),
who had written in his Hora of the Union:
“And Saint Sun will see
In a festive day
Our brotherly Hora
On the Romanian field.”
In 10 May 1877 the Romanian politicians voted also in the Mitropoly Hill
the Romanian independence,
which had to be sustained by the Romanian Army
allied with the Russian Army and the Balkan volunteers
in a moment of real difficulty for Christians
during a war with the Ottoman Empire.
Obviously, the Romanian contribution became decisive for the final victory,
so that Vasile Alecsandri wrote in his Ode to the Romanian Soldiers (1878):
“I saw my dream with my eyes, from now on I can die happy!
Today the world knows us: if people say Romanian, they say Brave!”
The same Vasile Alecsandri
(who will win the Latinity Prize for poetry soon after)
added in the same poem a few cosmic elements,
culminating with the Sun:
Do you see in your front, in the mysterious horizon, a living ray slowly rising
And penetrating the dense shadow gathered in long centuries?
It is the lively fact of the wanted day, of the dreamed day,
It is the light of rebirth, it is the star of hope,
It is the triumph of your fight, the sun of independence!”
Not in the least, in the 1900s
the Transylvanian Romanians,
who aspired to unite with the Romanian Kingdom,
used to say:
“The Sun rises from Bucharest.”
In the summer of 2012 I decided to try to feel more
about the Mitropoly Hill
and once I wanted to see the sunrise from its top.
But I delayed a little and I could watch it
only at the foot the hill.
In September 2012 I climbed the Mitropoly Hill
hoping to see the sunset and the moonrise
along with the Sun and the Moon artistically reproduced on its crosses.
On this hill there are two statues representing the
“voievodes” and “domnitors” (titles of the Romanian monarchs)
(who promoted the first Bible in the Romanian language)
and Alexandru Ioan Cuza
(who was elected in 1859
as the monarch of both Romanian states in those times,
Moldavia or Moldova and Muntenia or Wallachia, or the Romanian Land,
the genial initiative that gave birth to Romania
in a hostile world),
a few houses in the neo-Romanian style,
and a few important buildings:
-a church (current Romanian Patriarchy) built in the 1650s by the
“voievode” and “domnitor” Constantin Serban;
-a tower (built in the 1700s by the
“voievode” and “domnitor” Constantin Brancoveanu);
-two palaces (built later),
one of them serving for a while as the Romanian Parliament.
Regarding the church, a question is inevitable:
How is it possible that the Patriarchic Church of a nation is so small
in comparison with the Western cathedrals?
I think that here the Romanians show just a form of modesty
in front of the cosmic greatness
and an invitation to a more intense, concentrated living
in front of the Creation.
Although I had been many times on this hill before,
in that day I felt an immense emotion thinking of it
as of a bright component of the Universe.
I felt myself so privileged for what I saw
that I didn’t dare to take pictures inside the church,
the history of this hill pulsated in me too strong.
It was just like I would have stolen
something from the intimacy of that sacred place.
I remained, however,
with the memory of a man who plunged into the twilight.
But not all the memories about the Mitropoly Hill are glorious.
The statue of Barbu Catargiu, Romanian Prime-Minister in 1862,
reminds that he was assassinated over here soon after he had said something
that should be the credo of all politicians:
“Nothing for us, all for the country!”
To consume in part my fascination to the Mitropoly Hill,
I watched it from another hill, placed in the Carol Park
(named after the King of Romania in between 1866-1914),
in the southern zone of the city.
to keep the theme,
I admired another sunset…
After that I decided to walk near the Mitropoly Hill
from southeast to southwest mainly on a street with a special name,
the United Principalities (reminding the union),
and I tried to discover a few other cosmic-floral symbols of old Bucharest.
I stopped to meditate a little about the great Romanian musicians
- whose name was given to an asteroid -,
- whose name was given to a volcano on Venus - etc.)
near the Music High School named after
the famous Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti (1917-1950).
On other morning, after I admired Venus and the Moon,
I ran to see the sunrise from the Mitropoly Hill.
But my suspicions were confirmed:
the atheist-communists had built a few blocks of flats
at the foot of this sacred Romanian hill
just for hiding the sunrise!
I continued my dedication watching the Mitropoly Hill
from a high building, placed in the northeast of it.
Then another challenge:
to see it
(the most spectacular view, from the northwest)
closing to it from the Arsenal Hill during the winter time…
… and during the autumn time.
After that another sunrise…
… and walks from northeast to northwest near the Mitropoly Hill
on the Maria Boulevard
(named after the Queen of Romania in between 1914 and 1927),
from where the complex of buildings seems like a fortress.
Near the western entrance to the Mitropoly Hill
there is a remarkable church,
Saint Nicolae Vladica (founded in the 1780 and re-built in the 1900s),
with interesting floral-solar-stellar symbols
and seeming like a strong guardian in a spiritual dimension
this church even replaced the Patriarchy for a few days in 1989,
short before the Romanian Anti-Communist Revolution).
In 1 October 2012 I commemorated 3 years
since the passing away of my mother
watching another sunrise…
… and making a complete expedition to the Mitropoly Hill,
this time from its western part.
After sunset I passed near the place which,
before the 1848 Revolution,
hosted a sundial connected to a gun
that used to announce the noon.
And during the noon of 6 October 2012
a last challenge:
I wanted to confront myself
with the Sun over the Mitropoly Hill.
And finally I shouted a “tipuritura”
(the shortest Romanian poetic form):
Super-hill, now I can feel why
You’ve brought so much Sun from the sky!
© 2014 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)