-text and photos by Dan Uza-
ON THE TRACES OF HELIOS
AT CASTLE BONTIDA
In the Bontida village,
placed at 20 km distance of Cluj-Napoca, Romania,
we find the remnants of the “Versailles of Transylvania”.
But this edifice borrowed its name from a Magyar nobleman
as Castle Bannfy.
In the autumn of 1944
the German army set fire to this castle old of over 300 years.
Then, nationalized by communists,
the ruins continued to degrade until the 2000s,
when a Romanian-Magyar timid process of restoration began
(from private funds managed by the Transylvania Foundation;
it is said that one of the benefactors is even Prince Charles of the UK),
the works slowly advancing.
here is the entrance in the main body…
A friend of mine trying to remedy the situation…
Above the entrance in a body of this building
we find an interesting statue, milled by time,
which shows a chariot in chase,
with its wheels on a semicircle consisting of the pictograms
of three zodiacal signs: Crab, Lion and Maiden,
which marked the apogee of the summer in the past,
the top point of the solar ascension on the firmament.
And what symbol would be better
for the entrance in the stable of the nobleman
than the image of the fire horses of Helios?
A SOLAR CLOCK IN THE HEART OF CLUJ
If you go to the Union Square in Cluj-Napoca,
it deserves to visit a building which is mainly
the headquarters of University of Art and Design.
named after the two families involved in its construction,
Wolphard and Kakas,
is dated from the 16th century.
But our attention will be directed to the solar clock
placed on a southern wall in the interior court.
So let’s climb to the 1st floor
and let’s go outside to the balcony.
We will find the solar clock somewhere in the middle.
Unfortunately, the device is out of action
because it does not have just the gnomon
(the metallic rod that indicated the time).
The first thought is that
the clock was mutilated with a distinct intent:
in so much traffic of students
it would be quite unpleasant to stick your back
to a metallic object of 30 cm in length!
It is interesting that Stephanus Wolphard
(who probably built the solar clock)
also made in this house a Zodiac Hall,
in which the 12 signs were represented by stone sculptures,
today some of them being moved to the
National History Museum of Transylvania.
ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE MONUMENTS
DEDICATED TO THE SKY
In 2006 I visited Tauseni,
a village in Cluj County.
Over there, a spectacular monumental ensemble appears on a hill.
It was created by artist Alexandru Chira (1947-2011)
with the support of his brother Bogdan Chira.
On the entrance tablet I saw written:
“Of signs to the sky for rain and rainbow
magic-poetic installation for re-memorizing.”
Here are my pictures…
A SUNDIAL GROUND BY TIME
In the beginning of 2010
Laura Marcu published the image bellow
with the new sundial installed in Cluj’s Botanic Garden
on the occasion of the International Year of Astronomy 2009:
After almost 3 years
I asked myself how this sundial looks today,
and here is what I found out:
This sundial is made of brass,
an alloy of Zinc and Copper,
in danger to be oxidized over time
if it is not treated with a special varnish for metals,
its colour becoming black.
was that just the effect
wanted by its creators?
A RECORD OF SOLAR SYMBOLS IN TARGU LAPUS
In the court of Targu Lapus Mayoralty
I found out a wood building in the Maramuresean style,
which would deserve a better exposure for tourism
due to its density of solar symbols realized by a folk artist.
A sad sun…
A solar eclipse in a folk vision
(the joint of the sun with the moon)…
Solar symbols near the window
(preferences for the Flower of Life)…
Down, on the left:
a possible representation of the lunar phases…
And an obvious solar allusion…
Design: Florin Stancu
English translations from the Romanian: Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
© 2012 Borealis Astroclub and SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)