18 Feb Romania: Travels in Transylvania

Source: Macfilos

Stuck in thigh deep snow with only one horse harnessed to the sledge (Leica M6 and 35mm f/1.4 Summilux)

“Well, I didn’t really think they would turn up,” I said to my friend Maria. It was 5.30am and at best minus 10 Celsius. The day before, following a chance encounter in the street, our translator and guide Csilla had arranged for us to join a group of people on their sledges as they went to collect fodder from a hay barn in the hills above the village of Tarhavaspataka in Transylvania, and here they were, or so I thought.

At the start of the new millennium I visited Transylvania on three occasions spending a total of five weeks in the country including 10 days in January 2002. Working with a local translator/fixer I documented life in the Szekely region that had changed very little in literally hundreds of years.

Loading hay onto sledeges in the hills above the village of Jidegsegpataka (Hasselblad Xpan and standard 45mm lens)

“These aren’t the people she was talking to yesterday,” Maria replied “this is another group,” she called as we split up and each jumped onto a different sledge.

Shepherd making sheep cheese near Szekelyderz (Leica M6 and 50mm f/2 Summicron)Folklore

Local folklore tells of the arrival of the Szekély (pronounced sekay) people in this region of Transylvania over a thousand years ago, while others carried on travelling to found what became present-day Hungary, but with the breaking up of the Austro – Hungarian empire

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