Bruegel-Like Scenes in Romanian Villages

Bruegel-like scenes in Romanian vilages (photographs by ethnographic research team led by Prof. Ioana Fruntelata and Mr. Horia Nitescu, 2006-07, Bucovina & Arges regions).

Anyone from the Western world, who plans buying a traditional country house in Romania must beforehand realise the considerable cultural differences between the host communities and the newcomers. The rural communities of  Romania are still pursuing an ancestral way of life governed by highly particular religious beliefs and mythology typical of the Carpathian Mountains region, a sort of rural Europe before the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution. It is a world even more primeval that that described by Anthony Hope in his classic fiction book ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’ as the imaginary kingdom of Ruritania, which in the western mind is associated with the old Eastern Europe. The Romanian rural communities still conserve in many aspects an ancestral mental universe and way of interpreting religion, typical of their c16th or c17th counterparts from western Europe, as is seen in the paintings of Bruegel the Elder. The excellent and very evocative photographs arranged in the above montage and slide show bellow the text depict such a Bruegel-esque  atmosphere in Romanian villages in the AD 2006 – ’07. The photographs were realised during ethnography fieldwork in villages from Romania’s north-east (Bucovina) and south (Arges) by students from the Department of Ethnology and Folklore/ Faculty of Literature from the University of Bucharest, led by Prof. Ioana Fruntelata and Mr. Horia Nitescu, a fervent reader of my blog, who most kindly provided these images for publication.

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I endeavor through this series of daily articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.


If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.