By Nicky Rea
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Extra info for A Guide to Transylvania
Variations of this song exist in virtually every region of the Balkans. The third type of song has no special name associated with it. These are group songs that originated as ritual music associated with the different seasons, rites, and religious festivals. These include, but are not limited to, the following forms: The colinde are traditional carols intended to bring luck and prosperity. Children go from house to house singing colinde on New Year’s Eve. Zorile (the dawns), cinfecul cel mare (the great song) and bradul (the fir tree) are funeral songs sung by the mourners of Oltenia, the Banat, and southwest Transylvania.
As the finer folk of Europe have followed the monarch to this lovely hideaway, a well appointed (and expensive) hotel, the Caraiman, was built in 1881 to accommodate visitors to the area. The hotel features Brincovenesc style architecture (like a fourteenth century castle), with charming round towers. Other hotels have followed-all built during the 1880’s and early 1890’s. Also new is a casino, opened recently to provide the visitors with yet another diversion. The rich fabrics, gilded woods and polished marble are said to be fully the equal of anything found in western Europe (indeed it is said to be modeled after the famous casino of Monte Carlo) and the dealers and staff are rumored to be far more honest-perhaps because they have yet to learn the “niceties” of the games.
Church forbidding guardians of the borderlands. Travelers are cautioned about the dangers of crossing the Birkau Pass alone or at night, since the area is home to numerous wolves who sometimes attack hapless individuals. The mournful howls of these wild creatures often echo across the valley late at night. The winter snows make the road through the mountains almost impassable at certain times. Bistrisa (Bistritz) Just southwest of the Birkau Pass lies the town of Bistrisa. The Evangelical Church, built in the Gothic style in the fourteenth century and later overlaid with Renaissance embellishments,towers over the town’s central plaza.
A Guide to Transylvania by Nicky Rea