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Photos from Romania – Photography of the Carpathian Mountains, the Danube – Images of Transylvanian Villager and Landscapes

Romania lies in the southeast of Europe with Serbia, Hungary, Moldova, Ukraine and Bulgaria as its neighbours. The country is cut almost in half by the sweep of the impressive Carpathian Mountains which divides the rugged north from the lowlands of the south whilst the Danube, its largest river, flows lazily into the Black Sea dividing into a sprawling delta as it does so. The population of Romania is almost 22 million. The language derives from Latin (Roman) although the inhabitants are descended from the many tribes and civilisations that have descended on this crossroad of European cultures.

Although best known for stories of Dracula and vampires, Transylvania is in fact a large state with charming, unspoilt towns and villages and pleasant scenery. Take an overnight train to the Maramures however and it is like taking a trip back in time. Long, narrow villages are dotted around the forested hills and fertile valleys. Horse drawn carts and are still used as transport and pigs, chickens, cows and ducks may be seen roaming the unpaved streets. Wooden churches with slender pointed spires rise gracefully skyward and on Sundays villagers may be seen dressed in colourful traditional costumes as they attend the weekly service. The photographed portraits and the pictures of the traditional costume provide very well the traditional life. Well worth a visit is the Merry Cemetery in the village of Sapinta where the graves are marked with wonderful wooden headstones, skilfully carved by a local artisan. Each one depicts the deceased villager and the part they played in village life; many are humorous but some have a tragic tale to tell.

High above the valleys, spectacular mountain peaks form the chain of the majestic Rodna mountains. Pine forests line the valley sides whilst shepherds huts provide shelter in winter storms. The here photographed winter pictures show the rough and hard life in this landscape. Eastward into Moldavia the mountains flatten into rolling hills covered in strips of farmland beneath never ending skies. Here too are the wonderful monasteries of Bucovina, painted with stunning frescoes of bible scenes on the outside walls of the churches.

Back down in the south east of the country the River Danube divides and sub-divides into ever decreasing channels as it flows into the Black Sea. As it does so it deposits vast amounts of silt, increasing the width of the delta by 40 metres each year. The mode of transport for the tourist is by pontoon; a converted barge pulled by a tug. As you meander slowly through the world heritage sight you are able to view the extraordinary beauty of the flora and fauna and appreciate the peace and tranquillity away from the noise and hassle of city life.

Romania is a country for the photographer who wants to see another face of Europe, where tradition and a slower pace of life still exists. But be warned, once visited it may well become addictive!