First Romanian School

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Hello, beautiful weather!

Mother Nature tried her best. For a few mornings, it would spit snow, only to melt straightaway. She decided to give it up, and now we have a beautiful Spring happening in Brasov.

Boy, am I thankful. As a solar-powered person, I was seriously lacking in much needed energy. Also, I was dead sick of boots. My feet needed to BREATHE.

We’re studying some various topics in Romanian classes, one of them being the Romanian educational system. Our Professor was kind enough to arrange a field trip to the First Romanian School, happily located in Brasov (Schei neighborhood).

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We took the bus to the Piata Unirii station and met our guide outside of Biserica Sfântul Nicolae din Brașov (St. Nicolas Church).

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Our guide was just the best – he had a great sense of humor and explained everything to us in detail. It was his birthday so we sang La Multi Ani to him.

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Technology in the first Romanian school: abacus = early computer; chalk tablet = early iPad

There were many things for sale – maps and books and etc. The guide said he’s written over thirty books that no one’s read – HA.

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Costumes of the Junii Brasovului – the founding families of Brasov

The books in the museum ranged from biblical to scientific. The ones we saw were either written in Romanian Cyrillic or in Greek. Fun fact: the Romanian language was written in Cyrillic until the late 1800s. To me, visually, it’s very beautiful – but alas, totally unreadable to me.

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Many of the books were from as early as the 1500s. Lots of the them had been printed right there in the school. During Communism, all of the texts were hidden in the church. By doing this, they were able to save over 30,000 of Romania’s historical documents and books.

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The entrance price is ten lei for adults and you can easily walk there from the Black Church (Biserica Neagra) or take a quick bus (4 lei for a round trip ticket) to Piata Unirii.

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I love Romanian stoves! These are original from the 1700s.

After we toured the school, we went into Biserica Sf. Nicolae and our Professor bought us some candles to light “for our health”. Because the church is so old, they have a separate building for lighting candles. We finished our trip by taking a tour of the grounds.

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The whole experience was really great. I love books, especially old ones, so I was in hog heaven 🙂

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Dacians!

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Words cannot express how much I love the Dacian empire. I only started learning about these ancient people last year, when I started reading the book “A Brief Illustrated History of Romanians” by Neagu Djuvara.

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How could my history teachers have kept the knowledge of these venerable people from me all these years? Why did we waste our time learning about the Revolutionary War every single dang year, and we never once talked about the Dacians. Or really any empires other than the usual ones (Greek, Roman, Ottoman, British). Thanks, Obama.

The earliest Dacian people (Thracians and their descendants) showed up to the party around 3,000 B.C, and by the year 500 B.C., they had developed their own civilization. The empire ended around 100 A.D. when Trajan (of column fame) conquered the people.

Dacians were so cool. Other than the fact that they marched into battle with wolf heads on sticks (yes, WOLF HEADS ON STICKS), they had a king named Decebalus who resisted Roman rule and managed to fight off Trajan for a bit. Decebalus is still revered today as a symbol of freedom. He’s popular enough that they carved a giant face statue of him in southwestern Romanian.

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If you want to learn more, I’ve included a short video someone posted on Vimeo.

At first glance, this featurette looks like it’s an “alien conspiracy” kind of video, but it’s actually a really interesting history video of the pre-historic Romanian and Dacian people.

Twenty minutes full of historical artifacts and cool archaeological finds 🙂 Enjoy!

The Other Land of the Gods | English version – 22 mn FREE from Le savoir des anciens on Vimeo.

100 years have passed since Romania entered the first World War

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On August 27th, Romania celebrated its 100th anniversary of entering the fray and declaring war on the Austro-Hungarian empire. To commemorate this occasion, Brasov opened an exhibit in the council house of Piata Sfatului.

In addition to a museum exhibit, they had people dressed in historically accurate uniforms reenacting military vignettes outside in the square. They were answering questions in character (and in English!), so it was a real treat for the history enthusiast in me.

There were even women dressed in early 1900s period costume walking around the area (which is so cool for me – I love the way we used to dress). Sadly, I missed the commemorative parade which featured historical military uniforms from all of the branches.


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These guards took their jobs very seriously – they even switched feet at the same time.

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News article featuring photos from the parade and some of the women in period costume.

For more pictures of the WWI soldiers, check out this Romanian news article.

If you want to read these articles in English, you can paste the links into Google translate, or download the Google translate extension for Chrome (and then all you have to do is right click, “translate to English”).