Photographer's Note

Autumnal sunset in the historic center in the southwestern Transylvanian town of Orăştie (German: Broos, Hungarian: Szászváros). This quaint alley is lined with historic houses, overlooking a large central square.

Orastie is an old Transylvanian German Saxon settlement and thus a historic city. However, given its smaller size and the fact that it never developed into a burg (fortified city), it remains off the tourist path and quite neglected. The city has quite a bit of potential, with a few narrow streets with beautiful old houses, a medieval fortress at its center, a medieval abbey, old churches and beautiful surroundings.

Traces of human settlement in the town go as far back as the prehistoric period of the Neolithic. The first modern human settlement appears during the 8-9th centuries and followed in the 10th century by an earthwork castle. In the early Middle Ages (1100s), the region becomes part of the Hungarian kingdom.

1206 - in a document by king of Hungary, Andrew II, the region is mentioned as the first in Transylvania to be settled by the German Saxon colonists ("primes hospites regni", from the Rheinland and Flanders).

1244 - the same king of Hungary confirms the priviledges of the Saxon newcomers throughout Southern Transylvania and requires that they organize themselves as a community under the authority of one magistrate or royal judicial officer (iudex regalis). The town itself enjoys quite a few priviledges granted by the kings of Hungary. In the same document, the Romanians or Wallachians (Blachi) and the Petchenegs (Bisseni) are mentioned as local inhabitants in the area.

1241 - the region is devastated by the Mongol invasion.
King of Hungary, Bela IV, repopulates the town with new colonists.

1309 - the town has about 1600 inhabitants. The Franciscan order establishes the abbey in the town.

1324 - the king of Hungary, Carl Robert (of Anjou), awards the town (known as Woras) the status of city (civitas Woras nominata).

1349 - the town is mentioned as one of the 7 seats of Saxon Transylvania.

1400s- the region is repeatedly plundered by Ottoman Turkish raids.

1479 - Ottoman Turkish armies 60000 strong with the aid of Wallachian troops invade the region. They are attacked and crushed by the Transylvanian armies headed by prince Stephen Bathory and by the able general captain and count of Temesvar (Timişoara), Paul Kinizsi (Pavel Chinezul) . After this important victory, the number and scale of Ottoman Turkish incursions into southern Transylvania significantly decline.

1490s- the region is the setting of several territorial disputes between the Saxon seat of Broos (Orăştie) and the county of Huniad, involving regional authorities and the king of Hungary.

1500 - the annual fair on Saint Nicholas day is held for the first time in history.

1544 - the town fortress is mentioned in documents.

1582 - the "Palia of Orăştie" (Old Testament of Orăştie) is printed here, being the first Romanian language translation of the first 5 books of the Old Testament.

1500s- several travellers and dignitaries such as Georg Reicherstorffer, Giovanandrea Gromo and the Papal envoy, Antonio Possevino, mention the region in their chronicles as a beautiful and wealthy region, fertile, with a good climate and good inhabitants, "not far from civilization".

To be continued.

PP: auto contrast, shadow/highlight (0,2), color filter (cyan, 5%), smart sharpen (50,0.3), frame, saved for web.

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Additional Photos by Mihai Raul MRB (mikee) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 301 W: 117 N: 654] (2354)
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