Settlements, households, occupations from the Haţeg Pădureni microregion - Hațeg Country - Pădureni Land

Go to content

Main menu:

Settlements, households, occupations from the Haţeg Pădureni microregion

Rural life
I. Types of rural settlements
The Haţeg Country and Pădureni Land are territories that once were isolated, inhabited since ancient times, which still retain many archaic forms of material culture.
For centuries, the traditional household and the household economy have remained unchanged.

In Hațeg Country, rural settlements lie along roads, rivers and streams. They are gathered settlements, made up of old small villages called crânguri, once organized on the basis of nation.

The villages in the Pădureni Land (Ținutul Pădurenilor) are situated on the heights of the hills that descend from the central region of the Poiana Ruscă Mountains, with an altitude of over 800m, of the gathered type and scattered villages.
The villages gathered have agricultural land, and the scattered ones predominate the meadows.
The villages of the valleys are few, along the rivers and streams, and have a branched form: Lunca Cernii de Sus, Lunca Cernii de Jos, Hajdău, Dăbâca, Topliţa, situated on the middle course of Cerna.

Vraniţa from the entrance to the village.
In the peasant villages located in the north of the Pădureni Land:  Cerb, Socet, Sohodol, Boia Bârzii, Muncelu Mare, Merişor, Feregi, Bătrâna, large gates were built, as far as the road to the village entrance from the land, used as an obstacle for animals: cows, horses, pigs which, left free to grazing, can not reach the land and destroy the crops.

II. The structure of the traditional household
In the Hațeg Country (Țara Hațegului), the old households have developed within a fixed perimeter - the yard. Inside the street, the house and hoods were built, and fodder and garbage were stored behind. The next area was the vegetable garden and the orchard of fruit trees. The area of ​​land belonging to a household was fenced with high stone fences, bound with clay mortar, called zâduri. They were above the eaves of boards, branches, or thorns. The large, wooden gate was set on stone pillars and had a tile roof. Some of the gates were covered with planks called planks or roofs of woven rods.

In Pădureni Land the perimeter of a household comprises two courtyards: the one in front of which are the buildings, called the detour and the back, where the forage buildings are built and the garbage, called the underground, is stored. After the garden there are the vegetable garden and fruit trees.

In the courtyard of the house there is the dwelling house and the adjoining buildings: the hut, the pantry, the bread oven and cooking in the summer.
The barn has a great deal in the economy of the household and has a larger perimeter than the house.
It consists of two compartments: the cattle stables (the poiata) and the shed (the șopron) that shelters the transport means and the agricultural tools. Second compartment, ocolnița, is destinated for storage of the crop and dried food.
Next to it is built the bread oven made of beams or boards in which the summer dishes are prepared.
The cellar at the old houses was called bordei (hut) because it was dug in the ground beside the house. In the newer buildings the cellar it is situated under the house. In it is kept the barrel with cabbage, potatoes, onions, roots, apples and other vegetables that make up the people's food during the winter.
Traditionally, the house was placed in the back of the courtyard, facing the road. The barn is built near the road, perpendicular to the axis of the house. Such a distribution of buildings within the perimeter of the courtyard assures the owner of the house that he can supervise the entire household and ease the effort of animal care.

Troița, the cross next to the house, in the Ținutul Pădurenilor
In many households there are crosses of wood, stone or metal, raised by families in the memory of the dead on the front or away from the house. They are located in the flower garden in front of the house, on the way. Such crosses can also be found at the entrance to the village, in the middle of the field and at the crossroads.
III. Architecture of traditional dwelling.
Both in planimetric aspect, as well as in constructive materials and techniques, the peasant houses in the Haţeg area are very similar to those in the Pădureni Land.
The houses had foundations of stone bound with mortar made of clay, called vacălaș. They were made of wooden beams that were shaped and closed at the corners in romanian chestnuts or straight german cheutches. They were erected on sturdy hardwood, on oak wood, shaped on the four sides with the dimensions of 30 x 40 cm.
The houses were provided with porches called târnațuri. The roofs of the old houses were of straw, shingle or tile. The oldest type of dwelling house was with two rooms: the living room and the pantry where the clothes were kept in youth boxes and elderly chants. Still in the pantry there were barns of woven rods, stuck with earth, in which wheat and rye were preserved.

In the Hațeg Country, many houses were built on two and even three levels. In this case, in the basement, there was the cellar where wine barrels, sackled cabbage, pickled pots and dried foods were kept. At the basement there was the room where the food was prepared, called comniță and above, the dwelling house, with a balcony with ballustrade, called stobor. Above the stobor was the clothesline, on which the laundry was put for drying. During the twentieth century, houses with two and three living rooms were built, either developed to the bottom of the courtyard or to the street. A house built to the bottom of the courtyard with two rooms and a communal courtyard, with a continuous courtyard with stobor, we meet at Peşteana, Densuş commune, where is the only private ethnographic museum in the area.
The contemporary architecture of the peasant houses comprises two rooms located on the street.

The shack with buck or stall had two side rooms and a central one. The hindquarters were the stables for large animals, horses and cows, and the central, open room housed corn and wheat sheaves. In the common bridge of these constructions, the hay and the fodder for animal feed are preserved. In the farmhouse there was the pigsty, the coop, and the shed for wood and carriage.
In the barn (cotarcă) they used to keep the maize.

In all the villages of the Pădureni Land, especially those on the heights, there are still preserved traditional buildings, dwelling houses and household annexes, which allow the visitor to know directly the way of organizing the traditional life, archaic construction types and techniques, inherited from ancient times. Structures with straw roof can also be found at Bunila, Meria, Lunca Cernii, etc.
The annexes of the household were also made of wood or stone. The shield is larger than the house, and in its extension, under the same roof is the cattle shelter, the stable. The rooftop of the barn and the shed was used to store the grain sheaves that were threshed in the open shed with the flail.
Between the barn and the shed there are holes placed, through which the animals are fed. Besides wood, the inhabitans used as a construction material stone, a material that is abundant in the area. The stone constructions had the same plan as the wooden ones. In all the villages of the land, there are some such buildings, churches or houses, and in Alun, the tourist can admire an entire village built of stone and marble. The most spectacular building is the Orthodox church built entirely of marble.

IV. Arranging the living space
Until 1945-1950, most of the houses had one living room, a pantry and a porch (târnațul) developed along the entire length of the facade.

The whole family composed of husband, wife, parents of one of the spouses, sometimes grandparents, and children, lived together in the same room of 4 or 5 square meters.

Traditional furniture consisted of two benches around the table, one or two beds, a podium, a shelf, and a plate rack, called fogaş, hanging on the walls. Decorative pots were displayed on the fogaş called tănere and câncele.

The free spaces of the walls were decorated with ceramic plates, around which were placed beautiful woven wipes, called cinders, mirrors and icons. The food and clothes were kept in the pantry. In some houses, a wooden bar was placed on the wall, called peak, on which there were nicely laid the ribbons, short-cut wipes, decorated at one end.
The peasant table was provided with a drawer where wooden spoons were kept and a shelf on the lower third of the table legs.
In the bed, on a wooden plank lays a mattress, filled with straw or corn cobs, on which a sheet of hemp was put, woven on a weaving loom, and above it, a blanket woven into many strings (cochletes), called carpet.
The old cushions were, like the mattress, stuffed with straw, and the faces were of hemp woven on a weaving loom with the heads decorated with geometric polymorphic picks arranged in transverse registers.

The sleeping area was the bed for the most respected couple. The rest of the people were sleeping on the benches and on the hearth on which they lay straw, which they covered with leprechaun. Coverings were used.
A cooking stove was built on the inside wall of the house for heating the room with a wider base than the upper part. The space between the stove and the wall was used as a bed for the children.
Also in this room in winter was placed the weaving loom with winder, reeand the other necessary tools around it.

V. Peasant technical installations
Blacksmiths were located at the edge of the village.
The țuica boilers were in the farmhouse.
In addition to the households located in the perimeter of the village, outdoors there are buildings that house the peasant technical installations: mills, oil presses, hunting beads and sawmills for woodworking.

The mills were used for the grinding of the cereals, and for the processing of the woolen textiles, the strands and the corks were used water-operated installations called pive and vâltori.
The rich network of flowing waters has been conducive to the development of such facilities, which are nowhere to be extinct.
The mills, located on high-flow rivers (Cerna, Runcu) had palates wheels (wings), and those on small-flow rivers had wheels with cups.

The only mill that is still in operation today, but powered by an electric motor because the water supply is blocked, is in Cristur, near Hunedoara, to an owner who also owns a large wool donor that once acted of water power, and is currently adapted for electricity.

The locality has a mixed, Romanian and Hungarian population. The Hungarians settled at Cristur at the beginning of the 20th century. They are ciangăi coming from Bucovina.

VI. Constructions located at a distance from the village, the shepherds and the dwellings
Unlike Pădureni Land, in the Hațeg Country area the sheepfolds were situated on the mountain, where summer pastures for sheep, cows, oxen, horses and pigs were organized.
They were made of fir beams, unpolished, and had one room. There were shelves on the walls with curly wheels and milk pots, spoons, and other tools used by sheperds. The fireplace was in the middle of the room. On both sides of the fire were two wooden sticks in the ground, in the form of a fork, against which the wood was leaned, that carried the kettle with the milk put for boiling. This was the food of the shepherds. The furniture consisted of a table and carved benches. The shepherds slept on the ground, wrapped in sheepskin.
In addition to the sheepfold, sheep were grazed in sheepfolds for milking sheep and large cattle. Most of the sheepfolds were disbanded during the communist regime when C.A.P. were created.
There were seasonal buildings in the hayfields. They were made of fir beams, covered with shingles or straw, with one room in which there was a fireplace with open chimney. Here lives villagers during the summer. And here, too, the sheep were sheltered when they descended from the mountains, cared for the elders or the servants.
The tourists can easily observe the crowd of fallen lawns on the peaks of the mountains, where they can rest and know the beauty of the romanian pastoral world, but also taste the preparations specific to the pastoral life.

VII. Occupations of the inhabitants.
The main occupations of the inhabitants of this area are agriculture and animal husbandry. In the Pdf document you can find out about the occupations of the inhabitants, structured in chapters: agriculture, animal husbandry, shepherding, iron mining and ironing, charcoal production, bosherite, ore transportation, rural tourism.
This site does not necessarily represent the position of the Swiss Government, nor does it imply any responsibility on its part.
The authors are fully responsible for the published content.
Back to content | Back to main menu