Romanian Province Transylvania

Location: Transylvania is the name of the province situated in the central part of Romania, a high plateau surrounded by the eastern, southern and western Carpathians. Taking in consideration the complex historical and political evolution of the region, Transylvania could also include the smaller provinces situated in the northern part (Maramures), the western part (Crisana) and the south – western part (Banat).

Landscape: The central part is hilly, with heights of around 300 meters. To the north, as a natural border to Maramures region, the volcanic mountain chain rises. It continues to the south-east and further to the south, down to the south - eastern corner of the province. The southern part is border by the highest mountains of the country, belonging to Walachia for a long period of time. To the west Apuseni Mountains separates the central Transylvania from Banat and Crisana regions and to the north - west the landscape opens with the Western Plain.

Highlights: The charms of Transylvania are diverse, among them being the breathtaking sceneries of Bucegi Mountains, Piatra Craiului and Fagaras ridges, Retezat National Park, Turda Gorges, the caves of Apuseni Mountains, the Saxon villages and their fortified churches where time seems to stand still, the medieval towns founded by the Saxons in the 12th – 13th century, Sibiu, Medias, Sebes, Bistrita, Cluj, Brasov and Sighisoara, with the best preserved inhabited citadel in Europe and never the less the remains of the ancient Dacian citadels, including Sarmizegetusa, former capital of pre-Roman Dacia.

History: In the first century AD on the territory of today’s Transylvania, in south-western Carpathians, was the political centre of the Dacian Kingdom, at Sarmizegetusa Regia. After the second Roman – Dacian war (105 – 106 AD) the southern part of the Dacian Kingdom, including the southern part of Transylvania, was occupied by roman colonist. Emperor Aurelian (270 – 275) decided to retreat the administration south of the Danube under the threat of the free Dacians and the Goths, but many of the colonialist remained. After the roman retreat the territory was successively invaded by the migratory people. Determinant for the historical evolution of Transylvania was the movement of the Hungarians in Panonia plain in the year 896 and their advance afterwards into the Carpathian arch. They needed about 300 hundred years to defeat the Romanians living here and to occupy the entire territory, including Maramures area. Of major importance was the colonization of the Szekely and the Germans (Saxons). They were invited here to defend the borders of the Hungarian Kingdom against the Mongols and later the Turks, the Germans inhabiting, developing and fortifying seven of the major cities and towns of today’s Transylvania and many smaller settlements, protected by fortified churches, in the southern and north-eastern part of the province.

Medieval Transylvania was an autonomous region ruled by princes liable to the Hungarian crown. After 1526, when the Hungarians were defeated by the Turks, the region became semi-independent, recognizing the Turkish suzerainty and paying tribute. In 1683 Turkish power was broken at the gates of Vienna, and Transylvania came under Habsburg rule in 1687. After 1867 Transylvania was fully absorbed into Hungary as part of Austro – Hungarian Empire, Romanians being consider a tolerant nationality.

After the World War I, in 1918, Romanians gathered at Alba Iulia to demand Transylvania’s unification with Romania. It was followed by the unification with Basarabia, Bucovina and Banat forming the Great Kingdom of Romania that resisted only to the end of the Second World War.