Buzău Folk Art Collection

The city of Buzău is the county seat of Buzău County, Romania, in the historical region of Wallachia. It lies near the right bank of the Buzău River, between the south-eastern curvature of the Carpathian Mountains and the lowlands of Bărăgan Plain.

The Vergu-Mănăilă house is the oldest surviving building in Buzău. Erected in the 17th or 18th century and attested since 1794, the house belonged to the Vergu and Mănăilă families, personalities of the town at the end of the 18th century. The building was nationalized in 1948 and became derelict; it was restored between 1971-1974 (but it’s inside structure and it’s outside look were kept) and since then it hosts a museum of ethnography and folk art.

The museum hosts seven exhibition halls in which inside textures, ornaments, clothes and accessories, household objects were exposed. Also, women clothes can be admired, special outfits and traditional shirts (specifically to our area) and man clothes; a great variety of towels, wedding handkerchiefs, sheets, old carpets painted with natural colors; floral silk veils; different colored blankets of a variety of textures.

One of the rooms was decorated as what was called the “big house” stile, which represents the quest chamber which used to be part of each peasant house in the Romanian countries. The collection also contains objects that are specifically to different jobs: potting, fishing, hunting, viticulture and sheep-breeding.

Images and info from here

Zugreni Gorges

The Zugreni Gorges are formed by Bistriţa River between the Giumalău Massif and the Pietrosul Bistriţei Massif. Zugreni Gorges are located in the central part of the Eastern Carpathians, Suceava County, on Crucea commune territory, at ca. 20 km north-east of Vatra Dornei town. This natural reserve is distributed in the forestry wards of Vatra Dornei and Crucea (Latitude 47'24', Longitude 25'3 1'). With a surface of 100 hectares, the area was declared a geological and floral reserve in 1973.

The Bistriţa River is crossing down this reserve on a length of ca. 2 km, making there those gorges relief type. The nature reserve is located on the northern slope of Pietrosul Bistriţei summit (made of gneiss) and on the southern slope of Rarău-Giumalău massif (made of limestone and crystalline schist, belonging to the Jurassic age). According to Koppen, that region has a boreal climate (type Df), with cold, wet winters, and unstable and chilly summers. The average temperature is +4.2 OC per year. The most frequent winds are those from the west (31.7%), while those from the east have a frequency of 9.4%. Those western winds raise the degree of soil humidity by their raining contributions. One can remark the fact that along the Bistriţa river, the winds have a smaller intensity, being channelized by the passage of that valley.

Wilderness of rocks, flora, scenic beauty, make this area a sight of great interest. The first mentions over the flora of that region have been made by D. Brândza (1889); later on, D. Grecescu (1898), A. Procopianu-Procopovici (1906) made other mentions. The Queen flower is found here in the lowest area in the country and is a natural monument, is found here in the lowest state in the country. Also here was detected the presence of endemism Pietrosia levitomentosa (syn. Andvyala levitomentosa), housed in an inaccessible area (on Pietrosul Bogolin summit, at ca. 1750 m.s.l.).

  • Can be seen here Carpathian endemites (in general): Aconitum moldavicum ssp. hosteanum, Campanula rotundifolia ssp. polymorpha, Cardamine glanduligera, Festuca carpatica, Symphytum cordatum, Leucanthemum waldsteinii, Melampyrum saxosum, Poa rehmannii, Campanula carpatica, Phyteuma vagneri;
  • Romanian Carpathian endemites: Aconitum moldavicum ssp. moldavicum, Scabiosa lucida ssp. barbata, Silene nutans ssp. dubia, Dianthus tenuifolius, Eritrichium nanum ssp. jankae, Thymus bihoriensis;
  • Eastern & Southern Carpathian endemites: Gentiana cruciata ssp. phlogifolia, Primula elatior ssp. leucophylla, Ranunculus carpaticus, Hepatica transsilvanica.
  • Some plant species into the natural reserve of "Zugreni Gorges" are pretty rare, such as: Matteuccia struthiopteris, Pinus mugo, Arnica montana, Avenula compressa, Corrallorhiza trijida, Doronicum columnae, Elsholtzia ciliata, Epipogium aphyllum, Ligusticum mutellina, Lilium martagon, Rhodiola rosea, Telekia speciosa, Euonymus nana, Leontopodium alpinum (this last one is situated at only 740 m.s.1. there).

Zugreni is one of the most beautiful and exciting areas of Romania, very popular for spending active holidays or free time (fishing, trekking, hiking, rafting).

AG Weinberger

Attila Weinberger (aka AG Weinberger, born August 30, 1965 in Oradea) is a Romanian blues guitarist, singer, and producer.

In the mid eighties, Weinberger made ​​the transition from rock to blues, then promoting this genre. In 1986 he began his career as a bluesman, setting up with Harry Tavitian (piano), Corneliu Stroe (drums) and Cătălin Rotaru (bass) the first blues band in Romania - Transylvanian Blues Community. Ignoring the communist censorship, the four managed to make tours in the country with a great success.

After 1990, Weinberger toured in Germany, Switzerland, Israel, Turkey, Hungary (where in 1992 sang in the opening of the concert of the famous guitarist Al Di Meola). In 1991, he established his own blues band - Weinberger Blues Machine. He released the first blues album in Romania - Good Morning, Mr. Blues (1996), followed in 1997 by Standard Weinberger. The release of this album concert was televised and had the merit of removing the blues from underground, giving it public. However, the album won the prize for Best Jazz Disc of 1997.

A.G. Weinberger - I Heard It Through The Grapevine

A.G.Weinberger - Take Me To The Highway

A.G. Weinberger - Spoonful

AG Weinberger - Break The Man

Further, the musician produced and presented two weekly radio shows, on radio stations Radio Contact and Romania Youth. In 1998, he established the foundation BlueSylvania and he sang at the festival Bluestock in Memphis, Tennessee (being the only non-American singer accepted). At the end of 1999, Weiberger released his 3rd album - Transylvania Avenue. Between 2000-2004 he was in a "cultural exile" in the U.S., singing in Chicago, New-York (at Decade, Bitter End, Red Lion), Las Vegas, and touring over 30,000 miles across U.S. In July 2006, Weinberger released the 4th album, Nashville Calling, a first for the music market in Romania: the first blues album by a Romanian artist recorded and produced entirely in the U.S. Followed Guitar Man vol. 1 & 2. For now, Weinberger produces and presents a successful show on a Romanian public TV channel, The Lollipop.

Norman Manea

Norman Manea (born July 19, 1936) is a Romanian writer and author of short fiction, novels, and essays about the Holocaust, daily life in a communist state, and exile. He is a Francis Flournoy Professor of European Culture and writer in residence at Bard College. He currently lives in the United States.

Norman Manea was born in Suceava, Bukovina, Romania, in 1936. As a child he was deported to a Transnistrian concentration camp in the Ukraine with his family and the entire Jewish population of the region. He returned to Romania with surviving members of his family in 1945. Manea graduated with high honor the "Stephen the Great" high school in his home town, then he studied engineering at the Construction Institute in Bucharest and graduated with master’s degree in hydro-technique in 1959, working afterwards in planning, fieldwork and research.

He published his first work of fiction in 1966, in the avant-garde literary magazine "Povestea Vorbii" (The Story of the Word), an avant-garde and influential magazine that appeared in the early years of cultural “liberalization” in communist Romania and was suppressed after six issues. He became a freelance writer in 1974. Until he was forced into exile (1986) he published in Romania ten volumes of short fiction, essays and novels, among them "Anii de ucenicie ai lui August Prostul" (1979; Engl: The Years of Apprenticeship of Augustus the Fool), "Octombrie, ora opt" (1981; Engl: October, Eight O'Clock, 1992) and "Plicul negru" (1986; Engl: The Black Envelope, 1995).

Critics have compared his complex narrative strategies to Kafka, Joyce and Musil. In 1979 he was awarded the Literature Prize of the Bucharest Writers’ Association. Two years later, in an interview with the literary magazine "Familia", he pleaded for a democratic opening up of the country as well for greater integrity of writers, sparking off a hostile official media campaign with anti-Semitic undertones. In 1984 he was awarded the Literature Prize of the Romanian Writers’ Union but was then denied the award under pressure from the state's cultural authorities. His work was an irritant to the authorities because of the implied and overt social-political criticism and he faced a lot of trouble with the censors and the official press. At the same time that sustained efforts were made by the cultural authorities to suppress his work, it had the support and praise of the country’s most important literary critics. "Plicul negru", the last novel published in Romania before he decided to leave the country, provoked a sharp and prolonged conflict with the State's censors, which the author went on to describe in his essay "The Censor's Report" in the volume "Despre clovni: dictatorul si artistul" (1997; Engl: On Clowns: The Dictator and the Artist, 1992).

Even before any of his books came out abroad, in 1983 Heinrich Böll urged for his work to be published in the West. The first publication in Germany, "Roboterbiographie und andere Erzählungen" (Engl: Robot-Biography and Other Stories) appeared in 1987, when Manea was a guest of the DAAD. He then went on to the USA on a Fulbright scholarship and has been living there ever since. After the collapse of the Ceausescu dictatorship, several of his old and new books started to be published in Romania. The publication in the Romanian democratic press of his essays Happy Guilt, appeared in the US (The New Republic, August 1991) on Mircea Eliade and his former fascist connection provoked a big scandal in the entire Romanian press and hysteria in the nationalistic newspapers. Echoes of this scandal can be still be found in some articles of the current Romanian cultural press. Meantime, in the United States and in the European countries, Norman Manea’s writing was received with great acclaim. Over the past two decades he has been proposed as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature by literary and academic personalities and institutions in the United States, Sweden, Romania, Italy and France. Important contemporary writers expressed admiration towards the author’s literary work and his moral stand before after the collapse of communism: the Nobel laureates Heinrich Boll, Gunther Grass, Octavio Paz, Orhan Pamuk, as well as Philip Roth, Claudio Magris, Antonio Tabucchi, E. M. Cioran, Antonio Munoz Molina, Cynthia Ozick, Louis Begley and others.

In his memoir "Întoarcerea huliganului" (2003; Engl: The Hooligan's Return, 2003), for which he was awarded the French Prix Medicis for Foreign Literature 2006, Manea chronicled his visit to his native country in the late nineties, his experience of exile and life under two totalitarian systems, fascist and communist. He has received many honours, among them the MacArthur Fellows Award, The Guggenheim Grant, the Literary Lion Medal of the New York National Library, the National Jewish Book Award and the International Nonino Prize for Literature. In 2005 Manea was Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. Elected member of the Berlin Academy of Art (Germany) 2007 – Finalist, The Latinity Prize by the Association of Latin Countries 2007 – Awarded the Order of Cultural Merit (in rank of Commander) by the President of Romania (Romania) 2008 – Honorary Degree in Literature, University of Bucharest (Romania) 2008. His work has been translated into 15 languages. Norman Manea is a member of the American PEN Center. He teaches European Literature and is Writer in Residence at Bard College, north of New York City. He lives with his wife in Manhattan.

Info from here and here.