Oratea Fortress, Echoes of the 13th Century, 100-Word Story

When wind howls around Oratea Fortress, echoes from the 13th century swirl around fir trees and tumbled down walls.

When wind howls around Oratea Fortress, echoes from the 13th century swirl around fir trees and tumbled down walls.

Oratea Fortress, Echoes of the 13th Century, 100-Word Story
Oratea Fortress, rising atop Saxon’s Hill

Located near the charming Rucăr Bran Corridor, Oratea Fortress echoes back in history to the 13th century, year 1212, when the Teutonic Knights arrived, as invited by King Andrew III of Hungary, to settle in Burzenland, Țara Bârsei, and below and protect this eastern land against Cumans’ attacks.

Stone upon stone still stands where Oratea Fortress once rose tall, and the wind still echoes of past battles, and of laughter, and whispers of love.

For what is wind, but the amassed power of words long ago uttered?

Oratea Fortress, Echoes of the 13th Century, 100-word Story

They’d arrived. And settled. New souls on old land. Forced smiles, calling one another a little too loud, laughing too much. Living with intent, their purposeful reputation preceding them.

Rising a chapel (a place to lie down for their last sleep), ahead of the fortress they ought to build. And protect. Stashing memories in the sacred foundation.

Till their time would come, days are filled with battles, laced with life. On this new land, rich in new shades. new sounds. new hopes.

Besides protecting it, ought they mingle with the locals? Besides fighting off ruffians, ought they live a little?

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

The unique beauty of each 100-word story is in the way the words are strung together, each one a gem, and in the spaces left between the words, and between sentences. So much can be told with little words. It is a challenge for the writer, and a thrill for the reader (I hope), as each time the tale is read a new detail springs to mind.

Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories

“I would recommend this book to all fans of history and historical fiction, as this is a fantastic combination of both.”

(Bonnie Reads and Writes)

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

Silent Sunday, Light and Shadows on the Beach

Silent Sunday, light shadow sea

Silent Sunday, or almost, light and shadows on the beach, the golden hour – a 100-word story.

Silent Sunday, light and shadows on the beach
Silent Sunday, between light and shadows on the beach

The laziness of a summer’s day lingers in the ruddy beams of the chaise longues, still stretching, ever hoping to dip their feet in the cool waves. Alas, perhaps tomorrow.

The thoughts abandoned upon them, now shadows, will hide with the night, without disappearing, hopes for the new day. And the day that’s gone, soon darkness and dreams, will join the rhythm of the waves, coming and going, departing and returning with the sun.

Only the umbrella stands above, out of sight, yet all-seeing, all-knowing. Fearless. Until the wind arrives. ‘What took you so long?’ she asks. He only sighs.

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

Happy Publication Day to me, Transylvania’s History A to Z, 100 Word Stories is LIVE on Amazon as eBook and paperback.

This is almost a Silent Sunday as I can’t seem to stop my thoughts from spinning. Thank you for reading.

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Publication Day, Transylvania’s History A to Z, 100 Word Stories

Happy Publication Day to me, Transylvania’s History A to Z, 100 Word Stories is LIVE on Amazon as eBook and paperback.

Happy Publication Day to me, Transylvania’s History A to Z, 100 Word Stories is LIVE on Amazon as eBook and paperback.

An Amazon preview of Transylvania’s History A to Z, 100 Word Stories:

In Transylvania’s History A to Z, a collection of 100-word stories sprinkled with breathtaking photographs, Patricia Furstenberg uses the confining rules of the 100-word story form to stirringly capture Transylvania, Romania’s historical and geographical region.

Transylvania’s unspoiled natural beauty, its tumultuous history, and the people who touched it are depicted in this book.
Written as snapshots, tall tales, and descriptive narratives, these 100-word stories are the espresso of creative writing.

A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1
Each 100 Words Story is followed by a brief historical reference

The unique beauty of a 100-word story is in the way the words are strung together, each one a gem, and in the spaces left between the words, and between the sentences. So much can be told, with little words. It is a challenge for the writer, and a thrill for the reader, as each time the tale is read, a new detail springs to mind.

“As an armchair historian, I love researching lost tales, traveling, exploring hidden corners, and unearthing new facts, forgotten characters, or hidden clues. I love to give them a voice and to bring them into the light in my tales. Be it people, animals, or the land and its architecture, no detail is too small, no voice is too soft. What was once overlooked now brings history alive in my historical or contemporary fiction books and short stories, such as the 100-Word Stories based on the history of Transylvania.” (Patricia Furstenberg)

100-word stories included in Transylvania’s History A to Z:

A Paleolithic Murder
Behind the Cave Art
Conduct in a Neolithic Kingdom
Dacian Horses of Bronze Age
Echoes of a Battle, the Getae
Falx vs Gladius, Dáoi vs Romans
Greed, of the Roman Kind
Hope Has Multiple Faces
Immortalis, the Immortal
Jottings on a Tree
Kaleidoscope by Castra Micia, Hunedoara
Laudable Attempt, to Some Extent
Motives of Christianity
New Footprints on Old Land
Oh, This Sweet Language of Ours
Powerful Tahutum Wants Transylvania
Quest Beyond the Forest
Romanian’s Brother, the Woodland
Sincerely, your m-DNA, Mitochondrial DNA
Ţara is Terra
Under the Threat of Crusades
Vlad the Impaler
Wars with Ottomans
X, I Sign My Letter with a Cross
Year of Our Lord, 1848
Zest for Peace and Unity

Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories – CLICK on the image to go straight to your Amazon of choice.

Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories
Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories – CLICK on the image to go straight to your Amazon of choice.

You can read more of my stories about Transylvania on my blog here.

COVER REVEAL, Transylvania’s History 100-Word Stories and Photos and Giveaway!

cover reveal 100 word stories Transylvania's history and book giveaway

Welcome to the COVER REVEAL for Transylvania’s History, 100-Word Stories and Photos and Giveaway!

Many of you may remember the 100-word stories I started publishing on this blog. The idea came to mind to finish the A to Z series inspired by snippets from Transylvania’s history and, together with snapshots from my travels, to publish them in a book.

Thus, A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1

Read on to the COVER REVEAL…

How the Giveaway works:

STEP !: Make sure you Follow my blog if you don’t do so already.

STEP 2: Comment on this blog post with something you know or have learned about Transylvania – it can be something you read on my blog – and you will be entered in the Giveaway!

(Giveaway closes on Saturday, 21 August, 6am GMT)
This Competition is now closed.

Read on to the COVER REVEAL…

What do you WIN in the Giveaway? An e-Book copy of my upcoming book!

Read on to the COVER REVEAL…

Here are the 100-word stories that were edited and made it into the book, along with others. Just click on an image to read it.

Paleolithic Murder in Transylvania 100 words story
Following a timeline of prehistorical discoveries, Conduct in a Neolithic Kingdom is a 100 words story inspired by Transylvania's history
Echoes of a Battle, Getae, Romania

Read on to the COVER REVEAL…

falx gladius Daoi Romans
Greed, of the Roman Kind, 100 words story

Read on to the COVER REVEAL…

hope has multiple faces, Roman history, 100 words story
Immortalis, the Immortal Căluşarii Dance 100 words story

Cover Reveal for A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1 – almost there!

In Transylvania’s History A to Z, a collection of 100-word stories sprinkled with breathtaking photographs, Patricia Furstenberg uses the confining rules of the 100-word story form to stirringly capture Transylvania, Romania’s historical and geographical region.

Transylvania’s unspoiled natural beauty, its tumultuous history, and the people who touched it are depicted in this book.
Written as snapshots, tall tales, and descriptive narratives, these 100-word stories are the espresso of creative writing.

The unique beauty of a 100-word story is in the way the words are strung together, each one a gem, and in the spaces left between the words, and between the sentences. So much can be told, with little words. It is a challenge for the writer, and a thrill for the reader, as each time the tale is read, a new detail springs to mind.

Cover Reveal for A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1:

COVER REVEAL Transylvania's History Giveaway, A - Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1

UK Amazon Link
US Amazon Link
Canada Amazon Link
India Amazon Link
Australia Amazon Link
Germany Amazon Link

Release day Monday, the 23rd of August, exclusive to Amazon.

Remember the Giveaway!

Thank you for taking part in the COVER REVEAL for Transylvania’s History, 100-Word Stories and Photos and Giveaway!

Rucăr Bran Corridor, Romantic, Beautiful, Charming – Historical Uphill

Rucar Bran Pass

Strolling uphill from Rucăr to Bran is like walking through a dream-like space among villages lost in time, and under the watchful eye of millennial Bucegi – Leaota mountains on one side, and the spectacular Piatra Craiului, Prince’s Stone (like a sleeping dragon covered with a blanket of clouds) and Iezer on the other.

Rucăr is located in Arges County, the historical province of Wallachia, while Rucăr-Bran Pass and Bran Castle are located in neighboring Brasov County, in the historical province of Transylvania.

Yet the beauty of the natural passthat winds uphill from Rucăr, through a mountain corridor, to finally reach Bran Castle lies not only in the nature surrounding it, or in the history trapped underfoot, but also in the memories it carries.

Let’s rouse ourselves and allow this journey to kindle our minds and stir our imagination. Thus, we will proceed from Rucăr and make our way up to Bran.

Rucăr Bran Corridor, Romantic, Beautiful, Charming - Historical Uphill. Rucar Dambovicioara Rucar-Bran Pass Bran Castle mapp
Rucar – Dambovicioara – Rucar-Bran Pass – Bran Castle (~ 50km)

Historical, romantic Rucăr

As a teen, I was lucky to spend my summers up at Rucăr. It was a time before Eco-tourism was even a whisper. Yet I did not lodged in the charming Rucăr village, the one spread along the main road with its white and pastel houses, but up on a hill, in a farmer’s holding. Fresh, steamy milk for breakfast, roasted chickens for dinner, home-made sausages too. Surely there would have been fresh vegetables on the table, I just don’t remember them…

Rucăr Bran Corridor, Romantic, Beautiful, Charming - Historical Uphill. Romania towards Dambovicioara
towards Dambovicioara – Rucăr Bran Corridor, Romantic, Beautiful, Charming – Historical Uphill

Rucăr was inhabited by Dacians as far back as the Roman occupation as part of Dacia Inferior. Relics of a Roman castrum and even of a frontier fortification (limes) wall were unearthed in the area.

Lok at the image below. See the dotted vertical line bordering Dacia Inferior on the right side? The Roman frontier wall would have – more or less – followed it from the south, where Danube flows, towards the mountains, up to Dâmbovița Bridge, near Dâmbovicioara’s Gorge.

The Roman Empire LIMES (Breeze et al. 2009

Back then Rucăr would have been called Ruffa Arbor, Ruddy Tree – for the beech tree forests turning crimson in autumn. Over the centuries Rucăr had known many names, by the history and the people that washed over it: Slavonic Rukel, Saxon-Germanic Rothbaun, Ruckendorf, or old Romanian Rucalu.

Rucar, ruddy red - by the beech trees in autumn
Rucăr in autumn. Rucăr Bran Corridor, Romantic, Beautiful, Charming – Historical Uphill

It was not far, west of Rucăr, that the renowned Battle of Posada took place.

It was 1324 and the relations between the greatest power of eastern Europe then, the Hungarian Kingdom, and Voivode Basarab I of Wallachia, Basarab the Founder – and vassal to King Charles I of Hungary – were auspicious. The Pope himself held Voivode Basarab I in high regard for his work on the battlefield against the infidels, the Turks. Yet King Charles I, a military expansionist, had his eye on Wallachia, and tried to undermine Voivode Basarab I in the eyes of the Pope.
A military confrontation took place, lasting four long days, 9 – 12 December 1330, known in history as the Battle of Posada, although the geographical location of the combat is still unclear; in a narrow, gorge-like valley near Curtea de Arges, where Voivode Basarab I held court? Perhaps the valley of Topolog? Or further east, between today’s Podu Dambovitei, and Rucăr?
King Charles I attacked Voivode Basarab I for “[he] is the shepherd of my sheep, and I will drag him by his beard from his lair.
Outnumbered by 3 to 1, the Wallachians emerged victorious, King Charles even loosing his royal seal in battle (I wonder how much is worth today?) and escaping only after he donned a servant’s attire. (The servant, dressed as the king, was killed).
The victory of Basarab I at Posada marked the independence of Wallachia from the Hungarian crown. But not for long…

The Hungarian’s attacks prior to the Battle of Posada left the Basarab’s royal palace of Curtea de Argeș destroyed. A new fortress was built for the seat of the Wallachian principality at Câmpulung, south of Rucăr.

We’ll stick with Câmpulung for during the ruling of Basarab’s grandson, Vladislau I (Vlaicu-Voda), a border post was found here.

Yet… the new King of Hungary, Louis I the Great, Louis of Anjou, dreamed of expanding the Hungarian Kingdom over Wallachia. Why, he already had Transylvania in his pocket!
In 1354 King Louis I dangled the Banate of Severin (a territory west of Wallachia) in front of the new Wallachian ruler, Basarab’s son Nicholas Alexander. And King Louis received something for in return, a small step towards fulfilling his plan. The Wallachian Voivode, a Christian Orthodox ruler, recognized the right of the Roman Catholic Church to establish missions in Wallachia. And… the Saxon traders from Brașov were allowed to transit Wallachia without paying duties.

With time King Louis I added extra pressure over the Wallachian Voivode, added the Transylvanian fiefdoms of Amlaș and Făgăraș (inhabited by Vlachs) in the balance… And by 1369 the new Voivode of Wallacia, Vladislau I, had recognized King Louis I as his overlord…

The expansionist plan of King Louis I was taking shape…

When Vladislau I (Vlaicu-Voda) ruled Wallachia (1364 – 1377) he was known as the Transalpine Voivode (trans -Alpine = over the Alps, as the Carpathians are similar in appearance and climate with the Alps), and was also Duke of Severin, Almas and Fagaras. Vladislav I was uncle to Mircea the Elder, Vlad the Impaler’s paternal grandfather.

And this is how we have the first documented mention of Rucăr, dating from 1377 when King Louis I planned to finally incorporate Wallachia into the Hungarian Kingdom (the Kingdom of Saint Stephen).

Thus… Bran was to receive a new fortress, a privilege granted by King Louis I to the inhabitants of Brasov on 19 November 1377 … and for this reason the border post was moved from Câmpulung (Câmpulung Muscel) to Rucăr (close to the Hungarian Kingdom’s southern border).

While all these years, no matter what political plans were in place, merchants and traders still traveled between Wallachia and Transylvania – along Rucăr Bran Corridor.

Years later I took the same road and traveled further uphill, towards the mountains, past colorful homes lining a tarred road, a mere tourist lucky to only catch glimpses of quaint timber dwellings scattered across lush hills.

Dâmbovicioara, a 16th century hamlet, a gorge and some ancient caves

One of my first childhood memories places me in front of a gush of icy water running over a bed of stones. Its sparks run with the sunshine and over the smooth rock. I can see my fingers stretched in front oh me and I feel as if I want to catch the icy droplets of glitter, the sun scorching my back. Or least dig out a pebble as a memento.

Long before souvenirs ever made sense, my heart knew I was living in the moment.

child playing mountain spring Romania
My son playing in mountain spring in Romania

I was with family and friends at Dâmbovicioara’s Gorge, Cheile Dâmbovicioarei.

More memories emerge.

A narrow road lined with pebbles, bordered by cliffs that hold the sky. And the joyful knowledge that the cool gorge, after a hot August ride, meant that we were nearly there. This was the time before car air-con and safety belts, when a vehicle transported as many as could merrily fit inside.

Rucăr Bran Corridor, Romantic, Beautiful, Charming - Historical Uphill. Dâmbovicioara's Gorge, Cheile Dâmbovicioarei.
Dâmbovicioara’s Gorge, Cheile Dâmbovicioarei. Rucăr Bran Corridor, Romantic, Beautiful, Charming – Historical Uphill

Dâmbovicioara village dates back to the middle of the 16th century. Podu Dambovitei village (Dambovita Bridge) is thus named after an ancient wooden bridge built over Dâmbovita river, and well-used by those traveling along the Rucăr Bran Corridor, between Wallachia and Transylvania.

Further on, at an altitude of 861m, the secretive Dâmbovicioara Cave opens up. Only half the length of the underground grotto is open to the public. I enjoyed visiting, especially since the guides are none other but children from a local school.

Dambovicioara-Cave
Inside Dâmbovicioara Cave

The whimsy road between Dâmbovicioara and Rucăr Bran Pass

Left and right, if you know where to look, history speaks to you. Listen to these name: German’s Fortress, Cetatea Oratia, Saxon’s Hill, Dealul Sasului, Turks’ Fields, Plaiul Turcilor, German Woman’s Spring, Izvorul Nemtoaicelor.

Oratia Fortress, Rucar-Bran, Saxon Hill
Oratia Fortress, between Podu Dambovitei, and Rucar-Bran Pass, on Saxon’s Hill (Dealul Sasului)

A paved road winds now though a forest of secular fir trees. Only two lanes, at times the road’s shoulder only marked by boulders painted with limewash. Somewhere along the road, after it makes a nearly 360 degrees bent climbing the steep slope, we leave Arges County and enter Brasov.

The primordial Rucăr Bran Pass

If you close your eyes and open your heart to the wind roaring among the rising stones and to the whispers of the evergreen trees, maybe you will hear the echo of a bell, the bleating of sheep, the call of old folk. For the same path that still exists today was first used by shepherds as they moved their flock from the valleys below to the rich pastures nestled in the mountains.

It was a time before soldiers or merchants ever set foot on this very same road that we, the latest arrivals, tread on today. We label it transhumance, they called it a way of life.

cioban frm Hunedoara, Transylvania, Dacian origin
Romanian words of Dacian origin: this is a shepherd (baci), wearing a mustache above his upper lip (buză), a hat (căciulă), a wide belt (brâu). here are trees (copaci) between him and his hamlet (cătun), a brook (pârâu) too. His sheep will give milk for good cheese (brânză), whey-cheese (urdă) too. His clever dog probably doesn’t ned a collar (zgardă) and it brings the man great joy (bucurie).

Even today shepherds still graze their flocks, and still use traditional methods for making cheese in pine bark. Wooden houses are scattered over hills, their lush meadows fragrant with the scent of blackberries and strawberries.

The same road stretched underneath the same sky just a few centuries back, when traders with overflowing wagons, topped with goods, but concealed weapons too, trekked along it. Saxons from Braşov, or traders from Wallachia, just as excited to meet like-minded merchants, afraid they be robbed, and ducking when the way narrowed at Rucăr Bran Pass. Eyes darting left and right. Warriors anywhere? Armed men striding to a fight? Phew, all peaceful today!

Rucăr Bran Corridor, Romantic, Beautiful, Charming - Historical Uphill. looking at Rucar Bran Pass
looking at Rucar Bran Pass from the border line between Arges and Brasov counties. Rucăr Bran Corridor, Romantic, Beautiful, Charming – Historical Uphill

Even in the 21st century, in the sprinkle of helmets surrounding Bran, among secret mountain paths and whimsical clearances, pastoral rituals are still observed. Thus, on the last Saturday of the month of September, the sheep are brought down from the mountains, after a summer’s worth of grazing, and returned to their owners for the winter, răvăsitul oilor, ‘the outpouring of the sheep’. The shepherds also share with the owners the cheese produced during spring and summer.

view from Bran to Rucar over the pass
Looking back, the view from Bran Castle towards Rucar over the pass

We left old Rucăr, trod uphill to Podu Dambovitei, along the winding road leading to Rucăr-Bran Pass, and we made it to Bran Castle. What’s next?

A book of short stories on Bran’s history coming soon and one on Transylvania’s spectacular past.

Discover my books on Amazon.