These images and texts focus on cities, towns, buildings and natural scenery of Transylvania. Transylvania had been the integral part of the Kingdom of Hungary since 1000 until 1921, and is the citadel of the Hungarian culture in the Carpathian Basin. At the end of World War I, as part of the Treaty of Trianon, 1920, the Allies annexed Transylvania from Hungary to Rumania (to whom Transylvania had never belonged before), however, the region remains a treasury of the one-thousand-year old Hungarian culture and people in the Carpathian Basin.
Geographically, Transylvania lies in the Carpathian Basin. Its original and native inhabitants are the Hungarians. [Webmaster note: This, of course, is not true.The Magyars did not invade this part of Europe until the 9th century. See "Magyar Conquest of Hungary"]. During the centuries and after many wars, the Hungarian kings invited other ethnicities, such as the Saxons from Germany, to settle and fill the place of the decreased Hungarian population, and to replenish the land of Transylvania again. Other groups, such as the Rumanians, came in Transylvania later. Their first groups are mentioned in chronicles dated the 13th century, quoting them as poor shepherds wandering with their flocks from Wallachia across the Carpathian Mountains to seek asylum and refuge in Hungarian territory.
But there is another ethnic group within the territory of Transylvania proper, about which, very few words are usually spoken; these are the SZÉKELYs. The Székely people live in their very nice Székely-land (Hung. Székelyföld) for more than a thousand years, longer than the Hungarians, Germans, Rumanians or anybody else in Transylvania.
Ethnographically and culturally, the Székelys belong to the Hungarian group, speaking Hungarian language, having the same culture, and they are regarded as the oldest core of Hungarians in Transylvania. A bit different from the Hungarians in nature, the Székelys are believed to be the descendants of Attila the Hun, The Scourge of God, who arrived with his troops in Transylvania around the 5th century. With the retreat of Attila, the Székelys stayed behind, later joining the seven Hungarian tribes conquering Transylvania in 896. The Székelys are known to be strong-willed, hard-working, resourceful people who are, at the same time, temperamental, full of virtue, and have a funny sense of humor; something that an outsider cannot always figure out (Hung. székely góbé). They are honest, trustworthy and passionate, sometimes hard-necked people who are very proud of their heritage.
The Székelys live in Székely-land which they organized into 5 administrative
jurisdictions, referred to as széks; these are: Maros-szék, Csík-szék,
Udvarhely-szék, Három-szék and Aranyos-szék.
They wear their characteristic national costumes, eat from their own cousine and live in towns and villages which are very clean. The Székely villages can be recognized easily, because of the characteristic carved-wood gates opening to the courtyards, referred to as Székely gates (Hung. Székely kapu; see image on the left).
The ethnographic and cultural entity of the Székelys and the SZÉKELY-LAND are so important within the Hungarian culture that its images with texts are discussed in a separate page in under the title Transylvania.
PRINCIPALITY OF TRANSYLVANIA Coat of arms of the Principality of Transylvania. In the 18th century, Transylvania became an independent state, recognized by Austria and Hungary.
Coat of arms of TRANSYLVANIA
Coat of arms of TRANSYLVANIA
IMAGES ON THE SZÉKELY-LAND
Images and text supplied by András Szeitz, unless otherwise indicated.
Hungarian Images and Historical Background
© 1994 András Szeitz
Reproduction for free distribution and non-commercial purposes,
with the indication of the source, are welcome without permission.