People who Inspire : The Romanian Treasury Team / Echipa Tezaur Romanesc

 

 – Who are you and the team? 

We are a group of young people who love Romania and have initiated a complex and, we could say, a pretty ambitious project, whose main objective is the revival of the traditional crafts and values of the Romanian village, and the conservation of the  Romanian spirit. Being an interdisciplinary platform, we have gathered a large number of specialists from different areas, such as: designers, architects, ethnologists, philologists, sociologists, historians and  journalists.

Tezaur Romanesc logo

 – Please describe each project in short, one by one.

Currently, the platform includes the following projects:

 –         The Romanian village –  the history of the Romanian villages, traditional peasant style of architecture, traditional building techniques, design, the spirit of the Romanian housing.

–         Romanian traditional crafts – textile manufacturing, wood, ceramics, glass, stone, iron, wood weaving, etc; hiring the craftsmen and designers inspired by this theme : sewing workshops, wood and Atelierul de Haine – clothing workshop.

Atelierul de Haine4

Atelierul de Haine - accesories  Atelierul de Haine accesories2 Atelierul de Haine clothes and accesories Atelierul de Haine2

–         Rural life – the working of the land : agriculture, fruit growing, forestry, animal husbandry, and so forth, Romanian cuisine, promoting Romanian traditional products : Gradina fermecată – Charmed Garden, old cures and natural medicine, harmonious development and communities of volunteers.

Swedish turnip our chicken nettle

–         Beliefs and traditions – religion, folk calendar, legendary and mythological heroes, singing and dancing, customs, and more.

–         Great Romanians – renowned personalities representative for our spiritual and cultural identity.

–         The Romanian Treasury encyclopedia – ‘en route’ encyclopedia based on the studies carried on by our team

–         Education through cultural heritage : arts and crafts camps, creative workshops, events, exhibitions, and much more.

Apart from the documentation and the  collecting of texts and information, the project aims to promote traditions and to apply them to everyday life, to initiate field researches, to promote authentic Romanian products, as well as online advertising and marketing. We also intend to focus all these efforts on improving the peasants’ standard of living.

We emphasize the practical side of things, and want to transfer into real life our crafts and traditions.

The project was launched on  the 15th of January and there are already a few shops that have started working, such as: Atelierul de Haine  – a design shop, opened in the Old City of Bucharest, which is a shop with traditional inspired fashion design: clothes, shoes, and accessories, Lemne si Semne – furniture shop, opened in Moldavia that has wooden furniture with traditional motifs, Grădina fermecată, our Charmed Garden – a project implemented in a few villages from Teleorman, Arges, Gorj supporting the consumption of healthy products from traditional farming.

MestesugArt – a workshop dedicated to the creation of the Romanian blouses (“ii”) and embroidery – in Muntenia.

Atelierul de Haine - inspired by Romanian patterns

The “Tezaur Romanesc” site – which is going to be launched in a week, including articles on topics of interest, written in a an accessible manner, adapted to the social media networks. We have already created a new online platform – “Tara noastra-i tara noastra” (“Our Country is Our Country”) – where anyone can send photos, articles, songs, videos, and anything that can create, as if with the pieces of a puzzle, the image of a beautiful and  flourishing Romania.

 

Why did you start all those wonderful  projects? 

Dimitrie Gusti, the founder of the Sociological School of Bucharest, a school of international renown, focused on rural monographs,  said that “Knowing one’s nation is the best means of serving it”

Our nation cannot develop itself if we don’t strive to profoundly know and understand the nature of the Romanian people, if we aren’t able to preserve our ethnic and spiritual identity, our memory; all these aspects represent the basis for developing our national culture. Especially in these times of intense dissolution of national identities, we have a duty to protect and promote them. Romanians need to remember their own roots, in order to recover and build an authentic national culture. We strongly believe that this is the only way in which we can assure a sound future of our country.

Dimitrie Gusti -  Romanian sociologist, ethnologist, historian - researcher of Romanian Village

 

On the other hand, each of us has a sacred duty to his ancestors and descendants. Moreover, Romania has so many beautiful things to show, all at our fingertips, that it would be a pity to pass by them with indifference.

 

It all started with a conversation among friends, at night, about what we would actually want to do and how we would really like to be. This is how the Romanian Treasury project took form. Initially the name seemed a bit pretentious to us, but it eventually imprinted itself in our minds and we just couldn’t change it. Moreover, we jokingly called ourselves “the treasurers” (“tezaurienii”). A great enthusiasm filled our souls. It is hard to explain the motivation and force that animate you when you really do what you have always wanted to do. This has also helped us to get closer to our parents and our grandparents.

What is the beauty of Romania?

The beauty of Romania comes from what makes it unique.

Dumitru Staniloae, the greatest Romanian theologian, said, in his book, Reflections on the Spirituality of the Romanian People, that the Romanian people is unique because we unite the Latin lucidity with a sense of mystery specific to the peoples of the Eastern Europe.

We have a kind of “bright depths”, a kind of serenity, there is a brightness in our people, a decency (“cuviință”), a balance, a delicacy, a generosity and warmth that many foreigners have often noticed in our people particularly, they have appreciated our hospitality.

This kind of “luminous understanding” is also full of “a profound respect towards the endless mystery of people and of the world in general”. All this qualities are reflected in our popular culture, in our folklore, in the Romanian fairy tales,where good always wins over evil, in the Romanian carols and ballads called “doine”.

 

We also have a word in which all these features are united: the Romanian “dor” :  longing , which, as Dumitru Staniloae said – “is associated with the communitarian personalism of our people”, something completely different from both the Western individualism and the Asian collectivism.

 

Without the strenght of its’ Faith, the Romanian people, who has always been “in the way of evils” ,as the Romanian scholar Miron Costin says, wouldn’t have resisted so many hardships.

 

“Without Orthodoxy our history wouldn’t have knowned the glory in the times of Mircea cel Bătrân, Mihai Viteazul, Ștefan cel Mare and others voievodes” (Dumitru Staniloae). As a testimony, we have the numerous monasteries founded by Romanian voievodes such as the monasteries of Bucovina, with exterior paintings, many of them raised by Stefan cel Mare, and which have amazed many foreign tourists with their remarkable paintings and rich symbolism.

 

Another interesting feature that distinguishes Romania from other countries is the maintenance, in certain areas of our country, of the villages of free peasants (yeomen – “răzeși”) until the Interwar period, which is a unique phenomenon in Europe.

 

In our country, the peasant commons (“obști țărănești”) were a form of resistance of the Romanian people, an example of strong solidarity, which often made the Romanian peasants capable of defending themselves against feudal enslavement.

 

What are the values of Romania that the world outside can learn from or be inspired by ? 

The spirit of community, which, in the case of our people, is derived from what Dumitru Staniloae called “the orthodox personalism”, and which was once, especially before the instauration of the Communist regime, very strong in the Romanian people -, may be a model for the West, where individualism is more pronounced. This spirit of community has played an essential role in the existence of the Romanian people.

My grandmother - my inspiration and the lady in charge and the loom specialist

Furthermore, the spirit of tolerance, hospitality and altruism are traits manifested by the Romanians very often over time. For example, the tolerance showed by the Romanians by coexisting peacefully, in Dobrogea in nineteenth century, with different ethnic groups which the historical circumstances brought on our territory as under a shelter: Bulgarians, Russians, Germans, Cossacks, Greeks, Armenians and Jews. The number of Romanians in this area was superior to these groups. What is relevant in this example is that Romanians have never imposed others to change their habits, language and faith. This peaceful coexistence also allowed our people to preserve their identity and national sentiment.

 

Other specific traits are the humanity and the spirit of sacrifice for the fellow human being, whether a friend or a foe, a relative or a stranger. The case of Mircea Vulcanescu – a prominent reprezentative of the Dimitrie Gusti school – , who gave his life to save a cellmate, is well-known. Along with these martyrs, the heroes of the anticommunist armed resistance in the mountains will always live in our heart and memory. There are also many ordinary Romanian people whose trials and sacrifices, during the Communist regime, weren’t recorded in history.

 

Maybe the unspoken advice that the Romanians can give is living a simpler life, closer to nature, to authenticity.

What is Romanian identity about today, 2013 ? 

Our country has undergone the devastating Communist experiment which started in ’47. Subsequently to the restoration of “democracy” after ’89, the Romanian people has not pulled through yet, because these experiments were meant to eliminate from its consciousness our roots, our identity.

In the Romanian village, there were very strong communities and, certainly, a profounder spirit of solidarity than in the urban areas. Along with the destruction of the village, the spirit of community was also severely weakened, and the depopulation and impoverishment of the villages – a process that continues today -, mass emigration of the peasants, all these facts reflect the tragedy of a people which is being cut off from its’ own roots.

We hope that, with small steps and a lot of determination, we will succeed in our goal to awaken in the consciousness of most Romanians the preoccupation and respect for the past, for our tradition and our spiritual structure, for everything that forms the Romanian identity.

 

All those who want to take part in the “Romanian Treasury” project are welcome.

 

How would you put Romania back on the map ? In a good way ? 

Romania is, without doubt, a blessed country, and we believe that the only means to improve Romania’s image is “from the inside out”, by changing our perception about ourselves, as Romanians.

It’s not only about respect, it’s about learning to appreciate what we have and is right under our noses.

 

We’re not perfect, of course, but we should try to love those things that belong to us. It may sound outdated and too romantic, but, first of all, we must love our native tongue, our land and ancestors.

Traditional workshop Tezaur Romanesc Traditional Workshop in Muntenia - Tezaur Romanesc Traditional workshop - Tezaur Romanesc Wood and Sign (furniture workshoop) and the craftman

 

In the last 23 years, we were taught to be ashamed of our origins, of being Romanians. We have been constantly told that our peasants are less hard-working than others, that our roads are worst, that our folk culture is less important, that our schools are worthless, that our language is less fashionable than others, in short, that our country is not good at all.

We should abandon this kind of defeatism. Once we start doing this, the spell will be broken, as in a Romanian fairytale, and everything can get back to normal, to a natural, quiet and meaningful life, worthy of this gifted people.

Thank you very much for this interview!

By Yvette Larsson, Founder of The Bucharest Lounge

Questions answered by Irina Bazon, Press Officer, on behalf the Romanian Treasury team.

 

 

11 thoughts on “People who Inspire : The Romanian Treasury Team / Echipa Tezaur Romanesc

  1. A wonderful project and many ideas.
    They say that for the last 23 years they have been taught to be ashamed of their origins. I have never heard that before. I also think it is a bad idea.
    One of the big reasons I love Romania is because of its history and traditions. Their name is one of the first invaders, the Romans. I feel they have formed the basis of much of modern Romania, probably because many of the soldiers had settled here and when Rome pulled out of Thrace (after they had taken most of the natural Gold and Silver) many soldiers stayed as Thracian immigrants! 🙂
    There have been many more invaders and immigrants since then. Look at a Menu in any Bucharest restaurant. The popular foods and recipes come from Rome (Italy, that is), Austria, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Turkey….
    I love Romania and ALL of its history and traditions. 🙂

    1. Watch out Peter ,we are a very proud people you might find yourself at fault whichever way you turn in the beginning it takes time to get to know us we are complicated and unfortunately a bit confused after the brainwash campaign the Communist Era tried on us 😦 hold on in there ,you will make it 🙂

  2. No. We are called Romanians because we considered ourselves part of the Christian Roman Empire, NOT because we are not Thracians , and genetic studies show that most of the Romanian men are native to the Balkan region. Most of the Roman soldiers settled in Dacia were from Anatolia, not from Rome. Besides, even the Greeks called themselves Romans for a long period of time. I also believe it’s worth mentioning that until 610 AD many Thracians became Emperors including Galerius, Constantine, Teodosius, Justinian and the last one was Phocas. But our teachers don’t mention their origins at school. Nobody told me that Spartacus was a Thracian, or that Russia was led for 2 years by a man who had Romanian blood in his arms( Admiral Alexander Kolchak).
    And please, don’t throw mud at this young Romanians. They are right regarding the last 23 years. The media, the politicians and other influential people were against the revival of the Romanian nation after 1989.

    1. Johnny of Dacia,
      I am sorry if I seem to have upset you. I am only stating the facts I have been taught.
      My history teachers told me that Rome tried to conquer Anatolia, but just “controlled” it. I was not aware that the Roman soldiers were from Anatolia. Control, seems like tyranny to me, so why would Anatolians join the Roman Army?
      I was also taught that Romania was named after the Roman invaders. The Roman Army brought the “Christian Roman Empire” to the Balkans as you mention. So, I am sorry, I fail to see why my comment is wrong….
      Also, I did not say that most Romanians were not Thracians. I just suggested that the Roman soldiers who stayed became a part of Thrace. It states that fact at the museum in Sighisoara.
      Please, do not suggest I am “throwing mud” at anybody or anything in, or from Romania.
      I love Romania. Imi place Romania.
      I also want to marry my girlfriend from Bucharest. Like the Roman soldiers, personally I am proud to be British, but also I would love to be part of Romania.
      The Romanians have proved like the British, that they will not be controlled by someone we do not like.

  3. Thank you for your comments and your appreciation regarding our project! Johnny of Dacia’s answer also represents our view. Our history and traditions were not formed by the invaders of this country – sustaining such an idea would mean denying our origins. We cherish our Dacian origins. The Geto-Dacian civilization was a very rich and interesting civilization, as many studies have shown, including those of the prominent historian Vasile Parvan. To give just one example, the amazing wood civilization that has developed in Maramures has very old origins, traced back to the ancient Dacian tribes who lived in this territory.

    Moreover, what helped us keep our unity and our identity against so many invaders is our faith, the Orthodox Christianity, which had an essential role in the formation of the Romanian people and in our history. As Petre Țuțea – one of our greatest philosophers and politicians – says, “from a political point of view, the flurry that befell the area in which the history of the Romanian people took place shows that we are one of the great nations of Europe. A Romanian scholar – [Miron] Costin – says we have been ‘in the way of all evils’. Was any invasion really able to impose its own customs and beliefs here?”

    The migratory populations with a steppe culture weren’t able to influence decisively a country that is covered 70% by mountains and hills, areas where the nature of the Romanian people was best preserved. Especially in the mountainous areas, in the foothills of the Carpathians, a strong free peasantry maintained itself for a long time, and its roots go far back into prehistory.

    A cosmopolitan menu, which can also be found in restaurants in America, England, and anywhere, cannot be an argument to show that our civilization was the creation of invaders and immigrants that entered our territory! We, like any other nation, have our own traditional food.

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