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1 posts from November 2013




Greetings from Budapest!

Our semester is running fast: we are already over our midterm exams and we are making preparations to celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Hungary, but we will use the occasion to reflect, take stock and enjoy delicious home-style stuffed turkey. Since our last newsletter, the major event of our program was the field trip to Transylvania and here are some highlights.  

Excursion to Transylvania

Our longest organized group excursion of the semester was the 4-day visit to Transylvania, which is always a big excitement among students. The area we visited was the Kalotaszeg region and we stayed with local families in the village of Kalotaszentkirály, which allowed us to experience their warm hospitality and gain an insight into their traditional way of life and customs. We visited the annual market in Kőrösfeketetó (Negreni) – a centuries old annual event - a huge fair selling traditional goods as well as antiquities. It is the biggest market event of that region and it attracts thousands of people. During our visit, our host village was holding its annual harvest festival which included a big dance in the evening. Folk music and dance are still a living part of the community’s tradition. As it was a dance for all, our students soon were trying their feet and it was great fun when they were asked to dance by the locals.

1402405_10151902410218011_1961155845_oYoung men of the village inviting everyone to the evening harvest dance

Torda and Torockó were other highlights of the trip. The salt mines of Torda dating back more than 800 years. In the Middle Ages Transylvania, as part of the Kingdom of Hungary, was Europe’s major supplier of salt. It was also in this city that the first Act of Religious Tolerance was issued in 1568. Torockó, for centuries the center of iron mining and manufacturing in Transylvania, received the “Europe Nostra” award for cultural heritage in 1999. 

1393618_10201885515126768_1561824852_nTorockó (Rimetea) and Székely Stone

Torockó’s Hungarian inhabitants are Unitarians, a religion that was founded in Transylvania. We marveled the beautiful snow-white houses nestled below the monumental Székelykő (Székely Stone), a three-thousand feet tall rock.

Marissa8Andrew and Marissa with the Székely Stone in the background

We had beautiful weather, with sunny warm days which just made the experience even more enjoyable.  We hiked to the top of the hill in Torockószentgyörgy (Coltești) where the ruins of a medieval fortress can be found.  1390627_10201885520566904_859429347_n

The castle has an impressive location in the village and the beautiful, fall colors of the nature amazed us all: 857896_10151902408738011_42751220_oSasha and Rachael enjoying the view from top of the castle in Torockószentgyörgy

We also visited Kolozsvár (Cluj), the former capital of Transylvania, an important economic and educational center of the country.

Our four days went by very fast, we had to say goodbye. The excursion helped us all to better understand and appreciate rural and traditional way of life.

Kristin1Saying goodbye to our host mom, Kata (in the middle)

Best regards,

Resident Staff

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator