Real Borders, Fictional Borders: Transylvania, ‘Galiciaʼ, and the Ways of Asserting Historical Exceptionalism, Then and Now

Abstract: Based on two recent events, Klaus Iohannisʼ political victory, by the help of civil society, in the election campaign for Romanian Presidency in November 2014, and the civic activism connected to what is labelled as the Maidan protests in Lʼviv, Ukraine, in February 2014, this text takes into discussion past and present manners in…

When East Meets West in Architecture: Public Buildings in Craiova (south-western Romania)

Craiova is the county seat of the historical region called Oltenia, an ethnographic area located in south-western Romania (Wallachia). Given its closeness to what, up to World War I, were parts of the Ottoman Empire, Oltenia has been strongly influenced for most of its modern history by Turkish and Greek (neo-Byzantine) patterns in architecture and…

A Deserted Place on a Stormy Afternoon: Pine Bluff (South-Eastern Arkansas, USA)

Pine Bluff is a part of the metropolitan area of Little Rock, the capital city of the state of Arkansas. It is the seat of Jefferson County. Geographically, Pine Bluff is a flat area filled with creeks, streams, and bayous, and it makes for the southeastern section of the Arkansas Delta. The numerous pine trees…

A Victorian Manor in the American South: Colonel Peel`s Mansion in Bentonville, Arkansas (USA)

Colonel Samuel West Peel (1831-1924), an Arkansas businessman, was the first native of the state who became a member of the US Congress. Here, he was named a legal representative to the most important five tribes (1) in the Indian Territory (Oklahoma). During the Civil War, as a member of the Confederate Army, he was…

The Mihail Palace in Craiova, south-western Romania

This ecclectic style palace designed in a combination of French academism and late Baroque is located in the center of Craiova, the most important city of the historical region of Oltenia, an area situated on the geographical southern part of Romania. It resembles the Cheverny Palace that can be found on Loire Valley. The construction…

Slovak Pioneers in the Prairie lands (Eastern Arkansas, USA)

In the last decade of the nineteenth century, struggling Slovak coal-miners and farmers of the north-eastern USA (e.g. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois) pay heed to the advertisements in Slovak promoted by the National Slovak Society which was presenting agricultural settlements in Arkansas. The so-called `colonization companies` of the time were buying land in the remote rural…

Carved Angels of Santa Fe (Southwest of USA)

The group of seven archangels carved by the artist José Lucero are located in the Santa Fe River Park along Alameda street. Originally made in 2005 from trunks of dead trees, the angels underwent significant restoration in 2013, according to their original state. Rain and rodents produced significant damage to the wood, hence the artist used…

Mid 19th century and Early 20th century Highbrow Houses of Arkansas (Pine Bluff, Little Rock and Fayetteville)

The architecture of Arkansas, the state located in the southern part of America, brings to mind familiar images of patrician houses built in neo-Classic style, similar to those promoted by movies like Gone with the Wind, the iconic production that has become an epitome of the southern culture ever since its release in 1939.  Indeed,…

A Seventeenth-Century​ Wood Church, Saint George Church of Dragoslavele (Argeș County, Romania)

Dragoslavele is a village located at the foothill of Leaota Mountains (Southern Carpathians), on the passage from the southern part of Romania to Transylvania. Mentioned in documents as early as fifteenth century, the village was the border where the brașoveni, the traders inhabitants of Brașov (Kronstadt) had to pay custom for entering a different economic…

Lutheran Churches of Transylvania (Locations: Sibiu/Hermannstadt, Râșnov/Rosenau, Prejmer/Tartlau, Hărman/Honigberg)

By its position, being the southeastern border of Hungarian Kingdom, and, afterwards, of the Austrian Empire, the Principality of Transylvania was a strategic place. Throughout the medieval time and early modernity, it was endowed with the mission of defence from invaders that might come from Central Asia. Of the entire Principality, a special focus would…