Făgăraș

Făgăraș (Romanian pronunciation: [fəɡəˈraʃ]; German: Fogarasch, Fugreschmarkt, Hungarian: Fogaras) is a city in central Romania, located in Brașov County. It lies on the Olt River and has a population of 28,330 as of 2011.[3] It is situated in the historical region of Transylvania, and is the main city of a subregion, Țara Făgărașului.

Făgăraș
Cetatea Fagaras - panoramio - Andrei Dan Suciu.jpg
Coat of arms of Făgăraș
Coat of arms
Location in Brasov County
Location in Brasov County
Făgăraș is located in Romania
Făgăraș
Făgăraș
Location in Romania
Coordinates: 45°50′41″N 24°58′27″E / 45.84472°N 24.97417°E / 45.84472; 24.97417Coordinates: 45°50′41″N 24°58′27″E / 45.84472°N 24.97417°E / 45.84472; 24.97417
Country Romania
CountyBrașov
Government
 • MayorGheorghe Sucaciu[1] (Ind.)
Area
36.41 km2 (14.06 sq mi)
Population
 (2011)[2]
30,714
 • Density840/km2 (2,200/sq mi)
Time zoneEET/EEST (UTC+2/+3)
Postal code
505200
Vehicle reg.BV
Websitewww.primaria-fagaras.ro

GeographyEdit

The city is located at the foothills of the Făgăraș Mountains, on their northern side. It is traversed by the DN1 road, 66 kilometres (41 mi) west of Brașov and 76 kilometres (47 mi) east of Sibiu. On the east side of the city, between an abandoned field and a gas station, lies the geographical center of Romania, at 45°50′N 24°59′E / 45.833°N 24.983°E / 45.833; 24.983 (Geographical center of Romania).[4]

The Olt River flows east to west on the north side of the city; its right tributary, the Racovița River, discharges into the Olt on the west side of the city. The Berivoi River (or Făgărășel) feeds into the Racovița from the right; it used to bring water to a major chemical plant (now closed) located on the outskirts of the city.[5]

NameEdit

According to linguist Iorgu Iordan, the name of the town is a Romanian diminutive of a hypothetical collective noun *făgar ("beech forest"), presumably derived from fag, "beech tree".[6]

Another source of the name is alleged to derive from the Hungarian language word for "partridge" (fogoly). A more plausible explanation is that the name is given by Fogaras river coming from the Pecheneg "Fagar šu", which means ash water. Another source of the name is given by folk etymology to be Hungarian, as the rendering of "wood" (fa) and "money" (garas), with legends stating that money made of wood had been used to pay the peasants who built the fortress (Făgăraș Citadel) around 1310.[citation needed]

HistoryEdit

 
Engraving of the Făgăraș Citadel by Ludwig Rohbock (by 1883)
Historical population
YearPop.±%
1910 6,579—    
1930 7,841+19.2%
1948 9,296+18.6%
1956 17,256+85.6%
1966 22,934+32.9%
1977 33,827+47.5%
1992 44,931+32.8%
2002 36,121−19.6%
2011 28,330−21.6%
Source: Census data

Făgăraș, together with Amlaș, constituted during the Middle Ages a traditional Romanian local-autonomy region in Transylvania. The first written document mentioning Romanians in Transylvania referred to Vlach lands ("Terra Blacorum") in the Făgăraș Region in 1222. (In this document, Andrew II of Hungary gave Burzenland and the Cuman territories South of Burzenland up to the Danube to the Teutonic Knights.) After the Tatar invasion in 1241–1242, Saxons settled in the area. In 1369, Louis I of Hungary gave the Royal Estates of Făgăraș to his vassal, Vladislav I of Wallachia. As in other similar cases in medieval Europe (such as Foix, Pokuttya, or Dauphiné), the local feudal had to swear oath of allegiance to the king for the specific territory, even when the former was himself an independent ruler of another state. Therefore, the region became the feudal property of the princes of Wallachia, but remained within the Kingdom of Hungary. The territory remained in the possession of Wallachian princes until 1464.

Except for this period of Wallachian rule, the town itself was centre of the surrounding royal estates. During the rule of Transylvanian Prince Gabriel Bethlen (1613–1629), the city became an economic role model city in the southern regions of the realm. Bethlen rebuilt the fortress entirely.

Ever since that time, Făgăraș was the residence of the wives of Transylvanian Princes, as an equivalent of Veszprém, the Hungarian "city of queens". Of these, Zsuzsanna Lorántffy, the widow of George I Rákóczy established a Romanian school here in 1658. Probably the most prominent of the princesses residing in the town was the orphan Princess Kata Bethlen (1700–1759), buried in front of the Reformed church. The church holds several precious relics of her life. Her bridal gown, with the family coat of arms embroidered on it, and her bridal veil now covers the altar table. Both are made of yellow silk.

Făgăraș was the site of several Transylvanian Diets, mostly during the reign of Michael I Apafi. The church was built around 1715–1740. Not far from it is the Radu Negru high school, built around 1909. It was originally a Hungarian language middle school where Babits Mihály taught for a while.

 
The city of Făgăraș, with the Făgăraș Mountains in the background

A local legend says that Negru Vodă left the central fortress to travel south past the Transylvanian Alps to become the founder of the Principality of Wallachia, although Basarab I is traditionally known as the 14th century founder of the state. By the end of the 12th century the fortress itself was made of wood, but it was reinforced in the 14th century and became a stone fortification.

In 1910, the town had 6,579 inhabitants with the following proportion: 3357 Hungarian, 2174 Romanian and 1003 German.[citation needed] According to the 2011 census, of residents for whom data are available, 91.7% of the population was Romanian, 3.8% Roma, 3.7% Hungarian and 0.7% German.[7]

 
Abandoned chemical plant

Făgăraș's castle was used as a stronghold by the Communist regime. During the 1950s it was a prison for opponents and dissidents. After the fall of the regime in 1989, the castle was restored and is currently used as a museum and library.

The city's economy was badly shaken by the disappearance of most of its industries following the 1989 Revolution and the ensuing hardships and reforms. Some of the city's population left as guest workers to Italy, Spain, or Ireland.

Jewish historyEdit

 
Făgăraș synagogue (1858)

A Jewish community was established in 1827, becoming among southern Transylvania’s largest by mid-century. Yehuda Silbermann, its first rabbi (1855–1863), kept a diary of communal events. This is still extant and serves as a source on the history of Transylvanian Jewry. In 1869, the local community joined the Neolog association,[8] switching to an Orthodox stance in 1926.[9] A Jewish school opened in the 1860s.[8]

There were 286 Jews in 1856, rising to 388 by 1930, or just under 5% of the population. During World War II, local Germans as well as the Iron Guard attacked Jews and plundered their property. Sixty Jews were sent to forced labor. After the King Michael Coup of August 1944, many left for larger cities or emigrated to Palestine.[8] The last Jew of Făgăraș died in 2013.[10]

AdministrationEdit

    Party Seats Current Council
  National Liberal Party (PNL) 5          
  Social Democratic Party (PSD) 4          
  Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (FDGR) 3          
  USR-PLUS 2          
  Party of the Roma (PR) 2          
  PRO Romania Social Liberal 2          
Independents 1        

PersonalitiesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Results of the 2016 local elections". Central Electoral Bureau. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Populaţia stabilă pe judeţe, municipii, oraşe şi localităti componenete la RPL_2011" (in Romanian). National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Comunicat de presă privind rezultatele provizorii ale Recensământului Populației și Locuințelor – 2011" (PDF). Brașov County Regional Statistics Directorate. 2012-02-02. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  4. ^ "Centrul României a fost mutat cu 30 de kilometri". Digi 24 (in Romanian). March 7, 2015. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  5. ^ "Făgărașul, oraşul construit pe albia Berivoiului. Când și cum au fost edificate cartierele din Făgăraș". Monitorul de Făgăraș (in Romanian). April 28, 2020. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Iordan, Iorgu (1963). Toponimia romînească. Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Populare Romîne. p. 84. OCLC 460710897.
  7. ^ (in Romanian) Populația stabilă după etnie - județe, municipii, orașe, comune, National Institute of Statistics; accessed July 25, 2013
  8. ^ a b c Shmuel Spector, Geoffrey Wigoder (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust: A—J, p. 376. New York University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8147-9376-2
  9. ^ Ladislau Gyémánt, Făgăraș, in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe
  10. ^ (in Romanian) ″Sinagoga din Făgăraş se degradează, dar promisiunile curg″, Monitorul de Făgăraș, October 23, 2019