My dad was an autodidact. He believed in the power of education even though he did not get a chance to earn a college degree. He loved literature, history, learning about different cultures, and liked to stay informed. When I was a child my dad took me on weekends to visit museums, parks, and the botanical garden in Bucharest. These were places he believed that a child needed to know about as part of his/her general education. Muzeul Satului or The Village Museum has always been one of my favorite places to visit in Bucharest. Muzeul Satului is an outdoor ethnographic museum set in a very popular park called Parcul Herastrau or Herastrau Park.
Visiting the museum is a rewarding experience for anyone that doesn’t mind walking through time for a couple of hours to get a feel of an authentic Romanian peasant life and architecture of more than 270 houses, farms, windmills, watermills, and churches that were brought from all of Romania’s historic regions: Transylvania, Oltenia, Dobrogea and Moldavia.
My dad had read and explained to me the story of each construction we had seen. The museum originally started with 29 houses, a wooden church from Maramures (northern part of the country), five wind mills, a water mill (http://jurnalul.ro/), and other additions that were normally part of a rural site.
The museum was damaged by fires in the nineties and when it served as a temporary refugee camp for the Romanians that left Basarabia and the region of Herta during the post-World War II Russian occupation. However, it survived and became more beautiful because of the effort of some very passionate and dedicated people.
I went there again in 2005 with my husband. It seemed different this time. I was in the position of telling the stories. My husband noticed right away that despite the primitive and simple life that Romanian peasants had a couple of centuries ago they were very talented people. We saw original pottery, wood carvings, textiles, costumes, and utilitarian objects that were used in households and were different for each county.
Photos above: http://www.pixabay.com and Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Even though nowadays foreigners may first get tempted by the multitude of restaurants where they can spend the time between flights or when they pass through the city, Muzeul Satului or Village Museum still remains the perfect place to visit when they can’t explore Romania in depth and don’t want to leave the country disappointed because they missed the chance to catch a glimpse of the rich Romanian culture.
Featured Image: postcard of Village Museum in the 70s courtesy of Dan Nichifor (www.etimpu.com)
Video: http://www.animoto.com, song: Crystal Dawn by Ashley Collins and Emmanuel North
Photos: Public Domain (Wikimedia Summons, Andrei Stroe)
Pictures above: personal collection