Rural Transylvania, European Destination of Excellence!
If you have ever wondered if you should travel to rural Transylvania or why rural Romania is so special, well, we have also a formal motivation besides the personal one: Marginimea Sibiului from Sibiu rural area is European Destination of Excellence for Tourism and Local Gastronomy in 2015!
What is EDEN and why you should take it as referral for your rural travel option?
EDEN comes from European Destinations of Excellence Network, and it is a European Union’s initiative promoting sustainable tourism development model across Europe in less known destinations. The initiative is based on national competitions for a specific theme that takes place every other year, and result in the selection of tourist “destination of excellence” for each participating country that ranges the first.
In 2015, Romania proposed Maginimea Sibiului, Transylvanian Hills, Tismana region and Neamt County for the EDEN contest having as theme “tourism and gastronomical activities”.
Why Sibiu rural area?
Local Festivals of traditions “Cheese and Tuica Festival” (“tuica” is the local plum brandy) in Rasinari, “Up on the mountain Festival” in Jina commune, “Peony festival” in Gura Raului, “Cheese Road”, all the traditions and traditional gourmet events that take place in rural settlements around Sibiu city area (named “Marginimea Sibiului” – “Sibiu margins”), but also the number of tourists added-up for Marginimea Sibiului to earn the leading position in the national contest and therefore be a Winner in the Tourism and Local Gastronomy category.
It was nevertheless the first prize for Sibiu rural area! In 2009, it won “The Golden Apple” – the World Federation of Travel Journalists and Writers (FIJET) equivalent of the Oscar – alongside with another two Romanian points of interest, the Reserve Danube Delta and Blue Air low-cost company. And it was a first in the 24 years of FIJET Golden Apple Award when more than two attractions in a country were awarded!
Why you should choose Sibiu rural area?
The authenticity of Sibiu rural area was recognized under EDEN excellence and this is a fact! Why does it deserve it and why you should visit the area? There is long list of reasons, we tease you in this article with the main core: traditional way of breeding the sheep can be experienced at its most in Marginimea Sibiului.
The core of Sibiu rural area, Marginimea Sibiului especially, do sheep farming in a traditional way, the way our ancestors did. This region mesmerizes the traveler through its sheeping tradition kept along centuries and everything deriving from it.
Most of the locals are sheep breeders from father to son since the beginning of time. Their way of life, their ancestral occupation and the result of their work is the essence of Marginimea Sibiului authenticity.
The image of a Transhumance is more than a concept met in manuals, it is a way of being. Here, in Marginimea Sibiului you can still meet people dressed in their sheep-fur coat, leaning on their stick, while guiding their flock to the greenest meadows in the mountain during summer or back to the village, when winter comes. Their calm and balanced voice, the way they speak show how nature challenged them to experience all. Mioritic Shepherd dogs, purely Romanian breed and worldwide recognized by now, are adapted to the geographical and weather conditions and stay next to the flock and its shepherds. This man’s best friend completes the image of human-nature communion, specific to Romanians and that we keep coming to.
The “telemea” cheese is genuine Romanian and the taste of it captures the locals’ way of living, moving through places, balancing life. Then, as a sign of adaption, shepherds in Marginimea Sibiului gathered cheese and polenta into “bulz”, with a unique mixture of flavor. Assortments of cheese made in Sibiu stand referral of good, natural traditionally made cheese and locals provide these “goodies” all over Romania.
In case you need a proof that in Marginime you find the “icon image” of traditional shepherd, we have to tell you the story of Ghita Ciobanu’ (Ghita, the Shepherd) who became a television star due to his belonging to an authentic way of Romanian being. Ghita appeared first into a commercial for a telecom company – www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHyDZOOOnUs. Romanian public loved his natural way of speaking and living, embracing his image and even traveling to meet him and his sheep cot.
We challenge you to sense all these and even more during a short Sibiu city break!