Here we are in the last day of our trip, traveling from Alma Vii to Mihăileni for just a couple of hours and waiting for our ride back home, to city life.
Initially we had an extra day planned that would have taken us back to Roșia, where we had parked our car in the first day of our trip. But, although we tried in all possible ways to find an accommodation in Mihăileni, we couldn’t manage to find any. There are no guesthouses and people were not very eager to host us. We even called the mayor of the village, but no luck. So we took the decision to end our trip in Mihăileni and ask a friend for a ride back to Roșia, where we had left our car.
As we didn’t have a long journey for the day, we woke up a bit later, enjoyed a nice lunch in the sun and left Alma Vii in the direction of Moardăș, a neighboring village that would then take us to Mihăileni. The trip was quite enjoyable, passing by a cooling forest. Of course we also meet a shepherd with his sheep and a dozen angry dogs that would come running and barking towards us. We managed to pass them by without any incidents, me honestly hoping that it’s the last encounter of this kind, as I had had too many already for a full week.
By the half of the road to Moardăș, we got to encounter a different type of animal. It was a half dozen of, what was looking like, wild boars coming towards us and we got a bit scared. Looking through the lens of the camera we realized with relieve they were just domestic pigs running wild on the hills.
And here we are in Moardăș, on a Saturday morning, seeing almost no one on the streets. “Some things must first burn, in order to have the power to be reborn from their own ashes”, is a thought that can sprout in the minds of those who study the history of the Moardăş village. Far from the main roads, the small village didn’t always have an easy life. After a fluctuating history of 5 centuries, which seemed to mark the end of the village in 1860, the priest complains about the precarious condition of the fortified church. The sacristy had to be demolished in 1874. Six years later the parish decided to initiate the necessary repairs, but just as the men were in the woods and cutting down trees to support the severely degraded bell tower, it collapsed. A local chronicler tells of the centuries that followed: the loss of habits and mismanagement led a large part of the population to emigrate to America. In almost 100 years, the last Saxons leave the village, so the fate of their church seems sealed. But in 2008 the Coordination Office of the Fortified Churches in collaboration with the former locals launched the initiative to renovate the building.
The fortified church from Moardăş was built in the 15th century as a Gothic church. Particularly valuable is the architectural plasticity of the choir. The ribs of the vaults end with consoles decorated with great skill. To these are added the three choir windows with beautifully crafted moldings and menus that have been repaired in stages since 2010. So far, the frame, the roof, the walls and the facades have been repaired. The next steps are to repair the floor in the nave and choir. The purpose of the action is to repair the church to such an extent that the interior space can be used again safely.
After chatting a bit with an old lady that was checking us out from her window, next to the church, we headed in the direction of Mihăileni. The two villages are quite close to each other so we were in not such a big hurry. We took time to pick up walnuts, as there were plenty of walnut trees on the way. And it was probably the first time we saw quite a bunch of people passing by the same road we chose. Locals were using this road to access their small farms and cultivated land next to the villages.
About Mihăileni not too much to say, the area is mostly known for the Canyon right outside the village, the one that we also decided to check out.
The Mihăileni Canyon or Râpa lui Brod / Brot is located at approx. one kilometer from the village of Mihăileni, on the course of the Calva brook and covers an area of 15 hectares. The canyon appeared as a result of the erosion of the sandy sediments, has a length of 600 m and the height of the walls reaches up to 25 m. There is also a legend of the place that says that here was the abode of the wolf cubs, because the villagers found an interesting formation here.
I have to say from the beginning that I was not planning to actually write about this place, but I will do it, just so people get an idea of what this place is all about. The Canyon is not officially open for visiting, but if you feel adventurous, you can, of course, go have a look. It’s not a difficult trip, but tree branches have fallen all over and as it’s a bit sandy, you will have a bit of a trouble climbing out of it. As I did and I also got a bit angry with taking the decision to pass through the canyon. But it was probably also a bit of fatigue in the middle, the heaviness of my backpack and maybe also the thought that the trip was coming to an end.
After getting out of the canyon (passing through it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes), you have to keep walking up the hill for a couple of minutes and you reach dirt road that goes down to the village. We stopped on the hill for a last lunch, enjoying a nice village panorama at our feet and headed towards the village church to meet our pick up.
And here we are, still smiling after a week of wondering around the hills, forests and villages of Transylvania.
Here is our map of the day: