Maieru - Romania
Maieru is a large village situated along the Someş river, at an altitude of 470 metres in Northern Transylvania, Bistriţa-Năsăud County, Romania. It is one of the oldest human settlements in the Rodnei Mountains.
In ancient times, Maieru was documented as a ‘rusticum praedium’, i.e. a domain of the Rodna defence fortress. Local people called it ‘măierişte’, i.e. a grazing area for cattle and sheep. Maierii refers back to the ancient sheep owners.
The earliest record mentioning Maieru dates back to 1440 and was found on a certificate of donation written in Latin. A copy of this document can be seen in the local museum. Undoubtedly the village had existed long before the Mongol invasion in 1242. Some place names can be traced back to the Dacian linguistic substratum or the Slavic migration.
The archaeological evidence as well as the long history and significance of its traditions and local legends certify the millenary history of Maieru. Ancient occupations such as shepherding, agriculture, mining, bee-keeping, milling, etc. are reflected into the core of ballads and archaic customs interwoven with images of dramatic events that moulded the proverbial bravery and industry of the people of this ancient Romanian village.
Among the present occupations of its inhabitants we can mention forestry, stone masonry, carpentry, mining, bread baking, marble manufacturing, stone quarries, dairy farming and trade. Local women are well known for their artistry in making folk costumes and carpets. Maieru is considered to be the village with the largest number of children in Romania. Of the almost 8000 inhabitants, over 2000 are children and teenagers. More than in other regions of the country, in Maieru, old folk traditions and costumes are carefully and proudly preserved.
The village school is 300 years old. There are four school buildings and a gym hall. The introduction of the water supply system and sewerage is now well under way. There are over 1400 children attending school and pre-school activities co-ordinated by over 100 schoolteachers. A modern, well-equipped regional Information and Resource Centre was set up in 2000.
The village boasts a valuable ethnographic and memorial museum with 5000 exhibits on display and a Cultural Centre. Its folk group "Cununa Maierului" (Maieru Wheat Wreath) and choir have earned national and international awards through their participation in festivals. Maieru is twinned with Nort sur Erdre in Bretagne, France.
Liviu Rebreanu (1885 – 1944), Romania’s greatest novelist, grew up in Maieru. His novels - Ion, The Forest of the Hanged, The Revolt - have been translated in thirty languages. Remembering the unparalleled natural beauty of the village, its old traditions and the generous nature of the villagers, Rebreanu wrote: "I spent the happiest and most beautiful moments of my life in Maieru". Consequently, he was the first to call Maieru "Dreams’ Nest", a metaphor that we continue to perpetuate through the name of the local museum and weekly magazine.
Author: Sever URSA