Today's Independent features an unusually long article about travel in Romania. In "Once Bitten, Twice Smitten", Simon Calder travels across the country by train (on some of the slowest "express" trains in Europe) and hitch-hiking (he nominates Romania as the second-best country in Europe for this form of travel). On the way he reminisces about his previous visit in the 1980s, when Romania was a far scarier place than it is now.
One of the places Calder visits is the village of Viscri in Transylvania. Oddly enough, a travel writer for the Guardian reported from Viscri only six weeks ago. No doubt Viscri is an interesting and picturesque village, but there are many such villages in Transylvania. Why would two British newspapers just happen to converge on this particular one? It's all down to Prince Charles, apparently. He has visited Viscri, spouted some guff about how it represents the primeval past buried deep within all of us (or something along those lines), and bought a property there. Cue sudden interest in the English press.
Rereading Simon Calder's article I was left wondering where he might have spotted minarets in the Mures valley (quote below) - as the only place I've ever seen them in Romania was along the Black Sea coast.
I don't think the Ottomans ever built mosques in Transylvania.
>Along the Mures valley of the Banat – the western province of Romania – even small towns boast an Orthodox and a Catholic or Lutheran church, or sometimes all three. Much evidence remains of Ottoman domination, too: minarets pierce the horizon, while in the foreground dwellings of brick and terracotta gently subside.
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