24-26 August, 2011
I am now in Sighişoara (Schässburg in German, Segesvár in Hungarian), heartland of Transylvania. The region has a substantial minority of Hungarian speakers, and has had a significant German population in its history (and up to the beginning of the communist period, when they were “encouraged” to move to Germany), as evidenced by the Lutheran church on the hill and the cemetery beside it. The main entrance to the Old Town is through the gate under the massive clock tower, leading to the main square, and from there up to the “Church on the Hill” via a covered wooden walkway.
I hiked up the “Breita Plateau” hill near town on Thursday to see the Ancient Oak Tree Reserve (some rare specimens are 4-5 m. in girth and up to 800 years old). I met two German-speaking brothers (probably in their 40s now) who were born in Sighisoara but emigrated to Germany in 1990. They were on a holiday visit with their families. They reminisced about how they used to play up here on the plateau as children.