Zarnesti town belongs to the ethnographic area of the Barsa Country, close and very similar to the Bran area. Among the traditional activities we mention shepherding which has been practiced without cease for centuries. Later on agriculture has become the main activity for many of the local people, providing them with the basic living means.

Rucar area - The folk architecture characteristic to the Muscel area is relevant for describing the 17th century Rucar architecture as well. The houses were built "inspired by the Vlach custom" from horizontal overlapping tree trunks, with a pointy shingle (splinter) roof. Smoke was evacuated directly through the top of the roof, because they didn’t have chimneys. The trunks were joined together by box thorn wood nails. The four slopes roof was pointy or flat. The houses, plastered with white clay, comprised of the entrance room, the cellar and the living room.
At the end of the 19th century, the two stories house appeared: the cellar (at the ground floor) and the living rooms (on the first floor). The organizing of the interiors reflects the presence of a local household textile industry which engaged most of the village women. Popular technological installations were in use, in the interwar period, on the Dâmbovita River at Cheii Valley and on Râusor.

The distinctive beauty and authenticity of the Rucar popular costume has impressed famous artists such as the painter Nicolae Grigorescu. Historian, politician and writer Nicolae Iorga described in his work "Country landscapes" a characteristic image of Rucar at the beginning of the 20th century: "peasants with thick black long coats and sheepskin coats, women whose richness of butterflies and ornaments is only partially covered by brown overcoats, some of them wear, playfully over the smooth white that surrounds their pretty faces, a men’s hat." Alexandru Vlahuta, in his work "Picturesque Romania", commented: "the Rucar women’s costume, truly Romanian, embroiled, sawn and decorated by their own hands with a skill that these women themselves don’t know where they have learned it.'

Bran Villages - Regarding the types of houses from the Pestera and Magura villages, we mention houses with two rooms (a single entrance, the entrance room and the living room), houses with three rooms (entrance room, middle room and the big room), houses with four or more rooms and two-storied houses. For building materials, the most common is wood, horizontal overlapping trunks. The basement is made of stone (cement wall for the more recent houses). The trunks are carved with the axe on two or four sides. Later on, locals have started to use, in walls, bricks as well. For the roof, splinter wood (shingle) was most commonly used; nowadays they use tiles as well. Among the main occupations of the local people we mention: livestock breeding, sheep products processing, wood harvesting and, more recently, rural tourism.

Ciobani Stana Vladusca

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