Europe’s remote, lost-in-time villages

The most interesting of these artisans is Marinelle Gyorfi, who has revived traditional Saschiz blue pottery in the Saxon village of the same name, 20 km north of Viskri. In one of his workshops Saschiz Ceramic Workshop, at the end of a narrow lane opposite the village’s high-walled church, I watched him pound and deftly move between pottery and plates which then shone a rich cobalt blue. In the late 18th century he used the sgraffito technique used by the earlier potters of Saschiz in the glaze rather than in the glaze. What Marinell makes depends on the weight of the clay – and how he feels that day. “Making a pot is more about the journey than the destination,” he told me. “It’s all about the emotions you feel along the way.”

Like all the other villages in Viskri and Tarnawa Mare, it has remained relatively unchanged since the Saxons first settled here: it consists of two parallel rows of pastel-coloured houses, built in a row on either side of a row. Villages were originally in different neighborhoods or Neighborhood; Subsidiary communities who worked together to carry out communal tasks, a practice that continues today. For example, livestock owners still need to clear pastures and pastures some of the time (depending on how many cattle or sheep they own).

It was a scintillating ride by horse and cart to the scrub-clear pastures between Viscree and Chris. Liviu Damian, chosen to take care of the village flock this season, spends the entire summer in the shepherd’s fold, his only company being a few local shepherds and fierce sheepdogs (mostly) to keep the area’s wolves and bears at bay. . His temporary home was an open-floor hut, where he cooked, ate, slept and – in an adjoining room – made cheese using a wooden vat and tray. He had about 180 sheep under his care, whose shepherds milked them by hand every evening. Most families have 10 to 20 sheep and they all get a few kilos of cheese from Damien every week.

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