I was deeply touched by this page. Your words and pictures are not simply entertaining - they are a service to Hungary. Teach the people of the world about Hungary! Help people understand who we are! Trianon was born of ignorance - ignorance of the Hungarian people!
Köszönöm szépen fiatal nagy magyarok!
Péter Czink VRNT
Chapter Leader, Vancouver Chapter, World Federation of Hungarian Veterans Honourary Chapter Leader, Miskolc Chapter, Don River Veterans' Association
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Click here to see some nice photos that I took of Budapest and Hungary

Hungarian Version/Magyar Verzió


Trip to Transylvania

© Peter Makrai's photos

English Version

Angol Verzió

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Farkaslaka, Transylvania


I am Peter Makrai living in Budapest, Hungary. I have been to Erdély (Transylvania) recently. My friend and I joined a reformed (Presbyterian) youth group. These kids attend the reformed deacon school in Budapest. This school is after graduation from high school. The kids come here from Transylvania, Ukraine and Hungary. All of them are Hungarians living in or outside Hungary. So they planned a one week trip to many places of Transylvania. We usually hit the towns and villages where the kids live and we slept there and got good food and everything we needed. Otherwise we slept at congregational members (Hungarian families). So for these reasons the total cost of this trip was 6000 Fts (35 bucks), food, sleeping, traveling costs were included, so it was very cheap. The 3/4 of the group was girls, which is not bad at all. There were 32 people in the group.

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Members of the group


Everything was great. The company (group) was very good, which is very important. We have been to beautiful places that you can not see inside Hungary. The Transylvanian people we met were very kind and happy to have us there.
We set off from Budapest by train in the morning on a Monday. We got off the train just before we got to the Hungarian-Romanian border. We walked about 4 kms to get to the border. There was a rented Romanian bus with a Transylvanian (Hungarian) man waiting for us at the Romanian side of the frontier. This bus took us everywhere. On Monday we went to Zilah, where the population is 40000. The people have to get the drinking water from public springs. Our great poet Endre Ady attended high school there. We have seen his statue there. Then we went to Diósad (Diosad) where one of the girls lives. It is a village with 900 souls, all Hungarians.
On Tuesday we went to Kolozsvár (Kolozsvar) where we visited the Hungarian Reformed Deacon school, which was built two years ago. It is a very nice looking, five story building. We got a nice lunch there and were told about the way this school works. The Hungarian Consulate (embassy) was reopened in Kolozsvár a month ago. Ceausescu closed it down ten years before his '89 execution. Unfortunately the mayor of Kolozsvár (George Funar) is anti-Hungarian. He always tries to do stupid things. A few days after we had been there the Hungarian flag disappeared from the wall of the Hungarian Consulate. It turned out that three Romanian people stole it who work at the building of the mayor. Of course there is no evidence, but everybody knows that Funar instigated them. Earlier he hinted at that the flag and even the Hungarian board (sign) will disappear.

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The group in front of the statue of the Hungarian king 'Mátyás' at Kolozsvár, his birth place


Then we went to Zsobok, which is a Hungarian village of 350 souls. We slept at the home of orphans. It looks like a very elegant hotel. It was built a few years ago. It is run by a Hungarian reformed pastor and his wife. There is also a school and dorm for the kids who are not able to travel 15 kms through hills and valleys from the nearby villages. The pastor and his wife do a wonderful job there. It is very hard. The government does not give any money since it is a religious organization and not run by the state. But of course they have to pay taxes to the state. Mostly they get the money to do this job from foreign reformed organizations.

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Szekely Gate with some kids


On Wednesday we went to the 'Tordai hasadék' (mountain-gorge). It was neat. Then we went to Marosvásárhely (Marosvasarhely) and also to Harasztkerék (Harasztkerek) which is a small village. Then half of the group came back to Marosvásárhely. We stayed at a young Hungarian couple. We talked to them. The man said that after the row, fuss, coup (because they do not call it revolution like we do here) all of his Hungarian friends left Erdély for Hungary and other countries. He says that earlier the 80 percent of the population of Marosvásárhely was Hungarian. Now it is just 52 percent. Romania gradually settled Romanian people to the Hungarian towns and villages. So unfortunately they have reached their goal. The Hungarian population is slowly decreasing. It makes us sad. I feel bad when I think of these beautiful places and territories that used to be Hungary. An old Transylvanian told me that "Romanians have no history but do have a country, and Hungarians have history but do not have a country." He told me that in a Transylvanian grave a 65 year old man rests and the sign says: this man lived for four years, between 1940 and 1944. During that period of time Northern Erdély was attached back to Hungary. The young man at Marosvásárhely told us that from this time the law allows you to study everything in Hungarian language from kindergarten to university. But he says the problem is that we can not fill up the classes with Hungarian kids.


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'Tordai hasadék' (mountain-gorge)


From this point the names of the towns and villages were written in both Hungarian and Romanian. On Thursday we went to Szováta which is a bathing town, then we went to Korond which is famous for its Hungarian plates and pitchers.

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Szekely Gate


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The famous plates of Korond


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Creation



We did some shopping there. It is cheap for us and you can pay with Hungarian forints. Then we went to Farkaslaka where we saw the house of Áron Tamási, the famous Transylvanian writer.

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In front of Tamási Áron's house


We spent the night in Alsósófalva (Alsosofalva). At this point we were approaching the Hargita (a county of Erdély), so we were traveling far into the high pinewoods, mountains. They look enormous and beautiful. We saw lots of beautiful creeks. I just love sitting next to them, watching the water and listening to its babble.
Friday we went to Parajd where there is a big salt mine. It is pretty cold down there. It is like an underground town. I was surprised to see lots of people young and old. They were walking, playing soccer, table tennis, billiard and so on. It turned out that these people were there for health reasons, they benefit from breathing the salty air.
Then we went to the Gyilkos tó (Killer Lake). This is a beautiful spot high up in the mountains. I liked it the best. I walked around the lake with a girl. It took us about one hour. The lake is 30 meters (100 feet) deep. It was formed in 1836 when a landslide obstructed the Békás patak (Frog brook) and it flooded the valley.

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Frog Brook


You can see many tree trunks standing out of the water. The trees did not decay because the mineral content of the water preserved them.

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Lake Killer nowadays


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Drawing of Lake Killer in the 1860's


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Lake Killer


While walking, we saw a dam in the distant, so we decided to go there, climb up the dam and see what was behind it. It was good fun. Then we traveled to the Békás szoros (Frog Gorge). I also liked this one very much. We went down on deep serpentine roads. The bus hardly could make it. In the gorge you walk with a brook running next to you, and when you look up to the sky, you see steep high stonewalls on both sides. It is awesome.

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Békás szoros (Frog Pass)


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Békás patak (Frog Brook)


Then we went to Balánbánya (Balanbanya) which is a mining town of 9,000 people. Not many Hungarians live there. Most of the men work in the mine. The mine is not profitable, and would be cheaper to import it, but then lots of people would lose their jobs. On the right side of the road you see terrible looking five-story buildings. The Hungarians used to live on this side of the road, but then these ugly block buildings were built around their houses and Romanians were settled there from the Romanian regions. On the other side of the road you still can see good looking houses, there is a newly built Presbyterian church and a parsonage with rooms, kitchen and bathroom. We stayed there for the night. Men get paid on Saturdays. I was surprised by this, but then we were told that the 70 percent of the people get drunk after getting their salary. So if they got paid for instance on Thursday, then on Friday they would not go to the mine to work because of being drunk. It is a hard and dangerous work down there in the mine and they know it is possible that they may not come up next day. So at least they have fun by getting drunk.
On Saturday morning we went hiking. We climbed up from 800 meters above the sea level to 1600 meters. We hiked upwards for two hours through beautiful pinewoods. On the very top of the mountain we drank very delicious, cold and clean creek water.

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Shepherd man

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The view from 1600 meters high

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Rocks


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In the afternoon we traveled to Barót (Barot). Its population is big and 95 percent of it is Hungarian. These towns look like the ones in Hungary. I mean all of the people talking in Hungarian, the boards, signs, labels are written in Hungarian. Not too many Romanians were settled in these Hungarian towns. In Barót there is running hot water only in the mornings and evenings for two hours. Here we stayed at a Hungarian couple who work at the laboratory of the nearby hospital. The man gave us a computer program of the road map of Transylvania. You can find the smallest village on it. We brought it home on a floppy disk, and it works. You can download the latest version of this program at the bottom of this page. It also includes the map of Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

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'Past and future' of Transylvania

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Lake Saint Anne


On Sunday morning we went to the Szent Anna tó (Lake of Saint Anne). Then we went to Bálványosfürdő (Balvanyosfurdo) where we spent about 5 hours. There were festivities at the time. Then we went to Kézdivásárhely (Kezdivasarhely) where the 95 percent of the population is Hungarian. We saw Áron Gábor's copper cannon (Gábor Áron Rézágyuja). He was the Transylvanian who made cannons out of the big church bells during the revolution of 1848-1849.

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Photo of the bus driver and the kids who live in Transylvania, taken at Kézdivásárhely


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Here we had a tire change


On Monday morning we started early, at 4 am. We traveled for 12 hours by the bus to get back to the Hungarian border, where we got on the train which was coming back to Budapest.

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It is me on the right

Heading back to Budapest


So it was a big experience for me. A tourist who comes to Transylvania sees the beautiful Hungarian towns, little villages, and wonderful natural sites, but also sees poverty at some places. But if we go there we see everything from a different point of view knowing that all these beautiful places used to belong to Hungary before 1920 when they were taken from us by the so-called Peace Treaty ("Diktat") of Trianon. This short-sighted treaty is the shame of Europe. Click here for a few words on how Hungarians feel about Trianon. Erdély is the same size as Hungary. Imagine half of America would be attached to another country. (July 7-14. 1997.)

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Girls are getting some rest on top of the haystack


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© Black & white photos belong to András Boroska

Hungarian Version/Magyar Verzió

  • Wass Albert
  • Haza - Hazám - Hazánk (Közelmúlt történelme, sok-sok zenével, versekkel és igazsággal. FLASH.)

    Transylvanian hotels, pensions, organized travels, tourism:

  • Transylvania - Romania hotels, travel, tourism and info
  • Transylvanian travel - accomodation, hotels
  • Transylvanian accomodations

    Related Websites

  • A comprehensive website on the history, art, folklor, traditions, maps of Transylvania and Hungary by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
  • History of Transylvania
  • Homepage of Csikszereda
  • Protestant Theological Institute, Kolozsvár - Cluj
  • Pityóka's Transylvanian site (Hungarian)
  • Élő Erdély
  • Hungarians in Transylvania between 1870 and 1995 by Árpád Varga E.
  • Transylvania in 2004, my mother's photos
  • House of Terror museum
  • Click here for a few words on how Hungarians feel about Trianon
  • Literature letter about Hungarian history, tragic life feeling of Hungarians, poetry, fate of Transylvania, some words on specific problems of the American folks, the American man identity conscience
  • Steps towards the self-determination of Transylvania ('I am fed-up with Romania' by Sabin Gherman)
  • Map of the dismemberment of Hungary
  • Website of Trianon
  • Click here to download the Auto Map Program of Transylvania, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia (KIUT)
  • A montage of the group

    Personal links

  • My favorite Canadian movie is Road to Avonlea (English / Japanese)
  • Some photos of my childhood [IMAGE]
  • Check out my photos of Tirol, The Alps, Austria, Germany and Switzerland
  • The noble charter and code of arms of my family received from István Bocskai in 1606
  • My favorite singer is Garth Brooks

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