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Untitled Document

The ethnographical and cultural heritage


Since the beginning, the Padureni have seen themselves different than the peasants. In their view, the peasants were those living in the lowlands and worked the land. Those who lived in the eastern part of the Poiana Rusca massif were called “Padureni” and they did not accept comparison with other Romanians.

 „According to Rusalin Isfanoni in his work Padurenii Hunedoarei, a particularity of the land is the profoundly anthropic landscape for which generations of Padureni who have lived in the area have contributed to.
The landscape is very unique: high, up on the ridge lies the village, surrounded by vegetable gardens and orchards. A little bit lower we find a belt of grain fields on terraces like giant steps and under them another belt of hayfields followed by pastures, and last but not least at the base of the hills the forests. Romulus Vuia noticed then that for the Padureni the areas of vegetation are inverted.”
Rusalin Işfănoni – Pădurenii Hunedoarei

The Padureni communities are very homogenous and have very strict rules for all the members, for example referring to crop rotation or the common land exploitation. The villages have gates at the entrance. Within these communities, beliefs and customs whose origins are lost in the mists of time are still held.The originality of the Padureni culture has attracted the attention of specialists. Padureni folklore appears in the studies of the Romanian scholar I. Popovici, and was published at Halle in Germany in 1905.

The first work of Padureni musical folklore is “musical dialect of Romanians in Hunedoara” which belongs to the great Hungarian musician Bela Bartok (who also visited Ghelariul twice), published in 1914 in Hungarian. Later, in 1937, the work was translated into Romanian by the renowned folklorist Constantin Brailoiu under the name „Small writings about Romanian folk music”.Several dozen songs from the Padureni region have had the honor to be published in various collections and publications: 22 songs from Ghelari in Comişel Emilia’s collection and some in the “Bartok Archive” in New York.

Inspired by the local atmosphere, the painter Stefan Dumitrescu made two paintings: Alley of Ghelari and Miner from Ghelari.

The Padureni Clothing.
One of the most popular attractions of the Padureni community are the traditional costumes of outstanding beauty. Even nowadays the Padureni are happy to wear costumes to “nedei” and popular festivals such as the Dragan Muntean Festival. Locals can be seen in costumes richly adorned with red, black and white.

Men wearing stockings (toloboni) over trousers and women with pewter belt keys come in groups accompanied by musicians and reenact moments of their existence (e.g. wedding). Such events represent a unique moment when you can see so many people together dressed in their impeccable traditional costumes.

An extremely rich and full of spirituality folklore is doubled with cultural activities in densely populated localities. And from this point of view, Ghelari can be considered a center of the region.

Cultural activities
Due to the industrial activities people benefited from better material resources, a fact that has determined the construction of a casino, of restaurants, banks and which has led to a diversification the cultural life.

The choir “Munca si lumina” (Work and light) was formed by the Orthodox Church in Ghelari. In the beginning the choir consisted only of me, but from 1914 it became a mixed choir with a lay repertoire. The choir was joined by a brass band. Their contribution to the fame of Ghelari is a significant one. After the priest Nerva Florea had a vision after which he began to build the current church, the choir and brass band went on numerous national tours to raise the funds necessary to build the new church.

They toured the country and had performances at the National Radio in Bucharest and at the Romanian Athenaeum. During the Second World War they performed in various military hospitals to ease the suffering of the wounded.
The newspapers of the time wrote highly laudatory about the musicians from Ghelari.
In 1962 a brass band for children that received good reviews from the press and television was formed.

The diversity of religions
We should especially mention the religious life in the area of the project implementation.
The large number of churches expresses the religious sentiment that is still strong among the local population. It was supported by very old traditions, but also by sentiment of constant danger for those working in the mines, quarries, or in the charcoal stoves and furnaces. Whether they were locals or had come from other countries, all had fear of death and God. Therefore there existed a certain tolerance, an ecumenical spirit that allowed the different denominations to function in areas with industrial activities.

There are 4 churches in Ghelari: two orthodox, 1 reformed and one Greek-Catholic. There is also a common cemetery for all the denominations in the village.

The Orthodox churches are so old that two of them are historical monuments of national interest: the Ghelari Orthodox Church dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel, built in 1770 and the Orthodox Church in Alun dedicated to the „Assumption” which was built around the same period.


Biserica reformată din Ghelari


Biserica reformată din Ghelari


Biserica greco-catolică din Ghelari


Biserica greco-catolică din Ghelari


Vechea biserică ortodoxă din Ghelari







Even the newer built churches are of tourist interest.

  • The new Orthodox Church in the Alun village is completely built of marble as the entire settlement.
  • The new Orthodox Church in Ghelari is considered the largest Orthodox Church in Romania built in a village.

  • The same founder of the Ghelari church began construction of two churches out of stone in the villages Ruda and Plop.
  • there is a Roman Catholic Church in Govăjdie dating back from 1872 and a Greek Catholic Church from 1910.

Nowadays they can represent a very interesting ecumenical tour for tourists.