marți, 17 martie 2015

LAND OF THE MOTI (Țara Moților)

Țara Moților (German: Motzenland), also known as Țara de Piatră ("The Stone Land") is an ethnogeographical region of Romania in the Apuseni Mountains, on the superior basin of the Arieș and Crișul Alb River rivers. It covers parts of the Alba, Arad, Bihor, Cluj and Hunedoara counties of Romania and a section of it forms the Apuseni Natural Park.

Țara Moților's inhabitants are known as "moți" (German: Motzen, Hungarian: mócok). Some scholars consider the 'moți' as descendants of the Celts, because of their blonde hair and blue eyes, elements more frequent here than among other Romanians; however, the hypothesis is not accepted by mainstream historians due to its lack of consistency.

. Other scholars believe that they are the descendants of Slavs, for the same very reasons, or of the Alans. Yet another group of scholars consider them the descendants of Germanic tribes (Gepids). Due to their blonde hair and blue eyes, so far seventeen theories regarding their origins have been formulated. The first, and most probable and accepted theory, is that they are direct descendants of the Dacians.

They live in scattered villages at altitudes up to about 1,400 m, higher than any other permanent settlements in Romania. The 'Țara Moților' traditionally begins at Bistra, just before Câmpeni, formerly called Topani by the moți themselves or Topesdorf by the Austrians, traditionally considered the unofficial capital of the moți, while the villages down the Arieș towards Turda such as Lupșa, Sălciua etc. are inhabited by the mocani. The moți were also known under the name of 'topi' (in German 'Die Zopfen'). Before the last change of the old administrative boundaries there existed an Arieș county in its own right.

The term "Țara" means literally "country" (cf. Latin and medieval Latin: terra); exceptionally in this case (differently from Țara Bârsei, Țara Oașului, Țara Făgărașului, Țara Hațegului, Țara Zărandului and Maramureș), it doesn't imply any political, social or administrative status. It is, instead, an archaic term referring to an enclosed and more or less isolated depression between the Carpathians. The region has a long history of resistance and fighting for political, economical and social rights, with movements such as the Revolt of Horea, Cloșca and Crișan (1784–1785) and the Romanian part of the Transylvanian revolution of 1848 having their origins here.

The zone is renowned for its folkloric traditions, stunning landscapes, and the variation of the Karstic relief which produced over 800 natural caves such as Scărișoara, Focul Viu (both of them with surviving glaciers inside) and Peștera Urșilor (which contains fossils of Ursus spelaeus, the cave bear).

Agritourism and ecotourism are also widely practiced in the area. The main winter sports center for the area is in Arieșeni.

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