Branean Village Museum

The Branean Village Museum, organized over four decades ago in the park near the castle, highlights the evolution of traditional folk architecture in the villages of the Bran area, in relation to basic occupations, cattle breeding and forestry, intertwined with agriculture, domestic processing industry. wool and crafts related to wood processing.

Conceived as an open-air museum, the Branean Village Museum presents the main types of households and dwellings, household annexes, economic constructions and hydraulically operated wood and wool fabric processing installations.

The specific household of the scattered settlements in the Bran area is the household with a fortified detour, represented in the museum by the “courtyard house” from Pestera village, dated 1843, according to the inscription on the beam from the “big house”.

The household consists of a house with four rooms (house – living room, large house, cellar and porch), stables (shelters for cattle) and kettle with bread oven.

The house is connected to the annexes by a pulpit, which closes the yard and serves as a space for housing tools and equipment.
The second type of household with a yard, characteristic of the Bran villages Poarta, Sohodol and Predeal (Predelut) is a three-line household, represented in the museum by “Casa Clinciu”, from the village of Poarta, consisting of a house and a sura, located on two sides of the court connected to each other on the third side by a pulatra.

The household is significant for the constructive-architectural evolution of the Bran household and of the ethno-cultural interferences from the south-east of Transylvania by the appearance of the sister as a cultural contribution of the German population, colonized in Tara Bârsa, in the Middle Ages.

The Bran house is represented in the museum in the whole typological evolution from the single-celled house, the oldest type, transformed in time into a temporary house, to the two-room house with cold porch to which, in the 19th century, the third is added. room, “big house” (clean room) giving birth to the house with three rooms with a porch in the middle.

The two-room home with a cold porch is represented in the open-air house museum in Sohodol, from the end of the 18th century. The three-room house, with a porch in the middle, is found in the Branean Village Museum in two variants that typologically differentiate the dwellings from the two subzones of Bran; the house with a porch in the middle, with a barn (a space attached to the house and intended for housing cattle) specific to the upper villages of Bran, Fundata, Sirnea, Pestera, Magura, Moeciu, Simon Branului – Predeal, Sohodol, Poarta – where the sura appears, as an annex of the household, with mixed function, serving as a shelter for cattle and space for packing and storage of cereals, as an expression of the mixed character of occupations: cattle breeding and agriculture

The types of dwelling represented in the Branean Village Museum are completed with the annexed dwelling, coming from Moeciu de Sus village, having the function of space for food preparation but also of dwelling for the older generation and with temporary dwelling, from Podul Dāmbovitei village, belonging to Muscel area. the area that maintained permanent cultural contacts with Bran.
The housing annexes are mainly related to cattle breeding, basic occupation of the inhabitants of Bran villages and an agriculture reduced to the consumption needs of the household. The buildings are concentrated in a pastoral complex, consisting of: sura in the village of Simon, with stables for cattle and grain area, a space for threshing cereals, sheepfold in Mount Vladusca serving as a workshop for milk processing and shelter for shepherds during the summer, when the cattle, gathered in flocks, are moved to the pastoral space destined for grazing and the “de telemea” sheepfold, from the plain of the Barsa Country where the “cattle savings” from Brani took the flocks to graze from the “gathering of the sheep”, to “St. Gheorghe ”(April 23) until the end of May when they climbed the sheepfolds in the alpine hollow.

Another sector of the Branean Village Museum highlights the evolution of the processing techniques of the basic raw materials wool and wood, by presenting the main types of installations of popular technique: the pipe, the age and the joagarul operated by the force of the water.

The cloth for thickening and finishing the cloth intended for making garments is associated with the gift for sewing wool and obtaining the notebook which, twisted (with a fork or “spinning wheel”), is used to weave interior textiles and folk wear. The installation, dating from the late 19th century, was transferred to the museum, from the village of Cheia, on the Moeciului valley, the watercourse with the optimal flow for setting in motion the installations of popular technique.
The age, associated with the whirlpool, exhibited in the open-air museum, dates from the 18th century and belonged to several generations of the Ghica (Gata) family from the village of Moeciu de Jos, famous for practicing pastoral transhumance. The installation set in motion by the hydraulic vertical wheel, consists of a wooden basket (wave) provided inside with wedges. The woolen fabric, inserted in the basket turned by the wheel, is thickened, after which, placed on the basket, it passes through the leash of thorns in order to be flaky. The whirlpool is used for thickening and washing woolen fabrics.

The transition from the traditional, manual, woodworking techniques to the “industrial” ones in the incipient phase is highlighted by the Joagarul transferred from the village of Simon, found in medieval documents under the name of “board mill”.

The image of the old Bran village is also suggested by the fountain with the scales from the village of Sohodol, used to supply water to the post-household, sometimes transported from a great distance with wooden barrels, scales on the cobblestones.

The Bran architecture belongs to the ring of wood architecture located on either side of the Carpathian arch. The construction is placed on a stone foundation, the walls are made of fir beams, placed in horizontal crowns, joined at the ends in “cheotoare”; the beams are glued with clay and whitewashed in the white of the lime obtained by burning (calcining) the limestone; the roof is in four “waters” (the oldest type) and in two “waters” since the second half of the nineteenth century. The roof covering is made of shingles with “shell”, made of fir, obtained by splitting fir trunks with an ax.

The Bran architecture is characterized by ideal proportions between the wall and the roof, of ½, the height of the roof harmoniously framing the house in the mountain landscape and by asymmetry to the older type expressed in plan by the different dimensions of the rooms and the location of the entrance. We meet at the house in Sohodol with two rooms. The transition to the three-room plan of the house, with the porch in the middle through which the entrance to the house is made, also marks the transition to symmetrical shapes, found in the Branean Village Museum at the houses in Sohodol and Moeciu de Sus.

The interior architecture of the Branese house is characterized by the wooden ceiling, with exposed beams, on which we meet the notched decoration, with stylized geometric and floral elements as well as the inscription with the name of the master and the year in which the construction was erected. The walls are glued with clay and whitewashed, and the floor (floor) is made of fir board, less often the “clay”.

The interior of the Bran house is an ensemble that reflects the functions that the house fulfills: the heated shelter of man, the space where people eat and sleep, carry out household activities, receive guests on current visits, keep the seats, live a life together. all its complexity.
The composition of the interior involves the heating and food preparation system, the furniture and the decoration pieces (textiles, ceramics, icons).
The location of this ensemble in space is based on two criteria: functional and decorative.

The functional division of the house is made on the corners:

a) the corner with the heating and food preparation system
b) the corner with the bed;
c) the corner with the table;
d) the corner of the door with the dishwasher.

Remarkable is the heating and food preparation system called hearth, of Dacian origin, taken over by neighboring peoples and which is kept in its original form and functionality until the end. 20th century when its place is taken by the brick stove with oven.

Significant for the development phases of the Brane village is the evolution of the furniture (chest, table, lavita, hanger) from the beech wood, carved, with notched decoration made by the carpenters who also built the house, to the fir wood furniture, painted , worked by carpenters, trained in the urban craft environment.
With the appearance of the clean room (big house) in the plan of the Bran house at the end of the 19th century, we move on to a new phase of evolution of the interior in which the emphasis will be on decorating the house.
In the villages of Bran, the interior of the house will acquire a complex shape, a combination of the Transylvanian interior (with overlapping registers, well outlined and with a reduced chromaticity, specific to the Olt Country) with the Wallachian one, characterized by the abundance of thick colored wool fabrics. wall, typical of the Muscel area.

The first register is formed by the furniture (crates, sheets, bed, table) placed on the corners, as we showed above; at the upper edge of the walls the painted hangers on which hang glass cups, cancee and wipers form the second register; the third decorative register is formed by the space between the hangers and the furniture, covered by a striped sheet of fabric, later by a veil in “wheels”, interrupted by windows between which an icon is placed. The decoration of the interior of the Bran house is completed by wiping gathered in the middle in the form of a butterfly around icons and mirrors or over the ruffle and velvet. In this Bran interior decoration we meet two systems that emphasize in this plan the Transylvanian cultural interferences with the Wallachian ones, namely the decoration of the upper part of the room specific to the Transylvanian arrangement system and polychrome decorative textiles, the form of napkins, the habit of overlapping on the wall a mirror, photos and icons, which bring this interior closer to that of Muntenia.
In the evolution of the interior of the Bran house, napkins go from decorating with simple stripes to sewn floral patterns; wool fabrics have been evolving towards velvet since the middle of the century. the twentieth century in which we meet the geometric decoration and the carpet with the floral motif, an influence of Moroeni fabrics which, finally, is applied in baroque forms, on a black background. There is a tendency towards a bright color, gradually accompanied by the abandonment of traditional techniques of painting with vegetable colors. Yellow, orange, violet are introduced, and later light blue and green, colors made with “shop paints”.

From the middle of the 20th century, at the beginning in the village of Poarta, the carpet “in wheels” spread on a brown background (brown). The painted furniture gradually disappears starting from the same period, being replaced with the urban furniture and in the last decades with the factory furniture.
Synthesis of the evolution of Bran settlements, the open-air museum of Bran offers the visiting public the image of a living museum through the presence of popular creators from different ethnographic areas of the country. There are potters from Horezu and Corund, creators of folk instruments from Muscel and Covasna, folk creators in the field of textiles and folk costumes from the Huedin area, furriers and weavers from Bran, wood carvers from Valcea, Muscel and Dambovita and others who through activities demonstrations related to the craft he practices offer a museum show in which tradition is integrated into the new cultural model that is shaped by the contact with universal cultural values.