The village of Breb

We live here, it is our back garden :)

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Breb Village, Maramures

Breb is in the County of Maramures in Northern Transylvania. There is something about Breb, especially to English men it seems. William Blacker was at the Berlin wall for the new year celebrations in 1989, the year communism fell across Eastern Europe.

So where Penny and Duncan. William carried on and after travelling for months found Breb and settled down to live here and ended up writing ‘Along the Enchanted Way’ which is set in Breb. We had a huge mortgage and took another 25 years before we could carry on our journey. We too traveled for months looking for the perfect get away from it all village, where the way of life has not changed for generations. We too discovered Breb and decided to make it our home. Coincidence – or is it that Breb really is a special place and when we both discovered it we were hooked and looked no further.

Breb

Our little village in Northern Transylvania is called Breb. It’s 500 meters up in the Carpathian Mountains and it’s very different. It looks just like a village in one of Dracula’s films. This might have something to do with the fact that Dracula’s castle is a few hours drive away by car in the Borgo Pass. Most people have a horse and cart in the village and everyone wears traditional clothes on Sunday, a lot of the older folk still wear every day what their ancestors wore and look fresh out of a fairy tale. To see here which Villas & Cabanas are for rent and which are still being renovated. One of the many old fashioned distilleries in Breb. Above is a collection of picture I took in June 2010 in Maramures our county in the north of Transylvania.

We have over 20 hectares of land around the village of Breb. We started building four Villa’s here in the summer of 2009 and will be slowly getting them ready to rent in the same way as we do in Siwa Egypt. Casa Mic is now ready for renting. To see how the other are getting on have a look at the Villa section. To see the latest of what we have been getting up to in Romania, have a look at our Transylvanian travel log

We are building the villas now, its all good fun and totaly different to our lives in England The houses are arranged on a sort of grid system where the mountain slopes slowly into the river bad at the bottom of the hill. Unlike other village in Romania, the development was not along the main road but spread further up the mountain from the river. Originally there where three small villages here and in the mid 1900′s the ‘urban sprawl’ made them one. People still talk of the the ‘ones from the river’ or up the hill like it was another village. “Why would I know about his problems, he lives on the river.” Each home consists of the main house, either an original wooden traditional Maramures house or one that has been covered in plaster in the last 50 years. There is normally a barn the same size as the house opposite with a main swing door in the middle for a hay and carriages and two rooms on either side where the cows, pig and horses live. And the sheep in the winter. Grandma lives in a house the size of a rug somewhere in the courtyard that is fronted with a huge Maramures gate. These gates come from the time when only Lords could afford to have them to protect their houses and barns inside there walled gardens. It became a sigh of wealth and many of them where made when the men came home from the last recession in the early 90′s. Each gate has the date it was made on it and the person who made it, normally their owner of the house behind it. The village of Breb is easy to walk around and explore. There are two churches, the Roman Catholic church which is the 16th century church made of solid oak next to the river and the Orthodox church that dominates the skyline for miles around. On Sunday you can hang around outside and watch the whole village turn up for church in tradition cloths and you feel like your in a Amish movie, only the camera crew forgot to turn up.

Breb is like Siwa and our name: it’s different. Everyone in Breb lives off the land, leaving early for the fields in summer months and spending the winter weaving thick woollen rugs and travelling by sleigh. The younger generation want to build newer houses and dream of living in a city and owning a BMW. When we began to renovate the traditional wooden Maramures houses, they thought we were crazy. They probably still do, but we can’t get enough of the natural beauty surrounding us and the simple comforts of houses built to last the centuries.

The village of Breb is that idyllic village you have in the back of your mind. The tracks are scattered with horse-drawn carts transporting mountains of hay from the fields, and everything is harvested and crafted by hand.

 

Getting to our village of Breb in Maramures is easy, as long as you have good directions. If you are coming to stay at the Village Hotel and arriving by car, plane, train or walking from the next village, it’s all here.

You have the old boys tipped for the first prize in the Gurning competition to teenagers dreaming of modelling careers and the looks to match. 400 homes, 1500 people – depending on who’s not abroad working.

The story of Prince Charles owning a house in the village of Breb is an interesting one. Read here why he chose Breb and why it fits in with his ideology of living in Transylvania and preserving it.

 Food in Breb is as fresh as it can get – the entire village is self-sufficient so whether you are cooking in your villa kitchen or eating with the local family next door, everything is recently harvested and organic. We are in the process of building our own self-sufficient restaurant, but in the meantime click on the picture above for your eating out options while visiting Breb.

 

There is a huge variety of things to see and do in Breb and the surrounding area, from salt pools and local bars to mountain trekking and harvesting fruit for horinca. We have selected just five of the activities on offer to give you an idea of the diversity in Breb.

The wooden church in Breb has the oldest wooden steeple recorded in Romania – that’s just one little story of the many which are revealed when you visit the church. It’s worth half a day for exploring and a visit to a service on Sunday or at Easter.

Breb History

Breb is an old Romanian word for Beaver. A long time ago, there were beavers here making dams in the many streams that flow through the village from the mountain. The census of 1930 registered 1683 people living here in Breb. 1528 Romanian, 154 Hebrew, 24 Gypsy and a Russian. 1526 were Greek Catholics, 154 were Orthodox. There are no Jewish people living here now, and there is one Gypsy family that stay in the winter and take off in the summer to repair peoples casans. Apart from that, and the fact that the Russian has turned into a handful of English people; not much has changed in Breb in terms of population, the ways of working and the culture. The are things about Breb we are discovering all the time, from the distant past to the present day. Over the next few months we will be adding more information on Breb – in the meantime have a look at the different sections within Breb like top 5 activities and eating out to see what there is to do and to get a feel for the place. The wooden church section and the locals gives you an idea of what it is like here and of course there is the whole of the Gutai Mountain to explore. Book the Villa direct for a holiday somewhere different.

breb old map Map of Breb – 1784. Not much has changed. There are more houses now, but the tracks and layout of the village is still the same.