Vlach identity

There are sizable communities of Vlachs settled in and around Bucharest. The photograph bellow shows a Neo-Romanian style house dating from the 1910s, around the time of the Balkan Wars, displaying the name “Villa Cutika”, where Cutika is a Vlach feminine gender name.

Vlach is a collective term applied usually to peoples speaking Romance languages, others than Romanian, in the Balkan Peninsula. As you are familiar with the Romance speaking peoples of Western Europe, such as Spaniards, French or Italians, the same is the case in Eastern Europe, where there are smaller population peoples speaking Romance languages, descendants of the Roman colonists and Romanised natives from the time when the Roman Empire ruled the area two millenia ago. The Romanian language is the largest represented in terms of population Eastern Romance idiom, followed by a number of Vlach languages, such as Macedo-Romanian, Megleno-Romanian or Istro-Romanian. The nationalist movements that have affected the Balkan Peninsula in the last two centuries have often brought tragedies, such as discrimination and ethnic cleansing, upon the Vlach communities, who were allways a minority living in the midst of ethically different majority peoples then emerging as modern nations, such as the Greeks, Bulgarians or Serbians. The Romanian national state, in its turn, considered its duty to protect and give refuge to its etnic kin, the Vlachs, often wrongly regarded by the Romanian officials, historians and linguists as just speakers of mere Romanian dialects.

The house that hosts the tablet shown in the photography bellow was built by such a Vlach refugee family in Romania, perhaps around the time of the Balkan Wars, on a plot of land granted by the government. The style of the house is Neo-Romanian, being a fitting patriotic statement in architectural terms made by the proprietors to their adoptive country, also stating clearly the Vlach identity through the name tablet. The house is on Rumeoara Street, which sounds Vlach to me and it may well be the name of the region in the Balkans (Greece, etc.) from where the families settled on that street originate.

“Villa Cutika”- Vlach name tablet on Neo-Romanian style house dating from the 1910s, Fire Watchtower area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

Vlach identity

There are sizable communities of Vlachs settled in and around Bucharest. The photograph bellow shows a Neo-Romanian style house dating from the 1910s, around the time of the Balkan Wars, displaying the name “Villa Cutika”, where Cutika is a Vlach feminine gender name.

Vlach is a collective term applied usually to peoples speaking Romance languages, others than Romanian, in the Balkan Peninsula. As you are familiar with the Romance speaking peoples of Western Europe, such as Spaniards, French or Italians, the same is the case in Eastern Europe, where there are smaller population peoples speaking Romance languages, descendants of the Roman colonists and Romanised natives from the time when the Roman Empire ruled the area two millenia ago. The Romanian language is the largest represented in terms of population Eastern Romance idiom, followed by a number of Vlach languages, such as Macedo-Romanian, Megleno-Romanian or Istro-Romanian. The nationalist movements that have affected the Balkan Peninsula in the last two centuries have often brought tragedies, such as discrimination and ethnic cleansing, upon the Vlach communities, who were allways a minority living in the midst of ethically different majority peoples then emerging as modern nations, such as the Greeks, Bulgarians or Serbians. The Romanian national state, in its turn, considered its duty to protect and give refuge to its etnic kin, the Vlachs, often wrongly regarded by the Romanian officials, historians and linguists as just speakers of mere Romanian dialects.

The house that hosts the tablet shown in the photography bellow was built by such a Vlach refugee family in Romania, perhaps around the time of the Balkan Wars, on a plot of land granted by the government. The style of the house is Neo-Romanian, being a fitting patriotic statement in architectural terms made by the proprietors to their adoptive country, also stating clearly the Vlach identity through the name tablet. The house is on Rumeoara Street, which sounds Vlach to me and it may well be the name of the region in the Balkans (Greece, etc.) from where the families settled on that street originate.

“Villa Cutika”- Vlach name tablet on Neo-Romanian style house dating from the 1910s, Fire Watchtower area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

***********************************************

I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.