Vurpar, Romania
Vurpar Street
Want to Help? Where is Vurpar? History Life & People Administration Church Life Health Clinic Economics Infrastructure Education Home

Romanian History

Vurpar, Transylvania, Romania is a typical European village, typically Transylvanian and thoroughly immersed in the history of their rich and troubled country.

The Dacians occupied present day Romania long before the Roman Legions subjugated them. The 300-year long Roman occupation resulted in a new nationality, the Romanians. After the 1st Century AD Roman Legions withdrew in the face of repeated assaults from the east, and the people they left behind climbed into the safety of the Carpathians only to repopulate the surrounding plains some three hundred years later. (For a more extensive history of Romania click here.)

Castle Bran-Believed to have
been occupied by Vlad Tepes.

For many years the Turks dominated the southern two-thirds of Romania, Wallachia and Moldavia. To the north the rising Hungarian crown dominated Transylvania. For hundreds of years Romanian princes paid tribute to Istanbul and suffered repeated raids by the Sultan's armies and brigands. A notable exception was Prince Vlad Tepes who defied the Turks and defended the passes into Transylvania. His reputation comes down to us within the exaggerated figure of Dracula. (In fact, Dracula's castles, homes and other haunts are all within a short drive of Vurpar.) As the Austro-Hungarian Empire began to push the Turks back from Europe. Romania was increasingly a battle ground. German and Hungarian settlers were sent to guard the passes, populate cities and make Transylvania one of Europe's eastern bastions. In the mid-1800s the Russians began pushing the Turks south and again Romania became a battle ground.

Ion Cuza

In 1859, just after the Crimean War, Romanian princes, led by Ion Cuza,
surprised Europe by declaring Romania a nation through the union of
Wallachia and Moldavia. Russia and Turkey were too busy fighting to protest
effectively. In 1878, Russia forces, allied with Romania beat a Turkish army
in Bulgaria and were at the gates of Constantinople where England and France
forced Russia to pull back. In the following treaty Russia annexed
Bessarabia (now Moldova) in "compensation" for having to withdraw from
Turkish territory. In 1912-13, the Romanian crown took part in defeating
Turkey in the First Balkan War just before World War I. At the end of WWI,
Romania profited greatly by recovering Bessarabia from Russia and gaining
Transylvania from Austria-Hungary.

World War II was an unmitigated disaster for Romania! Leading up to the war, the country was torn between indigenous fascists, nationalists, communists, royalists and liberals.The great historian and politician Nicolae Iorga was assassinated by the Iron Guard and the government was torn whether to ally with Hitler to the west or
Stalin to the east. Just before the war, Hitler and Stalin collaborated to reshape Romania to the benefit of Fascist Hungary and the Soviet Union. When war broke out Romanian troops joined the Wehrmacht in attacking the Stalinist Soviet Union.

King Michael moved Romania to the Allied sides near the end of the war as Soviet armies approached. Stalin annexed Bessarabia again and grabbed a large area in Romania's north, Bucovina, so the Soviets could have a direct tank route to Hungary. Romania also lost hundreds of thousands or dead, and her freedom.

The Communists took power in late 1944. They imposed collectivization on the farmers and industrialization on the cities. Millions were displaced. After 45-years of communist dictatorship the country was near collapse. Romanians rose up in violent revolution at Christmas 1989 and overthrew the communists and executed the dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu.

When that fighting finally ended and the country was opened to inspection the world discovered in Romania some of the globe's worst pollution, a countryside laying fallow and cities in advanced decay. Ten years later, Romania has a democratic government attempting to join NATO and the European Economic Community. The transition from Communism to a market economy has created many hardships for older Romanians and many frustrations for the young. Romania's population is in decline through a receding life expectancy and increased emigration.

Romania needs help.
The greatest needs lies in the countryside that has yet to benefit from the infusion of western systems and capital. In fact, the countryside is now in worse condition than during Communism. Vurpar, a village in southern Transylvania near Sibiu, is a microcosm. The school is neglected, the health clinic has neither equipment nor supplies, fields lie fallow from lack of tools, industry is at a standstill and the economy has reverted to something akin to the 1800s.

The village, within the former domain of the fabled Dracula and about 40 miles from his fabled castle, was once a productive community of Romanians and Germans. Most of the Germans have left. The remaining Romanian population still sends its kids to school, still works its flocks and maintains its village systems, but seems to be regressing in many aspects. A little help goes a long way. A project is underway to repair and "modernize" the school. Another project will attempt to assist the clinic. A school snack program was recently begun which resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of children attending school. A mini-loan program is under development and a project to stimulate a crafts industry has begun.

A Lion's Club eyeglass project will bring some 5,000 pairs of glasses to help people see! Many more helping-hand projects are planned. Perhaps you can join of our efforts.

Make donations payable to:
Vurpar Project, St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church,
% Jim Sack
2502 South Harrison Street,
Fort Wayne, IN 46807.

It's a tax deductible donation!

Welcome to the Village of Vurpar. Learn about us and help if you can.
Questions or Comments? E-mail us at: