Where time stopped
Written by Mária Ballai Negreni (Körösfeketetó) is a little Romanian village just after the King’s Pass (Király-hágó). Being a true Transylvanian place it lies in an enchanted valley surrounded by mountains. In this time of the year they are dressed in the colours of autumn. Morning fog blankets them.
The famous Negreni Fair (Feketetói vásár) takes place here every year on the second weekend of October.
Time stops here for a few days these times. The fair takes place each year by the sides of the Crişul Repede (Sebes-Körös) river bringing back old times. You can find here many antiquities: wardrobes, tables, chairs, porcelains, paintings, gramophones, often real treasures. They are waiting for their new owner spread on dirty foils or carelessly dumped on the ground. Higher price does not always mean higher quality. Beware of trash and junk. Elderly women sell folklore costumes and embroidery. You can see wood-carvers at work; they make wooden plates, spoons and trays. There are Gabor gypsies everywhere with their wide-brimmed black hats selling and yelling their goods. Their wives and children wear the most colourful clothes I have ever seen. They stop you and offer the “best bargain ever”. Beggars and cripples mingle in the crowd. Mici (traditional Romanian food) is sold everywhere, its characteristic smell fills the air. Sellers often spend the night in tents, their horses and carts stand in the river. I imagine medieval markets like this. Romania’s biggest second-hand shoe and clothes market could be found also here. The crowd is huge and Babelian, there are people from all over Europe. I met Slovak, Spanish, French, Dutch and German people. Of course most visitors are Romanians and Hungarians. Almost every vendor speaks both Romanian and Hungarian and you can pay with Romanian Lei, Hungarian Forint or with euro. Bargaining is obligatory. I saw many young people there, but they were not like the others but represented a new life style. They wore traditional clothes and accessories but were modern at the same time. Europe’s new generation may return to its origins and find it important to express this old-new identity. On the whole Negreni is another world, but still yours wherever you live. See for yourself next year./ It’s worth visiting this place at least next year.