Once dominated by German-speaking settlers, Copşa Mare today is an entirely Romanian village. The departing Transylvanian Saxons left behind an impressive fortified church, lots of fine, sturdy farmhouses and an extraordinarily well-husbanded landscape.
There is so much common wealth to conserve here. But the most valuable parts of it all, in our opinion, are the unspoilt landscape and those who husband it. This is a place of great beauty & staggering biodiversity. Visitors are quite simply astonished and thankful that it still exists.
Copşa Mare is a living community, not a 'project in sustainable tourism'. To be sure, tourism has a limited role to play in conserving the treasures of this village. But the income visitors bring should supplement, not replace, livelihoods made from farming.
It is locally owned food production and accommodation that will strengthen the ability of future generations of Copşeni to meet their needs without having to go abroad for work, not holiday homes and ersatz 'Saxon' guesthouses owned by property developers. Local ownership is the way to ensure that Copşa Mare is a village in which people can and want to live & raise their families, and not merely a lovely place to have a holiday.
A fine example of this is the Cocoş family. Florin & Marieta Cocoş have refused to sell their home to an outsider, and instead, they have planted some 800 walnut saplings on their land near the village, a magnificent, long term investment in their future here.
The Cocoş family are not the only ones determined to build a better future for themselves at home. There is today a short but growing number of local householders that offer visitors the chance to share in the life of the village. Locally owned accommodation, excellent homegrown food & dairy products, Transylvanian craft work, and above all, good company may all be found - just look out for the signs reading CopşaMare.Life!
Marieta Cocoş & her family in Copşa Mare 215 produce delicious jams, syrups, cordials & green walnuts in syrup. Fresh ingredients are grown at home or foraged in the hills and valleys around the village.
Kind Nicu Moldovan in Copşa Mare 45 owns two fortunate working horses - Dana & Dorina. With patient skill and gentle handling, Nicu will take you up into the hills in his cart. While you enjoy a picnic, Dana & Dorina, bridle & bit removed, graze on grass flavoured with wild thyme, mint & marjoram.
Sile and Simona offers beds & meals in Copşa Mare 122, the first and so far only locally owned guesthouse in the village. You sleep in a traditional oak barn made in 2018 by the village carpenter. A truly local, welcoming place to stay, ideal for families wanting to stay for a week.
The Schneiders in Copşa Mare 213 have some twenty water buffalo producing the creamiest milk, cheese & yoghurt. These happy creatures graze in the high meadows above the village all day long and on hot days can be found wallowing in their water hole.
Ioan-Cristian Bica, the village Orthodox priest in Copşa Mare 144, produces honey from his own bees. He paints brightly coloured icons, by no means all on religious subjects, and makes simple animal jigsaw puzzles from wood.
Ilia Jordan in Copşa Mare 165 makes warm, sturdy slippers & bonnets from his own sheepswool felt. These he decorates with brightly coloured felt flowers.
Rachel & James de Candole have restored the old townhall in the village - Copşa Mare 135. They offer beds in two converted mobile bee wagons and make wood polish from local beeswax and pure gum turpentine. They have an art studio as well.
Thank you Jochen for this portrait of Nelutu Bendorfean
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