This is it: Hidden History – the 3rd Element of The Quest. The element that closes the circle and the core of Unveil Romania’s concept. This is the backbone for Time Travel Tourism – a new & unique way of travelling and the goal behind your quest!
What’s Hidden History all about? Let me give you an example: Roughly 2000 years ago, the mighty Roman Empire suffered a defeat at the hands of the Dacian Kingdom and was forced into paying tribute. What’s the connection between that event and certain traditions, celebrations or folk costumes of today’s Romanians? Look below and find out more stuff about Romania’s past that’s being reflected in the present day.
Hidden History. So ancient, so complex in its simplicity.
The ability to combine with the first 2 Elements of The Quest (Past&Presentlocations), ultimately creating a fusion between the 3, turns Hidden History into the most important piece of this trio. Without this unique feature of the 3rd Element, there would be no fusion and therefore no spark to ignite the dance between past and present. A dance so beautiful it causes eventime itself to stop and stare in awe.
Yet, how can hidden history influence the other Elements so much? Where does its power come from? An old Romanian proverb says that “the water flows, but the stones remain”…
Powered by its ancestral origins, hidden history keeps traditions locked in time and therefore influences past and present locations, placing them in a different light.
The Geto-Dacians, the ancient inhabitants of today’s Romania, were all bound together by a cultural unity revolving around a common origin – a lineage going back to the Neolithic culture of Cucuteni. At its peak, Dacia was an empire threatening Rome itself and after numerous wars, their golden era faded.
Nevertheless, the cultural unity of its descendants endured and was strengthened, sadly, by a never ending series of Asian invasions during the middle ages. Aside from invaders, those who would later be known as Romanians had to withstand the threat of assimilation or manipulation from various neighboring empires. Some of them, driven by “divide & conquer” principle, made several attempts at wiping the cultural and historical background of the Carpathian lands.
Fortunately, recent archaeological findings backed up by radiocarbon dating have turned things for the better. Below you’ll find lesser known pieces of history which confirmthe roots of the Romanians, their admiration for their ancestors’ legacy and also explain their desire to keep alive the old customs in certain areas. Through all of these and during the course of time, the Romanians have constantly brought hidden history back to life, coloring their monuments, villages, festivals and so on.
Nevertheless, these recent findings have generated a lot of debate among historians and, using common sense, we will leave them under the banner of controversy.
What matters is that the following examples have something in common: plain, tangible artifacts and documents dug out and validated by researchers from all around the world.
Prehistoric Romania contains some of the oldest known:
Modern Human remains
Circa 40,000 years old, at the “Cave with bones”, Caras-Severin County.
Circa 35,000 years old, at Coliboaia Cave, Apuseni Mountains Natural Park, Bihor County.
400 Human footprints
Circa 36,000 years old, at Ciuc Izbucu, discovery made in 1965.
Schela Cladovei – the oldest permanent settlement in Europe
Circa 9,000 year old agricultural settlement, located on the Danube bank. It was discovered in 1965, during the construction of the Iron Gates dam and hydroelectric power station.
The Tartaria tablets – presumably the oldest form of writing
Belonging to the Vinca-Turdas culture and dated 5500-5300 BCE, the tablets were discovered in 1961 by Romanian archeologist Nicolae Vlassa. They are the subject of a great scientific controversy. If the dating is correct, they would be the oldest form of writing in human history, far preceding the Sumerian writing.
Earliest great civilization in Europe: the Neolithic culture of Cucuteni (4800-3000 BC)
Originating from North-Eastern Romania
The area between Siret and Prut rivers, Moldova region; discovered by Romanian Theodor Burada in 1884
Contained the largest settlements of the time (15,000 inhab.)
Older and more complex than the Mesopotamian civilization, the Cucuteni culture covered an area of 350,000 sq. km and contained actual cities, one of them being estimated to house 15,000 inhabitants. The cities had defensive structures and some buildings had 2 or 3 floors.
Complex symbolism inscribed on ceramic masterpieces and on intriguing statuettes
In several museums you can admire ceramic masterpieces, statuettes with complex shapes and symbols with a universal, enduring meaning. Those symbols were to be recognized and understood only thousands of years after their creation. For example, we have a statuette of a bull placed on wheels (one of the oldest known artifacts pointing at the invention of the wheel); the rotation of the hemispheres, the transition across the horizons, the three levels of Earth/Underworld/Heaven, the cosmological representation of Ursa Minor or even a symbol engraved on pottery looking exactly like the Ying Yang symbol (dating 4000 years before it first occurred in China).
Oldest salt works in the world, around 6050 BC
Discovered at Poiana Slatinei, they were first used by the Starcevo-Cris culture and later perfected by the Cucuteni.
From Cucuteni to the Thracians and to the most famous branch of the latter: the Geto-Dacians
The Thracians branched out from the Cucuteni culture
Based on a DNA analysis conducted on the human remains of Cucuteni and on that of various Thracian tribes, scientists observed they fall into Haplogroup I. This is found all over Europe today and is the only indigenous DNA group that did not come from anywhere else in the world.
During their existence, 200 Thracians tribes spread across Europe
Most concentrations existed in south-eastern Europe (Getii, Dacians, Odrisi, Illyrians) but migrations took place towards central Europe (Tyragetii), Italy (Etruscans) or Spain (Ilergetes). Also, the Goths descended from the Thracians, according to numerous sources: Isildor of Seville (6th century), Goth historian Jordanes (6th century), Carolus Lundius (Uppsala 1671) or even according to ancient writers like Ovid, Celsus and Capitolinus.
Parts of Thracian mythology were adopted by the arriving Achaeans (Greeks) in their early stages of development
Ancient Greek philosopher Strabo admits in his work “Geographia” that the Achaeans borrowed several deities from the Thracians. It’s the case of Dionysus (temple found at Peperincon), Bhendis (Artemis), Apollo and Kotys or the assimilation of Orpheus after seeing the Orphic ceremonials held in Thrace.
The Trojans were Thracians and some of the gold found at Troy came from Apuseni Mountains in today’s Romania
In his work “ The Iliad”, Homer himself said that the Trojan War was fought between the Greek states and the Trojans (whom he calls Dardanoi or Trajans) along with their Thracian allies. Archeological research conducted on the ceramics and other items of these Dardanoi (Trojans) greatly resembles those found at the Thracians north of Danube, in the Carpathian Garden, while also baring similarities with the Cucuteni culture. Moreover, spectrographic analyses made by German scientists in 1941 on the gold items that Schliemann had previously discovered in Troy, have revealed stunning results. The examined gold samples actually proved to come from the Golden Quadrilateral, the famous Thraco-Dacian mines of the Apuseni Mountains in today’s Romania.
The Geto-Dacians’ Kingdom was based on a highly evolved society and its people were considered to have been “the bravest and fairest of the Thracians” (Herodotus)
Europe’s finest goldsmiths – a history carved in gold
Like all Thracians, the Geto-Dacians were exquisite goldsmiths producing magnificent pieces of art. A fine example of this craftsmanship are the 12 golden bracelets present at the Romanian National History Museum in Bucharest. Aside from shere beauty and complex crafting, these 2500 year old bracelets have proven, through rigorous scientific processes, that they are made from the same gold extracted in the Golden Quadrilateral of Rosia Montana, Apuseni Mountains.
Astrology & Philosophy – legacy of Deceneus and his sundial
Deceneus, one of the most famous high priests and spiritual ruler of the Dacians was, according to Jordanes, the man who introduced astrology and philosophy among his people. The sanctuary and sundial present at the Dacian capital of Sarmizegetusa represents further proof and also a tourist attraction.
The holy mountain Kogaionon & Zamolxis – physician & spiritual father of Dacia
As confirmed by the Greek physician Dioscorides and the roman Pseudo-Apuleius, the Dacians had consistent knowledge of medicinal plants and various treatments based on the usage of mineral waters. Also, as learned from Plato, we know that the spiritual father of the dacians was Zamolxis, a man revered like a God, who believed that the treatment of any illness consisted in healing both the mind and the body. The center of spirituality within the Dacian society was built around the Kogaionon Mountain, considered by Strabo to be the “Olympus of the North”.
Burebista turned Dacia into an empire and influenced the Roman civil war
With the help of high priest Deceneu, Burebista unified the Dacian tribes and adopted a policy of conquest. He battled the Celts, the Illyrians and even the Romans, with campaigns in Macedonia, Thrace and Illyria. At its height, his empire stretched from today’s north east Slovakia to the Balkan Mountains in the south and from Austria in the West to the Black Sea in the east. His attacks on Roman lands infuriated Julius Caesar and so Burebista decided to act first. In 48 BC, he sided with Pompey in the Roman Civil War, aiming to overthrow Caesar. A full-out war between the 2 nations never occurred, as both leaders were assassinated.
Decebal defeated Rome in the first full scale war and forced them to pay tribute
After the fall of Burebista, the Dacian Empire crumbled into several city states. In 87 BC, Decebal reunited most of the territories of his predecessor but adopted a less offensive external policy. Despite that, the Romans lead by Emperor Domitian conducted a large military campaign into Dacia and were severely defeated at the battle of Tapae. As a result, the romans had to endure the great shame of paying tribute to the Dacian Kingdom.
Trajan, emperor of Rome, before his first grand campaign in Dacia: “I return to the land of my ancestors”
After Domitian, Rome was once again ruled by a very capable Emperor. Unwilling to keep paying tribute coupled with upcoming rumors on the Dacian gold mines, determined Emperor Trajan to assemble a massive invasion force to conquer Dacia.
The first war took place in 101 BCE and it was considered to be a fratricide war, as Trajan himself declared: “I return to the land of my ancestors” (Dio Cassius). The Romans won a partial victory but they returned in 106 BC with renewed strength and finally managed to subdue the Dacian capital of Sarmizegetusa. Decebal could not endure the defeat and committed suicide. Despite conquering less than a quarter of Dacia, Trajan got what he came for: an unimaginable treasure composed of a staggering 500 tons of gold and 1,000 tons of silver. This is probably one of the most outrageous plunders in history and with it Trajan managed to rebuild Rome and even construct his famous Forum and Column, both bearing his name. If you go to Italy and visit Rome, you can find scenes of the Daco-Roman wars engraved on the Column of Trajan, a conflict frozen into stone and gold.
This is the story of ancient Romania – one of the few people who up to this day never attempted to conquer other people. This is how it all started. The source of their belief. Their pride and unity carried from ancient times through the middle ages and up to this day. This is their hidden history, kept alive by their love for culture and traditions.
This is the 3rd Element of The Quest and also the song on which past and present dance together, freezing time itself.
This is the backbone of TIME TRAVEL TOURISM – trademark of Unveil Romania.