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Răcarii de Sus, Răcarii de Jos



racari
Map

Photo and artist: Adrian Gheorghe






Răcari Time Line

There is already a huge amount of data on this site concerning Răcari Village, Matca River, the Wooden Church, etc.

After a huge search in the area of Răcarii de Sus, Răcarii de Jos, Bralostita villages, also on the hills behind Răcari villages, Dr Gheorghe has a new theory concerning the area.

All of the villages have their own history, starting with the ancient ages. Not all villages have ancient sites around them, because there are many more people living in the region than in times long past. However, many of them may have ancient sites around them.

For Răcari Village, the Time Line can be proposed as:

Newspaper Report
Starting with the Stone and Bronze Age, there is a site, in the western part of the present day Village of Răcarii de Sus, called Cerat. This ancient Stone Age / Bronze Age site is placed on top of a hill, with a field on top of it, near a small river, the Matca, as all ancient villages have. Thus, we can place this Cerat site as number 01 on our time line.

From this 01 location, during Roman times, a huge castrum was built, not very far from the Răcari villages, on the same left bank of the Jiu River, on a place we can name 02 Matca Wooden site, where was found a few holes, like underground houses, as well as a huge wooden dam, called "Topila" for water for home use by the people there from the Middle Ages or later.

There must be, in the deep forest, an ancient village, around the Matca site, a place where people lived in underground houses (see the beautiful story of the Sultana woman), and also there must be a small ancient wooden church.

From the 02 Matca site, the people would have gone to the 03 Zidaru Spring site, where was built the ancient wooden church, perhaps the first or possibly the second, built by the Sultana women, as the story says. Today, this wooden church has been moved to Bralostita Village, over the Jiu River and still can be seen in the 03B location.

Going down to the small river, at the end of the Middle Ages, another church was built, the 04 Ghost Church, and later, the new church in Răcarii de Jos Village, 05. Here was the first modern village, Răcarii de Jos.

But some people from Răcarii de Jos migrated, in the 19th - 20th Centuries to the present day village of Răcarii de Sus, where a new church was built, 06.

So, this time line is like a circle, starting with the area of Răcarii de Sus, with the associated site of Cerat, then up north to the Matca wooden site, then to the east, to the Zidaru spring, then going to the south, where we find the present day village of Răcarii de Jos, and then going back to the west, to the present day village of Răcarii de Sus.

Photo and artwork: Adrian Gheorghe 9th December 2008




racarii de sus




Google Earth image showing the Răcari Time Line.

Photo: Google Earth




Old Răcari

Amalia Roth, one of the women of the village of Racarii de Sus, told this story to Dr Gheorghe:

It seems that in the Middle Ages, there was a small village, to north of today's Racarii de Jos and Racarii de Sus protected by forests against turkish enemies, at a distance less than one kilometre north from today's Racarii de Jos, just between the hills, covered by ancient forests.

There are said to be small houses underground, and an old church, said Amelia Roth, all covered by ruins and vegetation, difficult to get there, and little to see above ground. Amelia said that there is a very old abandoned cemetery and people found there a hughe snake, and that there are legends about ghosts there.

Another Alexis team member, Enache "Chiriac" Gheorghe from Racarii de Sus tells this legend of old Răcari:

In ancient times people lived there, in the north, between hills covered by ancient forests, to protect them against all kinds of enemies, in particular the Turkish army. Only from about 1900 did they leave this old village, and create the nuclei of the two Răcari, Racarii de Jos (lower Răcari) and Racarii de Sus (upper Răcari).

Until 1950 all burials from both villages were still in the cemetery from old Răcari, even Enache's father is there, in the old cemetery.

The legend told by Enache Gheorghe says that in olden times, perhaps between 1700 and 1800, the people from old Răcari lived there in the old village, in small houses, underground, covered with earth and vegetation. One day, a few Turkish enemies found the village, and one of them entered one of the small houses, underground, where a single widow lived alone. The woman killed the Turkish man and found on his body a lot of gold coins, taken from other people during raids in the area.

After that, the woman was afraid for the crime she had committed, and decided to use all these gold coins to build a church in the valley, where today Rocarii de Jos is.

However all the transport of building materials, coming from the north, and passing through the forest near old Răcari was stopped just there, between the hills, because of a lot of problems.

The people said that this was a sign from God to build the church there in that place, a long distance from the villages of today.

Today in old Răcari there are only a few ruins and the old ruined church.

racarii de sus
The name Răcari derives from the small river which passes through the village, in which live Raci, or crayfish, so the name Răcari was named after the crayfish which live in the river.

Astacus astacus, the European crayfish, noble crayfish or broad-fingered crayfish, is the most common species of crayfish in Europe. Like other crayfish, The European crayfish is restricted to freshwater, living only in unpolluted streams, rivers and lakes.

Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astacus_astacus




The Church of Old Răcari


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A view of the old church and its cemetery on the opposite slope, looking from the hills of Racarii de Sus, to the east, over the main valley to the north of Racarii de Jos.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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This shows the dome of the roof of the church, made of bricks, from the inside, and clearly shows how the bricks were put together to form the dome.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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This shows part of the inside of the church, covered with vegetation, and in an advanced stage of disrepair.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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This cross from the old cemetery around the old church shows a rare image, a person from old times in his national dress, folk dress, but taken at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The image has been printed on glass or stone by first coating the glass or stone with light sensitive chemicals, and then the image is projected onto it from a modified photographic enlarger. The exposed stone, glass (or ceramic) is then developed and fixed, and the image encased under a protective clear coating of some kind. This one has been done using sepia tones, which is still one of the best ways of preserving a black and white silver based image for the longest possible time.

There are many such photographs in Romanian cemeteries, put on crosses, most of which were made during the late 19th century (when the process first became available) and the early 20th century.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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This shows part of the inside walls of the old church with a fragment of ancient text, written in an old language, called "Chirilica", a part of Russian influence in this area centuries ago.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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This image shows fragments of frescoes from the right side of the main room, inside, at the old church of Răcari. They seem to be fragments of the vestments of saints, very old, and not the way such paintings are done now.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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This view is from the entrance of the old church looking out, and shows a corner of the roof of the front of the old church.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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Another section of the partly demolished roof of the old church.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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The door of the old church, on which there is an inscription containing the date 1874.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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A general view of the old church, taken from the bottom of the valley up the hill. In the foreground is the new cemetery from Racarii de Jos, above that is the old cemetery, although it is not visible in this photo because it is so overgrown with vegetation, and, in the distance towards the top of the hill, also covered by vegetation, the old church.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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A cross from the old cemetery. Most of them are dated about 1900.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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The main entrance to the old Răcari church.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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A photo showing the new fossiliferous site at old Răcari, on the left side of the main valley, across rom the hill on which the old church stands. a photo fo new fossiliferous site at old Răcari,in the left part of main valley,cross-over the old church hill

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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This is an old cross near the old church, from the old cemetery in old Răcari, covered by vegetation. Most crosses from there are around the year 1900.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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This shows the ruins of the church in old Răcari, where Dr Gheorghe found a text written on front door with year "1874".

The church is placed on a hill, to the east of the main valley starting from Racarii de Sus, and leading to the north, at a distance of about 500 metres from today's village. It is covered by vegetation, around it is an old cemetery and further down the slope is a new cemetery.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




racari
This is a sample of a fossil freshwater shell, found on left side of the main valley at old Răcari, a newly discovered site of fossils from Romanian II (over 3 500 000 years ago). It seems that the entire Oltenia area was a huge lake in ancient times, and we are walking today on the floor of the ancient lake.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




racari
This shows two fragments of old pottery, found around the old church, in the valley, with a lot of small pieces of bricks around them. Perhaps there were a few old buildings there, but this will need to be confirmed by further searching.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe









The Story of Sultana



In the area now occupied by the villages of Răcarii de Sus and Răcarii de Jos in the Bronze Age, the first settlement to appear was at the Cerat site, on the west of Răcarii de Sus.

When the romans arrived in Dacia they built, among other things, the big stone castrum from Răcarii de Jos. Cerat’s inhabitants migrated towards the north, between the hills, deep into the forest and they hid there on the banks of the Matca River.

In the Middle Ages, the inhabitants that lived in the cottages at the Matca site searched towards the east for new sources of food and constructions materials. It's assumed that the Matca site had a wooden church as well, and even a priest.

Cottages and artefacts are known from the Matca site, to the north of the Cerat site, and also east of the Matca site, on another river valley, at Zidaru's Fountain.

In Matca and as well as at Zidaru’s Fountain there were cottages well camouflaged by vegetation; there, the people lived and perserved their food resources.

In the time of the Turkish attacks a widow and her children lived in Matca or Zidaru’s Fountain.

One day when this woman was searching for food in the forest she saw coming up on the bank of the river a Turkish officer making a reconnaissance.

Turkish soldiers that were in the Jiu Valley, on the main road, knew that the local population were hiding in the forests. This officer searched the place to find the people.

When the Taraca woman saw him, she and her childrens hid in a grass covered cottage. Getting near the cottage, the turkish officer didn't notice it. He stopped to do his needs and he saw how the liquid dissapeared quickly into the ground. He knew this was a sign for a hiding place. He broke open the cottage roof.

Knowing that she was going to lose her life, the Taraca woman was desperate.

From down in the hole she grabbed him by his belt and suddenly pulled him down into the cottage below ground level, killing him with repeated axe hits. Then, frightened by the murder that she had commited, she covered the cottage, took her children, and they fled from Zidaru’s Fountain River in the Matca medieval village.

Twenty years later one of her boyes was to be married. Being too poor for celebrating properly, the woman was reminded of the turkish man buried at Zidaru’s Fountain and of the gorgeos leather belt worn by him at the moment he died.

Secretly, the woman went back to the shrine – cottage, she exhumed the turkish officer’s corpse and took his belt. Washing it from dirt at Zidaru’s Fountain, the woman found hidden inside it a large amount of coins and golden ornaments.

Then she went into the medieval village Matca, and confessed her 20 years old murder to the priest, told him about her regrets and showed him the golden treasure. The priest considered the Taraca woman’s deed, and he decided that half of the treasure should remain hers for her son's wedding, considering that she deserved that as she had won it while she was fighting for her life. The other half he decided should be used for building a wooden church for the forgiveness of the murder.

And so from over the Jiu River, from Bralostita Village’s area, a large amount of wood was brought in bullock carts. The carts climbed towards the turkish officer’s tomb at Zidaru’s Fountain, as this was chosen as the place for building the church. Near the established place, one of the carts capsized and the priest said that this was the place were God decided the church should be built.

Starting from that place and down along the river there appeared for the first time the present Răcarii de Jos Village. The name comes from "crayfish"("Rac"), one of the main foods of Răcari’s population. Crayfish can be fished even today in the rivers between the hills.

Even today we find in Răcarii de Jos families named Taraca; they are the descendants of the Taraca woman. We can also find Sultana families, as the woman received the nickname of Sultana because finding about the treasure the old inhabitants believed that the murdered Turkish officer was as rich as only a sultan could be. More than that, a little restaurant called “At the sultan” exists nowadays in the Răcarii de Jos Village in the memory of the legend.

Once the Răcarii de Jos Village became established, the old wooden church was too far from the village. It was sold to the people of Bralostita Village, Sfircea Locality, and was carried there by bullocks over the Jiu River. It can be found there almost ruined, near the new church, even today.

In the 19th century the people from Răcarii de Jos built a new brick church near the present cemetery. It was ruined with time and also by earthquakes. This ghost-church can still be seen today not too far away to the north from Răcarii de Jos, on the left bank of the river that flows from Zidaru’s Fountain, near the old and actual cemetery.

Next, the Răcarii de Jos villagers built a new church in the middle of the village. It is still funtionning.

Some of the Răcarii de Jos inhabitants went to the west, and settled in the Matca River Valley under the name of Răcarii de Sus, very close towards the east from the Bronze Age's Cerat Site. And so, after 3 000 years, the circle is closed.

This circle began almost 3 000 ago in the Bronze Age Village of Cerat, from where the inhabitants left towards the northern forests where they created the Medieval Village Matca, towards east creating the cottage village of Zidaru's Fountain, towards the lower south creating the actual village Răcarii de Jos, towards the west creating the actual village Răcarii de Sus, and so they got back near the Cerat Site, after nearly 3 000 years of migration.

But the enhabitants of Upper Răcari had no church and no cemetery also, so they used the ghost-church and the cemetery from Lower Răcari.

Starting with the 20th century, the Răcarii de Sus villagers wanted to have their own church and cemetery. They chose two men and a child; each one of them received a grapevine that was to be planted anywhere they chose. It was said that the one who planted the grapevine which would bloom first of all three was chosen by God to pick the place for the church-to-be.

The child planted his vine near a wall, in a place with shadow and moisture and it was the first that bloomed.

In the night that prefaced the day when he was supposed to choose the place of the future church he had a dream. In this dream somebody told him that the door of the church that was to be built in Răcarii de Sus has an open view to seven church towers. And so it was...

Today, standing in the frame of the door, they can see the towers of the churches: Filiasi, Motru’s Mouth, Bralostita, Lower Răcari, Sfircea and so forth.

The part of the main road between Răcarii de Jos and Răcarii de Sus is named The Devils Road because over the years there have been a lot of car accidents, and their survivors declared that they didn't see any reason for some of the people to lose their life in those car accidents.

The legend says that the west – east road between Filiasi and Craiova intersects in Upper Răcari and Lower Răcari with another mysterious north – south road of the Devil's who comes across the cursed road at high speed, killing everybody standing at the intersection with the main road at that time.

These are, in short, the stories about the population’s migration from Cerat to Matca, from Matca to Zidaru’s Fountain, from Zidaru’s Fountain to Răcarii de Jos, from Răcarii de Jos to Răcarii de Sus, near Cerat; these are also the stories of Taraca woman, of the rich Turkish officer murdered by her, of the churches built in this part of Jiu’s Valley, and of the Devil’s Road.

Of course, there are many other stories that we’ll discover, investigate and share with you another time.

There is a big part of truth in every single one of them.






Racarii de Sus


In 1880, in Racarii de Sus, the people decided to build a church and a cemetery (up till then, they had to go to Racarii de Jos for church services and to bury their dead, because Racarii de Jos was built first, and after this, on the hills, was built Racarii de Sus.)

The place for the future church was chosen in the middle of Racarii de Sus, and they brought to the site stones taken from the Jiu River, and materials for the buildings, but in 1907 an uprising of poor men stopped the building of the church, and the money for its construction was lost.

Then World War I intervened, which put a stop to all thought of building a church.

During all this time, the villagers used the church in Racarii de Jos, but there were two earthquakes in 1924 and 1942, the last of which finally destroyed this church forever.

Marinica Popesc, the owner of a huge amount of land in Racarii de Sus decided to give a part of his land for a church and cemetery for his village.






Three men were chosen, an old man, a middle aged man, and a young man.

Each man was required to plant, in three different places, a cutting of a grape vine, for wine. The planter of the first grape vine to blossom could choose the place where the church was to be built.

The young boy's grape vine was the first to blossom.

He had planted his grape vine near the school fence, and looking around, said that he could see from there a lot of churches - today can be seen from this point six churches, Filiaşi, Gura-Motrului, Bilta, Bralostita, Scaesti and Racarii de Jos, all to the south of this point.

Building of the new church was begun in 1939, and by 1940 the roof was in place, but once again war intervened. However the church was finished about 1941. Russian troops were stationed in the area, but they did not destroy the new church.

The first priest was Marcu Gigiu, and the peinture (painting of the outside wall of the church with religious scenes, a unique Romanian art form) of the church was made by Petre Listeava.

All this information was gained from a very old teacher from Gosea village, who is now dead, in a document found in the church in use today with the collaboration of the present Priest of the church, Father Laurentiu.

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A spring, built in 1963, at the northern outskirts of Racarii de Sus.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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A view of Racarii De Sus in winter, of the street, looking to the east from Gheorghe Enache's house. The electricity poles are of precast reinforced concrete, and are used throughout this area of Oltenia.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




racarii de sus
The same street, but looking to the west, from Enache's house. Electricity and telephone lines are carried by poles above the ground. A snowplough is used to create a path when a lot of snow falls, as in this hard winter, about -20 degrees Celsius.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




racarii de sus
Dr Adrian Gheorghe, the prime motivation for the Alexis and Phoenix projects, with Gheorghe Enache, in the middle of the road, at the front of Enache's house, in Racarii De Sus, in winter.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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Winter sport games in Racarii De Sus, with chidren from the village, at a temperature of about -7°C and no wind.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




racarii de sus
This is a view of the Cerat neolithical village from the Alexis project, looking from east to west, from the west border of Racarii De Sus, in winter. The site is covered in this photo by 30 cm of snow, with an air temperature of -7°C. No discoveries of artefacts are possible under these conditions!

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe






Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




racarii de sus A last view of Racarii De Sus in winter, looking from the main road between Craiova and Filiaşi, to the east, to the village, at the west border of it. You can see in this photo the church and many houses of the village.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




The legend of the Devil's Road.







Dr Gheorghe writes:

Between Racarii de Sus and Racarii de Jos, there is a well made, straight section of main road about two kilometres long.

Over the years there have been a lot of car accidents on this stretch of road, many more than other roads with much worse conditions, with many people dead and injured. This section of road is in good condition, with high visibility, and the weather preceding the accidents was usually fine and sunny.

The priest from Racarii de Sus's church said to Enache Gheorghe that in an old book kept in the church, it states that the "death road" is shaped like a cross from north to south and east to west, where devils meet often and take, from time to time, the lives of people from the cars which use the road. So this part of the road is called the "devil's cross road".

On 12.12.2006, at about 18.30 in the evening, a winter night here, I was driving my car from Craiova (from my company job) to Filiaşi (at home). It was not very cold, there was good visibility, the cars were driving at a reasonable pace, about 50 km/h, and when I was entering Racarii de Sus, on both sides of this road, the devils' road, were many, many lights reflected from the guide posts which bordered the road.

There was no water or ice on the road and the visibility was normal... But, at about 50 m after you enter Racarii de Sus, coming from Craiova, in a place on the right side of the road, a car, in a restricted speed zone of 50 km/h, was killed a young woman (about 27 years age) who was walking off the road, behind a special marker-band for walkers, in a well lit area. Only her child, a girl about 6 years age is alive, her mother is dead, for no good reason...

Amalia Roth told me that in the last few months, here, on devil's road were killed four men, two young boys on the road, another one who was off the road, in front of his house and the woman I just told you about.

After I left the scene of accident and got away from there, after another 100 metres I found, on the right side of the road, another crashed car, off the road with many people around it, helping the driver to escape...





Recent additions, changes and updates to the Alexis site

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This site is to publicise the history and culture of Romania, and displays information from the Alexis Project Association

Alexis Project Filiasi/Romania
RC J/263/230/2007 CIF 21464151
Email: alexis_project@yahoo.com

in a partnership and contract with the Oltenia Museum:
Oltenia Museum Craiova/Romania
CF 4417192
Email: muzeulolteniei@yahoo.com

Because Oltenia Museum has the ability to verify the scientific importance of this information and because the specialists of Oltenia Museum have made contributions to this site, the copyrights to it are part of Oltenia Museum property.



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This page last modified Monday, 24th January, 2011 02:17am


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