Caras Severin

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One of the most sought for tourist sites in Caras-Severin county is Ochiul Beiului Lake, a natural protected monument, supplied with water by an underground limestone spring, of unbelievably beautiful colour.

Photographs by Paula NEAMTU / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Ochiul Beiului Lake — meaning The Bey’s Eye — is located in a wildlife area in Nerei Gorges — Beusnita National Park, where the Aninei Mountains meet the Locvei Mountains, at a height of 310 meters. The lake has the shape of a 3.6 meter-deep crater and its water is so clean that the trout swimming in it can be admired in their full splendour.

It is an outstanding feature that the lake never freezes, since its temperature remains unchanged all the year long, at between 4 and 8 Celsius. As a result, the migratory birds — the grey heron or wild ducks — instead of leaving for the warmer countries in winter, stay here.

Legend has it that the lake emerged after the son of a renowned Turkish lord — or bey — who ruled the land a few hundred years ago, while having gone hunting fell in love with a shepherd’s daughter. The bey named Beg fell wildly in love with the local young woman, whom he kidnapped and locked in the Big Tower in Nerei Gorges. At night, however, the young woman manages to escape with the help of a rope made from her own dress and she flees, reaching the foot of the cliff at Nerei Valley. The escape enraged the bey, who ordered that the woman be killed. The bey’s son was so grieved at the news that he shed so many tears as to fill the lake that today bears his name and has the colour of his eyes. Desperate that the young woman cannot be brought back to life, the bey’s son killed himself at the lake. In fact, the lake is shaped as an oval crater or an eye, being around 20 meters in diameter.

The legend also says the woman turned into a river — the River Beusnita, and the young man into a lake — Ochiul Beiului.

The lake is located not far from three waterfalls of River Beusnita, the same-name wildlife reserve; the luxuriant surroundings as well as the ruins of the nearby medieval fortress Ilidia are some of the most beautiful tourist sites in the western Banat region.

Near the village of Sasca Romana, after the Bei flows into the Nera, the picturesque Nerei Gorges end — they are a wildlife reserve, where the hikers have to pass through tunnels dug into the steep rock on the right bank.

The International Environment Day is also the Day of Nerei Gorges — Beusnita National Park, where Ochiul Beiului Lake also lies. The Park Day was set up and organised for the first time in 2013, as part of a project implemented by Nera Ecological Collaboration Group (GEC Nera).

“Ochiul Beiului and Beusnita Falls are two important objectives in this fascinating world of the legends, because they complete each other. The area has a fantastic potential for the development of tourism, but if emphasis is laid on tourism and the two objectives, we feel the need to set up a visiting centre here. One can thus introduce the tourist in the park context, one can show him for the first time how water flows down the Beusnita and it is in this way that one makes the tourist eager to discover the impressive legends. Unfortunately, until we learn how to carry out ecological tourism, we will keep only discussing about the special potential of the area”, said GEC Nera chairman Cornel Popovici Sturza.

While GEC Nera, last year, initiated a range of major events to promote Nerei Gorges — Beusnita National Park , some of them in cooperation with neighbouring Serbia, this year unfortunately the National Park administration failed to organise any such action on the Day of Nerei Gorges — Beusnita National Park.

“We already have several brands as regards the national heritage. It is about Ochiul Beiului, Beusnita Falls and Bigar Falls where there is a flow of tourists, whom we do not know how to introduce into the area. We further plan to set up theme mini-tracks and develop ecological tourism in the area, in order to protect the environment. Also, we oppose the pressure the Park is put to when it comes to various official approvals, particularly Bigar Falls, for the development of the commercial activity”, Popovici Sturza stressed.

Last year, GEC Nera together with its volunteers used specific means to set up a theme track and organised a traditional customs and music show in the area. These are but a few examples of promoting and making good use of Nerei Gorges — Beusnita National Park.

The clear water in which the fir-tree forest and the sky mirror, the unbelievably turquoise water of the lake make the place a fairy-tale one. The locals say that if every Romanian visited Ochiul Beiului Lake at least once a year, they would be healthier and the ever-present depression would remain virtually unknown.AGERPRES

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The Bigar Waterfall has become one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in the west of the country, after it was named by an American website the most beautiful waterfall in the world.

Photographs by Paula NEAMTU / AGERPRES PHOTO

The Bigar Waterfall is in Caras-Severin County, in Minisului Valley, half the distance between the towns of Anina and Bozovici on National Road 57B.

The Bigar Natural Reserve includes an intermittent natural spring, a cave, a stream and a waterfall, all located towards the Almajului Country, on the right side of Minisului Gorges, where the road meets, imaginarily, the 45th northern latitude parallel of the globe.

In Banat, the locals use the name of ‘izbuc’ for a spring from which the water comes to light from under the rock. The water of the Bigar spring comes out from under a rock which is over 50 meters high. Part of the water of this spring, of a rare purity, is routed to Minis trout farm. Also here, but above, close to the peak of the cliff, is the hole of the cave with water. Also, the water in the Bigar creek falls, from stage to stage, forming a line of small waterfalls so that the water is clear and foamy intermittently.

At a distance of about 200 meters from the intermittent spring, the water flows into Minis River from a volcanic tuff cone of seven meters tall. This formed the Bigar Waterfall, a natural phenomenon of a special beauty. The rock cone is covered in green moss and the water that falls on it seems to be the dress of the mountain’s bride.

To do tourists’ stopover here even more enjoyable at the waterfall, the gazebo built here was rebuilt, and benches and tables were placed. Also, the railing between the alleys will be extended with a staircase that will descend to the Minis River, for the tourists to take photos of the waterfall in good conditions, which cools them in summertime and in wintertime it offers them an unforgettable image, because the icicle curtains.

‘The famous waterfall belongs to the Caras-Severin Forestry Directorate, but, at the same time, also to the National Park Nerei Gorges — Beusnita, which has already begun to manage the this area, because increasingly many tourists come here and we want the area to look well, to be clean. Here there was an old gazebo which has been rearranged, its roof has been replaced, protective fencing has been put to avoid possible injuries and a few tables and rustic benches have been placed,’ said Stefan Stanescu, the Caras-Severin Forestry Directorate’s head.

At the same time, at the intermittent spring, where there is a cave, stairs have been built for it to be visited under optimal conditions, especially since, in the last period, the number of tourists has been growing. In summertime, as many as 200 cars carrying tourists come here daily.

‘Fortunately, we have a county rich in natural beauties. I could not do a rankings of waterfalls, as to me they are all equally beautiful,’ said Caras-Severin County’s Prefect Silviu Hurduzeu.

The World Geography website posted in 2013 a list of the most impressive waterfalls in the world. The first place is held by the Bigar Waterfall in Caras-Severin County.

Until now there has not been a legend of this waterfall, but teacher Floarea-Ana Tunea has created one, trying in this way to attract as many tourists as possible to this area.

According to this legend, on the wonderful lands of the Almajului Valley, there was a family of peasants very appreciated by locals. The man was hard-working and honest and his wife, of a rare beauty. Their only bitterness was the lack of a son to carry on their names and help them in their old age. One night, the woman saw a witch in her dream, who told her that only if she drank water from the spring beneath the rock placed at the border between the worlds would she get pregnant. Also in her dream the woman was told that if she ever had a girl, she would not be allowed to fall in love if she wanted to live. The woman went to the spring and drank water, and after a while she gave birth to an incredibly beautiful daughter, wanted by many lads. The young maiden fell in love with a handsome and hard-working boy named Bigar. The girl’s father, who knew the story, tried to make his daughter forget about the lad, and because the girl would not renounce her love, he locked her in the cave above the spring of the world. The maiden’s cries of despair were heard by a witch who lived on the other side, known as the Love Finding Realm, teacher Floarea-Ana Tunea’s legend goes.

Persuaded by the huge suffering of the girl, the witch told her that the only thing that she could for her was to turn her hair into a waterfall on which her tears would slip.

‘The roar of the waterfall will bring the one that you love close to you, but I warn you, you will never be allowed to live in this world. He will have to die drowned in your tears and you will die along with him, in order for you to revive then in the other world, in the Love Finding Realm. It is only there that what was destined for you upon your birth will not be fulfilled,’ the legend goes.

According to the legend, the lad came and threw himself into the waterfall, charmed by its soothing sound and thus they were reunited on the other realm, the only place where they could live their love. Later, the waterfall has remained the testament to a love that surpassed the limits of a human being, but also to the fact that love means happiness and sacrifice at the same time.

Since then, the couples in love come to drink water from the waterfall named after the lad Bigar, to seal their love and also to have an eternal and absolute love, according to legend created to spark even further the interest in the impressive waterfall.AGERPRES

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The relics of the earliest living human in Europe have been recently found in the Bone Cave of Caras-Severin County.

Photos taken by: (c) Paula NEAMTU / AGERPRES

The bones in question refer to the skull of ‘Vasile’, as it was named by those who have discovered it, but also to the jawbone of ‘Ion’, which American anthropologists have certified it dates back to nearly 40,000 years ago.

Three amateur cavers from Timisoara, Adrian Bilgar, Stefan Milota and Laurentiu Sarcina, have discovered, in 2002, a grotto that they have named the Bone Cave, due to the large number of animal fossils found here.

In one of the galleries, however, the three also found a fragment of a human jawbone, that still held in place five molars. The jawbone was taken to dr. Oana Teodora Moldovan, of the Emil Racovita Speleology Institute of the Romanian Academy who in turn gave it to renowned American anthropologist Erik Trinkauss of the Washington University, in order to perform carbon dating on the sample.

It was here that an entire team of researchers have certified that the mandible has an age of 36,000 carbon-years, which would translate to an age of 40,000 calendar years, belonging thus to the earliest living human in Europe. As such, the jawbone is 2,000 years older than the relics found in Spain that were considered, until recently, the oldest in Europe.

Once it was brought back to Romania, the researchers here have determined it belonged to an adult male between 35 and 40 years of age which they named ‘Ion’. This discovery has also represented the starting point of a more ample project of scientific research of the grotto.

It was this research that unearthed also the skull of an adolescent between 14 and 16 years old, later called ‘Vasile’, but also a bone from the temple of a woman, named later on ‘Maria’.

The Bone Cave is situated in the karstic system of the Minis Valley, on the right slope of it, between the Plopa and Ponor caves. Plotting this gallery system was no easy task, given the complexity of the karst system of which it is part. The research project was led by dr. Sorin M. Petrescu, the coordinator of the site, in his quality as expert archeologist of the Ministry of Culture.

“The Bone Cave is made up of approximately 12 galleries, yet we may mention specifically the Lair Gallery, the Ancestors’ Slope and the Mandible Hall. The human remains were discovered in the Mandible Hall and on the Ancestors’ Slope. In the 2005 campaign, we have continued the research on the surface open in 2004, practically, on the area that yielded the human remains in the previous year. The osteological material dislocated and the entire resulting sediment were transported outside the cave for cleaning and in order to do the specific analyses. The archeological situation is no different now than in 2004, practically, with no anthropic activity being observed in the cave (artefacts, coal, parietal art or any other signs)”, said Sorin M. Petrescu.

As such, once the campaign in 2005 ended, research in this point ended too, yet in order to understand the context in which these bones have ended up underground, attention must be granted to the superior levels of the karstic system, especially on those with Pleistocene fauna and apparently untouched sediment deposits.

“Obtaining these results and corroborating them with those of the 2004 campaign on one hand, and those obtained in other sites (Mladec, Cioclovina, Muierii Cave) on the other hand, will bring new proof regarding the moment the first modern humans came to Europe and their anatomy”, said Sorin M. Petrescu, a university professor of Romanian early history and archeology.

Until recently, the presence and biological characteristics of early modern humans of southeast Europe were hypothetical, based only on paleographic theories and unfounded assumptions, tied to associations between archeological complexes and human anatomy, to which few poorly dated paleontological data or hard-to-identify human remains were added. The discoveries of human remains of early humans in the Bone Cave in 2002, 2003, and 2004, offer a far better picture on the earliest modern humans in Europe. AGERPRES

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Muzeul reșițean este o instituție tânără în cadrul constelației muzeelor bănățene, care a apărut după mijlocul secolului trecut. Arhitectura imobilului Muzeului Banatului Montan reprezintă o variantă reșițeană a Muzeului Guggenheim.

Fotografii: (c) Paula Neamțu / AGERPRES FLUX

Banatul, peninsulă apărată din trei părți de apă (Mureș, Tisa și Dunăre), dispune, pe lângă diversitatea bio-geografică, etnică și culturală, și de un enorm potențial de patrimoniu, iar instituția chemată să-l valorifice și să-l conserve este muzeul.

În acest sens, Muzeul Banatului Montan este reprezentantul județului Caraș-Severin, derulând o activitate arheologică și de cercetare pentru un spațiu geografic de aproximativ 9.000 km. pătrați.

Povestea Muzeului Banatului Montan din Reșița începe în anul 1957 când, pe fondul unui oraș eminamente industrial, societatea civilă a solicitat înființarea unei ”oaze culturale”.

Importanța instituției a crescut din anul 1968, deoarece, muzeul orașului Reșița devenea Muzeul de Istorie al județului Caraș-Severin. Industrializarea în forță a orașului în perioada comunistă a marcat nefericit și destinele muzeului reșițean, care a fost nevoit să-și mute sediul și patrimoniul în mai multe locații, începând cu anul 1976 și până în anul 1987, când a fost finalizată construcția actuală a muzeului din Reșița.

Patrimoniul muzeal s-a înfiripat prin donații particulare, într-o primă fază apoi, prin cercetările de teren, s-a îmbogățit și cu artefacte din descoperiri arheologice de pe întreg teritoriul județului.

Muzeul adăpostește în depozitele sale colecția de arheologie, care cuprinde peste 19.000 de artefacte ce ilustrează locuirea în acest spațiu încă din Paleolitic, o bogată colecție de numismatică, ce grupează 15.000 de monede, dar și costume populare, dovezi vii ale simțului estetic al bănățencelor, plăci foto și fotografii, ”martorii oculari” ai trecutului industrial al zonei, dar și afișe de cinema și, mai nou, discuri audio, adică tot atâtea valențe date trăirilor și trecerii, simțurilor și bucuriei de a te întâlni cu alte vremuri.


”Sălile de expunere oferă mostre ale colecțiilor în fața publicului fiind — rânduite — în spirală, caracteristică dată de arhitectura imobilului, varianta reșițeană a Muzeului Guggenheim. Expozițiile comprimă în mesajul lor diversitatea culturală, etnică, și chiar geografică. Astfel, suntem întâmpinați de expoziția — Portul popular la Dunărea de Jos apuseană. Identitate și alteritate — al cărei mesaj este că Banatul a ființat întotdeauna ca un spațiu multietnic și multicultural, consecință a melanjului de populații care au conviețuit aici. Piese deosebite, aparținând fondului etnografic al Muzeului Banatului Montan, sunt însoțite de o documentație fotografică ce ilustrează ipostaze de ieri și de azi ale portului popular’, explică Livia Magina, cercetător în cadrul Muzeului Banatului Montan.

Periplul se continuă cu o expoziție deosebită de artă naivă cu tablouri din colecția pictorului reșițean Mihai Vintilă, inspirate din viața satului. Expoziția ”Europa în flăcări” a fost montată pentru a marca împlinirea a 100 de ani de la începerea Primului Război Mondial. Prin intermediul obiectelor simbolice și a instrumentarului de luptă — armament, obiecte personale ale soldaților, fotografii de pe front, medalii, insigne, hărți, documente și cărți — se încearcă și o conturare a viziunii soldatului, dar și a celor de acasă, cu toții aflați sub impactul conflagrației.

”Muzeul Banatului Montan găzduiește și expoziția ‘Bogăția din adâncuri’. Florile de mină reprezintă un pretext de a arăta cât de fantastic poate fi subsolul acestei regiuni. Cu o imensă baghetă magică, în creuzete neștiute și fierbinți, natura, mare alchimist, creează de mii de ani, dinainte de dinozauri și mamuți, bijuterii pe care le ascund în subteran aceste flori de mină. Niciun alt meșteșug de pe lume nu dă naștere unor asemenea splendori, cu atât mai mult cu cât trebuie căutate în măruntaiele pământului, labirintic, febril. Luând forme bizare, ca-ntr-un vis de copil, fiecare dintre acestea este unică și te determină, într-un impuls al imaginației, să le botezi: Valurile mării, Mica Sirenă, Palatul de sub ape, Pânza de păianjen, Dalia neagră, Kilimandjaro, Ploaie de aur…’, spune cercetătorul Livia Magina.

Mineralele provin din minele de la Dognecea și Ocna de Fier.

Trecând mai departe, muzeul oferă o poveste și mai fascinantă, prin intermediul expoziției ‘De la piatră la… computer. Investigații în lumea scrisului’. Practic, este vorba despre trei povești într-o poveste: a caracterelor, a materialului-suport, a instrumentelor de scris. Dacă la început a fost Cuvântul, mai apoi el a fost dat pietrei, lemnului, metalului, pergamentului ori hârtiei, în latină, în maghiară, germană, cu litere chirilice ori latine, cu stylusul ori cu tastatura, toate reflectând evoluția și necesitatea de schimbare a societății. Cărămida cu scris cursiv de la Gornea, una dintre puținele de acest fel de pe teritoriul țării noastre, argumentează prin prezența sa în vitrină o tehnică aparte de scriere. Diploma militară sau monedele romane definesc o altă latură a impactului scrisului în societate.

De toate aceste expoziții se pot bucura toți cei care trec pragul Muzeul Banatului Montan din Reșița, acolo unde un mic, dar inimos personal, condus de prof. univ. dr. Dumitru Țeicu, face muncă de cercetare asiduă. Mai exact, în perioada post-comunistă, muzeul s-a integrat perfect prin cercetări, expoziții, conferințe științifice internaționale, prin programe europene, în fluxul cultural al acestui spațiu dunărean și european.

Activitatea departamentului de cercetare din cadrul muzeului s-a evidențiat prin elaborarea de lucrări privitoare la istoria și arheologia regiunii și prin editarea de documente. Cooptarea cercetătorilor instituției în echipe de cercetare din marile centre universitare și academice (Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca, Institutul de Istorie George Barițiu, Cluj—Napoca), dar și derularea propriilor proiecte de cercetare transfrontaliere în cooperare cu vecinii din Serbia, dovedesc o calitate profesională deosebită a acestora. Banatica, anuarul muzeului, cu o tradiție de peste 30 de ani, reunește între coperțile sale studii și articole ale cercetătorilor din țară dar și din străinătate (Anglia, Ungaria), fiind indexat în mai multe baze de date de profil.

AGERPRES/(AS — autor: Paula Neamțu, editor: Adrian Drăguț)

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The city of Resita, the county seat of Caras-Severin County, is situated in the southwestern part of Romania, on the course of the Barzava river, in the Resita Depression, at 245 meters altitude, the city bordering the northwest edge of the Semenic Mountains.

Photo credit: (c) Paula NEAMTU / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Archeological research unearthed the existence, within this space, of signs of inhabitance dating back to the Neolithic period, as well as the Dacian and Roman period. The city developed on the place of an older settlement, dating back to the Roman age, namely the 2nd century AD. The vestiges showed the existence of a Roman castrum, fortified by two defensive moats, and dating back to the 2nd-3rd century.

The city was first mentioned in the 15th century, under the name of Rechyoka an Rechycha. In 1673 it is mentioned with the name of Reszinitza. At that time, its inhabitants paid dues to the Timisoara Eyalet. In the 1690-1700 period, it belonged to the Bocsa District. In 1717 it appears by the name of Retziza, then Reschitza (1738), and Olah Resicza (Romanian Resita) (1779).

The city started its industrial development after 1769, becoming on July 3, 1771, the home of the oldest and most important metallurgic center on the European continent. Initially, two villages in close proximity existed, the Romanian Resita and the Mountain Resita. The factories were placed in Mountain Resita, that was initially, the home of Romanian coal miners. In 1776, however, 70 German families originating from Styria, Carinthia and Upper Austria were colonized here, while in 1782-1787, German families from the Rhine region settled here.

Becoming an important center of the steel and automotive industry in the country, Resita was declared a town in 1925, becoming a city and a county seat in 1968. It is one of the oldest and most important metallurgic in the country and southeastern Europe. According to the official website of the city, in 1872, the St. E. G. plants were producing materials for European railways (cranes, reservoirs for water towers, railway turntables, buffers, etc.). In 1872, the first locomotive for internal factory transport was produced here, under the name of Resita 2, using the design of John Haswell, the director of the St. E. G. locomotive plant in Vienna. In 1926, the city’s plants turned out the first steam engine built in Romania in the interwar period, bearing the name King Ferdinand.

Photo credit: (c) Paula NEAMTU / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Resita also developed from a cultural point of view, the city’s attractions including the History Museum of the Mountainous Banat region; the Steam Engine Museum; the Cultural Palace (1928); the German Casino (1862); the Romanian Casino (20th century); the Roman-Catholic Church (1848); the Evangelic Church (19th century), the Neff I House and the public baths (19th century); the Synagogue (19th century); the Grebla Hydroelectric Plant (1903-1909); the ‘Dormition of the Holy Theotokos’ Romanian Orthodox Cathedral, situated in Mountain Resita (1936); the Resita Sud train station; and the Border Bridge, the first bridge to be riveted and welded (1931).

The city of Resita had, at the 2011 Census, 73,282 inhabitants.AGERPRES

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The oldest traces of human activity on the territory of present day Caras-Severin County, dating back to the Middle Paleolithic, were discovered within the boundaries of the Baile Herculane thermal resort (80,000 – 70,000 BC) and at Tincova (first open-air Paleolithic settlement in Banat). The Bronze Age (1,800 – 800 BC) is represented by the discovery of human settlements on Barzava Valley, while the human settlements at Coltan, Bocsa, Ocna de Fier, Oravita, Bania, Sasca Montana are representative for the Iron Age (1,200 BC – 1st century AD).

Ruins of a Roman construction — Caras-Severin County
Photo credit: (c) Paula NEAMTU / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

In the heyday of Dacia, during the reign of kings Burebista and Decebalus, this area was well populated and incorporated many localities and citadels of great importance. After the Daco-Roman wars (101-102 and 105-106) and the conquest of Dacia by the Romans, the province of Banat (including the present territory of Caras-Severin) was part of Dacia Superior, and after the year 156 AD it became part of Dacia Malvensis.

During the Roman rule, this region experienced a significant development proven by the presence of numerous Roman camps discovered at Varadia (Arcidava), Mehadia (Ad Mediam), Berzovia (Berzobis), Jupa (Tibiscum), Teregova (Ad Pannonios) and by Dacian settlements, including Aizis (today’s Farliug) or Acmonia (Zavoi) etc.

The rock drawings discovered in the Gura Chindiei cave in Alibeg are of major importance, as they confirm the continuity of the habitation of this region by the indigenous population; this is also where one of the oldest Cyrillic inscriptions in Romania was discovered, dating from the 10th — 11th century. Traces of blast furnaces to reduce iron ore were uncovered within the boundaries of the localities Ghertenis, Ramna, Bocsa etc.

The present-day territory of Caras-Severin County has experienced some early forms of indigenous socio-political organization. Thus, at the end of the first millennium and in the early second millennium, this area saw the voievodeship of Glad — a strong Romanian social-political formation having its center most likely at the Cuvin (Keve) citadel and with other fortifications at Carasova, Coronini, Bocsa etc. and which is mentioned in the chronicles of the time (Gesta Hungarorum or ”The Deeds of the Hungarians”, and the Legend of Saint Gerard). According to the information chronicler Anonymus set down in the Gesta Hungarorum, Glad’s voievodeship was conquered by the Hungarians, and Glad’s successor Ahtum (10th — 11th century), who moved the capital from Cuvin to Morisena (present day Cenad) was defeated after heavy battles by the Hungarians in the early eleventh century.

In 1230 the ‘Banatus Severinensis’ was founded, a military-administrative unit that included southern Banat, the Severin area and a small part of Oltenia, with the center at the Severin fortress.

The first documentary mention of the ‘Banat of Severin’ dates from 1233; governed at first by ‘ban’ Luca, the Banat became later (beginning with the reign of voivode Basarab I) a feudal estate of the rulers of Wallachia Basarab I, then Vlaicu Voda (who also called himself “banus of Zeverino”, 1368) and Mircea the Elder.
The Romanians of Banat made an active contribution to the anti-Ottoman fight, participating in the campaigns conducted first under the command of General Pippo Spano of Ozora, then under that of John Hunyadi and, in the second half of the 15th century, in the army of Timisoara stadtholder Pavel Chinezu.

The Ottoman Empire rapidly expanded north of the Danube, with the Turks occupying Buda in 1541 and Timisoara in 1552, so that a part of the territory of Banat came under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Porte and the other, known as the Banat of Lugoj and Caransebes, was under the suzerainty of the Prince of Transylvania.

The series of military conflicts opposing the Habsburg and the Ottoman Empire continued into the early 18th century, when after more than one century and a half of Ottoman rule, Banat becomes Austrian ownership under the administration of the Imperial Court in Vienna.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as a result of the intense political ties between southern Banat and the other Romanian provinces, culture develops effervescently in the county of Caras-Severin, which can be proven by the dissemination of books published in Transylvania, Moldova and Wallachia. Many of the nineteen Romanian books that were put out between 1640-1699 circulated in the territory of southern Banat too. “The Homiliary of Varlaam” or “The Romanian Book of Teaching” printed in Iasi in 1643 reached Vermes, and another copy was found by historian Nicolae Iorga in the attic of the church of Domasnea. The “New Testament from Belgrade” was introduced in the entire territory of Romania and got to the church of Mehadia between 1704-1705. Around 1750, a certain Peter, “a grammaticist of the Caransebes School”, owned the “Psalter” printed in Alba Iulia in 1651. The Gospel published in Bucharest in 1682, during the reign of Serban Cantacuzino, had a wide circulation on the Romanian territory, reaching the church of Zagujeni in Banat and the Luncavita church.

After the Peace of Passarowitz (1718) the Habsburg rule sets in in Banat, which is converted into an estate of the Crown. The massive deposits of coal and iron ore favored the development, earlier than in other parts of Romania, of metallurgy. The first industrial plants were built at Oravita (1718, a high blast furnace for smelting iron ore), Bocsa (1719, smelter) and Resita (1769). As of the same period, strong mining centers organize and develop at Dognecea, Bocsa, Anina, Moldova Noua etc.
Beginning with the nineteenth century, the Romanians’ struggle for the state unity and independence intensified. These goals were pursued by Tudor Vladimirescu and the participants in the Revolution of 1821, which although quashed, gave a strong new impetus to national liberation movements that culminated with the 1848 Revolution.

One of the leaders of the Romanians in Caras-Severin County, Eftimie Murgu, actively participates alongside Nicolae Balcescu and Dumitru Filipescu, beginning with 1840, in the organization of a revolutionary movement to create a unified and independent Romanian state. Caras-Severin locals fought enthusiastically for the achievement of the ancient goal of the Romanians, and Eftimie Murgu joined his former students Ion Ionescu de la Brad, Nicolae Balcescu, C.A. Rosetti in this battle. On the occasion of the meeting of June 15/27, 1848 in Lugoj Eftimie Murgu was proposed “the supreme commander of Banat”.

The Union of the principalities in 1859, a decade after the defeat of the Revolution, had a strong reverberation in Banat. After the start of the 1877-1878 military operations for acquiring state independence, despite the prohibitions, banned books and maps circulated in Caras-Severin, as in the entire region of Banat, titled ‘The Romanian Country and Modern Dacia’, which included all Romanian territories, as well as those under the Habsburg domination. Many Caransebes locals enrolled in the Romanian army.

In the coming decades they were actively involved in the fight for the national liberation, supporting the actions of the Memorandists, and at the end of WW I they took decided steps for the establishment of the Romanian national unitary state. On December 1, 1918 in Alba Iulia, the delegates of Banat too signed the historical Union Act reinforced by the more than 100,000 participants in the impressive Assembly on ‘Horea’s Field’.

After the Belgrade armistice signed in October 1918, the entire Banat was occupied by the Serbian forces. In January 1919, the Serbs withdrew from the area and the French army took over instead. Banat came under Romanian administration on July 28, 1919 and after the Paris Peace Conference of August 1919, the territorial delimitation between Serbia and the Kingdom of Romania was nailed down.

In the late nineteenth century there were two administrative units in southern Banat (Caras and Severin) which were joined in 1880) into a single administrative unit called Caras-Severin.

In 1926, the great Caras-Severin County was divided into Caras (with the rural divisions Bocsa, Bozovici, Moldova Noua, Oravita, Racasdia, Resita, and 129 communes) and Severin (with the rural divisions Balint, Birchis, Caransebes, Faget, Lugoj, Marginea, Orsova, Sacu, Teregova, with 224 communes). This organization was preserved until September 1950, when they were incorporated as districts (Mehadia, Moldova Noua, Oravita, Resita, Caransebes) in the region of Timisoara (named as of 1960 the region of Banat).

Law No. 2/17 February 1968 reinstated the county of Caras-Severin, which has since evolved within the current boundaries, and which includes two municipalities, 6 towns and 69 communes. AGERPRES

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