Many people think Transylvania is a fictitious land, like Ruritania or Narnia. It is the birthplace of Dracula. It is the place where dragons live in Harry Potter and the country to which the Pied Piper spirited the children of Hamelin. Indeed, although Transylvania is a real place, truth here is often stranger than fiction. Streams run with silver, the mountains are full of gold, disaur nests are found in river beds and haystacks in trees. It is a country of striking cultural contrasts: of Orthodox monasteries, Gothic churches and Communist follies. While the 'King of the Gypsies' lives in a grandiose modern palace, the future King of England has bought a modest peasant's house in a remote village. Transylvania only recently awakened from the deep sleep of Communism and, though life is w changing fast, traditions remain here that elsewhere died out long ago. Transylvania captures this vanishing world in words and pictures.
Bronwen Riley lived for a time in the remote mountains of Transylvania, studying village traditions and learning Romanian. An Oxford Classics graduate, she specialised in the post-Byzantine art of Romania at the Courtauld Institute, London. She is now managing editor of guidebooks at English Heritage and organises tours of small groups to share her great enthusiasm for and knowledge of Romania. Bucharest-born Dan Dinescu is best known for his marvellous documentation of Maramures, a region in north-west Romania where life stayed unchanged for centuries. Over the course of 25 years, he has captured the people and places of this remote country in luminous, memorable images.