We arrived at Prince Dimitrie Sturdza’s holiday residence in Brădeţelu, a village belonging to the Mureş county commune of Ibăneşti, at exactly the time we were waited for, 14.00 sharp. After the usual formalities that have lasted very little, the automatic gates of the residence have opened for us with a precision worthy of the Swiss watch mechanisms. We are invited to enter an annex placed between the holiday residence and the tennis court, to visit the Hunting Museum (Muzeul Vânătorii). Divided into several compartments, depending on the hunted animals and their area of origin, the Museum contains hundreds of trophies collected over two decades and a half by the Swiss cosmetics brand “Déesse”.
The first true hunting, along with Ion Ţiriac
Prince Dimitrie Sturdza travels back in time and recalls the first real hunt he participated in. It has happened shortly after the 1989 change of regime. In the story of his Highness, the businessman Ion Ţiriac intervenes naturally, his passion for hunting having long ago exceeded Romania’s borders. “Mr. Ţiriac invited me in 1990 or 1991 to Oradea, where a hunting was organized. I landed with my plane in Oradea and I visited him the evening before the hunting and I said, “Look, Ion, I’m coming to the hunting, but I don’t even have a gun and I’m not dressed as for hunting. “It doesn’t matter, you come as you are”, he replied. I went there, the hunting master was a very well-dressed gentleman, after English style, a genuine gentleman. He looked at me and placed me in a corner where no animal was passing. Ţiriac asked him to find a place for me where I can see an animal as well.
I changed the place and I was lucky to shoot a huge boar, right in the heart, which stopped after about 30 meters of running. I asked that master how it was done correctly, and he responded that the boar had to be shot through his ear so that it would be stopped. At the next chase, a wild boar stopped in my area and I aimed as the master told me for its ear”, his Highness recalls what happened over two decades and a half ago.
Visitors of good faith, expected at the Museum
Before leaving the Hunting Museum, we are informed that it can be visited by anyone in good faith. “The museum can be visited by all people in good faith, who understand what hunting means to gentlemen. Numerous students from the Forestry High School have come and I have explained them what it is all about. Those in bad faith should stay at home”, Prince Dimitrie Sturdza concludes.
The most beautiful place in the world, in Ibăneşti
The interior of the stylish holiday residence in Ibăneşti is also arranged in hunting style by Prince Dimitrie Sturdza, who is delighted both by the householders on the Gurghiu Valley (Valea Gurghiului), between Reghin and Lăpuşna, as well as by the landscapes that surpass by their beauty numerous places His Highness saw on the continents he has visited over the years.
In the living room, in a place of honor, there is a bear’s trophy, one of the largest specimens ever hunted in Romania, which received 620 points from specialists in the field. Another piece of resistance is a moose trophy won in New Zealand five years ago, a world record at that time, currently ranked among the top four in the world.
The guests of His Highness can also admire the trophy of a deer from Romania, with an almost symmetrical antlers weighing 12 kilograms. In the same room there is the biggest moose trophy ever hunted in Europe, as well as numerous trophies of roebucks and stags.
“If you come from Reghin up to Lăpuşna, I think you won’t see any house un-plastered and without flowers at the window. These are places with hardworking people, who care for their homes, and the landscapes are of rare beauty. I’ve been around the world and here I like the most. I can go wherever I want, whenever I want, but I’m always coming back here. This mountain, Seaca, which is here, I think it has very, very positive energy. I’m resting sensationally well, I’ll be 80 next year, but I feel like 49. I still intend to hunt as much as I can. People in Transylvania are very civilized, much more civilized than in the south. There is another thing: here all get along, Romanians, Hungarians and other nationalities. I see this when I go hunting to Sovata for example: half of the trackers are Romanians, half Hungarians, and there is no ugly word among them. In addition, there are also Germans here”, Prince Dimitrie Sturdza observes.
Gurghiu Valley, attractive for hunting and fishing
The rich fauna on Gurghiu Valley / Gurghiu Mountains, meaning wild boars, deer, bears and lynxes, has turned the area into one of the hunters’ favorite trails. The members of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s family, the USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev, the former Yugoslav President Iosif Broz Tito, and the Bulgarian one, Teodor Jivkov, were present at the hunting parties.
After the Revolution, the celebrities who participated in the hunting parties include Ion Țiriac and Prince Dimitrie Sturdza. Fishing, especially trout, is another attraction of the Gurghiu Valley.
For those interested in more information about hunting and fishing in the mountain area, a hunting museum is housed inside Bornemisza Castle. Visitors can admire dioramas with game specific to the Gurghiu Valley, birds and fish characteristic of mountain waters.
Gurghiu Valley is also famous for its local traditions and customs capitalized in the events that are organized over the year – Gurghiu Valley Festival – Valley of the Kings, from Ibănești, Fair of the young girls in Gurghiu, Sprinkling water on the wives in Hodac.
By Alex TOTH
Photo: Alex TOTH, Ştefan BRUMAR
(From the special edition of TB 86 – „ENJOY TRANSYLVANIA!” – May/June 2019)