The scenery of this region is just beautiful, there are a plenty of poems, impressions and memories of people who have been here and expressed their admiration. At the same time many places witnessed important historical events. A good share of local history is still being discovered and many new details of known events are being brought to light by researchers passionate about this territory ranging from reputed scholars and university professors to amateur metal-detectorists spending an hour or two of their spare time here and there and coming across interesting finds. I'm trying to follow and keep in touch with researchers and data trying to bring everything together. There are a lot of blank spots in Romanian and Ukrainian history and something found here might shed some light on the history of Antiquity and the Middle Ages of these two countries as well. In this Photos section of the website I thought it would be a good idea to share some stories about different places and to present some pictures of what these places look like now.
So one of the stories to start with are
The story of the Road to freedom or how the immigration experience started for many of our ancestors in the times when the words America or Canada were not even invented
During the Middle Ages the territory known as Bukovina belonged to the Principality of Moldavia. The main sources of revenues for this country were the transcontinental commercial routes that went through it. Actually the territory of Moldavia was like a hub in which merchants and goods from European cities and from the coast of the Baltic Sea went to Black Sea and via Turkey to the Middle East. From Middle East these goods could reach as far as China. Important segments of these routes went through the border territory of the actual Chernivtsi Region. One of the local segments of the commercial route that went from Transylvania via Suceava and Siret to Chernivtsi (Cernauţi in Romanian on the above map) was known here as the "Road of the Serfs", in Romanian "Drumul Şerbului" because it was the route that became popular among Romanian serfs who were forced to work on properties of the nobles in Transylvania. The peasants in Moldavia enjoyed more rights and freedoms than those in surrounding states. Many of them enjoyed even more rights here in this border area that suffered a lot from military conflicts and was extremely underpopulated. So people who settled here enjoyed many rights like tax exemption and so on. They were treated more like border militia than peasants. Virtually anyone whose ancestry in this area dates back to 18th century is to some degree related to these people regardless if they are present day Ukrainians or Romanians, because intermarriages were common and their number was significant. So this road has a special historical and a special personal value as well. It was once trodden by the feet of our ancestors that came here to reclaim a parcel of land from surrounding woods and obtain their freedom which they had to defend from those who would come to attack their home and family. The home-page picture of this website is taken from a place from which the main destinations of this journey Mt. Tsetsina and city of Chernivtsi opens in the view (Ţeţina and Cernauţi in Romanian on this map). For some of our ancestors back then it would mean the end of their journey and they would proceed with the clearing of woods and settling down a new village somewhere around Chernivtsi. For others it would be just one of the many stops on the way in their long journey until they reached the place that fitted them best to settle down. So the process of settling down in Americas your ancestors went through at the turn of 20th century is just a repetition of a settling down that took place in Bukovina several centuries before when our ancestors just arrived in this area for their first time. There were many tides of immigration to Bukovina area, the most numerous and well documented one happened after this territory was annexed by Austrian Empire, but previous to that for several centuries there was a constant flow of immigrants to this area.
All the pictures in this album and on the home page of the website are taken along what used to be the “Road of the Serfs” and in Bukovinian villages through which it went, more exactly on a segment of it from actual Romanian-Ukrainian border and all the way to Chernivtsi. Some portions of this road are still used as field and forestry roads, the modern international highway that links Romania and Ukraine was built about 50 years ago and is at some distance from this historical road. After this territory was annexed by Austrian Empire in 1775 the Austrian Emperor of that time Joseph the II visited the area. While approaching Chernivtsi the scenery around the city pleased him so much and seemed so familiarly Austrian that he ordered all local administration to be moved to Chernivtsi, and since then the development and transformation of Chernivtsi into a modern European city began.
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