The Ottomans in Romania I

Come follow the Ottoman trail in Romania!I recently went to Romania for a holiday and was pleased to find a lot of the words were familiar to me. The Latin I studied at school came in handy because Romanian is a Romance language but more surprisingly, I recognised a lot of Turkish words too. Looking into the history of Romania, it’s not hard to see why.

Food tastes good in any language.In Medieval Times Romania was divided into three separate entities, Transylvania, Wallachia and Moldavia. These principalities were under the control of different ethnic groups and countries, but over the centuries skirmishes erupted in Wallachia and Moldavia against the Ottoman Turks. Wallachia, which lay on the border of the Ottoman Empire, was the most fiercely independent, with successful raids carried out by Vlad III the Impaler (also known as Vlad Dracula and the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s novel of the same name). Moldavia also achieved Independence under the rule of Stephen the Great but by 1541 Romania was under Ottoman suzerainty. What this meant was the Ottomans controlled Romanian foreign policy and its international relations, while allowing them internal autonomy to rule the country in the manner of their own choosing.

During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 Romania fought on the Russian side against the Turks, and gained complete independence from the Ottoman Empire. Nonetheless many legacies of the Ottoman rule remain, including the language.

Here are some words I picked up during my short stay.

bacşiş – bahşiş – tip
çiorba – soup
cuafor – kuafor – hairdresser. I know this isn’t really a Turkish word and comes from French but I first learnt it as part of my Turkish vocabulary.
harta – harita – map
kapluja – kapı – door/gate
masa – masa – table
papuc – pabuç – slipper
simigeria – simit– simit
tarhon – tarhun – tarragon

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About Goreme1990

I’m Lisa Morrow, the person behind www.insideoutinistanbul.com. I was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up a leafy middle class North Shore suburb. After finishing high school I went to Sydney University but failed to find my niche. After working as a public servant, cleaner, sales assistant, waitress, bar maid and car counter, I went overseas. Once there I hitchhiked through the UK, travelled in Europe and arrived in Turkey just as the Gulf War was starting. My three months stay in the small central Anatolian village of Göreme changed my life. On my return to Australia I earned a BA Honours Degree in Sociology from Macquarie University. An academic career beckoned but the call to travel was louder. After several false starts I moved to Turkey and lived there for ten years. In 2017 I moved to Lisbon, Portugal, but continue to travel regularly to Istanbul.

In addition to my blog I’ve written a travel narrative memoir called “Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom: Adrift in Istanbul” and two collections of essays, “Inside Out In Istanbul: Making Sense of the City” and “Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries”. I have a regular segment on San Francisco Turkish radio and in early 2017 I released an audio walking tour called “Stepping back through Chalcedon: Kadikoy Walk”, through VoiceMap. In addition I write for various international and Australian magazines and websites, as well as for this blog. A full list of my published articles, with links, can be found on the Writing on Turkey and Writing Beyond Turkey pages.

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