An unusual simile to describe a highly fortified landscape with a troubled history. For some wondrous word-paintings of beautiful landscapes in this region, read Miklos Banffy’s Transylvanian Trilogy.
One of the world’s most introvert, besieged landscapes, south-east Transylvania is like a physical expression of a mental breakdown. It bristles with bastions, walls, watchtowers and crumbling gateways – and these are a mere fraction of what was once there, left as picturesque reminders of a stiflingly militarized and suspicious past. It is beautiful but it is not happy.
For other examples of Winder’s fine writing, enjoy our celebration of his earlier book, Germania.
Source: Simon Winder, Danubia: A personal history of Habsburg Europe (London: Picador, 2013), p. 138
Photo credits: MolnarSzabolcsErdely and Walle1886 at pixabay