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Exploring the symbolism of traditional Szekely gates in heritage tourism

Author: , , , , and

Gates represent an important component of the Romanian domestic life since historical times. They function as a barrier between the sacred family space from inside the household and the space and potential dangers from outside it. Traditional wooden gates have been inscribed with specific elements, thus functioning simultaneously as a household utility and conserving a common identity through their symbolism. Szekely gates represent a lesser-known and studied element of ethnocultural heritage, although the area where they are located has been in the last few years and will probably continue to be a very dynamic and sought after tourism destination. The wooden Székely gates, found in areas inhabited by this ethnic minority, represent a true accumulation of both Romanian and Székely rituals and symbols. The aim of the study is to highlight the importance of the gates for the traditional ethnographic heritage of this ethnic minority with real implications for the development of local cultural and heritage tourism. The objectives of the study consist in identifying the main areas of distribution for Székely gates in Transylvania, the significance of their main symbols and the level of their current national and international promotion. The research methodology included direct observations, GIS techniques, and field investigations. The results of this exploratory study show the location of the traditional Székely gates and their diversity, and the coexistence of a Romanian symbolism with one that is exclusively local through specific motifs and colours. This diversity and coexistence of symbols gives the possibility of inserting Székely gates as added cultural values into an already visible and viable tourism area.

Keywords: , , , ,
Issue: Volume 12, Issue 1, 2018