The medieval fortress of Sighisoara city was swamped with tourists and actors for the 13th festival of medieval arts which started here last week.
The Sigma Market, at the foot of the hill on which the fortes had been built, provided all the necessary ingredients to party on a full stomach: spicy meet rolls, fried chicken, sausages, kebab, all watered down with gallons of beer.
T-shirts and other touristy gadgets were on display too for those in search of souvenirs.
The hot air, of almost a tropical summer day, engulfed us all even before midday.
For a one leu tax salmost a quarter of an eurot, the tourists could climb the hill and enter the medieval fortress where all sorts of visual art performances and exhibitions took place: fashion presentations, theatre performances, folk masks, wooden sculptures and lather bracelets.
Only one day of partying managed to dry out funds from the pockets of many tourists, who thus turned into ad-hoc service providers: for one leu only, one could get "poems by the minute", "a place in the shade" or "get rid of oneâs wife or mother-in-law," as the advertisements showed. Some simply asked for money "to fund our party" or to help "traveling actors." But the most successful, by far, were those turned body-painting artists and two actors impersonating "the death and a ghost" with help from two bed sheets: one black and one white. They did not move, until one attempted to take a picture of them, when they gently pointed out the tin they collected money in.
Though organizers boasted that this yearâs festival would be free of beggars and tacky merchandise, both had a way to creep into the streets of the medieval fortress and become an ubiquitous presence. One dweller of Sighisoara said he had never seen so many beggars in the city, hence he assumed they must have traveled to the city, in view of the brisk business the large crowds attracted by the festival would make them.
Many of the people in the streets of Sighisoara were rockers, traveling from the Peninsula Festival taking place during the same period of time in Targu Mures, some 50 kilometers north-west of Sighisoara.
Hence the majority of the people here were attired in black clothes, wore black make-up and all the regular hair-cuts and paraphernalia rockers will display.
The general mood was pretty calm and quiet during the first night, but by the second - nobody seemed to agree that there should be an end to singing and dancing.
The competing festival in Targu Mures had more audience since the money going into organizing it was also substantially larger. The Peninsula Festival aspires to be a replica of the festival in Szighet, Hungary. Local funds stayed at 350,000 euros, but the Hungarian government contributed too, with 4.5 million forint.