Breţcu is a commune in Covasna County, Romania, comprising also the following villages: Mărtănuş and Oituz. Breţcu’s biggest advantage is its superb setting at the foot of the Carpathians. This old Transylvanian settlement is situated at 76 km. from Braşov, 26 km. from Târgu Secuiesc and the visitors, arriving either from Europe or other countries besides Europe, are amazed by its geographical potentialities. The National Road number 11 crosses Breţcu linking Transylvania and Moldavia. In the old documents and legends the settlement is named “The Eastern Gate of Transylvania” due to its closest position to the Oituz Pass. Áron Gábor, the hero of the 1848 war of independence was born here on 21st November 1814, there is a memorial plaque on the house that stands on the spot of his birth house, his statue that was uncovered in 1992 stands near the Catholic church. Its sights: the remains of the Veneturné castle at the entrance of the Oituz pass, its old Gothic church, which must have been built in 1569 from wood, while its tower was built in 1764. 2 kms from the village in the vicinity of the tile factory a 3 meters tall memorial obelisk was built in 1899 to honour Queen Elisabeth.
The roots of the settlement are lost in the mists of time, the exact time of its founding is not known. Documents and archaeological artifacts prove that this fertile region has seen the shining helmets of Roman soldiers. During the expansion of the Roman Empire, in the third century, the Roman settlers built an important fort here – Castrum Angustia.
The Romans were followed by the Goths eager to fight. The invasion sent newer and newer migratory peoples to the territory. Huns and then Slavs settled here. The presence of the Slavs was preserved by many toponyms and it is assumed that Breţcu would be a Slavic toponym. The name of the village was first mentioned in a papal document written between 1332 and 1337: Beze villa and then Beebcuk. The settlement was later called Bereckfalva and its mission was to protect the region.
At one time, Breţcu received important privileges. In 1426 King Sigismund I granted it the fair status (the diploma was written in Braşov). The settlement was reflected in the documents as the town of Bereck since that year. The town status was revoked and the settlement gained the commune rank in 1888.
Foto: Görbe György 0744528424
A significant demographic explosion is recorded in some important documents of the eighteenth century. A document written in 1614 proves that 70 families lived in Breţcu and only one family had the social status of serfs. The records from 1750 and 1848 show that there were no serfs living in Breţcu.Aron Gabor, the great hero of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 was born here in 1814. The balcony house where General Bem met Petofi Sandor, the famous Hungarian poet, preserved the glory of those memorable times.
The villagers used to earn their living as carters or waggoners. Their carts or wagons were loaded with goods for different regions of the country and they were very good merchants. Breţcu was a transit area where goods, letters and parcels were kept between different stages of their transport.
Over the centuries Breţcu’s history has suffered many vicissitudes. Enemy armies burnt the settlement and drove out its inhabitants. The two World Wars have left deep traces in our history. The trenches of those wars and the Heroes Cemetery are poignant reminders of times past. Even the blind forces of nature affected the area and its inhabitants: a powerful earthquake in 1802, a devastating fire in 1842 and various droughts and floods.
The end of the nineteenth century brought a rapid industrialization in the area. This economic phenomenon has produced important changes in the life of the settlement. Many sawmills were built and the timber exploitation was o profitable one. The railway line between Târgu Secuiesc and Breţcu was built in 1907. It provided strong impetus for the economic development of the area. A brickyard was built in Breţcu in 1910. This economic effervescence was halted by the events of World War I. The historical events threw difficulties in the way but could not stop the development of the commune.
The economic recovery started all over again in 1920. The cable railway between Breţcu and Oituz was built in 1922. An important sawmill was built in Oituz two years later. The school and the town hall were built between 1938 and 1939.
The dynamic of the economic development was paralyzed by the Second World War and the settlement was ruined again. The settlers rebuilt the town but it was a longer process. Breţcu has been devastated through its history many times, though it has always been able to renew and preserve its own familiar but still modern atmosphere.The villagers are well-known for breeding animals and cultivating efficiently a not very fertile land. Nowadays many villagers are employed in public or private system. According to the 1990 Census Breţcu has a population of 4,087 (Breţcu-2,840/Mărtănuş-848/Oituz-393) and it has an important Hungarian majority.
Breţcu is a name with ancient resonance. Its historical roots, great green tracts (forests and pastures) and lovely people help to give Breţcu its unique personality. This commune lives years of substantial changes. It is easy to spend a few days or even weeks here and if you taste the quiet life of this commune, you will surely return.