This paper discusses visits to the homeland made by Transylvanian Saxons and their descendants, now mainly living in Germany, after their emigration from the former Saxon areas of Transylvania (Romania). The aim is to understand what compels those people to temporarily return to Transylvania, how the perception of the re-discovered places influences the sense of belonging, or not belonging, to the homeland, and the forms of connection that are re-established. Furthermore, the study aims at analysing the potential of diasporic-roots tourism for heritage protection and local development in this part of Romania. Study results revealed that the landscape re-visited over the journeys played an ambivalent role in the (re)definition of the meanings of home and homeland, reaffirming the sense of belonging to Transylvania and to Germany at the same time. Transylvanian Saxons pragmatically kept connections with the homeland both in Romania (visits, house properties, etc.) and away (associations, newspapers, social networks, etc.), without renouncing the new life found in Germany. Keeping house properties in the homeland was revealed to be a key feature for Saxons’ heritage protection and local development, especially when properties were turned into guesthouses for tourists.

Diaspora and tourism: Transylvanian Saxons visiting the homeland

Iorio Monica;Corsale Andrea
2013-01-01

Abstract

This paper discusses visits to the homeland made by Transylvanian Saxons and their descendants, now mainly living in Germany, after their emigration from the former Saxon areas of Transylvania (Romania). The aim is to understand what compels those people to temporarily return to Transylvania, how the perception of the re-discovered places influences the sense of belonging, or not belonging, to the homeland, and the forms of connection that are re-established. Furthermore, the study aims at analysing the potential of diasporic-roots tourism for heritage protection and local development in this part of Romania. Study results revealed that the landscape re-visited over the journeys played an ambivalent role in the (re)definition of the meanings of home and homeland, reaffirming the sense of belonging to Transylvania and to Germany at the same time. Transylvanian Saxons pragmatically kept connections with the homeland both in Romania (visits, house properties, etc.) and away (associations, newspapers, social networks, etc.), without renouncing the new life found in Germany. Keeping house properties in the homeland was revealed to be a key feature for Saxons’ heritage protection and local development, especially when properties were turned into guesthouses for tourists.
Diaspora; roots tourism; Transylvanian Saxons; Romania identity; Heritage; Local development
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/70047
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