Novaci Town Gorj
Many Romanians thoughts go to Novaci when they hear about the pastoral area of Oltenia. Here, at the foot of the Parang Massif, from where Transalpina leaves for the mountains, the descendants of the shepherds who came here from Sibiu, until 1918, are living their lives in peace.
A whyle ago, the settlement was extremely quiet; there was no tourism and logging. Today, to Novaci come more and more tourists passionate about mountain areas, traditions and customs, especially since the town has been designated a tourist resort, even if, of local interest.
In Alexandru Vlahuță's "Picturesque Romania" we find a description of Novaci, as he showed towards the end of the last century: "At noon we enter Novaci - a long and endless village, located at the foot of the mountains, in the beautiful valley of Gilort. The white houses, covered in shingles, rose here and there, scattered on the hills covered with orchards. Through the middle of the village, passes Gilort river, slowly moving, with its waves, mills, mill machines, and saw mills, the roar of which ring along the river."
Until Transalpina was paved, tourists and residents from Novaci had access to the Parang Mountains through the Gilort Valley either, passing the Gilort keys. They wold reache Rânca only after leaving Mount Dalbanu. Since the summer of 2014, since the powerful floods destroyed part of the keys and the road between the rocks, the only access to Rânca is the Transalpina road, through the Novacilor Plain, near the Scăriţa Hill and over the Cerbu, Plopu, Florile-Albe and Corneşu Mountains. In the old days, towards the high peaks of the Parang, with rich pastures, only the shepherds passed.
"Climbing the sheeps in the mountains", the feast of shepherds from Novaci
Not representing a religious holiday, "Climbing the sheeps in the mountains" is the day dedicated to shepherds from Novaci. It is held in Hirișești Forest, on the third Sunday in May. This date is considered by locals to be good to go up in the mountain with the sheeps. Until the late autumn brings the snow, the flocks roam undisturbed on the mountain paths.
In 1968, the local authorities wanted to organize a rally in honor of the shepherds. At first it was simply called "Shepherd's Day". From year to year, the event expanded and became known as the Festival of Song and Shepherd Port "Climbing the sheeps in the mountains". The festival carries with it an old custom of the Novacians, the shepherding. After the long winter nights spent on the Bărăgan or Banat plains, in the mist, snow and rain, the sheeps return to Novaci, spend their feast day, and then slowly leave for the green pastures of the mountains.
Authentic folklore is kept in Novaci
The Novaci folklore includes songs, dances, shouts and shepherd costumes. In the shepherd villages belonging to Novaci, on the left side of the Gilort river, tourists can still hear the old accent of the aged. Those interested can also find legends, because almost all the locals know fantastic stories.
Shepherd songs from the Sibiu area and from the Novaci interference zone send incredible information to the listener about the lives of the shepherds from the mountains and the women left in the village, to take care of the households. The shouts are fascinating too. In order to show their joy of being present at the dance played every Sunday in the town center, the people from Novaci used shouts that they adapted to the different rhythms of the music.