Badea Cârțan (roughly: Brother Cârțan – the common nickname of Gheorghe Cârțan; 24 January 1849 – 7 August 1911) was a self-taught Romanian shepherd who fought for the independence of the Romanians of Transylvania (then under Hungarian rule inside Austria-Hungary), distributing Romanian-language books that he secretly brought from the Romanian Old Kingdom to their villages. In all he smuggled some 200,000 books.
Cârțan made a journey on foot to Rome in 1896, and when he arrived at the city's edge after 45 days, said, "Bine te-am găsit, maica Roma" ("Pleased to meet you, mother Rome"). He wished to see Trajan's Column with his own eyes, as well as other evidences of the Latin origin of the Romanian people. After pouring Romanian soil and wheat at the column's base, he wrapped himself in a peasant's coat (cojoc) and fell asleep at the column's base. The next day he was awakened by a policeman who shouted in amazement, "A Dacian has fallen off the column!", as Cârţan was dressed just like the Dacians carved into the column.
He was buried in Sinaia, on soil belonging to independent Romania (Transylvania still being seven years away from its post-World War I union with Romania); on the stone cross atop his grave is inscribed the phrase: "Aici doarme Badea Cârțan visând întregirea neamului său" ("Here lies Badea Cârțan dreaming of the unity of his people").
Badea Cârțan was a peasant and this is a village museum that not only keeps his memory alive but also the spirit of a romanian village.
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