A short legend
Some say Mercheasa was not chosen randomly by the mighty oaks to grow here. Legends talk about a moment in history when giants used to roam free in these lands, hidden from the human eye. There were not that many people around also, back in the days when forests used to spread from shore to shore on the European continent. One day a giant that was passing through the village of Mirkavasar (read about its history https://ebiketransylvania.com/mercheasa-and-its-history/ ) did not know about the newly built church (somewhere around 12 th century ) and tripped over the bell tower, spilling some of its special giant seeds on the surrounding pasture. Eventually the seeds would become old oaks and inspire the locals to tell the keep the story alive.
A natural reservation
Leaving the legend aside the estimated age of 400 old oaks that inhabit the pasture surrounding Mercheasa, vary from 200 years old up to 930 years old. The Carpathian Elder, eldest of them all is a natural monument and is the symbol of the entire man-made ecosystem of hay pastures and old oaks. The entire old oak pasture is documented on the https://arboriremarcabili.ro/en/map-and-trees/show-map/ website.
There are numerous visits from worldwide biologists that come to study the area of Mercheasa and to discover its importance. Some of them recognize the generosity of the local DNA and collect the acorns to be studied and planted in other areas where the Quercus Robur and Quercus Petraea might flourish in such a stunning way, as in Mercheasa.
One of the directions of the environmental agencies from the area is to decide if granting the area the status of reservation will guarantee ecological continuity or it will reverse the effects of grazing and man made pastures, considered the essence triangle in forming the present ecosystem. There is also a debate of how building a reservation will be achieved and managed, considering the bureaucratic challenges.
For the passionate, the best way of visiting the entire pasture is by foot or by bike. Taking a guided tour on an ebike is maybe a new idea that first of all has to settle into a persons mind as the best way to do a tour of the pasture. The way it feels when you are for the first time on the pasture is similar to walking into a Gothic cemetery. You are surrounded by hundreds of “tombstones”, all the oaks have their own story to tell, they give you a feeling of imposed respect knowing the age and doing a quick scan of its bark and branches. The comparison with a cemetery is not accidental, the heart rot showing on most of the oaks shows their tendency to keep an apparent life while actually being dead on the inside.
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