Orange or Pink? Colours, Houses and Modernity in Rural Romania

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The saturated flashy colors used in exterior paintings of houses in the Romanian rural environment represent a discussion topic for on-lookers, whether they are local inhabitants, tourists or specialists interested in urban planning. The same colors are perceived differently and express different significances, denoting more than mere chromatic nuances. What are these significances and what role do they play in inter-human relationships? I have tried to answer this question by analyzing the interviews gathered in the summers of 2008 and 2009 in two touristic areas, Gheţari Plateau (Apuseni Mountains) and Apuseni Mountains (Bukovina). The results point to identity-defining elements shown by the owners of these houses in terms of aspirations towards modernity and the spectacular. They wish to escape the label of ‘provincial’ and to be connected to the ‘global world’. Alternatively, many tourists are disappointed by the widespread usage of these colors in almost all the regions of the country and consider that as a process of homogenization, which erases local specific traits that one would expect to see in these areas.

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