ASDR » About The Village of Dezmir
Satul Dezmir

Dezmir - The return to traditions

Every village is perceived in the common awareness of its sons as some sort of centrum mundi” (Lucian Blaga,”In Praise of the Romanian Village”,
Acceptance speech at the Romanian Academy, 1937)
The village of Dezmir is located in a picturesque area south-west of Apahida commune to which the village is administratively linked, and at a 12 km distance from the south-eastern part of the city Cluj-Napoca.
There are approximately 1400 people living in Dezmir, most of who are of Romanian nationality. Despite being so close to the city, Dezmir has preserved up to our days certain elements defining the traditional Transylvanian village: the architecture of some houses, its country lanes, while its most valuable elements are perpetuated in the mind and souls of elder villagers: traditions, customs, crafts, specific rituals for the traditional village.
ASDR members believe that these “village elders” are genuine assets when trying to discover elements of rural cultural heritage, whereas the “village sons” are destined to preserve, promote and add world-wide value to such treasures. In connection to this, one of ASDR’s objectives is to aim at “reviving particular traditions from various rural areas”. Ever since its creation in 2005 many of the associations’ projects and actions have led to fulfilling this personally paramount objective.
Following many years of actions in dozens of villages from the North-Western Region of Romania, we are now able to perceive and have insight upon the sayings of Nicolae Iorga “By knowing our history, our heroes and our traditions, we become more outgoing, more giving, more caring for humanity and life
 Members of ASRD Dezmir

Erstwhile Dezmir

Historical milestones
VThe ancientness of Dezmir village is proven by the historical discoveries emerged on the village territory. Thus, rural settlements dating from Roman Dacia have been identified. The borderline of Dezmir village revealed two villae rusticae:
- At “Crişeni”, near the Roman road from Napoca to Apahida there have been found traces of a construction dating from the Roman era: a votive altar and a stone sarcophagus.
- At “Sub Berc” borderline a rectangular construction was revealed that comprised five rooms and a potential courtyard with a water basin. The archaeological inventory gathered during the excavations counted bricks, tiles, nails, spikes, an iron link ring and local Roman ceramics.
Celtic traces on the village’s land are also confirmed by the discovery of three cremation graves that contained Celtic items: a fragment from a bronze bracelet, an iron sword, clay pottery, etc. Among these, painted pottery had also been discovered which are usually associated with people of Dacia, consequently resulting that these two populations (the Celts and the Dacia population) dwelled together on the village land during the 3rd century B.C.
The evidence preserved from the middle Ages and later on proves that the village was inhabited by a settler’s population, mostly of Romanian origin for a long period of time.
Dezmir’s name origin
It appears that the village’s first name was “Sidofta” (Vladimir Cinezan – „Apahida - Monographic study”). 
The nowadays toponym of Dezmir, after several successive adjustments, allegedly originates in the word “mir” that defined the word for “leader” in Tatar language and in the word “Gheti”, the name of a Tatar leader. The first documented mention of the village dates from the year 1315 when its name appears as Desmer. Over given periods of time one can find many variations for the village name in certain specific documents, such as Dezmer, Sacerdos de Ziner, Dozmer, Desmir, Dezmyr, Gyizmer, Dezmir.
Inhabitants of the old Dezmir
In reference to the village population, which was mainly of Romanian origin, we list below certain statistic data gathered from historical documents:
  • In 1733, Klein Conscription mentions Dezmir as „locus integrae valachus” (an entirely Romanian territory) counting 74 families.
  • In 1785 Dezmir gathered 77 houses and 94 families, out of which 13 families were of noble origin, pointing to the idea that the village was preferred by noblemen, perhaps due to its natural beauties and the proximity to the city. During those times the village was administered from Cojocna (these statistic data are to be found in the Cojocna Conscription regarding population).
  • The registers owned by the parish from Dezmir reveal that in 1885 the village was inhabited by 654 Romanians (out of which 335 were men and 319 women) and 47 inhabitants of different other nationalities.
  • In 1918 the village population counted 956 inhabitants
  • In 1930 there lived 1114 inhabitants, out of which 1106 were of Romanian origin.
  • In 1946 Dezmir was inhabited by 1445 people (according to parish registers)
  • In 1956 there were 1483 villagers.
The education system in the old village
Documents from 1900 note 1882 as foundation year of the Confessional School from Dezmir with 60 students. The school was wooden built in the church’s courtyard with 2 rooms: one for the students and one for the teacher.
Archives from the church describe the difficulties encountered by teachers. Payment was constantly late and they would sometimes receive corn instead of money. The teacher would also sing for the church and was paid from choir income as well.
Another issue met by teachers was student absence, since they were required to assist their parents in working the lands. In order to constrain parents to allow their children to school the teacher would fine them.  The students who did not pass the class were given the possibility to attend winter classes, two days a week.
In 1879 the Dezmir school registered 81 students and in the school year of 1937-1938 there were 165. In 1930 the school would change location to a bigger building. Of all the teachers from Dezmir Greek-Catholic Confessional School we must list the following: Samuilă Duca, Pavel Pop, Filon Precup, George Măcelaru, Ioan Corpodean, Petru Iustin, Aurel Pop and Simion Munteanu. The latter was a teacher in Dezmir for over 40 years, since the year 1922.
The Church
The earliest information regarding the existence of a church in Dezmir is to be found in the 1733 Klein Conscription describing that Dezmir had a church with two serving priests. Furthermore, documents from 1760-1762 mention the existence of two Unitarian priests, two Unitarian parish houses and a non-Unitarian church.
Documents from 1900 state that the village had a wooden church built in 1780 and restored in 1896, most likely in the area named Crişeni (a stone font was found in that area).
In 1912 the priest Aurel Poruţiu (priest during 1875-1920) suggests that the day of Pentecost should mark the start moment of building a larger church. Hadler David, an architect from Cluj, was responsible with directing the construction site. Every villager had to bring his/her contribution to make the new building possible. The priest Aurel Poruţiu divided the villagers in 4 social classes, according to their fortune.
Those from the first class (16 wealthy villagers) had to provide stone, sand, beam material, boards and iron. Second class villagers (still wealthy) would participate with stone, sand and lime. Third class villagers were the ones not owning a cart, hence they had to work in the quarry or at the construction site. The last class included the poor ones, servants and widows. They were assigned to work 3 days a week.
The church construction site was finished under priest Vasile Micuşan, Aurel Poruţiu’s successor. This priest divides the village in 5 social classes according to the amount of land owned by the villagers. Every one of them had to participate with a certain amount, according to their social class. In 1930 the church had its dedication.

  • Cinezan, Vladimir, „Comuna Apahida – studiu monografic” (“The commune of Apahida – a monographic study”), Casa Cărţii de Ştiinţă – Science Book Publishing House, 2003.
  • Morar, Ana-Maria, „Monografia folclorică a satului Dezmir” (“A Folkloric Monograph of Dezmir”), Degree Paper, „Babeş-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of Letters, 2004.