The meadow with secular oak trees of Mercheașa

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(Romanian: Mercheașa, German: Streitfort, Saxon German Stretjfêrt)

The meadow with secular oak trees of Mercheașa is a pasture with scattered trees growing on it. The traditional communities used to appreciate all that the pastures with trees could offer: their shade, their fruit,  including the aesthetic and cultural value. On a wider spectrum, these trees represent the many generations who “groomed” them; or just sat under their shadow to rest.

These pastures are distinctive for the European agricultural areas. Unfortunately, the 19th century brought the decline of these wonderful pastures. Transylvania still has meadows with ancient trees. We have proposed the meadow with secular oaks of Mercheașa to be one of the “seven wonders”, as it is the largest pasture with active century old trees in Central and Eastern Europe.

The 1100 hectares meadow near Mercheașa is “inhabited” by grazing (in the traditional sense of it) buffaloes, cows, horses and sheep. All the old trees and the paddock have been evaluated within the “Remarkable Trees of Romania” project : the result shows that from a total of 442 trees, 431 are oaks, whereas the rest are crabapple, beech and willow trees. As far as the oaks are concerned, 262 trees have a trunk with a diameter of 400-500 cm, 144 trees have a trunk with a diameter of 501-600 cm and the others have 601-950 cm trunk diameter. There are three oaks with over 700 cm trunk diameter. These are 200 to 400 year old oak trees, but there are even 600 or 900 year old trees here. In addition, there is a beech tree with a 591 cm trunk and two crabapples with a minimum 300 cm trunk diameter. The largest oak of the meadow has a 921 cm trunk; this tree is protected and was baptized the “Old Carpathian”. This oak is Transylvania’s largest and the second largest productive oak of Romania.

Why is this meadow a wonder? Because it is unique. On one hand, according to many experts, this pasture with scattered old trees is the largest actively used meadow in Europe (excluding the Iberian Peninsula). On the other hand, it is a true wonder that century-old trees are still living and are still productive. The trees are only cut out from the “field” when they are not productive anymore or the branches are dry and they die. There are some exceptions to this rule: if the cultural and aesthetic value of the trees is exceptional, the tree won’t be cut out. It would be a sin. There are so many century old trees here.

The meadow is an outstanding piece of cultural heritage, keeping the “secrets” of many generations. The ecological value and the unique character of the meadow makes it wonder-worthy.


Remarkable Trees of Romania:

  • 4.5 Cleanness

  • 4.5 Protected

  • 4.5 Accessibility

  • 4.5 Spectacular

  • 3.5 Untouched

(Based on 10 opinion )

Suggested by

Dr. Hartel Tibor

Research ecologist, associate professor