Romania’s Jiu Valley Looks at Life After Coal

by Tom Hansell, After Coal director. I recently travelled to the Carpathian mountains of Romania to present the After Coal project at a conference titled Appalachians/Carpathians: Researching, Documenting, and Preserving Highland Traditions. Like many Americans, I knew little about the Carpathian mountains, the range that stretches across Central Europe, including parts of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, and most of Romania.  At the conference, biologist John Akeroyd from the Adept foundation described the region as “the last of old world Europe” and a hotbed of biodiversity. The fact that Romania was part of the Soviet controlled Eastern Bloc until their 1989 revolution means that many rural areas are not developed.  Horse drawn carts and handmade haystacks are still a common sight in the countryside. However, the Soviets also built immense industrial centers in parts of Romania. The Jiu valley is a coal-mining region on the edge of the Carpathians. Under Soviet […]