It’s been an eventful century for “the tree of Romania”

27 February 2019 | By Hannah Fischer
Photo by: Claudiu Druga

In the heart of the Apuseni Mountains, the Tree of the Year contest helps tree-lovers to join forces and save a plane tree in Câmpeni, a symbol of community and national unity, from being felled.


At the heart of the Apuseni Mountains, a towering plane tree tells an incredible story. In the spot where a cellar once stood during the uprising led by Horea, an enigmatic plane tree stands. The tree lies on the former headquarters of Avram Iancu, the head of another revolt, and on the place where  the iron bridge, inaugurated in 1919 by King Ferdinand and Queen Mary, stood. It is not known who planted this tree in the small town of Campeni, but it is believed that it may have been a friend of Horea’s or a military commander appointed by Avram Iancu. Surely, it was a good-hearted and open-minded man--who loved nature and beauty.


Photo by: Claudiu Druga

This very plane inspired Octavian Goga’s, “De la noi”, and the motto for the plane national rescue campaign; “We are the dwarfs of the trifling times, dwarfs in will and might.” Generation after generation, the shadow of this plane has offered people of Campeni a place to tell their stories. During the communist era, a cinema hall was built next to this plane, but designers and builders took great measures to protect the tree.


Last spring, the towering plane was at risk of budding for the last time. A proposition to cut it down was made by local officials; however, the tree’s entry into the European Tree of the Year 2019 Contest was enough to encourage officials to reconsider their plans.


Photo by: Claudiu Druga

It seems incredible, yet it is true! The local community joined forces and fought to save it from being cut down. As a result, the tree has become a symbol of the love for nature, of the love for beauty, of returning to one’s roots, and of simplicity. Overcoming the neglect of politicians and fighting the concreteness of the modern world, the tree has also become a symbol of unity to the local people and all of Romania.


Photo by: Claudiu Druga

In 2018, when Romania celebrated its hundredth anniversary, the plane tree in Campeni was named, “The Tree of Romania”. Its branches stretch to heaven, while the roots penetrate deeply into the ground. Reminding those in its presence that when we return to the roots, we can have hope and confidence in the future.

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