Sándor Petőfi was a Hungarian poet and liberal revolutionary, considered Hungary’s national poet and one of the key figures of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.
Petőfi joined the revolutionary “Transylvanian army” of General Bem, fighting for the total independence of Hungary from the Austrian Empire. He’s said to have spent his last night in Cristuru Secuiesc and he died in 1849, aged 26, in the battle of Segesvár (now Sighișoara).
Petőfi’s poetry is characterized by the realism, the descriptive power and the directness typical of the national folk songs, but he uses this simplicity to reveal subtle emotions and political or philosophical ideas. The fundamental themes of his lyrical production are freedom (szabadság in Hung.) and love (szerelem in Hung.). He’s the author of the Nemzeti dal (National Song), which inspired the revolution in the Kingdom of Hungary and became its anthem.
A bronze statue of Sándor Petőfi, created in 1971 by the Transylvanian sculptor Márkos András, stands in the main square of Cristuru Secuiesc. The sculptor started the preliminary studies for a realistic full-scale statue in 1948 and firstly built a bronze bust (now positioned in the courtyard of the elementary school named after the poet) before finishing the full-length statue.
The town houses a memorial of the Hungarian poet, managed by the “Molnár István” museum, inside the historical “Gyárfás Mansion”. The villa was built by the Wesselényi family in the 17th century and changed owners several times before Zsigmond Varga, who hosted Petőfi from 30 July to 31 July 1849.
In the park surrounding the mansion, open to visitors, stands a pear tree, which is said to have listened to the last poem composed by Sándor Petőfi before his death.
A marble slab displays a poem by Sándor Kányádi, a poet born in the neighboring village of Nagygalambfalvá, written in honor of this event:
“Haldoklik az öreg tanú,
Petőfi vén körtefája.
Azt beszélik ő látta volt
verset írni utoljára.“
“The old witness is dying,
the ancient pear tree of Petőfi.
It says it saw him
write his last poem.”
Author: Francesca Silvestri