Racu (Hun. Csíkrákos)
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Racu is the first settlement of Middle Ciuc, which lies below Kőd, at the Bogát Pass, along the Rákos (with crabs) brook. The same brook, once rich in crabs, has given its name to the village. Its formation can be dated back to the end of the 12th century, to the time of the Szeklers’ settlement. In this period and in the following centuries Racu played an important role in the social life of Ciuc, surpassing Şumuleu (Somlyó) and Miercurea Ciuc (Csíkszereda). As the two started to gain ground, the significance of Racu gradually became smaller and smaller.

The name of the village appeared in various forms in the medieval documents. In 1332 it was written as Rakus, in 1333 Batus, in 1463 Rakws, in 1567 Rákosffalwa, in 1602 Rákos and in 1905 the variation of Csíkrákos appeared.

In the beginning, it was a free community having military obligation, just like the other settlements situated at the border in Ciuc, and in the 16th century had begun its decay, simultaneously with the consolidation of the feudalism. In the period of Bethlen Gábor and I. Rákoczi György the settlement had a prosperous life, it was evolving. This was proven by the fact that the military review from 1634, which had mustered only the free class of Szeklers, and this way it listed a notable number of 123 families of soldiers. In this period it was recognised already the necessity for an elementary education and in 1643 the village had already two teachers. 

West of Racu, on the ridgeline rising between the Vár brook and the Szilas brook, the ruins of a castle can be found resting in the hiding place offered by the forest; presumably it was built in the Bronze Age. The castle was probably part of the former Hungarian border protection system. Kányádi Sándor writing about this castle ruins:

„…mutatja még egy-két mohos

darab a hajdani falat

most csak hely fű fa és bokor

tenyészget csöndjében élni akar”

(… some moss covered pieces

Still show the long-ago wall

Now, only grass, trees and bushes

Grow upon this place wanting to live in its silence)

The village recovered from the strikes of the 17th century, by the middle of the 18th century. The population growth had an increased rate.

The neighbouring Satu Nou (Göröcsfalva) is also under its administration. The two settlements have a common church situated in Satu Nou. This church can be the pride of the commune, and I think, of the entire Harghita County as well, since it is about the oldest building of the region. It was built between 1260 and 1280. The special particularities of the church are the astronomical signs on the exterior of the tower, which were used starting with the end of the 12th century.

On the right shore of the Olt River, on the Bogáti hill testifying the wonder-working powers of the nature, a little chapel was built in a picturesque environment, around the 1720’s. Its patrons are Saint Philip and Saint Jacob, the Patronal Feast day is celebrated in the first part of May. The eagle eye of the forefathers didn’t miss the advantageous position, given that in former times the place was populated and fortified. It was populated, because on the broad top of the mountain we can still find a large amount of crock and fragments of tiles; it was fortified, because the top of the mountains reaching north-eastwards, to the Olt, it was surrounded by a semicircular enormous defensive ditch still traceable for 500 steps.

 

In relation to Racu we should not forget the famous natives of the village: the historiographer Cserei Mihály and Cserei Zsuzsanna who was Mikes Kelemen’s betrothed. Cserei Mihály was a man with a particular way of thinking who professed that the entire evil upon Transylvania comes from Hungary. The Cserei mansion was built in 1667, in the same year when Cserei Mihály was born. The mansion still exists, but the building was modernized. On the ceiling of a room the girder with the original Latin inscription is still visible.

 
 

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