Among the different types of grazing practiced by Romanians – local grazing within village border and pendulous grazing where in summer sheep are taken up the mountains, while in winter they are kept in the villages at the feet of the mountain – the transhumant grazing is the newest, efficient and spectacular at the same time.
In summer sheep graze up, in the Carpathian Mountains, at heights of over 1.500 m, and in winter time they graze on lowlands (Tisei Plain, Romanian Plain, Dobruja). Sheep movement is done by feet, from mountain to the plain and viceversa. It is not expected that sheep owners hold large lots of land for fodder, because sheep eat almost the entire year only grass.
It started in the 13th-15th centuries in Transylvanian villages from the lower side of the Carpathian Mountains, to the northern parts, for economical and socialreasons, dictated by German towns: Orăştie, Sebeş, Sibiu, Braşov, Mediaş, in full demographical growth and industrial development.
The sheep breeder movement offered raw material for smithies, leather industry, groceries, and milk products also for the same towns and not only. Transhumant grazing reached its climax at mid 19th century, going far beyond the Romanian territories – shepherds moved their sheep to the plains of three empires: Austrian, Turkish, Russian.
In the last 20 years it entered a dissolution stage due to certain obstacles occurred during its performance.
Its importance is huge for Romanians because it contributed to the uniformity of Romanian language and literature.