Neculai Popa (ethnographic, numismatic collection)

Neculai Popa


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Niculae Popa was a popular artist and one of the fairy tale characters of Romania, whose creations and collections remained in the Tarpesti village, of the Petricani commune, in a particular museum made in the courtyard of his own house.


Born in 1919, died in 2010 and he has remained in the memory of all the people from the region and not only because since he was a little boy he has loved the traditional values, collecting different wonders of the nation and creating memorable masks.


His naïve art became famous even abroad, sculpting real original operas. The human looks made by Popa have the most strange features, but in the museum, there is also a collection of animal masks, such as the goat, the he-goat, the bear. He has some quite strange, with the evil face, old woman face, looks quite scaring, but also some more peaceful, such as, the doctor’s or the officer’s.


Niculae Popa succeeded in gathering so many information that, not wanting to keep such only for him and wanting to show the whole world how many beauties the Romanian traditional culture hides, he has published several books, such as “LUMEA SATULUI – datini şi obiceiuri pierdute; Târpeştii de altădată”(VILLAGE WORLD- lost traditions and customs. The Old Tarpesti), “Cartea vietii mele” (the Book of My Life), “De la lume adunate – altfel de întâmplări, povestiri, glume şi strigături – în versuri”( Gathered from all the world –different events, stories, jokes and satirical verses- in verses) and  “Din lumea văzută şi nevăzută – cugetări, întâmplări şi snoave – în proză”(From the seen and unseen world –thoughts, stories and anecdotes).


His international exhibits astonished foreigners from countries such as France, Belgium, Japan, Germany, USA or Canada.


His numismatic and ethnographic collections are in an old house, the pavilion hosting over 3 thousands exhibits. These are made of wood, ceramics, among which, also the ones made at Cucuteni. In this museum, you will find many old coins and with a lot of historical importance, re-discovered Dacian objects, knitting and old cloths, gathered from many nations.


There are also many archaeological testimonies gathered from the digging in the region, due to the fact that Popa controlled these works, being an amateur archaeologist. This way, he has gathered old coins and objects in his home, objects that have been discovered in the ground, but also donated from the village’s people and from the people from  closed villages, who came even for far way and donated costumes, banknotes out of use, gramophones or painted eggs, wanting to  contribute to the impressive collection which was beginning to get shape.


It is a pity that such a life story should be known more by the foreign tourists than the Romanian tourists, how it happens now. So, it is worth making 10 kilometres from South East of Targu Neamt to receive a lesson of patriotism, culture, tradition and devotion.

Images from Neculai Popa (ethnographic, numismatic collection)

Pictures from tourists who have visited this location

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