Old Romania – Adolph Chevallier photography

ADOLPH CHEVALLIER was a Romanian photographer born in 1881 in the village of Brosteni (Neamt county, Moldavia) to a Swiss-French father and a Romanian mother.

After finishing his studies in Romania, Chevallier goes to Lausanne to study photography. He returns to Romania in 1921 and receives a license as photographer of the Royal Court.

Moldavia Romanian people dance culture

After the Second World War, Chevallier is persecuted by the communist regime and is forced to emigrate. He moved to Switzerland, where he passed away in 1963. In 2015, he received Honorary citizenship from Piatra Neamt city.

Moldavia Romania pe prispa casei

His favorite photo subject remained his native birthplace in the Bistrita valley, which he missed deeply after being forced to emigrate.

Below is a part of this extensive photo collection – photos taken in the 1920’s capturing the everyday life of the local communities along Bistrita valley, located in the Carpathian mountains of Moldavia.

Moldova Romania schitul dura

Moldavia Romania o_fata_strange_fan

Moldova Romania woman traditional dress

Moldova Romania woman working peasants

Moldova Romania children traditional dress

Moldova Romania people 0

Moldova Romania people

Moldova Romania winter traditions

Moldova Romania romanian people traditons culture


Moldova Romania girls romanian people culture

Adolph Chevalier romania 1920 Adolph Chevalier romanian people 1920


Old Romania 1920 Adolph Chevallier caini ciobanesti romanesti


Moldova Romania femeie

Moldova Romania

Moldavia Romania plutasi

Moldavia Romania pluta_pe_Bistrita_la_Gura__Holtitei

1927 Moldavia Romania

Brosteni Moldavia Romania

Moldavia Romania

Moldavia Romania girls at river_Dupa_ghilitul_panzei

1930 Moldavia Romania romanian shepherds

Moldavia Romania 2 girls

Moldavia Romania men peasants

Moldova Romania woman traditional house porch

Moldavia Romania old man

Moldova Romania girls

Moldova Romania shepherds 1930-2


Moldavia Romania sarba romanian people culture

Moldavia Romania -_doua_fete_la_gard

Moldavia Romania children little girl

Moldavia Romania shepherds 1920 ciobanii_la_masa

Moldova Romania peasants

Moldavia Romania girls romanian people culture

Moldavia Romania children 1935

Moldova Romania iarna winter

Moldavia Romania winter

Moldavia Romania winter traditions

Moldova Romania Adolph Chevallier

Moldova Romania Serbarea_Bobotezei

Moldavia Romania slujba_la_Vanatori

Moldova Romania Borca

Moldova Romania girl

Romania peasant woman

Moldavia Romania women people culture

Moldova Romania woman

Moldova Romania woman traditional dress clothing

Moldova Romania woman fountain

Moldova Romania muntii moldovei

Moldavia Romania children playing

Moldova Romania couple

Moldavia Romania girl

Moldavia Romania traditions cu_Steaua

Moldavia Romania girls picking flowers

Moldova Romania mos_baroi

Moldavia Romania 1920.

Bistrita valley today



Valea Bistritei Moldova Romania Carpathian mountains romanian villages Valea Bistritei Moldova Romania Carpathian mountains Valea Bistritei Moldova Romania Carpathians romanian villages

Valea Bistritei Moldova Romania Carpathian mountains romanian villages Valea Bistritei



  1. Always wondered where my dad was born and what it was like to live there. He was born in 1890 and lived in Kerczisowa (?) in the Transylvania Mountains as a shepherd. He came to USA in 1906. Would love to see old photos of this village. Thank you for posting pictures. I’ve spent hours looking at them. God Bless!

  2. Hi I cant figure out the name, it seems like its written from hearing by an English speaker. Maybe you mean Cârțișoara? I should add that many villages and counties had their names and organization changed by the Communist reform, and the forced urbanization left many villages empty and today it gets worse so maybe you’re looking for an extinct village. In late XIX century many Romanians left Transylvania for better life before the 1918 Union, either to the Romanian Old Kingdom, or the US temporarily or permanently. My grandfather left Transylvania for Vallachia in 1900’s, I cant find the location on his birth certificate, the name has changed but I know the mountain area.

    As a shepherd your father surely lived in or near mountains, the name Pădurean means Forest man. If you have an old family photo in traditional clothing like they used to make, you can trace the region by the costume.

    When time allows me I want to write about the mountain villages of Transylvania as opposed to the lower Saxon/ Hungarian settlements which are in every tourist brochure, maybe it’ll give you more insight

  3. Oh Ana, this is so interesting and oh how I wish I had an old picture of my father in a traditional clothing. You are probably correct in the name of the village he lived in. He could not speak english when he arrived at Ellis Island so perhaps it was misspelled. I only know that he lived in the Transylvania Mountains. Thank you for the meaning of our last name Forest man, I like that! I wish many times I had asked more questions of him. He was 54 years old when I was born and died when I was 25.

    I’m looking forward to reading about the mountain villages of Transylvania. I love the traditional clothing of Romania. My husband thinks I look a lot like the darker hair women in the old photos you have on your site. I’m delighted! Thank you so much for replying!

  4. You’re welcome, I’m trying my best given that you probably wondered for a lifetime where he comes from. If he indeed came from Cârțișoara, he must’ve lived at the bottom of mountains and during summer went up the mountains with the sheep. What you see today in the village may not be what it was back then, only the high mountain villages escaped unscathed from the Communist reform but sadly only to be dismantled by capitalism today.
    I’ll send whatever else I can find in a message via email if it doesn’t bother you, my post about Transylvanian villages will be more generic. All the best x

  5. Would love anything you send Ana. My father’s parents kept in contact with him until after WWII and then heard nothing from them again. One more thing I remember him telling me was that he sent them $5000 (or maybe it was $500) to them for a brick barn. Is that common to have brick barns there? Maybe I misunderstood him. Seems odd to me. Thank you Ana.

  6. I think its adobe bricks.Back in the day people had all kinds of storage facilities around the house and the materials used were wood, stone and adobe bricks. 5000$ seems a lot, maybe 500$. Still a lot but after 1945 the prices grew up to 1000% (due to war losses, allied bombing of Romanian oil refineries, Soviet hijacking of the economy etc)
    They wouldnt have been able to freely communicate from late 1940’s onward as they wouldve been accused of spying since their relative was in the US. After the 1946 elections the new government had total control until the Soviet army left a decade later, my grandparents dont have nice stories from that period (their village was swept through by the Red Army).
    Ok I’ll send a few photos on your email soon, thanks for your comments :)

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