The Sauris language: an old and fascinating language
The origins of the Sauris language (de zahrar sproche) date far back in the past, around the 1200s. It is fascinating because it comes from an old German dialect, whose origin is lost in time. The Sauris language is still spoken by the town residents, together with the Italian language and the Friulian dialect.
Le origini e la storia del saurano
The Sauris language dates back to the 1200s, to the time of the foundation of the town. Over the centuries, the languages spoken by the bordering populations influenced the Sauris language, even though many archaic elements from the German language spoken in the thirteenth century (Mittelhochdeutsch) can still be found. Linguists classify the language among the Hochdeutsch (high German) languages, South Bavarian cluster. Therefore, it is very similar to the Tyrolean and Carinthia dialects, which belong to the same cluster1.
Until the 1800s, the language was only spoken. The first written texts of this language are a treaty of medicinal herbs and the essay “De Cristegeleare” (“The Christian Doctrine”) by Monsignor Giorgio Plozzer. Later texts, beginning from the late 1800s and throughout the 1900s, include many essays and a vast collection of poems, which are still alive today.
The language spoken today in Sauris
The widespread use of the Sauris language began to wane in the 60s, especially among the younger generations. However, in recent years, a willingness to keep the local origins and identity alive has set in motion a series of initiatives for the recovery and enhancement of the local culture and language.
From the 70s, countless activities have been organized to preserve this old language. In 1974, the “Zahre” choir was founded, reviving traditional songs. In the same period, the “Fulgenzio Schneider” Cultural Club was established, which proposes activities and initiatives to enhance the local language. Moreover, “De Zahre reidet” (Sauris speaks) parish bulletin has been printed for many decades, which often publishes articles on the history and cultural peculiarities of the local community.
Ever since the early 2000s, moreover, the Sauris language and the local traditions have been introduced in the educational activities of local schools.
How to understand and learn the Sauris language
The “Zahrer Wörterbuch – Sauris dictionary” was published in 2008, as a result of a long research work by prof. Norman Denison. Moreover, classes are held in the Sauris community for anyone wishing to approach this language. The online consultation of the Italian-Sauris dictionary is instead available here..
The Sauris vegetable garden: the marvel of nature in your plate all year round!
Climate and elevation have always influenced the diet of the Sauris residents. Moreover, due to the distance from big cities, the occasions for them to buy the food they needed were really few. That’s how the Sauris vegetable garden was born, a small piece of land that each family used to cultivate, according to their possibilities.
How is a Sauris vegetable garden built?
A Sauris garden still has the typical “cemeterial” form; it is fenced and divided into rectangular mounds, in which manure is buried. This “trick” not only allows soil fertilization but also ensures bountiful harvest even when the temperatures are really harsh. In fact, the buried manure ferments, giving off heat and promoting seed germination, even in the cooler periods of the year, such as spring and autumn.
The vegetables cultivated in summer and winter
Each rectangular section of the garden accommodates a different type of vegetables, such as beet (piesl), cress (khreis), arugola (rukula), radish (radikh), peas (orbaslan), radish, beetroot, onion and garlic. A section is also dedicated to the herbs: chives, mint, chamomile and sage are often found in a Sauris garden. To find out more on officinal herbs, click here.
However, these vegetables are ready for consumption only in spring and summer. During the colder seasons, other winter vegetables, such as turnip, potatoes, cabbage and dried legumes, are traditionally cultivated and then preserved.
The garden vegetables on the table: traditional recipes from the local families
Ever since the 1800s, potatoes and kràut (fermented cabbage) have been the basic ingredients of the local cuisine during the freezing winter. Dumplings and cakes (friko and geréstata gartùfelas) can be made with potatoes, which can be had with cheese and morning mùes. This is why – ever since they were introduced in Sauris – potatoes have never been missing in the gardens and on the table. Cabbage instead has been used in Sauris ever since the town’s early origins. Cabbage is served as a salad; in the past, when there were no refrigerators, it was available only as long as it could be eaten fresh. On the contrary, kraùt would last throughout the winter, since it is fermented. Kraùt has always been the perfect ingredient for soups, mixed with legumes and potatoes. Sautéing it in a pan with lard is another way to fix cabbage. Until the 60s, it was the main dinner course and, on special occasions, it was also used as a side dish for sausages, Italian-style pork sausages and pork ribs.
In spring, when the snow begins to melt, and the garden produce is yet to sprout, the village people make extensive use of herbs: dandelion is used raw in salads, and cooked in a pan, as a side dish for eggs. In the past, nettle was used in soups, omelets and – as is still the case today – mixed in dumplings. In addition to these, Good King Henry, kraut herb and wild radicchio are also eaten in various ways throughout the spring, awaiting the arrival of tastier garden produce.
Log cabins and traditional stone houses make the Sauris Diffuse Hotel a unique place.
A diffuse hotel is a new way of conceiving the vacation environment. Imagine diving into nature, in an entirely different atmosphere from daily routine, where stillness, peace and the sounds of the woods surround a breathtaking panorama.
One of the goals of the Sauris Diffuse Hotel project is to put guests into direct contact with the surrounding environment, and so allow them to fully appreciate the local culture and history, without giving up the comforts that only a contemporary hotel can offer.
Thanks to the way everything is organized, visitors can interact with the residents and live the local traditions and customs. Welcoming apartments of different sizes (from 2 to 8 beds) await you in the various sections of the town, some of which have been created in finely renovated log cabins (stavoli), in harmony with the tradition and the village in which they are placed, and created to offer the best living space.
What are the stávoli of Sauris? What is their origin?
The stavoli are a peculiarity of the Sauris Diffuse Hotel, i.e., ancient constructions typical of the Carnia region and of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Alpine territory.
The etymology of the word also reveals its purpose. Stavolo comes from the Latin word stabulum , i.e., “stable” as well as “den” and “dwelling”. In fact, this structure was used in the past to accommodate flocks in case of need. Oftentimes, in the area of origin, it is also called “Sbont” or “Sbeintle” and it is customary to find a creek or a well nearby.
If at first glance they may look like traditional stone houses, what really sets them apart is their original purpose, as well as the material they are made of. This structure usually includes two storeys, the lower one being made of stone and the upper one of wood. This was built using the old “block bau” technique: logs or beams are overlapped longitudinally to form walls, and fastened to each other at the angles. As previously mentioned, in ancient times the first storey was used as an animal shelter and the upper floor to accommodate the shepherd; today, the stavoli accommodate anyone wishing to stay in a place that has a story to tell and that shows the signs of its past legacy.
Stone houses in Sauris: an architecture in harmony with health and nature
The historical heritage of this place however is not limited to the stavoli. The Sauris Diffuse Hotel also offers lodges realized in traditional stone houses, with peculiar characteristics unchanged by time. A typical stone house has a square plan and a pavilion roof, and is built with a single material. Stone houses are more recent than the stávoli; in the 1800s, they were used to host priests, notaries and sacristans: illustrious people who needed to stay in a place that well befitted their social position and was comfortable all year round.
Apart from its beauty, an interesting characteristic of a stone house is the fact that it was built with one single material, which, even in the face of harsh atmospheric agents, preserves its extraordinary characteristics of resistance, compactness and durability. Moreover, stone is fire-resistant, hygienic and non-toxic: a material in harmony with nature and human health.
A magical place awaits you: book your stay at the Sauris Diffuse Hotel
At the heart of the Sauris Diffuse Hotel, in Borgo San Lorenzo, you will find the first apartments created in the old log cabins (stávoli) and a reception ready to welcome you, fulfill your requests and offer you some advice on things to do during your stay.
You may then go on and explore Sauris di Sopra, Sauris di Sotto, Lateis and La Maina, the three suburbs where the lodges are located. The Sauris Diffuse Hotel offers a wide range of accommodations, namely, Stávoli, stone houses and newly built facilities with a traditional style: the hotel offers all kinds of comfort, and the possibility to get to know some of the 400 residents in Sauris and plunge into a magical, really human-sized place.
Moreover, craftwork, food specialties, breath-taking landscapes, sports for all seasons, health and wellness await you at the Sauris Diffuse Hotel, where tradition meets modernity, offering a unique experience, every season, all year round.
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