Fabric cloaks & fleecy jackets

Eliznik home > Romania > costume > coats & jackets > fabric cloaks & fleecy jackets

Guba, Maramures

Barsana, Maramures 2002

Valea Stejarului, Maramures 2002

Fleecy Jackets - Gubă (pl. Gube)

Hip length fleecy jackets with sleeves called gubă are worn by both men and women in Maramureş and Oaş. These are made of tufted white, grey or black wool, and form an integral piece of winter costume in north west Romania due to the long cold winters in these areas. Gube are worn by men and women and are worn by brides during wedding ceremonies, irrespective of season.

The material used to make gubă is obtained by 2 techniques, either by introducing strands of wool into woven material or by combing woven material with a currycomb to draw out the fleece. The material is then carded in the whirlpool (Vâltoare), where it stays for 10-16 hours in the summer or 36 hours in winter to allow the oil to come out of the wool.

The length of gubă is equal to its breadth. It is cut in rectangular pieces, is open at front, and has sleeves.  It is tied at the neck with two laces. Gube are made from 2 identical woven pieces of fabric, one used for the chest and back, and the other, for the sleeves and insets. These jackets are often lined with printed cotton material and can be edged with black velvet along the front opening, ends of sleeves and pocket edges.

Waistcoats made using the same technique are also worn in Maramures. These can be made of black, brown or fawn wool and are decorated with embroidery in toning coloured wool and appliqué using small pieces of leather and strips of black velvet.

Sleeveless shepherds cloaks - Ţol or Ţolică, Glugă

Felted woollen cloaks are the oldest and simplest form of felted woollen over garments. Cloaks are worn throughout the Balkan-Carpathian area, and are also found in many other parts of Europe, around the Mediterranean, in north Europe (e.g. the Finno-Karelian byrik) and in the South American Andes (poncho).

Simple cloak - Ţol

The simple cloak (tol) is the most basic form of cloak and is worn mainly by shepherds in mountain areas in Transylvania, Maramureş, North Moldavia, Banat, northern Muntenia and Oltenia. Reference to similar garments has been found in  historical records of the ancients Egyptians, Persians, and Hittites.

This basic cloak is made of rectangular pieces of fulled woollen cloth (dimie) woven in a striped or checked pattern of  brown or black squares alternating with natural colour, and joined together with decorative stitches (cheiţă). These cloaks were worn over the shoulders and could also be used as a bed covering.


Ţolică is also made of fulled woven fabric and is used for covering horses. A special ţolica – "ţolica cusută” was used for covering horses for weddings in Mărgineamea Sibiului. This has red and blue coloured tassels on its ends, and is decorated with multicoloured stitches.

Hooded cloak – Glugă

This type of hooded cloak was used by shepherds to cover the head and shoulders, and was thought to be derived from similar garments worn by the ancient Thracians as depicted on Greek vases. Glugă means hood, the name (Gugel) is of medieval German origin and is still used as a dialect word in Bavaria and Switzerland. Gluge were found throughout Romania and also in Bulgarian (where they are called opandzhak, yapandzhak) and Ukrainian. They were used both as a cloak or a sleeping bag or the hood could be used as a rucksack for food or a pillow. 

There are many variants of gluge. The simplest variant is made of a single piece of natural colour woollen cloth (white or grey) possibly with black stripes and long woollen tassels on the bottom end. It is held onto the shoulder by a cord. This single piece of cloth was folded in two lengthways on top of head and was found in the zones of Avrig, Haţeg, Mărginemea Sibiului, Poiana Ruscă, Valea Bistriţei. The more elaborate kinds of gluga are made of several pieces of cloth, possibly with gussets and cover the whole body and were found in Central Transylvania in Cluj, Reghin and Năsăud. These cloaks were made of white or black woollen cloth and were decorated with black or brown woven (alesături) patterns on the white ones and coloured decoration on the black ones or were made of alternate brown and white rectangles of a mixture of wool’ and goats hair.

There is also a smaller kind of glugã, called the gluguş, which is a hood attached to a small cloak. The glugă is also used as a ceremonial garment, worn by the vătăşels (wedding heralds) on horseback.


© Eliznik2005, First issue 2002, Last updated Aug-05