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The Village Museum (Muzeul Satului in Romanian) is an open-air ethnographic museum located in the Herăstrău Park (Bucharest, Romania), showcasing traditional Romanian village life. The museum extends to over 100,000 m2, and contains 272 authentic peasant farms and houses from all over Romania.
It was created in 1936 by Dimitrie Gusti, Victor Ion Popa, and Henri H. Stahl.
There are other “village museums” throughout Romania, including ASTRA National Museum Complex in Sibiu, and those of Cluj-Napoca, Râmnicu-Vâlcea, Timișoara, a.s.o.
The National Museum “George Enescu” was opened in the Cantacuzino Palace, one of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest, a historical monument and one of the European Heritage Label buildings.The sumptuous entrance, in Art Nouveau style, announces the luxury and the refinement of the époque, reunited in one of the most imposing palaces in Bucharest.
The permanent exhibition of the museum includes three rooms of the palace, displaying photographs, manuscripts, various documents, diplomas, medals, drawings, sculptures, musical instruments, costumes, furniture, decorative art, personal objects, a casting of the artist’s hands and his mortuary mask.
The originary atmosphere has been recreated in the intimacy of the austere memorial house, which is also opened for visitors.
From: Maramures County, Lakes and Dams, Maramures This lake is unique due to its main feature: no other country in the world has a lake that changes color depending on the light shining on it or the people swimming in it. ABOUT THE BLUE LAKE The Blue Lake is approximately 3 km away from Baia Sprie. This is a natural tourist attraction formed by the collapse of a mining gallery, in which rain water accumulated over time. With a total surface of half an acre and an almost circular shape, Blue Lake is located on the south-western slope of the Mine Hill. The first feeling you get when you walk towards the lake is that you are approaching the mouth of a volcano. According to the latest official measurements, the lake is about 50 m wide and only 4 m deep. However, the locals and their stories tell a different tale. It is said that the lake stretches endlessly and connects to the Black Sea via underground galleries. People here have said for a long time that the galleries of the collapsed mine are deep and very convoluted underground, and that what is visible at the surface nowadays is only a small part compared to what lies beneath. The worrywarts claim that the entire town of Baia Sprie is in danger of sinking because of the underground tunnels. Contrary to these claims, none of the people living in the area has ever felt the ground slip beneath his or her feet. Apart from all its legends, this lake remains a unique tourist attraction due to the ever-changing color of its water. When the mine is flooded, due to the sulfur, the water has a deep green, lightly blue tint. If several people swim in the green water of the lake, it becomes a deeper blue. In spite of the chemicals in the water and of the presence of sulfuric acid (7.8 g per liter), the water, with a pH of 4, is not dangerous and does not harm swimmers. Man’s presence was felt during the formation of the lake, but not in a detrimental way. The lake is not overly modernized, and thus remains an increasingly sought-after destination for young people looking for a bit of romance. The inns in the area have made it attractive for ATV owners, for the terrain here which allows for adrenaline-filled rides, and also for the more relaxed tourists who just want to have a barbecue with the family in the quiet of the forest. The picture of Blue Lake is perfectly complemented by the coniferous forests surrounding its shores. Another attraction in the area is the Potter House, a rustic inn which offers a pottery show. Furthermore, is you like traditions and have a thing for handicrafts, you can make your own clay pot and take it home with you. GOOD TO KNOW WHEN YOU TRAVEL HERE The Blue Lake is located in the town of Baia Sprie, Maramures County. The distance from Bucharest to Baia Sprie is about 561 km by car.
From: Valcea County, Lakes and Dams, Oltenia Located on the river Lotru, in the Vidra Gorge, the lake is the main exploitation of the river Lotru. ABOUT VIDRA LAKE Vidra Lake is a man-made reservoir created in 1972. The Vidra Lake is located in the Vidra Gorge, 30 km away from the Voineasa resort, Valcea County, between the Lotru, Latoritei and Capatanii Mountains, in an area with predominant spruce forests. The lake was created following the construction of the Vidra Dam on the Lotru river. The dam is made of stone, wood and clay. There are several species of fish in the waters of the lake, among which the most common are trout and grayling. The Vidra lake collects the waters of numerous rivers my means of an abduction system and secondary abstraction, nevertheless, approximately 25% of its regular inflow comes from the waters of the river Lotru, with an average annual flow of 4.5 cubic meters per second at Vidra. The abduction and abstraction system consists of 81 abstractions grouped into 3 branches, as follows:
From: Buzau County, Lakes and Dams, Muntenia Eagle Lake, more commonly known as the Bottomless Lake, is located in the vicinity of Siriu commune, in Buzau County, an area that is well-known all throughout Romania for its extraordinary landscapes and large tourist presence. Eagle Lake is one of the particularly important tourist attractions in the area, located at an altitude of 1,420 m, in the Siriu Mountains, on the eastern side of the Malaia slope, and stretches over 0.9 acres, with a maximum depth of 2.5 m, despite its common denomination “bottomless”. As a periglacial lake, Eagle Lake is synonymous with beauty. The landscapes surrounding it are breathtaking, and the lake itself supplements this beauty, almost elevating it to an art. LEGENDS OF EAGLE LAKE The name Eagle Lake comes from the great writer Alexandru Vlahuta and the notes in his work, Romania Pitoreasca (Picturesque Romania, TN). Alexandru Vlahuta writes that this used to be a spring dwelling for eagles, who would teach their young to fly in this area. This wonderful legend gave the lake its name, and made it famous throughout the country. Its second name, The Bottomless Lake, is due to another famous legend in these parts, which is, however, in no way related to its depth. It is said that a shepherd, fed up with his trade, abandoned his flock by throwing his cane into the lake. After a long time, he found it floating on the Danube and, overwhelmed with nostalgia for his homeland, decided to return to his old activity, found his flock and realized that he was in fact meant to be a shepherd. NOVELTY The area in close proximity to Eagle Lake is known as the only area where you can find chamois, an endangered species which is protected by law. This is also due to the fact that this area is a wilderness in the true sense of the word. TOURIST ROUTES The tourist routes in this area are not precisely the most accessible ones, especially in the winter, due to the harsh conditions, characterized by snowdrifts and seemingly endless snow, and also due to the notable temperature differences in the area. Overall, the route is approximately 3 hours long, passing through Valea Neagra (Black Valley, TN), and ending at Eagle Lake or Bottomless Lake. Additionally, you can also use the route going towards Intorsura Buzaului, on the highway leading to Brasov. It is known that access by car is by far the most efficient, comfortable, and this time also the most accessible, from every point of view. Thus, after you pass what was once the Baile Siriu resort, now in ruins, you reach the cabin bearing the name of the area, which is Valea Neagra. Once here, things become considerable easier, because you can find accommodation within the cabin, which can host up to 12 people. The slightly unpleasant aspect is the fact that in the past, in order to get accommodation, you had to obtain the written consent of the Nehoiasu Forest Society. Nevertheless, as of 2004, the Nehoiasu Forest Society has been decommissioned, and now the Valea Neagra cabin belongs to a private person who facilitates tourist access, thus making things much easier. If you decide to go further, towards your destination, you pass the creek bearing the name of the forest society, Nehoiasu, then you must remember to turn right on that corresponding forest road. At the end of that forest road you will have to cross a rivulet. At this point you have to be cautious of the bumps in the road. The road is known as being dangerous, therefore you should follow the markings carefully. The next target on this route is called Eagle Gate. Once here, you have almost reached your final destination, because Eagle Lake is very close. Here you will be greeted by the Eagle Lake hunting lodge. What is truly wonderful is that there is a freshwater spring in close proximity to the Eagle Lake cabin. From here, the only thing left for you to do is enjoy the surroundings and the gift of nature. EAGLE LAKE LOCATION Eagle Lake is located in Buzau county, in the vicinity of Gura Siriului town, at an altitude of 1,420 m, on the eastern side of the Malaia slope.
From: Bucharest, Monuments, Muntenia Alongside the Coronation Cathedral in Alba Iulia, The Marasesti Mausoleum and a few other important Romanian monuments, the Triumphal Arch is among the distinguished monuments of the Romanian nation which attest to Romania’s participation in World War I, on the side of the Allied Powers; as with other monuments in Bucharest, the Triumphal Arch was built following the proclamation of the Union. HISTORY OF THE TRIUMPHAL ARCH Initially built in 1922, out of wood and stucco, it was restored, and the new construction was made of stone. This event took place over two years, 1935 and 1936, and is the work of the architect Antonescu Petre. The same Antonescu Petre built it in 1922, to commemorate the elevation of Ferdinand I and Marie to king and queen of Romania. Because the time allotted for the building of the commemorative construction was short, a compromise was reached: only the core of the monument was made of reinforced concrete, while the exterior finish was made of stucco (plaster mixed with glue). Over time, the Triumphant Arch deteriorated, corresponding less and less with the Little Paris image held by the Bucharest of the inter-war period, which was representative of the time. As a result, many voices asked that the monument be demolished. However, demolishing the monument would have made the event it commemorated less representative, so the best solution was to restore it and replace the exterior façade with elements made of Ruschita marble, stone and bronze. The financial contributors to the new façade of the Triumphant Arch were numerous associations and combatants who fought in World War I. Over 7 million lei were needed from these contributors, so that on December 1st 1936, exactly 18 years after the union of Transylvania with Romania, this momentous event could be commemorated, and the new Triumphant Arch could be inaugurated. King Carol II and his mother, Queen Marie, and the heir Prince Michael, as well as members of the Romanian Government and numerous national and international esteemed guests were present at the event. The elements of the new monument façade are the two bronze medallions on the southern face, representing the faces of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie (the two medallions abandoned the façade of the Triumphant Arch for a time, during the communist regime, and were replaced by large bronze flowers; in 1989, the medallions bearing the images of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie retook their place). Above every portrait there is an embossed image of a Romanian Victory, works of the artists Baraschi and Constantinescu. C. Baraschi is also the author of two sculptures on the northern face of the monument, called “Bravery” and “Faith”. The lateral sides contain proclamations by King Ferdinand to the Romanian people, from the time when the country participated in the War, as well as the coronation proclamation of Alba Iulia. HOW TO GET TO THE TRIUMPHANT ARCH? The Triumphant Arch is located in Bucharest’s District 1, on Kiseleff Road. It is open to visitors during various important events taking place in Bucharest every year: Army Days, Aviators’ Days, Bucharest’s Days. Inside, it hosts 4 interesting exhibits:
The Caraiman Cross, A Monument Dedicated to National Heroes From: Prahova County, Monuments, Muntenia The Caraiman Cross (also known as the National Heroes’ Cross) is a monument built to honor the soldiers fallen during World War I, constructed at the request of King Ferdinand I and his wife Queen Marie. Today, the monument is on the Historical Monuments list in Prahova County, alongside a series of memorial houses, churches, monasteries and necropolises in Prahova. ABOUT CARAIMAN CROSS The Caraiman Cross is located on the Caraiman Peak, towards Valea Seaca. It was built between 1926 and 1928, at an altitude of 2291 m; the altitude where it is located makes it unique in Europe. The cross sits on the small summit of the Caraiman Peak, because, had it been placed on the main summit (at an altitude of 2325 m), the Cross would only have been visible from the plateau. Another element unique in Europe is its impressive size: the cross is 28 m high and each arm is 7 m long. At the time it was built, The Caraiman Cross was the tallest construction in the world at such an altitude; the construction was done on steel profile and mounted on a pedestal of reinforced concrete plated in stone (this pedestal is 7.5 m high and was built one year after the sanctification of the Cross). Inside the pedestal there is a room which used to house the generator that powered the bulbs illuminating the cross: 120 500-Watt bulbs. The National Heroes ‘Cross was built to honor the railroad heroes who died in the line of duty, defending the country during World War I; initially built at the initiative of the Royal Household, its purpose was to be seen from very far away. It is said that the construction of this monument was based on a dream Queen Marie had. The people who coordinated the construction works were the architects George Cristinel and Constantin Propcopiu; Queen Marie closely supervised the project. The works were carried out by the Directorate of Bridges within the CFR (Romanian Railway), Sections L1 and L5 in Sinaia, while the reinforcement works were carried out by the engineers Alfred Pilder and Teofil Revici, and the construction director was V. Bulbulescu. The necessary financial investment was obtained from private companies, state institutions and via donations. A series of elements necessary for the construction were carried all the way up using oxcarts, from Busteni to the Caraiman Peak, after having been previously brought here by train; other necessary elements were brought all the way to the Jepi Valley using the cable car belonging to the Busteni Paper Company, and from there were carried on horses and donkeys to the base of the Cross. The number of carts available in the area, that could help transport the construction materials, was small; however, a bank at the time granted a low interest loan to supplement the number of carts. The road to the top was a hard one; a cart could only do two to three trips to the top. The carters who helped with the transportation using their own carts and animals were rewarded with money, food and hay for the animals. Among the helpers were the Clinici family, remembered by the locals in Sinaia to this day. The Caraiman Cross was inaugurated and sanctified on September 14th 1928, a day when each year, worshippers celebrate the Day of the Cross. The illumination of the Caraiman Cross was achieved with the help of a generator and 120 500-Watt bulbs; the generator was located in the reinforced concrete pedestal at the base of the Cross; in 1939, the Cross was connected to the national electrical power system and received power using an underground cable from the Costila power station (located at an altitude of 2487 m). Until 1948, when the communist regime was established, the Cross was lit on the night of August 15th, when the Dormition of the Mother of God is celebrated, and on Heroes’ Day. Once communism was established, the monument was threatened with vandalism: one of the mayors during the regime wanted to cut down the arms of the Cross and leave only a column, on top of which he wanted to place a red star. Another electric cable was connected to the Cross in 1989; two years later, in 1991, the installation of the electrical system was finished with the help of Busteni City Hall, of the locals and of a company. In 1991 the Cross was once again illuminated; however, the passing years brought more vandalism from the tourists who climbed on it repeatedly and broke the bulbs. In 2003, the electrical system broke down, and was repaired with the help of mountain rescue workers, who carried hundreds of kilos of material all the way up and replaced the broken bulbs; in 2004, the electrical system was put into operation and connected to the Busteni network. Nowadays, the Caraiman Cross is managed by the Busteni Local Council; it is lit every day and watches over the city. At present, there are 300 bulbs on it, which makes it visible from far away, all throughout the Prahova Valley. There is a project to cover the Caraiman Cross with fluorescent paint and place a laser on top. GOOD TO KNOW WHEN GOING TO CARAIMAN CROSS If you want to visit the National Heroes’ Cross, you have to get to Busteni. From here you take the chairlift to the Babele rock formation (about 12 minutes). From the Babele Cabin, you walk for about an hour and a half on the Caraiman Ridge. You can also choose a route on foot from Jepii Mici (4 hours and a half long, available in summer and FORBIDDEN in winter) or from Piatra Arsa (an hour and a half) or use other routes going from the Omu cabin. Another route accessible to tourists is the one from Caraiman Cabin, via Brana Caraimanului, only 45 minutes long. Once in Busteni, you shouldn’t limit your trip to only visiting the Caraiman Cross. There are very many accommodation possibilities available in Busteni, and you will surely want to visit other attractions in the area, such as:
From: Harghita County, Spa Resorts, Transylvania The event which called attention to the wondrous and healing waters here, was the miraculous healing of a boy, a shepherd’s son, in 1842. It appears that the Baile Tusnad (Tusnad Baths, TN) Resort was founded that same year. In those times, it seems that the people in the surrounding villages used the water here for treatments. The mineral waters in this area are truly healing for the human body, and monetizing this aspect was only a step away. HISTORY OF THE BAILE TUSNAD RESORT Known as the “Little Switzerland”, the Baile Tusnad resort is located at an altitude of 650 m, South of the Ciuc Depression, hidden by the Harghita and Bodoc Mountains. The resort with the same name is the smallest spa resort in the country, with approximately 1700 inhabitants (of which, more than 93% are Hungarian, and the rest are a Romanian minority). In 1849, because of the revolution, the resort was erased from the map of the area, and three years later, in 1952, it began to be rebuilt. The resort became publicly known as Baile Tusnad only in 1961, and in 1956, the resort was declared a town. The waters at Baile Tusnad are widely known as recommended for treating numerous cardiovascular, endocrine and digestive conditions, as well as for treating nervous system and urinary system conditions. The Stanescu, Apor, Ileana and Mikes Springs are only 4 or the 6 natural springs used for external treatment courses. In total, there are 44 natural springs and boreholes. The resort has a treatment center which allows for warm carbonated baths, paraffin wraps, water therapy, physical therapy, medical gymnastics, galvanic baths, magnetotherapy, internal mineral water cleanse, reflexogenic massage and more. 40 medical bath tubs are available for “medical” tourists, and the number of patients who can be treated daily is 800 Baile Tusnad are also known as the Pearl of Ardeal, due to the distinctive air of the area. Additionally, the coniferous forests surrounding it generate a special, ozone-rich air, with resinous aerosols and negative ions, in a subalpine climate, which means average annual temperatures of 8 degrees Celsius and cold winters. Among the tourist attractions in the area, there are: Sfanta Ana (Saint Anne, TN) Lake is the only lake in Central Europe born in a volcanic crater, preserved intact to this day, and which is declared a natural reserve. The distance between Baile Tusnad and Sfanta Ana Lake is 28 km. The lake is fed only by rainfall and snow throughout the year; the lake water has a rarely seen clarity. The perimeter of the lake is 1737 m, it has an almost circular shape, an average depth of 4.3 m and a maximum depth of 7 m. Hawk Rock – an andesite peak offering a wonderful view for tourists: the Olt Gorge, Varteto Peak, Szurdok Peak and Csomad Peak, and is covered entirely by fir trees. From up here you can also see the ruins of the Hawk Rock citadel, built on the Lower Hawk Peak. Sfanta Ana Lake is separated from Tirnovul Mohos (Mohos Bog, TN) by an immense ridge. Due to certain species of plants here, this area is declared a natural reserve. Tirnovul stretches over 80 acres, at an altitude of 1050 m. The turf here is 10 m high, with a volume of approximately 3 thousand m3. Other tourist attractions for potential visitors and patients at Baile Tusnad can be:
From: Valcea County, Oltenia, Spa Resorts Located in the northern part of Valcea County, the city of Calimanesti is guarded by the Cozia Massif and the Capatanii Massif, part of the Southern Carpathians; furthermore, the town is situated on the river Olt, just outside the Olt Gorge. HISTORY OF THE CALIMANESTI RESORT The town of Calimanesti is the place where Mircea the Elder founded the Cozia monastery; it was known from the times of the Dacians, when the beneficial effects of the thermal waters here were discovered. The year 138 is when the Romans conquered Dacia and built a defensive camp here, in the place called Bivolari; this place was located right at the base of the sacred mountain of the Dacians, the Kogaion mountain, today known as Cozia. The camp was named the “Arutela” Roman camp, from the Roman name of the river Olt. After the camp was built, the entire area on both sides of the river Olt grew significantly. A few hundred years later, in the 5th century, the newly created village broke apart and was divided between its four rulers: Caliman, Stoian, Serban and Bogdan. The new settlements were thus named Calimanesti (on the present-day location), Stoienesti, Serbanesti (on the hill facing the Cozia Massif) and Bogdanesti (South of the present-day town, on the right bank of the river Olt). The entire history of Calimanesti has a troubled past, marked by history and the social unrest in the area. Calimanesti, as a village, was created around the Cozia Monastery. Legend says that the monastery was built a short distance away from another monastery built by Negru Voda, which lies at the base of the Capra Mountain. When the Romanian Principalities were formed on January 24th 1859, there were a handful of small houses around the Cozia Monastery, making up Cozia village, which sloped down towards the river Olt, at the base of the Cozia Mountains. On May 20th 1388, the town of Calimanesti was documented the first time by Mircea the Elder: “…it pleased us to build a monastery from the ground up… on the place called Calimanesti, on the river Olt, where the village of my nobleman Nan Udoba stood before, and which we have dedicated to the aforementioned monastery, with much love and assiduity”. The swiftly-gained fame and recognition of the town of Calimanesti brought about rapid growth, from village to resort; the beauty of the places attracted large houses, Swiss-style villas, a sanatorium and a casino, all beautiful places to spend your free time and vacations. LEGEND OF CALIMANESTI RESORT It is said that in the past, a shepherd confessed his sins at the Cozia Monastery, and in his confession, he told that he had bathed in the waters of a river in the “field of Caliman”, and as a result, both him and his wounded sheep were healed of all “bodily aches”. After that event, the monks themselves searched for the place and found, around a monastery, a place where brimstone flowed. Shortly after this, a hospital church was built around the monastery, and ill people from all over came here to be healed. Mircea the Elder and Matei Basarab are two of the personalities of the times, who came here seeking healing. Napoleon the 3rd also drank from the healing waters in Calimanesti; the water was bottled and taken to Paris by post, to heal Napoleon’s liver disease, upon the recommendations of Carol Davila. PLACES TO VISIT IN CALIMANESTI Apart from the healing effect of the water here, the resort is also a place of relaxation, with wonderful places for tourists to visit. Therefore, once here, don’t be in a hurry to leave, because the resort offers many surprises. You will no doubt find accommodation options in Calimanesti, to spend a few relaxing days. Here are a few tourist attractions worth visiting:
From: Valcea County, Oltenia, Spa Resorts Also called “The Golden Springs”, Baile Olanesti (Olanesti Baths, TN) is the name of a town in Valcea often visited by tourists for healing purposes, due to its hypotonic or isotonic waters rich in minerals such as iodine, bromine, sodium, calcium, sulfur and chloride. The town was documented for the first time in July 19th 1527. HISTORY OF THE BAILE OLANESTI SPA RESORT The healing power of the Olanesti waters was first mentioned in a charter dating back to 1760; back then, the waters were called healing and were located on the estate of the Lord Steward Toma Olanescu; it is he who built the first bath chambers in this area, and the name of the resort seems to come from him as well (from the baths he built, along with his last name – Olanescu, which became Olanesti). Another theory for the name of the town comes from the cavalrymen of the Austrian army, who were named “olane” and “ulani”. The town was formed recently, and it is located in the valley of the River Olanesti, an affluent of the river Olt, between the Mountains Gerea, Folea and Caprareata of the Southern Carpathians. The town was identified at the same time that the springs were discovered, around 1760. The news of these healing waters spread with the help of Tudor Vladimirescu, who was retreating in the area accompanied by his faithful noblemen. In 1830, the waters here were tested for the first time, and the results indicated that they were very rich in iodine; the tests were carried out by Karl Friedrich Siller, and, as a consequence thereof, the number of people coming here for treatment grew significantly. Two subsequent tests were carried out by Petrache Poenaru and Alexe Marin. In 1873, the waters here were submitted to new testing, during an exhibition organized in Europe; the resort won gold medals at the International Exhibition in Vienna, and the waters are compared to those in Baden-Baden, Karlovy-Vary and Aix de Bains. 1873 was in effect the year in which the resort acquired national and international recognition. Unfortunately, the resort entered a period of obscurity in 1895, for about 30 years: the springs of miraculous water were blocked due to heavy rainfall. Their rediscovery occurred after World War I, and steps were taken to recapture them, while the resort was reopened with a new look: new hotels, a redesign of the springs, a pavilion of mineral baths with sulfur water. In the next period, the “May 1 Villa” was built for the soviet occupation, and much later, in 1989, Ceausescu’s villas were also built, which nowadays are used as entertainment houses. Another heavy rainfall, this time in 1969, caused loss of human lives and also buried a series of springs; with work and investments, the resort recovered once again, and the treatment center and the “Parangul” hotel complex were born. This is where many tourists coming for treatment found accommodation offers in Olanesti. Due to the modernization and improvements in the town, on October 12th 2011, Baile Olanesti received the title of spa resort, alongside other 5 towns in Romania, by Decision no. 106 of the Romanian Government. PLACES TO VISIT IN BAILE OLANESTI A course of treatment with the healing waters of Olanesti is without a doubt beneficial for everyone; additionally, the resort hides several treasures around it, tourist attractions worth visiting in the area:
From: Prahova County, Muntenia, Mountains The origin of the name Sphynx is due to its similarity to a human head, specifically to the Egyptian Sphynx. It is located in the Bucegi Mountains, at an altitude of 2,216 m, and was formed due to wind erosion. Made up of a single block of stone, which over a long period of time took the form it has today, the Sphynx in Bucegi, sitting on the Bucegi plateau, is 8 meters tall and 12 meters wide. Over time, there were rumors according to which the Sphynx was to be dynamited or moved elsewhere, because of material interests regarding the acquisition of the land on which the Sphynx presently sits. These financial interests led to aberrant ideas that would destroy one of the most important tourist attractions in Romania. It remains to be seen whether this will come to pass or not. Many occultists and paranormal specialists claim that such a thing would not occur, because of the important energy surrounding the Sphynx in Bucegi. It is said that the place is an energy center used in the past by extraterrestrials, and there are many local legends in this regard. There is a particular cave in the vicinity of the Sphynx, surrounded by energy-related mysteries. These mysteries attract countless aficionados. Other rumors claim that there is an abandoned uranium mine in this area, which has been out of order since World War II. These, of course, are merely rumors, but as many rumors turn out to be true, this might also be such a case. What is truly exceptional about the Sphynx in Bucegi is the fact that its sphynx profile is easily visible from several vantage points. Another important aspect is that access to the area is extremely easy. There are other similar rock formations in the Romanian mountains, which, due to wind erosion over time, have come to take the sphynx shape. Among these are the Sphynx at Stanisoara, the Sphynx at Toplet, the Sphynx at Piatra Arsa, as well as the Sphynx at Solomon’s Stones and the one at Brotacei. Nevertheless, none of these megaliths are as renowned as the Sphynx on the Bucegi Plateau. People have been fascinated by this natural wonder since ancient times. Proof of that fact is the oldest picture of the Sphynx in Bucegi, dating back to 1900, when photography was at its beginnings. If we take into account the fact that in those days, cameras were extremely heavy, yet someone was interested enough to take a picture of it, it becomes apparent how important this rock formation was to visitors. This photograph is named The Old Women of Caraiman. The first official naming of this formation as The Sphynx in Bucegi dates back to 1935, in an article in a specialized journal of the times called Alpine Newsletter. Once this naming occurred, it was only a step away from becoming official. The second such naming occurred in the Romania Magazine, established by Alexandru Badauta, who also established the National Tourism Office, due to his special interest in this field. Access to the Sphynx in Bucegi The easiest access route is by using the Busteni – Babele Cable Car, the length of the route is 4350 m, it has an altitude difference of 1235 m and the travel time is approximately 15 minutes. The cable car carries 25 people and the daily schedule (except on Tuesdays) is between 7:45 AM and 5:00 PM (the last trip up is at 4 PM and the last return trip is at 5:00 PM). On Tuesdays, the cable car hours are between 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM. It is good to know that usually, the wait time is over an hour, and hour and a half. The cable car price is 29 lei per one-way trip (58 lei for a round trip) for adults and 16 lei for children (under 12 years old). The Babele Cabin is the most well-known cabin in the area, and can accommodate 108 visitors. From the cabin, the access route to the Sphynx is easy to travel, because from Busteni there is a path marked with a blue triangle, through the Urlatoarea Mica and Urlatoarea Mare Valleys, all the way to the vicinity of the Jepi forest range. This route, however, is only recommended in summer. Nevertheless, compared to most mountain tourist areas, which have a difficult access, the access to the Sphynx in Bucegi is relatively easy, due to its location, on the Bucegi Plateau.
From: Prahova County, Muntenia, Mountains The highest peak in the Bucegi Mountains, the Omu Peak is the eleventh highest mountain peak on the list of the highest peaks in Romania. There are several controversies surrounding its height. Some say it is 2505 m high, others 2507 or 2014, depending on the place where the measurements begin and end: from the base of the mountain to the base of the boulder on its peak, or the maximum height from the base of the mountain to the top of the boulder on its peak. HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION Omu Peak is part of the Bucegi Massif, at the eastern end of the Southern Carpathians, between the Prahova Valley, the Bran Pass and the Ialomita Valley. The massif is shaped like a natural fortress, which seems suspended at a height of approximately 1600-2000 m, on steep slopes that appear to be columns supporting this fortress. In the Omu Peak area you can find the main branches of the Bucegi massif, the branches of the Bucegi “horseshoe”. This is also the place where the shortest and steepest peaks split from. The river Ialomita springs from high under the Omu Peak. The average annual temperature is between 0 and 2 degrees Celsius, due to the alpine climate present here. The flora in the area is specific to coniferous and deciduous forests, but also to alpine meadows at great altitudes. The fauna is represented by the western capercaillie, the golden eagle and the chamois, but also by more common animals such as brown bears, boar, deer and squirrels. The cold waters that burst through the hard rock are filled with trout, chub and lamprey. THE TOURIST ROUTE TO OMU PEAK AND THE APPROPRIATE MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT The tourist route to Omu Peak can start in Busteni, following the blue triangle markings towards Gura Diham and even higher than Diham cabin. Here, at the cabin, you can rest and have a delicious meal. After a proper meal you can head to Malaiesti Cabin on the Tache Ionescu route, which offers an impressive view. As soon as you reach Malaiesti Cabin, you can ask the mountain rescue team, stationed there 24/7, everything you want to know about the mountain stretching ahead of you. You set off from Malaiesti Cabin to Omu Peak on a summer path or through Hornul Mare. You walk for 3-4 hours and reach Omu Peak, where you can rest and eat. Afterwards you can descend and visit the Babele (Old Women, TN) rock formation, and swing by the Caraiman Cross, then by Padina. From Padina you descend for about half a day and you reach Sinaia. The route to follow is not a particularly easy one, it is considered increased difficulty, so you will need proper equipment. Mountain boots to protect your ankles, walking sticks, adequate clothing to protect against the rain, if need be, pain or allergy pills, bandages and water are the main things that shouldn’t be missing from your pack, each item individually wrapped in plastic bags. TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AND ACCOMMODATION If you set out from Busteni to Omu Peak and then to Sinaia, accommodation should not be a problem, because there are plenty of cabins ready to receive guests at any time: Diham Cabin, Malaiesti Cabin, Babele Cabin, Padina Cabin … The tourist attractions ready for visitors are: Tache Ionescu, Caraiman Cross, Babele, The Sphynx, Ialomicioara Cave, Bolboci Lake, Tatar Gorge… GOOD TO KNOW WHEN VISITING By far the most sought-after cabin on Omu Peak is the Omu Cabin. Between May 2009 and June 2010, the cabin was closed down, and it is still unknown whether or not it is open to the public. Before going up, if you plan on sleeping there, you should get some information at the following phone numbers: 0744 221 582, Mrs. Irina Popa, or 0744 567 290 Mr. Gheorghe Popa.
From: Arges County, Muntenia, Mountains The Fagaras massif prides itself with the Moldoveanu Peak, which is the highest mountain peak in Romania. The Moldoveanu Peak is 2544 m high and it is barely visible from the surrounding areas, due to the peaks surrounding it, which are also around 2400 m high. The Fagaras ridge is the only place offering a global view, and more to the point views are only possible from the air. ABOUT THE FAGARAS MOUNTAINS From east to west, the Fagaras Mountains are 70 km long and from north-to-south approximately 45. From the air, the Fagaras mountain group looks like a person’s spinal column, with the ribs represented by the peaks breaking off here and there, to the north and the south. The northern slopes are shorter but much steeper compared to the southern ones, which are longer and less steep. The surface area of the Fagaras Mountains is 2400 sqm, 7.5 times wider than the Bucegi Mountains. The relief features surrounding the Fagaras Mountains are:
From: Waterfalls, Maramures County, Maramures Located in the Rodna Mountains, Horses Waterfall, known as one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in our country, can be found predominantly on the northern slope of the Rodna Mountains, in close proximity to the Borsa tourist resort. Therefore, if you choose to visit the well-known Borsa resort, you cannot miss this wonderful waterfall. This is the reason why each year, the area that includes the resort as well as the Horses Waterfall is invaded by a multitude of national and international tourists. The attraction itself is the fact that the water resulting from snow melt and from the rains throughout the year, collects in a glacial circle, and from there, crashes down the very steep slope of the Piatra Rea Reservation, forming this overwhelmingly beautiful waterfall. The waterfall consists of several freefall steps, the first two approximately 40m apart, while the following are closer together, merely 20m apart. LEGEND OF THE HORSES WATERFALL Just like any other unusual tourist attraction, the Horses Waterfall has its own legend. It is said that the Piatra Rea Mountain has always been the favorite place where people living in the area kept their herds of horses, from spring until fall, for a very simple reason: the beauty and richness of the pastures here are hard to come by, so the horses could graze undisturbed. However, no story is happy until the end, so it is said that the herds of horses were frequently attacked by a hungry bear, who used them for its nourishment. As the place was very open, the bear’s chances of success were usually very slim to none. But since the bear is known for being a very smart animal, it would find solutions to remedy the situation, and it would corner the poor animals at the precipice next to what nowadays is the Horses waterfall. Hence, trapped in a tight spot, the poor animals had no way out, and fell prey to the hungry bear. The alternative was for them to jump into the abyss, which was just another tragic end. Legend says that the bear used to catch about 15 horses using that trick. Since then, the locals renamed the waterfall to The Horses Waterfall, precisely because of that legend. Along with the waterfall, the entire area was renamed, and the mountain nearby got the name Horses Mountain, while the aforementioned glacial circle was also called the Horses Bridge. In order to preserve the same trend for the entire area, the creek that crashes into the valley also got the name Horses Creek. ACCESS TO HORSES WATERFALL As unbelievable as it seems, access is very easy, whether you choose to walk from Borsa, on a path, or a more comfortable route, by chairlift, from the Borsa resort. If you choose the second option, the chairlift, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that from the chairlift drop-off place, you have only about a 15-minute walk left. It is important to know that the chairlift does not leave if the group of people doesn’t exceed 10-15 people, so ideally, you should take this trip with your group of friends, so as not to wait longer than necessary for the appropriate number of people to come together. Additionally, it is also good to know that the last chairlift leaves at 5:00 PM, so if you do not reach the upper end of the chairlift route on time, the only other way to get off the mountain is walking, which may not be recommended at night.
From: Waterfalls, Cluj County, Transylvania The Ciucas Waterfall is almost synonymous with the Ciucas Needle, both of them having the same geographical location and being close together. Both are of great national and local geographical importance, since this waterfall is one of the most important tourist attractions in Cluj county. Located approximately 55 kilometers from the city of Cluj Napoca, the Ciucas Waterfall is extremely easy to visit if you choose the road through Turda, then follow the route through Mihai Viteazu and Cornesti, your destination being south-west of Turda. From there, you reach the Moldovenesti bridge, which crosses the Aries river. From then on, the road keeps right, descending alongside a river. After 1 km, you reach a rather unsafe-looking gravel road. If you are brave enough to drive through it, you arrive at a pine forest which marks your arrival at Ciucas Waterfall. Once here, you can be certain you are now in the Hasdane Gorge, characterized by a multitude of eroded slopes, rapids and swift waterfalls. The Ciucas Waterfall is only 5m high, and at its base there is a small lake which gathers the water rolling down the waterfall. Those who have visited the waterfall previously claim that it is much easier to follow a different road, one that does not cross the river. The river coming from the Turda Gorges is known for its overwhelming beauty, as it winds through the rocks and digs out a trench in stone, as a result of the compression. This effect is similar to the water in a jacuzzi, added the wonderful landscape. Visiting the area is a must, because you are left with unforgettable memories. It also represents a heaven for photography enthusiasts, who can take spectacular pictures here. This is possible due to the very high flow speed of the water, with respect to its height of only 1m, which allows for just the right exposure time to create pictures of unimaginable beauty. Even though the Ciucas Waterfall is not the most famous waterfall in our country, such as the Urlatoarea Waterfall in the Bucegi Mountains, it can be strongly claimed that it is just as spectacular, the only difference between this and other important waterfalls in Romania being its level of promotion. It is well-known that promotion is extremely important, and that no one can know the true beauty of a place without having been told about it or without visiting it personally. ACCOMMODATION NEAR CIUCAS WATERFALL Although little known, there is accommodation available near the Ciucas Waterfall, inside the Apuseni Gateway cabin, located only 10 minutes from the waterfall. Therefore, if you wish to visit the area, you can enjoy comfort and exceptional accommodations as well as a good position, close to the tourist target. Additionally, you should keep in mind that the Turda Salt Baths are in close proximity, located in a depression surrounded by forests, at an altitude of 360m.
Sibiu, a Medieval Citadel in The Heart of Transylvania The city of Sibiu represents the heart of the Germanic Transylvania and is located in the place where a long time ago there lay one of the largest medieval citadels in Romania. Today, Sibiu is one of the cities in Romania which over time have attracted a large number of foreign investors. 2007 was the year when Sibiu benefitted from a large national and international exposure, when it was elected European Capital of Culture, alongside Luxembourg. ABOUT SIBIU The history of Sibiu seems to be written by the Saxon colonies, sent here by the Hungarian kings who wanted to speed up the takeover of Transylvania. The arrival of the Saxons in the area raised the standard of living and opened up new levels of civilization in the heart of Transylvania. Apart from the newly imposed life standards, the Saxons brought with them crafts and turned the old Sibiu into a commercial outlet. This helped Sibiu grow fast and quickly become the most important citadel in the old Transylvania. From then on, Sibiu has been one of the most prosperous European cities. Sibiu was known in the past as the most important German population center in Transylvania; three large cultures lived together in harmony here: Romanians, Hungarians and Germans, and also a series of minorities. Due to its location near Wallachia and Moldova, but also due to the Germanic influence, the entire culture and monuments in the city bore western, byzantine and orthodox influences. During the Habsburg occupation, Sibiu was the second most important city in the empire, after Vienna, due to its location, at “the Gates of the Orient”. The Germanic influences are visible not only in the culture and buildings of the time, but also in the degree of civilization of the people, the education acquired in the schools abroad and also in the clothing brought from outside the country. Another important factor which led to the change for the better of Sibiu is represented by the people of the Empire, people of value who were sent here to take up leadership or administrative positions in the city. Sibiu is the city whose name is connected to many important people. Conrad Haas, the father of astronautics, who invented the multi-stage rocket, was born here. Among other important names born in Sibiu are also Emil Cioran, and Nicolaus Olahus, an important person in the European cultural context. Sibiu is where the first pharmacy in Romania opened its doors in 1494; the first library opened in 1300 and the first hospital in 1292. The year 1852 was when the first newspaper was printed; 1904 was when an electric tram ran for the first time in Sibiu (and in Romania). Also in 1904, the largest open air museum in Europe (in surface area), the ASTRA Museum of Traditional Popular Civilization, was established. PLACES TO VISIT IN SIBIU The Large Square in Sibiu is the most important starting point to wander around Sibiu. Although initially it was a grain market, later it became the place where medieval executions, public gatherings or carnivals were organized. The old buildings of the city, over 500 years old, surround the square and write the history of the place in colors. The Brukenthal National Museum is located on one of the sides of the Large Square. The façades of the museum are built in baroque style and the interior combines baroque and rococo styles. The museum was built for the Governor of Transylvania in the 18th century. The History Museum is located in close proximity to 2 Mitropoliei Street. The museum is housed in an old medieval building, which in the past served as City Hall between 1549 and 1923 (the museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). The Evangelical Cathedral is located in Huet Square (this is also where you can visit the Stairway Tower). Initially, this was the Hungarian Catholic Church, and was built between 1322 and 1520. The Orthodox Cathedral is located on 33-35 Mitropoliei Street and was built at the request of the Metropolitan Andrei Saguna in 1857. That is the year when the rulers in Vienna allowed him to build a cathedral for the orthodox people in Transylvania. The Synagogue was built in 1898 and can be visited on 19 Constitutiei Street. The Synagogue has a single rectangular building; the façade is built in neogothic style and the interior has a basilica look. Inside you can admire a decorative wrought iron fence. The Park under the Alders is one of the oldest parks in Romania and was created in 1856; the park stretches over 22 acres containing 68 species of trees. 30 of these species are exotic and 38 are Romanian. The Small Square is represented by buildings with arches and is located behind the Large Square. A series of museums and galleries can be visited here. The Council Tower is located in the Small Square and can be visited between 8 AM and 8 PM. It is one of the most important landmarks in Sibiu; in the past, this tower served as a look-out point for fires, as a place where criminals were locked away for the long term, as grain storage and even as a museum. The History of Pharmacy Museum is a former drugstore dating back to the 17th century where you can see medical instruments from the 1500s and also a series of concoctions by Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy. On the left of the House of the Arts (the former butcher shop) is the Bridge of Lies; the wrought iron bridge bears that name due to the people who used to gather here and gossip. May 9th Street and the New Street are lined on both sides by the oldest houses in the city, dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. The Goldsmiths’ Square is the place where the craftsmen who molded this precious metal used to gather in the past. The Roman Emperor Hotel is on 4 Nicolae Balcescu Street and impresses tourists with its vast interior and its elegance. The ASTRA Museum of Traditional Popular Civilization is about 6.5 km away from Sibiu, going south. The museum is the largest ethnographic open-air museum in Romania, it is located in the Dumbrava Forest and stretches over 96 acres, which makes it the largest open-air museum in Europe. It dwarfs the Village Museum, with its 15 acres. The museum was inaugurated on August 19th 1905. The Paltinis Resort is located 32 km away from Sibiu. It is a dream place for those who love winter sports and also for those who want to relax in a wondrous location. You can visit the Cindrel Tarns, the glacial lakes, the Hermitage and the Constantin Noica Memorial house.
Mihai Eminescu Memorial House In Ipotesti If, as a child, you went on at least one school trip, you undoubtedly visited Creanga’s Shack or the house of the “morning star of Romanian poetry”. Mihai Eminescu, Romanian poet, prose writer and journalist, by his real name Mihai Eminovici, is praised by Romanian literary critics as the most important poetic voice of Romanian literature. ABOUT THE MIHAI EMINESCU MEMORIAL HOUSE The year when Mihai Eminescu was born, 1850, his family, consisting of his father, the nobleman Gheorghe Eminovici and his mother, Raluca Eminovici, bought the lands where the future childhood home of Mihai Eminescu would be built, in the village of Ipotesti. The nobleman’s family being a wealthy one at the time, furnished the house with all the necessary accommodations: the hall where the family spent most of their time, nobleman Eminovici’s study, the bedroom for his wife and their daughters. This is where the poet lived between 1850 and 1878. The Mihai Eminescu Memorial House in Ipotesti was completed about the same time, with the addition of a small church. Raluca Eminovici bought it from Murgulet for 250 gold pieces. It dates back to about the 19th century. The church, albeit small, housed numerous valuable objects belonging to the family. Behind the church is where the poet’s parents as well as two of his brothers (Iorgu and Nicu) are buried. The year of nobleman Eminovici’s death is also the year when the memorial house neared its end, as it was abandoned; in 1884 the house was no longer inhabited, which left its mark on it. Photographs describing the house a few years later, in 1916, show the pillars of the porch collapsed outward because of a landslide. 8 years later, the house became a ruin in the true sense of the word, as did the small church and the tombs of the people buried there, completely forgotten by the hand of man. The later owners of the estate in Ipotesti tore it down completely because of its precarious state. This led to revolts and riots from the Romanian and Jewish students who studied in Botosani at the time. Maria Papadopol, the rightful owner of the lands where the house once stood, decided to donate the lands, following the riots at that time. A short paragraph in the letter addressed to the prefect of Botosani is shown below: “The undersigned Maria D. Papadopol, owner of the Ipotesti estate, hereby declare to willingly consent to donate my house in Ipotesti, or better yet, the place where my house stood, on the expressed condition that an identical building be erected on this spot, with the building material found on the ruins today, building which shall serve no other purpose than that of national museum named “Mihai Eminescu donated by Maria Papadopol, born Isacescu”, which can also have a reading room, but which can in no way serve as school grounds”. The letter was written and sent by her on August 3rd 1924. Following that donation, 10 years later, the house was erected on the same spot and inaugurated in 1940 as the first memorial museum dedicated to Mihai Eminescu; however, the house was not in accordance with the original, so it was torn down and rebuilt in 1979 – the new building was based on original documents. Nowadays, only 50% of the furniture in the house is in accordance with the original, while the remaining furniture perfectly describes the second half of the 19th century. In the same courtyard where the Mihai Eminescu Memorial House is located, there is also the Papadopol House, a small, rustic, Moldavian style home, belonging to Doctor Papadopol, the last owner of the estate; like Mrs. Papadopol, he also donated his house to the state. Presently, the house is the Ethnography museum of the National Studies Center in Ipotesti, and displays objects belonging to the households of villagers of the time; also exhibited here are the paintings by Horia Bernea which describe the time of the national painting workshops in Ipotesti. About 4 km away from the Ipotesti Memorial House is the lake in Baisa forest, which inspired many of the poet’s work. GOOD TO KNOW WHEN VISITING THE MIHAI EMINESCU MEMORIAL HOUSE IN IPOTESTI If you want to visit the house where the great poet grew up, you have to cross the country all the way to Botosani County. The house is open to the public daily, as follows:
The city of Iasi is the largest urban settlement in Moldova, an important cultural and economic center in the North-Eastern part of Romania. This city has been a capital three times so far: the first time, of Moldova, between 1564 and 1859, then of the United Principalities, between 1859 and 1862, and then of Romania, between 1916 and 1918. ABOUT IASI The city of Iasi is located in the Moldavian Plains, a few kilometers away from the border with the Republic of Moldova. Researchers have agreed that the origin of the name can be found in the Alanic tribe of the Iasi, a nomadic people of Indo-European origin. Nevertheless, the first mention of this city belongs to Alexander the Good, in 1408. The last population census indicated that there are approximately 400 thousand people living in Iasi, but very many students – approximately 60,000 – come here every year to enroll in one of the universities of the city. For that reason, the city of Iasi can be characterized as a place full of youth, where parties, festivities and exhibits are frequent. It is known that Iasi is the city of the 7 cliffs, name given by its location on 7 different cliffs, as follows: Bucium, Copou, Galata, Cetatuia, Repedea, Sorogari and Breazu. Of these, 4 presently make up one of the most popular neighborhoods of this city, while the others are designated as suburbs, alongside others such as Valea Lupului, Tomesti, Dancu or Ciurea. The tendency is for these suburbs to eventually become neighborhoods as well, the city of Iasi being in continuous expansion, due to the rising number of inhabitants each year, as most of the students who come here decide to remain after they graduate. Iasi has played an important part in the 1989 Revolution, as this is where most of the movements initiated, although they were snuffed out by the Security as soon as they occurred. Nevertheless, this city remains in the annals of history as the one that gave the signal to trigger this important event. This city is also named the city of “grand ideas”, because this is where the idea of the First Unification, of the first Literature and Natural History museums and of the first University in the country originated. Over time, important Romanian writers and poets lived here, such as Creanga, Eminescu, Sadoveanu, Toparceanu or Otilia Cazimir. LANDMARKS AND PLACES TO VISIT IN IASI Most of the historical buildings in Iasi are concentrated in the Old Town, an area which spans between the Elena, Stephen the Great, Independentei and Grigore Ghica streets, but some of them are also located in the old neighborhoods of the city, such as Copou or Pacurari. The Culture Palace is the main symbol of Iasi. It was built over the former Royal Courtyard, in 1906, presently hosting the exhibits of the “Moldova” National Museum Complex. In front of it is the Dosoftei House – dating back to 1677, which was the first printing press in Moldova, and also the popular Stephen the Great boulevard, where you can see the City Hall building, the Trei Ierarhi Church, the National Theatre and other tourist attractions. Behind the palace is a residential neighborhood called Palas, which is presently the heart of student activities. Address: Stephen the Great and Holy Square no 1. Alexandru Ioan Cuza University hosts 15 faculties, and is located on Copou, and the building which houses it is a historical monument dating back to 1896. The Mihai Eminescu library, belonging to the university, is also an interesting place for tourists. Additionally, the city of Iasi proudly owns an international airport, so it is relatively easy to fly to this city from faraway places (all you have to do is reserve a ticket some time in advance, to find an affordable flight). The Botanical Garden is higher up, near the Emil Alexandrescu Stadium; this was the first exhibit of its kind in the country, built in 1856 by Anastasie Fatu. Visiting hours are daily between 9 AM and 6 PM; remember that the greenhouses are closed on Wednesdays. Address: 7-9 Dumbrava Rosie Street. Being an important cultural city, Iasi hosts some of the most beautiful theatre performances, opera performances and more, in historical buildings such as the National Theatre, the Romanian National Opera, the Tatarasi Athenaeum or the Ludic Theatre. The Vasile Alecsandri National Theatre is represented by a neoclassical building; this is also the headquarters of the national opera company. The theatre building was built in 1890 by the Austrian team of Fellner and Helmer. The opulence of the building can be observed both on the outside and the inside. Address: 5 Vasile Alecsandri Street, The Iasi Philharmonic is an institution with a permanent artistic activity; the inaugural concert of the Philharmonic was on October 9th 1942 conducted by George Enescu. Address: 29 Cuza Voda Street. The Ludic Theatre was established in 1978 by professor Aurel Luca; the ludic theatre consists of a representative troupe of students from the Iasi University Center, who over time have won more than 200 trophies and awards in national and international festivals. Address: 30 Vasile Conta Street. Those who appreciate the religious lifestyle and architecture have a series of such tourist attractions to choose from, both in Iasi and in the surrounding areas. Among these are the following monasteries: Hadambu, Dobrovat, Hlincea, Piatra Sfanta or Vladiceni. Countless churches lay on the streets of Iasi, the most beautiful of these, both architecturally and historically are the Trei Ierarhi Church and the Golia Monastery. The walls of the Trei Ierarhi Church date back to 1637 when they were built for the ruler Vasile Lupu; they are entirely covered with stone decorations. Today, the church houses the relics of Saint Parascheva of Greece, preserved in a silver reliquary. This is also where Dimitrie Cantemir, the author of “The Description of Moldavia” is buried. Address: 28 Stephen the Great and Holy Street. The brick church located next to the Culture Palace is Saint Nicholas Church; it was built for Stephen the Great and Holy, but unfortunately it burned down at the beginning of the 19th century. The church was rebuilt by the French architect Andre Lecomte du Bouy between 1884 and 1904. The Golia Monastery was built in 1546; the ruler Vasile Lupu paid a group of Italian builders to beautify and expand the religious establishment. The building is characterized by the baroque and byzantine style. Inside the church, there are discrete inscriptions with the Cyrillic initials BB (which stand for Voivode Vasile) and a bull’s head. Address: 51 Cuza Voda Street. The city of Iasi has an important place on the Romanian map and offers many tourist attractions that should not be missed. Similarly, the surrounding areas also offer a few such locations: the Cetatuia Monastery, the Barnova Commune and the Barnova Monastery, the Cucuteni Archaeological site and the Cotnari vineyards.
The foundation of the Galati history museum was laid down in 1890 when the politician Vasile Alexandru Urechia took the initiative to set up the first library in the city of Galati, and a museum; these were housed in the halls of the “Vasile Alecsandri ” high school. A major part of the objects that were part of the first museum back then are exhibited today at the Galati History Museum. BACKSTORY OF THE GALATI HISTORY MUSEUM 23 years after the opening of the first museum, Paul and Ecaterina Pasa laid the foundations of another mixed museum complex, located in one of the halls of the Boys’ School no. 6 in the city; this time, the museum included very many elements of natural history, and fewer historical ones. In 1937 the “Cuza Voda House” was created; this association collected funds, donations and contributions and bought the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Memorial House, which was inaugurated as the “Cuza Voda House” Museum. Today, this building is part of the Galati History Museum. Over time, the museum went through a series of alterations for the better; new buildings were bought or donated and added to the museum patrimony, the exhibition space was increased every year due to numerous steps taken in that respect, and the collections were enriched substantially. For example, in 1956 the museum was divided into 3 branches: the History Museum, the Natural Sciences Museum and the Art Museum, all of them nowadays under the control of the Galati History Museum. However, the passage of time did not bring only happy events to the museum; because of the 1984 earthquake, the “Galant Personalities of Modern History” section was closed down. Other exhibits had the same fate over time, either due to the lack of storage space or because the authorities donated the buildings to other public institutions. For that reason, at a particular point in time, the museum only curated two permanent exhibits: in Manjina and the “Cuza Voda” House. Shortly after that, the museum was assigned a building where the main headquarters are located to this day, on 2 Major Iancu Fotea St. The building needed major repair work which delayed the opening until 1988. That is when the didactic-themed national history museum was created, a museum rich in exhibits originating from the reference areas of the county and from the Maritime Danube area. Over time, the museum went through a beautiful growth process, and now consists of 6 sections, as follows: • The headquarters of the Galati History Museum on 25 Domneasca St. Visiting hours differ depending on the season and on the permanent or temporary exhibits hosted here. Throughout the year, this section is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and in the cold season the museum closes one hour earlier, at 5.00 PM. • “Cuza Voda” House on 80 Cuza Voda St. The museum is set up in Cuza Voda’s ancestral home, and can be visited all year round (it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). It is worth noting that in 2003 an outbuilding was set up here with an exhibit of stamp, coin, medal and document collections and contemporary pieces. • “Costache Negri ” Memorial House in Costache Negri (Manjina) Commune, Galati County; like the other sections, it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The building is the place where Costache Negri, Nicolae Balcescu, Mihail Kogalniceanu, Vasile Alecsandri and Alexandru Ioan Cuza met to debate the ideas during the Romanian Revolution. The house was declared a historical monument in 1943, and 25 years later, in 1968, it became the Costache Negri memorial house. • The House of Collections in the Building of the Former Tinc Pharmacy on 64 Eroilor St., with the same visiting hours. The building is listed as a Historical monument with code GL-II-m-B-03045; in the past, there was a pharmacy here on the ground floor, and the first floor was the residence of the apothecary Constantin Tinc. He was, in turn, a counsellor, mayor and senator of Covurlui. 2002 was a critical year for this building, when it was transferred to the museum by the Local Council; with the approval of the Ministry of Culture, its purpose was changed, from a historical monument to the Museum of Collections. • “Hortensia Papadat Bengescu” House in Ivesti Commune, Galati County was inaugurated on July 20th 2009 at 1.00 PM and can be visited all year round except on Mondays and Tuesdays. Here you can visit the “Ivesti Personalities” exhibit with documents and objects belonging to Hortensia Bengescu and to other important members of the Ivesti culture. • “Ion Avram Dunareanu” Rural Home in Suhurlui Commune, Galati County, was inaugurated on October 10th 2009. It was built by Andone and Maria Avram; in 2007 the judge Ioan Avram Dunareanu, their son, donated his family home and an impressive collection of ethnographic assets to the Museum. The exhibit here is called “Traditional Rural Environment”. GOOD TO KNOW WHEN TRAVELING HERE The headquarters of the History Museum are on 2 Major Iancu Fotea St., where you can request information about the other sections and the exhibits they host. Once in Galati, the museum is not the only attraction here; look for accommodation and stay in the area for at least 2-3 days, in order to visit the 6 sections and their main exhibits as well as other beautiful places, because Galati hides beautiful things and is also the largest and most dynamic river port in Romania. The commercial origins of the city date back to the 16th century, when the Turks exploited everything in the area. 1944 was a bloody year on the Danube shore, when a German siege killed half of the population here, mostly Jewish. Although the city is very well-known due to its steel mill, the beautiful river vistas and the city center are impressive. Other places to visit in Galati: • Saint Precista Fortified Church built by the ruler Vasile Lupu, on 1 Traian St. • Visual Art Museum, the first contemporary art museum in Romania, on 141 Domneasca St. • River Railway Station on 43 Portului St., where the port authority is located • Village Museum in Galati where you can see traditional huts in the Lower Danube area, located at the entrance of the Garboavele Forest
The city of Curtea de Arges is located in close proximity to the river Arges, in the vicinity of the sub-Carpathian hills, which surround it. From a historical standpoint, the city is one of the most important places in Muntenia; its rebirth took place in 1990 and the tourists returned here for the two representative churches and for the medieval courtyard, famous landmarks here. The city is located in the northern part of Arges County, more specifically in the hilly dingle formed by the upper flow of the river with the same name, at 450 m above sea level, in the Getic Subcarpathians. The city is surrounded by the Subcarpathian hills and the hilly southern peaks of the Fagarasi Mountains, peaks covered with pastures and forests. The surface area of the city is approximately 75 square km wide; the presence of the mountains only 28 km away brings variation and diversity to the climate. The temperatures here are moderate throughout the year and the precipitations are abundant, due to the dingle in which it is located. The winter here is a bit harsher than in the plains, and the summers are generally pleasant, with warm and sunny days almost all the time. From a historical standpoint, the archaeological discoveries indicate that in the past there was a population of Dacian origin living here (since the first Iron Age), a population led by Dromichaites (between the 4th and 3rd Centuries BC). The archaeological excavations led by Nicolae Constantinescu revealed the fact that in the 1200s there was a small residence of a voivode here and a small church. According to specialists, in the 13th century (around 1247), Curtea the Arges held the seat of the voivode Seneslau, ruler of a state formation, according to notes found on the diploma of the Knights of the Order of Saint John. Basarab the 1st united all the principalities and voivodeships from the Carpathians to the Danube under the name of Wallachia, thus becoming the first ruler of Wallachia between 1310 and 1330, until the battle of Posada. The first time that the city of Curtea de Arges was mentioned in documents was on October 17th 1336 under the name of “Castro-Argyas”; it is mentioned in a Hungarian diploma. Although the name it was known under was Arges, its present name began being used in the 16th century, mentioned for the first time in 1510. The voivode Vladislav the 1st (also called Vlaicu, who ruled between 1364 and 1377) set up the first mint here; he encouraged commercial ties between Muntenia and the western cities. During the same time period, the first local school was set up here, for the children from the city. PLACES TO VISIT IN CURTEA DE ARGES • The Municipal Museum – north of the square located close to the main road • The Royal Court – built in 1330 shortly after the battle of Posada; nowadays, what is left of the old Royal Court is well indicated by the exterior walls. • Curtea de Arges Monastery – founded in 1517 and built out of stone. • The Episcopal Church – it became the bishop’s residence in 1739. This is where the first two royal couples of Romania, King Charles and Queen Elisabeth and King Ferdinand and his wife Maria are buried. • The Central Square PLACES TO VISIT NEAR CURTEA DE ARGES • Bradetu – the name means fir forest and, as the name indicates, the town is covered with mixed forests and is very appreciated by the tourists who come here to hike and relax, and for its sulfur waters. The town is 28 km away from Curtea de Arges, following the DN73C highway. • The Wooden Hermitage in Bradetu – an orthodox monastery, a copy of the Cozia Monastery, dating back to the 18th Century. • The Church of the Saint Peter and Paul Monastery – a church dug in a sandstone rock, located in the town of Corbii; if you want to visit the place after 4 PM, ask at the house located on the other side of the rock. Here you can find frescoes painted in the purest Byzantine style in our country. • The House of Elisabeth Rizea in Nucsoara Commune GOOD TO KNOWN WHEN IN CURTEA DE ARGES A good day to visit here is on a Thursday, because that is a market day; the stalls in the central square are brimming with souvenirs, clothes and delicacies. After a visit and a shopping session in the market, visit Mrs. Mitrofan’s terrace restaurant, where you can admire the interior decorated in an authentic style of the year 1821 and the painted ceilings. As landmarks, the city of Curtea de Arges is 38 km away from Pitesti, 36 km away from Ramnicu Valcea, 45 km away from Campulung and 150 km away from Bucharest. It is good to know that the city is an important point of departure towards the Transfagarasan highway, the Poenari Citadel, the Vidraru Dam and Lake and the Ocnele Mari salt mines.
THE DANUBE DELTA The Danube Delta is a treat of flora and fauna, seasoned with the most beautiful landscapes of this type in our country and beyond. For that reason, the Danube Delta is known as the only delta of such beauty, attracting an impressive number of tourists every year. Over time, this has favored the development of tourism in itself, and also the construction of hostels and hotels meant to host the tourists in search of a vacation in the heart of nature. Business boomed soon, and the Danube Delta has now become the ideal destination for a nature vacation, away from the bustle and smog of the city. Here you can see rare species of fauna and flora, and also extraordinary species of fish. LOCATION The Danube Delta stands between the Dobrogea Plateau to the south-west and the border with Ukraine to the north. As expected, it meets the Black Sea to the east, as the three branches of the Danube flow into it. This is actually the reason why this oasis of nature is called a Delta, and not just any Delta, but one of the most beautiful of its kind. As specific geographical coordinates, the Danube Delta is crossed by the 45th parallel north, and by the 29th meridian east, so upon close inspection of the map, following these coordinates, it is impossible to miss it, even if you are not a Romanian citizen or not very good at geography. SURFACE AREA The surface area of the Danube Delta is approximately 5,050 square meters. However, it is worth noting that this area belongs both to the Delta and to the Razim-Sinoe lagoon complex. It is also good to know that of this surface area, 723 km belong to Ukraine, so by subtracting this number and the surface of the Razim-Sinoe lagoon complex, the Romanian Delta covers a surface area of 2,540 square km. Nevertheless, we may have even more delta soon, because every year, the Danube brings along silt as it flows into the sea, so each year, the Delta grows by 40 square meters. THE BRANCHES OF THE DANUBE As you know, next to the town of Patlageanca, the Danube splits into two branches called Chilia to the north and Tulcea to the south. The latter branch, Tulcea, subsequently splits into two other branches, Sulina and Sf. Gheorghe (Saint George, N.T.), the latter deriving its name from the place where it is created. Going back to the Chilia branch, it is good to know that this forms the actual border with Ukraine. Another important element concerning the Chilia branch is the fact that it carries approximatively 60% of the water and silt of the Danube, having a total length of 104 km. Unlike Chilia, the Sulina branch is located in the center of the Danube Delta, and has a linear flow. Its main utility is for navigation. The Sulina branch is 71 km long and carries approximately 18% of the Danube’s water and silt. As for the Sf. Gheorghe branch, it has a north to south orientation, it is 112 km long and carries about 22% of the Danube’s flow. This branch is unique in that when it flows into the sea, it forms an island complex called Sacalin, which is considered a kind of secondary delta. In terms of its actual location, the Danube Delta is part of Dobrogea, but there are also some exceptions here concerning the Chilia branch and the above-mentioned secondary delta. The Danube Delta is well known for the complexity of its ecosystem, and is at the same time an ever-changing environment. Hence, here you can admire at the same time “old forests”, with trees over 1,000 years old, as well as “new forests”, the most famous ones being the Caraorman and Letea forests. Here you can see sand dunes over 7 m tall, oak forests over 30 m tall, lakes covered in white lotus flowers, floating islands. The Danube Delta harbors the largest area of compact reeds in Europe. Here await extraordinary plant species such as the sand bush, vines with exotic origins (this is their northernmost limit), plants with floating leaves, rush, watercress, marsh ferns, poplars, alders, ash trees, white willow trees and many more. According to research, there are about 1,600 plant species in the Danube Delta. That is why, the number of tourists who come to admire this natural display up-close grows each year, especially people coming from countries along the Danube. GEOLOGY From a geological perspective, the Danube Delta is located in a flexible and mobile region of the earth’s crust called the Danube Delta Platform, or the pre-Dobrogea region. This region comes in contact with the North-Dobrogea Orogen by means of the Oancea-Sf. Gheorghe fault line. FLORA AND FAUNA IN THE DANUBE DELTA There are over 30 ecosystems in the Danube Delta, with 5,137 species, of which:
COMANA NATURAL PARK The Comana Reserve brings together the Butcher’s Broom (ruscus aculeatus) Natural Reserve, the Peony (peonia peregrina) Scientific Reserve and the Comana Pond into a single natural park. Relatively close to Bucharest, this is an oasis of relaxation and a way to escape the day to day rush. HISTORY The Comana Park was born in 2004 when, based on scientific documentation, the Comana Pond joined the two reserves: Peony and Butcher’s Broom. Together, these three protect areas of great floristic, faunistic and avifaunistic importance. However, there are few people who know that the Comana Natural park is like a second Delta for Romania, from the perspective of its biodiversity. The Romanian Academy has taken measures well before this date, to make this area into a natural reserve in order to protect the two flora reserves. The Comana Reserve is the most extensive protected area in the Wallachian Plain. The most important reason for the creation of this reserve is the ecological restoration of the areas destroyed uncontrollably by mankind. The reserve stretches over 24,963 acres divided as follows:
DRAGOS VODA BISON NATURE RESERVE IN VANATORI, NEAMT Located on the eastern slope of the Stanisoara Mountains in Neamt County, close to the border with Suceava County, the Dragos Voda Bison Nature Reserve in Vanatori, Neamt, has been a real attraction for tourists in the area and for school camping and hiking trips over the years. ABOUT THE DRAGOS VODA BISON NATURE RESERVE, IN VANATORI, NEAMT Constituted as a natural park since 1999, the Nature Park in Vanatori, Neamt has a surface area of 30,818 acres, of which more than 26,300 acres are forests. Apart from the reserve, the nature park also includes the Silver Forest or the Brass Woods. Natural, cultural and historical elements cover the entire area of the park. It is also home to several endangered species of animals such as the brown bear, the bison, the Carpathian red deer, the fallow deer, the roe deer or the boar, and birds such as the wood grouse, the peacock etc. Nowadays, there are fewer animals in captivity in the Dragos Voda Reserve, but over the years it has harbored many species, such as lynx, foxes, hares, wolves, otters and many species of birds. Although 1999 is the year when the reserve became part of the Vanatori Neamt natural park, it was constituted approximately 30 years earlier, in 1968. Two years later, in 1970, three bison were brought here all the way from Poland, and were named Rarau, Roxana and Raluca. 4 years later, the first two bison calves were born at Vanatori Neamt: Rosina and Roco. The Romanian cinematic masterpieces The Jderi Brothers and Stephen the Great - Vaslui 1945 were also filmed here during this period. In 1975, the 5 bison held in captivity in the reserve managed to break the surrounding fence and reached the Braileanca Peak and the Grajduri meadow, where they feasted on what they were missing in captivity: hornbeam, beech, ash and fir bark. It is only three weeks later that they were caught and brought back into captivity; at the end of the year, the female Roxana died of a preexisting illness, combined with the effort of her return to captivity and the effort of filming Stephen the Great - Vaslui 1945. On November 2nd 1977, the reserve received 5 Caucasian wisents from the former USSR, named Medalist, Mentol, Metocika, Meringhia and Mexicana. Because the reserve caretakers in Romania were aware of the importance of preserving the diversity of species in captivity, they carried out various exchanges; that is how another male – Robu – was brought here from Brasov, following the closure of the reserve there. At that time, there were 10 beautiful bison specimens at the reserve. Aside from bison, the reserve also enriched its bird exhibit with decorative pheasants (golden, silver and also common pheasants), 2 mouflon sheep and a fallow deer. 1982 was a sad year for the Dragos Voda reserve, because 5 bison were transferred from here to the Bucsani-Neagra Reserve: Medalist, Mentol, Metocika, Meringhia and Robu. By 1997, there was only a 12-year-old female bison left here, all the others having died of old age; then, 3 young specimens were received from Bucsani-Neagra: Rodion, Rochita and Rodia. 5 years later, the Dragos Voda Reserve bought 4 bison specimens, 3 males and one female, from the Bern Zoo in Switzerland. Today there are 7 bison specimens at the reserve, and they are its main attraction; however, apart from the bison, there are quite few species in captivity here. Even though there are no longer as many species of animals as in the past, the Dragos Voda Carpathian Fauna Reserve in Vanatori, Neamt, remains the main tourist attraction in the area. It is important to know that throughout the years, the animal enclosures here in the reserve were created to simulate as much as possible their natural environment, and thus to ensure a comfort and quality of life similar to the one in the wild. This was part of the “Biodiversity Preservation Management” Program. It is worth noting that although today there are only 7 specimens of bison in captivity in the Vanatori Neamt park, there are also approximately 21 free specimens. Periodically, during the bison mating seasons, several specimens are released for the purpose of repopulating the forests in the area with bison. The last such measure occurred at the end of January 2013 when 4 specimens were set free. USEFUL TIPS WHEN TRAVELING HERE When walking the paths of the Vanatori Neamt Natural Park, you are overcome with a feeling of freedom: forests as far as the eye can see, infinite meadows and hills unfold at your feet. But it is worth remembering that there are even more attractions to discover, only a stone’s throw form here, such as the Neamt citadel, the Ion Creanga Memorial House in Humulesti, the Oglinzi and Baltatesti Resorts and numerous monasteries in Moldova.
#SummerWell10 Anniversary Edition. Celebrating the 10th edition of Summer Well in August 2020. Full passes available now at a special price: 275 lei + taxes, on www.summerwell.ro Line-up so far: Of Monsters and Men, Keane, Woodkid, Two Door Cinema Club, Foster The People, Nothing But Thieves, Balthazar, Tom Walker, L'Impératrice, Jadu Heart, Digitalism, Bob Moses. Aug 7 at 6:00 PM – Aug 10 at 3:00 AM 36 Ştirbei Vodă street, Domeniul Ştirbey, Buftea, Romania Tickets www.summerwell.ro
THE BIGGEST FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS IN ROMANIA COMES TO BUCHAREST IN APRIL The International Festival of Lights returns to Bucharest, from April 23 to 26, with new and spectacular artistic installations. Now at its sixth edition, Spotlight is one of the most popular outdoor festivals in Bucharest and aims, this year, to take the audience on a captivating journey with the help of light technologies that explore the theme "Parallel Worlds". For four days, local artists and artists from abroad will exhibit the most innovative projects that allow viewers to access "parallel worlds", which will completely remove them from the space where they are and open their eyes to new dimensions and visions. Through the theme of the edition, "Parallel Worlds", the Festival aims to create a close connection between the physical and the virtual world, between the human figure, concrete, limited, but at the same time vulnerable, and the virtual figure, which can be extremely vast, complex and incomprehensible. Between April 23 and April 26, at Spotlight 2020, historic buildings and iconic places in Bucharest become the main venues of the festival, where spectators can explore fascinating digital worlds, alternative landscapes, sensory or audiovisual experiences using light-based art installations. APR 23 Thu 8:30 PM APR 24 Fri 8:30 PM APR 25 Sat 8:30 PM Bucharest, Romania
Krikor H. Zambaccian (1889 - 1962) was a well-known businessman of Armenian origin and a member of the Romanian Academy. Critical and passionate about art, he wrote the monographs of Nicolae Grigorescu, Gheorghe Petraşcu, Nicolae Tonitza and several volumes of essays. K.H. Museum Zambaccian is noted for the exceptional quality of the works of Romanian art, the collection presented here is one of the richest and most valuable in Romania and includes painting, sculpture, graphics, furniture. The works of art exhibited in the museum make up a true history of modern Romanian painting, these include Lăutul (1911-1912), realized by Stefan Luchian (1868 - 1916) in the latter part of life. The painting was purchased by Zambaccian from the collector Alexandru Bogdan. Krikor H. Zambaccian's home was built to serve as an exhibition space for works of art, his collection being open to art lovers once a week since 1942. K.H. Museum Zambaccian was established in March 1947and also hosts a remarkable selection of works signed by the masters of the French school (Delacroix, Corot, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, Bonnard, Utrillo, Marquet). The first Wednesday of each month means a new opportunity to visit the National Museum of Art of Romania, as well as: the Museum of Art Collections, the K.H. Zambaccian Museum and Theodor Pallady Museum, for FREE! Between 10am and 6pm you can discover the NMAR collections!
Website: www.viziteazazlatna.ro Phone: 0358 401 214
A new concept in Romania, Tiriac Collection represents the exhibition of cars and motorcycles of Mr. Ion Tiriac. Reopened to the public in May 2015, the collection includes over 150 historical vehicles manufactured since 1899, but also performant cars, with a current design. Visitors will find the only collection in the world with the 6 Rolls Royce Phantom produced until 1972, as well as exhibits that previously belonged to great names such as Sir Elton John, Sammy Davis Jr. or Bernie Ecclestone.