Saturday, November 21, 2009

King Carol I Bridge

The King Carol I Bridge (later renamed Anghel Saligny Bridge) was built between 1890 and 1895 in Romania over the Danube and Borcea and when it was completed it then became the longest bridge in Europe and the third longest in the world.

The bridge has a length of 4,037 metres of which 1662 m over the Danube and 920 m over Borcea and was designed by Romanian engineer Anghel Saligny. It is 30 metres above the water, allowing tall ships to pass under it. The bridge has four spans of 140 metres and one of 190 metres.

The two cities on the banks of the river which was built were Feteşti on the left side and Cernavodă on the right side. The bridge was used for almost a century, until it was replaced in 1987 with the new bridge built next to it. The bridge was inaugurated on 26 September 1895 and as a test on the opening, a convoy of 15 locomotives sped at 85 km/h.

Carol I of Romania, original name Prince Karl Eitel Friedrich Zephyrinus Ludwig of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, later simply of Hohenzollern (20 April 1839 - 27 September 1914 (O.S.) / 10 October 1914 (N.S.), German prince, was elected Domnitor (Prince) of Romania on 20 April 1866 following the overthrow of Alexander John Cuza by a palace coup; following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War he was proclaimed King of Romania on 26 March 1881. He was the first ruler of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty, which ruled the country until the proclamation of a republic in 1947.

During his reign, he personally led Romanian troops during the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78 and assumed command of the Russo/Romanian army during the siege of Pleven. The country achieved full independence from the Ottoman Empire (Treaty of Berlin, 1878) and acquired the southern part of the Dobruja from Bulgaria in 1913. Domestic political life, still dominated by the country's wealthy landowning families organised around the rival Liberal and Conservative parties, was punctuated by two widespread peasant uprisings, in Walachia (the southern half of the country) in April 1888 and in Moldavia (the northern half) in March 1907.

He married Elisabeth of Wied in Neuwied on 15 November 1869. They only had one daughter, Maria, who died aged three.
Carol's childlessness left his elder brother Leopold next in line to the throne. In October 1880 Leopold renounced his right of succession in favour of his son William, who in turn surrendered his claim eight years later in favour of his younger brother, the future king Ferdinand.
Carol I
Domnitor of Romania (1866 - 1881)
King of the Romanians (1881 - 1914)
King Carol I of Romania
Reign 10 May 1866 (O.S.) / 22 May 1866 (N.S.) - 27 September 1914 (O.S.) / 10 October 1914 (N.S.)
Coronation 10 May 1881 (O.S.) / 22 May 1881 (N.S.)
Predecessor Alexandru Ioan Cuza (Domnitor)
Successor Ferdinand I
Spouse Elisabeth of Wied
Princess Maria of Romania
Full name : Karl Eitel Friedrich Zephyrinus Ludwig von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Father Prince Karl Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Mother Princess Josephine of Baden
Born 20 April 1839
Sigmaringen, Germany
Died 27 September 1914 (O.S.) / 10 Octomber 1914 (N.S.)
Sinaia, Romania
Burial Curtea de Argeş, Romania
1. Early life

Carol was born in Sigmaringen as Prince Karl von Hohenzollern Sigmaringen. He was the second son of Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and his wife, Princess Josephine of Baden. After finishing his elementary studies, Karl entered the Cadet School in Münster. In 1857 he was attending the courses of the Artillery School in Berlin. Up to 1866 (when he accepted the crown of Romania) he was a German officer. He took part in the Second Schleswig War, particularly at the assault of the Fredericia citadel and Dybbøl, experience which would be very useful to him later on in the Russian-Turkish war.

Although he was quite frail and not very tall, prince Karl was reported to be the perfect soldier, healthy, disciplined, and also a very good politician with liberal ideas. He was familiar with several European languages. His family being closely related to the Bonaparte family (one of his grandmothers was a Beauharnais, Joséphine's niece-in-law, and the other a Murat, Joachim's niece Marie Antoinette Murat), they enjoyed very good relations with Napoleon III of France. Romania was, at the time, under the influence of French culture and Napoleon's recommendation of Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen weighed heavy in the eyes of Romanian politicians of the time, as did his blood relation to the ruling Prussian family. Ion Brătianu was the Romanian politician sent to negotiate with Karl and his family the possibility of installing Karl on the Romanian throne.

Sighisoara Town and Medieval Festival

Sighisoara (Hungarian: Segesvár, German: Schäßburg, Latin: Castrum Sex) is a city and municipality on the Târnava river in Transylvania, Romania. It is in Mures County.
Central Sighisoara has preserved in an exemplary way the features of a small medieval fortified city; it has been listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Each year, a Medieval Festival takes place in the old citadel in July.
For 15 years, on summer there is organized the three days Medieval Art Festival. It is difficult to present in a few words the multitude of tourist attraction points of this town: towers, bastions, churches and houses. However, the most important are considered to be Turnul cu Ceas (the Clock Tower) – the entrance gate in the citadel – which is also a symbol of Sighisoara, Turnul Cositorarilor (the Tin Coaters Tower), Turnul Macelarilor (the Butcher’s Tower), Turnul Cizmarilor (the Shoemaker’s Tower), Turnul Croitorilor (the Taylor’s Tower), Turnul Cojocarilor (the Furrier’s Tower), Turnul Fierarilor (the Blacksmith’s Tower), Turnul Franghierilor (the Rope Makers’ Tower), Turnul Tabacarilor (the Tanner’s Tower), Biserica Manastirii (the Church of the Monastery), Biserica din Deal (the Church on the Hill), Casa Venetiana (the Venetian House), Casa cu Cerb (the House with Antlers), Casa de pe Stanca (the Cliff House), Casa cu Sindrila (the House with Shingle), Casa Vlad Dracul (the house attributed to Vlad Tepes) and so on.

Biserica din Deal (The Church on the Hill)
is the only old crypt Evangelic church in Transylvania, and its walls contain 60 tombstones. Inside the church there is also a collection of altars, brought from Germany, and a collection of bottom drawers. On the walls of the church there is also a fresco dating from 1380 which presents the Holy Trinity as a person with three faces. In the Church of the Monastery there is also a collection of oriental carpets, and an organ concert takes place here every week as well.

Casa Vlad Dracul (Vlad Dracula’s House)

Is one of the oldest buildings, and it is placed on the left side of the little square in front of the Turnul cu Ceas (Clock Tower). The building was the official residence, belonging to the mayor or to the royal county lord of the citadel.Vlad Dracul, the son of Mircea cel Batran, lived here between 1431 and 1435, as well. Nowadays, the building shelters a restaurant.

The central square is limited by 18th century houses, inhabited by the noble families of the town. The main fairs or the criminal trials took place in this square, the execution post (pillar of infamy) being placed here as well.

The Bastion Street, on which can be found Casa cu Sindrila (the House with Shingle), a specific handicraftsman’s house, continues the Square. The house shelters the residence of the Interethnic Centre for the Youth, as part of the German Forum of Sighisoara, where they carry on a great number of educational courses for the youth, and it also shelters an Internet-Café.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A World Without Romania

Can you imagine that? A World Without Romania ?I don't think so. The world will not be the world without Romania. The Europe will not be the Europe without The Beautiful Romania.
If you don't believe that, take a look here :

If can you find that beautiful in another country, please let me know.

The Town Spa of Baile Herculane

Băile Herculane (Latin: Aqua Herculis, German: Herkulesbad, Hungarian: Herkulesfürdő) is a town in Romanian Banat, in Caraş-Severin County, situated in the valley of the Cerna River, between the Mehedinţi Mountains to the east and the Cerna Mountains to the west, elevation 168 meters.The spa town of Băile Herculane has a long history of human habitation. Numerous archaeological discoveries show that the area has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era. The Peştera Hoţilor (Cave of the Thieves), contains multiple levels, including one from the Mousterian period, one from the Mesolithic period (late Epigravettian), and several from the later Neolithic periods.

Legend has it that the weary Hercules stopped in the valley to bathe and rest. During the 165 years of Roman domination of Dacia, the Herculaneum Spa was known all over the Empire. Unearthed stone carvings show that visiting Roman aristocrats turned the town into a Roman leisure center. Six statues of Hercules from the time have been discovered. A bronze replica of one of them, molded in 1874, stands as a landmark in the town center.

The modern spa

In modern times, the spa town has been visited for its natural healing properties: hot springs with sulfur, chlorine, sodium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals, as well as negatively ionized air. Before World War II, when the first modern hotel was built (i.e. H Cerna, 1930) it remained a popular destination with Western Europeans, who lent the town a refined elegance. During the Communist rule, mass tourism facilities were built, such as the 8-12 levels tall concrete hotels Roman, Hercules A, Hercules B, Afrodita, Minerva, Diana, UGSR, etc. which dominate the skyline. It was visited by all publics, but especially popular with employees and retirees, who would spend their state-allotted vacation vouchers there, hoping to improve their health. Today, they share the town with a younger crowd, attracted by its beautiful mountain setting. An incredible array of new private-owned pensions and hotels appeared after 1989, along the Cerna/Tiena river banks, spread from the beautiful romantic train station to the end of the hydroelectrical dam. Although very beautiful also, some of the Austro-Hungarian era buildings are derelict for the time being, including many of the baths, because of post-communism property related issues.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sibiu - Medieval Town

SIBIU - City Highlights Sibiu - Aerial View Sibiu (Hermannstadt in German) was the largest and wealthiest of the seven walled citadels* built in the 12th century by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons. The riches amassed by its guilds paid for the construction of both impressive buildings and the fortifications required to protect them. Sibiu’s Old Town retains the grandeur of its earlier days when rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade. Like Sighisoara and Brasov, it has a distinctly Germanic feeling. Sections of the medieval wall still guard the historic area, where narrow streets pass steep-roofed 17th century buildings with gable overhangs before opening into vast, church-dominated squares such as Great Square and Little Square. In 1797, Samuel von Hahnemann opened in Sibiu the world's first homeopathic laboratory Sibiu is home to the first hospital in Romania (1292), the first pharmacy (1494) and the oldest museum in Romania, the Brukenthal Museum, opened in 1817 The first book in the Romanian language was printed in Sibiu in 1544 Sibiu is a pedestrian-friendly city with two easily accessible levels: the Upper town, home to most of Sibiu's historic sights, and the Lower town, lined with colorful houses on cobblestone streets and bounded by imposing city walls and defense towers overlooking the river Cibin. Traditionally, the Upper town was the wealthier part and commercial outlet, while the Lower town served as the manufacturing area. The historical centre includes the Great Square, Huet Square, the beautiful Passage of Steps connecting the upper town to the lower town, the well-known Bridge of Lies, Goldsmiths’ Square and the Small Square. * The seven walled citadels populated by the Saxons of Transylvania were known in German as the Siebenburgen. The other Siebenburgen citadels are located in the towns of: Bistrita (Bistritz), Brasov (Kronstadt), Cluj (Klausenburg), Medias (Mediasch), Sebes(Mühlbach) , Sighisoara (Schässburg) information City Landmarks Sibiu’s Towers (Turnurile Sibiului) Sibiu - Towers - Carpenters’ Tower - Turnul Dulgherilor For hundreds of years, this walled town in the heart of Transylvania was one of the most powerful and prosperous strongholds in Europe. Surrounded by imposing walls, Sibiu’s original fortifications included 39 defensive towers, five bulwarks, four gates and five artillery batteries. Although the entire network is remarkably well-preserved, the best-maintained section is the southeastern side which has been reinforced several times throughout the centuries since attacks most often came from that direction. Three 15th century towers have withstood the test of time: Harquebusiers’ Tower (Turnul Archebuzierilor), Carpenters’ Tower (Turnul Dulgherilor) and Potters’ Tower (Turnul Olarilor). The 16-th century Great Tower (Turnul Gros) was the site of Sibiu’s first theatrical performance, staged in 1778. The Upper Town (Orasul de Sus) At the centre of the upper town are three beautiful squares. The Great Square is the site of the Roman-Catholic church and the Brukenthal Palace, where you will find one of Romania's most important art collections. The square is linked to the Little Square by a passage beneath the Council Tower, which is worth visiting for the excellent views over the town. The third square, Huet Square, is dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral. The Great Square (Piata Mare) First mentioned in 1411 as a grain market, the Great Square – the largest square in the city, has been throughout the centuries a quiet witness to the town’s lively merchant activity, assemblies and even public executions. Located in the heart of the old walled city, the square was designated an architectural monument by UNESCO and features some of the most impressive buildings in Sibiu. Roman-Catholic Church (Biserica Romano-Catolica) Address: Piata Mare The north side of the Great Square is dominated by the Roman-Catholic Church (Biserica Romano-Catolica). This beautiful baroque structure with classical decorations was built between 1726 and 1738. The tower was attached to the nave in 1738 and one year later, a cross was seated on the top. The completely renovated interior is magnificent with gold-laced walls and colorful ceiling frescoes. Intricate stone carvings cover much of the nave while the side altars and colonnades glisten with pink marble. The fresco behind the altar was painted in 1777 by Anton Steinwald. Inside the church is the stone grave of Otto Ferdinand de Abensberg, commander of Transylvania between 1744-1747. Organ recitals are usually held once a week. information Sibiu - Coucil Tower - (Turnul Sfatului) Council Tower (Turnul Sfatului) Address: Piata Mare At the corner with Avram Iancu Street stand the old mayor’s residence and the imposing Council Tower (Turnul Sfatului). Built in the 13-th century, this tower was used as entrance gate to the second row of fortified walls built around Sibiu. Throughout the centuries, the Council Tower served as a grain storehouse, a fire watchtower, a temporary prison and even as a museum of botany. The roof, originally built in pyramid form, has undergone various changes, culminating in the addition of four corner turrets in 1826. On the top floor, an observation deck allows a bird’s-eye view of the historic town and the Fagaras Mountains beyond. Brukenthal Palace (Palatul Brukental) Address: Piata Mare Facing west of the square is the stunning Brukenthal Palace (Palatul Brukental), built between 1778-1785 by a Viennese architect in a refined late-baroque style.

It is now the home of the Brukenthal Museum (Muzeul Brukenthal), the oldest and one of the finest art museums in the country. The palace was built by Baron Samuel von Brukenthal to serve as his official residence and house his collections of Romanian and Western art, 16th – 18th century religious sculptures and icons, stamps and coins, as well as an impressive library. Over the years, the collections have been enriched through acquisitions and donations. (See museum details) Even though the museum officially opened in 1817, its art galleries welcomed visitors 27 years earlier (1790), three years prior to the opening of the Louvre Completing the picture is the fairy-tale Blue House, an 18-th century baroque house bearing the old coat of arms of Sibiu on its facade. The Little Square (Piata Mica) From the Great Square, walk through one of two tunnels under the arches of the Council Tower to arrive at the Little Square. This second fortified square was home to the town’s most prestigious master craftsmen, who lived in rows of arcaded houses along the north and east sides. Today, small shops, cafes and businesses line the square. Huet Square (Piata Huet) Sibiu - Evangelical Cathedral - Biserica Evanghelica Huet Square is home to a mix of gothic buildings dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral (Biserica Evangelica). This impressive structure, featuring five pointed towers, was built in 1520 on the site of an old Roman basilica. The simple, stark interior is in total contrast to that of the Catholic Church. A gigantic fresco, painted by Johannes of Rosenau in 1445, covers much of the chancel's north wall. The mural shows the Crucifixion and marks a transition in painting from late-gothic style to renaissance style. On the south side, the choir loft boasts a beautiful fan-vaulted ceiling, home to a baroque organ designed by a German master in 1671. Six thousand pipes were installed in 1914, making it the largest organ in Romania. Here, you can also find the city's only fully German school, the Samuel von Brukenthal Gymnasium, which exemplifies the city's proud German heritage. information The Lower Town (Orasul de Jos) The Lower Town comprises the area between the river and the hill, and it developed around the earliest fortifications. The streets are long and quite wide for medieval city standards, with small city squares at places. The architecture is rather rustic: typically two-storey houses with tall roofs and gates opening passages to inner courts. Legend has it that the name derived from the merchants’ fiery disputes which flared up around it and the passionate but transitory vows of young lovers who often met here. The Bridge of Lies (Podul Minciunilor) Several steep streets and stairways lead from the upper to the lower town. One of them passes beneath the iron Bridge of Lies. Built in 1859 by Fredericus Hutte, this was the first wrought iron bridge in Romania. Sibiu - The Stairs Passage (Pasajul Scarilor) The Stairs Passage (Pasajul Scarilor) The 13th century Passage of Steps, an architectural masterpiece with twin staircases and archways, connects the Upper Town to the Lower Town. Built in the 13th century, it is one of the most picturesque places in Sibiu. At one end of the passage stands the city’s oldest building which now hosts the oldest restaurant in Romania, The Golden Barrel (Butoiul de Aur). Goldsmiths’ Square (Piata Aurarilor) The Goldsmiths’ Square, a peaceful and intimate square, is surrounded by charming old houses with medieval windows, doorways and turrets. For many years, it was the main point of passage between the Little Square and the Lower Town, the two connected by a 15th century stairway. Haller Bastion Address: Str. Spitalelor Located at the north end of Onofreiu Square (Piata Onofreiu), the bastion is named after Sibiu’s 16-th century mayor, Petrus Haller, who had the red-brick tower built in 1551. information Historic Churches Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedrala Ortodoxa Mitropolitana Sf. Treime) Address: Str. Mitropoliei 35 Constructed between 1902–1906 on the site of a former Greek church, it shares a similar style with Saint Sofia Cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey. The interior is dominated by a massive gold chandelier and features neo-Byzantine decorations. This is the second largest Orthodox cathedral in Romania (the biggest one is located in Iasi). Ursuline Monastery (Manastirea Ursulinelor) Address: Str. General Gh. Magheru 38 Built in 1474, the site was home to a Dominican Monastery until 1543 when the Lutherans took over. Known under the German name of Klosterkirche, it became a Ursuline Monastery in 1755. The Ursulines changed the gothic interior to baroque style. Outside, the building still features many of its former gothic details, including the portal and the piles. Inside, the church has three altars and beautiful paintings representing various saints and protectors of the church. Biserica din Groapa Address: Str. Justitiei 5 This Orthodox Church, whose name translates Church on the Gorge, was built between 1788 - 1789 and renovated between 1802-1803. The interior of this small church with a tower in three levels was beautifully painted by Nicolae Brana in 1960. Jewish Sibiu Although documents attest the existence of Jews in Sibiu since the 12th century, the Jewish community of Sibiu was never among the biggest in Romania. In 1940 the town had some 1,300 Jews, three synagogues, three rabbis, two cemeteries and two ritual baths managed by the Sephardic and Orthodox communities. Today, the handful of Jews who remain in Sibiu hold weekly and holiday services at the Great Synagogue. The Great Synagogue Address: Str. Constitutiei 19 Built by architect Szalay Ferenc in 1899, with funds collected by Sibiu’s small Jewish community, this synagogue boasts a neo-gothic façade. Inside, it has a basilica aspect with three naves mounted by lofts. information Museums Sibiu - Bruckenthal Museum Brukenthal Museum (Muzeul Brukenthal) Address: Piata Mare 4-5 Open: Tue. – Sun. 10:00am – 5:00pm; Closed Mon. Admission charge Sibiu is home to Transylvania’s finest art museum, the Bruckenthal Museum. Founded in 1790 by Samuel Brukenthal, the governor of the province, the museum opened to the public in 1817. It is the oldest museum in Romania and one of the first museums in Europe. The art collection includes paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck and Teniers, as well as works of German, Austrian and Romanian masters. Additionally, it features a 16th century silverware collection, painted glass icons and 350 rare books, many dating to the days of the first printing press. ASTRA Open Air Museum (Muzeul in aer liber ASTRA -Dumbrava Sibiului) Address: Calea Rasinarilor 14 (2miles south of Sibiu) Open: Tue. – Sun. 9:00am - 6:00pm (wintertime 10am – 5pm); Closed Mon. Admission charge How to get here: From Piata Unirii take bus #1 or the tram (which goes all the way to Rasinari). At peak times (7am – 9am and 1pm – 3pm), the tram runs every 30 mins and every hour the rest of the day. ASTRA is the second largest open-air museum in the world (250 acres) Located in the middle of a dense forest and surrounded by a beautiful lake, ASTRA features more than 300 buildings as well as watermills and windmills, gigantic presses for wine, fruit and oil, hydraulic forges and structures representing village architectural styles from many parts of Romania. The museum illustrates the technological legacy of the Romanian people. There is a wonderful collection of wooden farmhouses, a cherhana (a traditional collecting and storage point for fish) and sheepfolds, as well as a wooden church and two traditional inns. Guided tours are available. Another option is a visit by horse-drawn carriages (ladies, the driver will kiss your hand in greeting, an old Romanian custom). The History Museum (Muzeul de Istorie) Address: Str. Mitropoliei 2 Open: Tue. – Sun. 9:00am – 5:00pm (wintertime 10am – 6pm); Closed Mon. Admission charge This museum is housed in the Old City Hall (Primaria Veche), which dates to 1470 and boasts typical Transylvanian gothic civil architecture. Here, you can learn the history of the city and the region from Neolithic and Roman times to the present. In addition to rich collections from the Middle Ages and the baroque era, there is a fine silverware exhibit. information Natural History Museum (Muzeul de Istorie Naturala) Address: Str. Cetatii 1 Open: Tue. – Sun. 10:00am – 6:00pm; Closed Mon. Admission charge One of the oldest and richest of its kind in Romania, this museum was founded by the Transylvanian Association of Natural Science (Siebenburgischer Verein für Naturwiessenschaften in German) in 1849. An astronomic observation centre also is located here. Sibiu - Emil Sigerus Emil Sigerus Saxon Ethnographic Museum (Muzeul de Etnographie si Arta Populara Saseasca Emil Sigerus) Address: Piata Mica 12 Open: Tue. – Sun. 9:00am - 6:00pm (wintertime 10:00am – 5:00pm); Closed Mon. Admission Charge Collections of painted furniture, costumes-textiles-embroideries and pottery, initiated by Emil Sigerus, the most important collector of Transylvanian Saxon Folk Art at the end of the 19th century. The museum also includes the original collections of the Carpathians Transylvanian Museum or MSVK opened in 1895 by the Siebenbugishen Karpathenverein Association. Museum of Hunting Weapons and Trophies (Muzeul de Arme si Trofee de Vanatoare) Address: Str. Scoala de Inot 4 Open: Tue. – Sun. 9:00am – 5:00pm (wintertime 9am – 4pm); Closed Mon. Admission charge Founded in 1966, the museum features a collection of weapons, medals and stuffed animals. Some of the exhibits are over 100 years old, such as the hunting trophies brought after a long safari in Africa by Colonel Spiess, who was a Master of Hunting of the Royal House of Romania. Franz Binder World Ethnographic Museum (Muzeul de Etnografie Universala Franz Binder) Address: Piata Mica 11 Open: Tue. – Sun. 10:00am – 6:00pm; Closed Mon. The Franz Binder collections, housed in the “Hermes House” (initially called “The House of the Small Handicraftsmen's Association”) built between 1865 and 1867, were established in the 19th century through donations and acquisitions from travelers and collectors. The permanent exhibition, “From the art and culture of the world – the people of the world,” displays objects from various parts of the world, including northern Africa and the springs of the Nile, China, Japan, Oceania, Asia Minor, Brazil, Lapland and Australia. Pharmacy Museum (Muzeul de Istorie a Farmaciei) Address: Piata Mica 26 Open: Tue. – Sun. 10:00am – 6:00pm; closed Mon. Admission charge Housed in a 16-th century building where the oldest pharmacy in Romania, La Ursul Negru (The Black Bear), operated for over 150 years, this museum showcases some 6,000 pieces of medical equipment from the 16th to the 19th centuries, coming from chemist’s shops, medical institutions and individuals. It should be noted that Sibiu had more chemists than any other town in Transylvania. The collections of the museum cover the whole range of medical instruments, from surgical pouches, microscopes, different bowls made of wood, china, glass, bronze mortars, stands with balances and weights in the Viennese style to the oldest piece of the collection, a 1597 bronze mortar used for preparing medicines. At the front, a reconstructed shop is decked out with wooden Viennese counters and stacks of glass jars creating the atmosphere of an 18-th century “apoteka” (German for “pharmacy”). The Steam Engine Museum (Muzeul de Locomotive cu Aburi) Address: Str. Dorobantilor 22 Admission charge Opened in 1994, this museum displays 23 standard gauge steam engines, 10 narrow gauge steam engines, three snowplows and two steam cranes. The steam engines were built between 1885 and 1959 in Romania (the Resita Factory and the Malaxa Factory in Bucharest), Germany (Henschel, Borsig, Schwartzkopff) and USA (Baldwin). The museum is located opposite the main railway station. information Nearby Attractions Sibiu makes an ideal base for the exploration of the nearby countryside and villages which display an interesting mixture of Saxon and Romanian traditions. Marginimea Sibiului Marginimea Sibiului - Talmaciu How to get here: Local trains from Sibiu to Sebes stop at Sibiel (25 minutes), Saliste (35 minutes) and Miercurea Sibiului (1 1/4 hours). Located at the foothills of the Cindrel Mountains, a half-hour drive from Sibiu, this region is considered one of Transylvania’s best-preserved ethnographic areas. Marginimea Sibiului, meaning Borders of Sibiu, encompasses a string of 18 villages*, rich in architecture, history and heritage. Age-old traditions, customs and celebrations, as well as the traditional occupation of sheepherding, have been carefully passed down from generation to generation in the villages of this area. One scene among the Saliste church’s frescoes remains covered at all times. It depicts the devil surrounded by naked human bodies, a subject the villagers consider too obscene to be displayed. Tourists, however, can take a look upon request. * The 18 villages are: Boita, Sadu, Raul Sadului, Talmaciu, Talmacel. Rasinari, Poplaca, Gura Raului, Orlat, Fantanele, Sibiel, Vale, Saliste, Gales, Tilisca, Rod, Poiana Sibiului and Jina. Rasinari, dating to 1204, is the oldest, followed by Talmaciu (1318), Orlat (1322) and Saliste (1354). Saliste claims the oldest church, housing beautiful interior frescoes (1674), while Poiana Sibiului’s wooden church was built in 1771. Rasinari How to get here: Rasinari is connected to Sibiu by a roughly 4-mile tramline through the Dumbrava Forest. The tram runs every 30 mins. at peak times (7:00am – 9:00am and 1:00pm – 3:00pm) and every hour for the rest of the day. One of the wealthiest villages in the region, Rasinari is famed for its local carpentry and sheep farming. The village has an Ethnographic Museum (open Tue. – Sun. 10:00am – 5:00pm) and a painted Orthodox church built in 1752. The annual Pastoral Album Folklore Festival takes place on the third Sunday of April. Sibiel - The Museum of Painted Glass Icons (Muzeul de Icoane pe Sticla) How to get here: Local trains from Sibiu to Sebes stop at Sibiel (25-minute ride) Painting on glass has been a tradition for 200 years in these villages. In 1968, the founder of the museum, priest Zosim Oancea, started to collect 18-th and 19-th century icons richly painted on glass. Today, the museum exhibits the largest collection of painted glass icons in Europe - more than 700, as well as furniture and ceramics. information The Fortified Church in Cristian Where: 5 miles west of Sibiu Cisnadie Cisnadie (German: Heltau) Where: 6 miles south of Sibiu How to get here: Daily bus service from Sibiu Cisnadie was mentioned for the first time in a document from the year 1204 under the name "Rivetel." In the 12th century Saxon colonists settled here and in 1323, the German name Heltau is mentioned. During the centuries, the town flourished, particularly the guilds of sicklesmiths and wool weavers. Weaving remained the traditional occupation of the townspeople until the 20th century, when large textile factories were built. The Textile Museum (Expozitia Muzeala "Istoricul Industriei Textile") has a comprehensive coverage of this local industry. The museum, located at Str. Apararii 2 is open Mon. – Sat. 8:00am to 4:00pm. The most important architectural site is the Cisnadie Fortified Church located in the town centre. A climb to the belfry offers a super view of Cisnadie’s red rooftops and courtyards, while in the distance, nestled at the foot of the Cindrel Mountains, you can catch a glimpse of Cisnadiaora. Cisnadioara (German: Michelsberg) Where: 2 miles from Cisnadie and 8 miles from Sibiu Cisnadioara has a Romanesque church dating from 1223 and a citadel on top of a high hill above the village which frequently withstood Tatar attacks. The villagers often took cover in the citadel, which they defended by hurtling down rocks which had been carried into the citadel by aspiring husbands. It was believed that no young man was marriage-worthy until he had carried a heavy rock from the riverbed up the steep track. In the centre of Cisnadioara stands an old baroque church. The local village museum contains an attractive collection of artifacts and tools from Saxon households. Built by the Transylvanian Carpathian Society (S.K.V.) in 1894, Paltinis (German: Hohe Rinne) is the highest (4,724 ft.; 1,440 m altitude) and oldest tourist resort in Romania. A favorite for ski enthusiasts, Paltinis, with its beautiful location, fresh air, and numerous hiking opportunities, is also an attraction for summer hikers. Marked trails make it easy to reach the main points on the surrounding mountains. Most of the trails are suitable for mountain biking, as well. Some other attractions in this area: - The Energy Museum “Sigmund Dachler” in Sadu where in 1896, the first hydropower plant in Romania and the third in Europe was opened - The Short Fortress in Orlat (1317) - The Saliste Culture Museum in Saliste - The Dacian Fortress near Tilisca - The Fortified Church in Cristian (1495) - The Fortified Church Dobarca (13th century) Traveling through the twisting and turning gorges of the Olt River to Curtea de Arges, you can make a stop at the beautiful Cozia Monastery. Once you get to Curtea de Arges, visit the 14-th century Princely Court and the Princely Church with its lovely interior frescoes. According to tradition, Curtea de Arges was founded in early 14th century by Prince Radu Negru, succeeding Campulung as capital of Walachia, hence its name Curtea (The Court). Another stunning architectural gem in town is the 16-th century Curtea de Arges Monastery (Manastirea Curtea de Arges), topped with two towers spiraling in opposite directions. Behold the sad legend of Manole* as you take in its beauty. Romania’s first two kings and queens are buried here. * The legend says that Manole, the master builder, had to sacrifice his wife by locking her into the wall to stop the monastery from falling apart. Fifty miles west of Curtea de Arges, you can visit Horezu Monastery, the largest monastic settlement in Walachia, founded in 1690 by Prince Constantine Brancoveanu. A masterpiece of the “Brancovenesti” style and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Horezu is renowned for the richness of its sculptural detail, the treatment of its religious compositions and its painted decorative works. The monastery houses precious collections of frescoes and icons dating from the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The nearby village of Horezu is home to one of the largest pottery centres in Romania. Nearly a century ago, local nuns taught the villagers how to make and paint pottery and ever since, people have come from far and wide to get their hands on Horezu’s ceramics.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Beautiful Romania

I will attach here few images and video withe our beautiful Romania. I was in many country in Europe, but Romania is the very very beautiful country from Europe.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Romania Ski Trail Area

This ski hill has 10 trails, and they are splendid to ski on. This is a greater than average ski mountain having a roughly average drop from top to bottom compared to other Eastern Europe ski mountains. The 11 ski lifts here are perfectly kept up and run by pleasant people. This ski mountain has a vertical drop of 2,555 feet which is in fact mind-blowing. With the skiing territory being 2,833 acres you won't be short of skiable terrain. Poiana Brasov has a somewhat small set of slopes and enough great ski lifts to serve them all. The peaks of Romania during snow season are always pleasant for snowboarding or skiing. Poiana Brasov has a much lower than average proportion of advanced and expert trails and a much higher than average part of intermediate or beginner slopes. The lovely panorama of the Romania mountains and marvelous ski trails are delightful attractions for lots of skiers. Poiana Brasov is a family friendly ski hill with loads of green and blue slopes for learners. The ski run map on this web page will give you a good idea what Poiana Brasov is like. Whether you're skiing or snowboarding, this is a vicinity with a load of places for that. Getting your skiing muscles activated and just hanging out with your skiing buddies beats anything.Near Poiana Brasov - Vila Alunis in the Carpathian Range, the Poiana Brasov ski area has 10 runs totalling 12km served by 11 lifts accessing a maximum vertical drop of 2,500 feet. The slopes are equally divided by difficulty.This is the largest and best known resort in Romania, though often thin on snow (28 feet annually). Plus, theres plenty of off-piste routes through thickly gladed pine forest, such as Bears Forest. If you are looking for some decent freeriding, check out the glades in the Pistavarul region.
Poiana Brasov is surrounded by the following mountains: Postavarul 1799 m, Piatra Craiului 2238 m; Bucegi 2505 m; Piatra Mare 1848 m. You can do a lot of things within this surrounding, from easy one day trips in the nature to difficult mountaineering. You can find everytime local guides, who speak foreign languages.
In the majestic Carpathian natural stronghold, lying on a shyly extending plateau at the foot of the Postavarul Mountain, Poiana Brasov - The Sunny Glade - is a model of beauty. Located 12 km far from the Medieval town Brasov and over 1,020 m altitude, Poiana Brasov is nestled in a marvellous landscape offering the pleasure of its skiing tracks or of the wandering along the mountains sinous paths.There are busses every half an hour from Brasov to Poiana Brasov; for a taxi you pay about ~10 DM.It is a distance of 13 km from Brasov and of 12 km from RÃsnov to Poiana Brasov.There are many trainconnections from Bucarest to Brasov all day long (about 3 hours).The north-west facing slopes of Poiana-Brasov have good snow coverage from December to March, with the cold winter temperatures maintaining the base. Skiers will enjoy mainly wooded terrain, consisting of fairly wide slopes, with the lifts accessing the highest peak of Postavarul at 1,800m. This lift system is fairly extensive considering the size of the resort, consisting of 3 cable-cars, 1 gondola and 8 drag-lifts and transports 7,000 skiers an hour around the slopes. The resort has 14 marked trails, including an Olympic run, and various slalom runs. The nursery slopes of Poiana-Brasov are located at the village level, and these slopes are floodlit and house 2 snow cannons. Beginners can take the gondola to reach additional wide easy slopes, and can enjoy the scenic views from the top whilst practicing. The ski-school at Poiana-Brasov has an excellent reputation, with 120 top instructors providing effective and encouraging tuition in English, French and German. Intermediate skiers can choose from 3 red runs in the resort, and can pick up some speed on the long blue run leading back down to the village. With only 2 black runs, the skiing at Poiana-Brasov is fairly limited for advanced skiers, but there are some challenges here, including the Lupului, with its’ 800m drop over the 3km trail.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hunedoara - The Castle of the Corvin Family

HUNEDOARA is a town situated in South-Western Transylvania, in Cerna Valley in The Poiana Ruscãi Mountains within the Transylvanian Alps. It is a town with beautiful monuments and a rich past, but also an modern industrial town with a large metal processing factory. It is the most important center in the "Tara Hategului" (Hateg country) also known as the Iron Gates of Transylvania, a region with rich and unique history and traditions. Iron ores have been extracted in the area since the Iron Age and later in the Thracian and Roman times. One inscription discovered in the region by the name of "Corpus Inscriptiorum Latinorum" mentiones a local inhabitant as "natas ibi, ubi ferum nascitur", born "where the iron was born". Mentioned since the 12th century as a hub for leather tanning and wool processing, the town of Hunedoara became an important iron extracting and processing centers in Transylvania. In the 14th and 15th centuries the iron foundries and works were famous for their swords and spears. The first tall industrial furnace for iron extracting was built in 1750 in Toplita, and a later one in Govajdia in 1806. There is also a system of narrow-gauge railway built in the 19th and 20th centuries that still runs today through the breath-taking landscape of "Tara Padurenilor" (Woodlanders' country). The town is also known since the 14th century as the residence of the Corvin family. King Ioannus Corvinus of Hunedoara (Iancu Corvin de Hunedoara) built here in the 14th century the beautiful gothic style Corvin Castle which still stands today dominating the surrounding town reminding of the powerful rulers that reigned over these lands. Built in the 14th century, on the place of an old fortification, on a rock at which bottom flows the little river Zlasti, the castle is a great building, with high and diversely colored roofs, towers, windows and balconies adorned with laces from carvings in stone. Being one of the most important properties of Iancu de Hunedoara, the castle was transformed during his ruling. It becomes an sumptuous home, not only a strategical enforced point. With the passing of the years, the masters of the castle had modified its look, adding towers, halls and guest rooms. The gallery and the donjon - the last defense tower (the tower "Ne boisa" = Do not be afraid), remain unchanged from iancu de Hunedoara's time, as the Capistrano Tower (named after the famous monk from the castle court) are some of the most significant parts of the construction. Can be remembered also the Knights Hall (a great reception hall), Clubs Tower and the White bastion which served as food storage room, the Diet Hall, having on the walls painted medallions (among them there are the portraits of Matei Basarab, ruler from Wallachia, and Vasile Lupu, ruler of Moldavia). In the wing of the castle called the Mantle is seen vaguely enough, a painting regarding the legend of the raven from which came the name of the descendants of Iancu de Hunedoara: Corvini (in Romanian raven is "corb")
For those who are impressed by the presence that dominates the city of Hunedoara, attracted by the Middle Age and unique monument in Romania, one of the most interesting in Europe, you are welcome to visit Corvins Castle