Aug 26

FIVE MOST POPULAR TOURISTIC ATTRACTIONS IN DUBROVNIK (DUBROVNIK)

Dubrovnik. Adored by international celebrities,  this ‘jewel of the Adriatic’ is considered the Venice of Eastern Europe – without flooding, however. The southernmost city in Croatia, Dubrovnik was one of the centers of development of language and literature in this country and is the place where they many poets, playwrights, painters, mathematicians and other renowned scientists used to live. The lovely old city was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage in 1979, and its charm attracts tourists who want to get acquainted to the Mediterranean spirit, but without the overcrowdness in Greece and Italy.

The city is perfect for visitors, beach lovers and those looking for an active nightlife. Although many of the city buildings were destroyed by the earthquake of 1667 and by bombing during the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s, it was mostly rebuilt and is still considered obe of the best preserved touristic attraction in Croatia.

Roam though Stradun

Enjoy a coffee and a croissant while you wander around through the main street of Dubrovnik, Stradun. Formerly a swamp, Stradun is now a place where locals and tourists alike gather during the days and evenings. With its numerous cafes and restaurants, the street is a great place to relax after a full day of visiting the city’s attractions.

Sponza Palace

Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik was built in 1522, originally as the customs office where goods were brought by merchants worldwide; they had to pay a fee before selling their merchandise. The palace is a simplistic example of Croatian architecture, which still strikes you at first sight. Sponza Palace now houses the city archives and can be visited free of charge, as a refuge from the sun. Do not overlook the Gothic  building with Renaissance windows.

Onofrio’s Fountain

Built in 1438 by Italian architect Onofrio della Cava, the 16-sided fountain was partially destroyed by the earthquake of 1667 but it still remains as a representation of the old rustic architecture of Dubrovnik. The fountain was a part of the water system of the city, built in the 15th century and was considered an architectural masterpiece in its time. Make a stop at this huge fountain, which represented the main water reserve for the Croats during the war in 1992.

Dubrovnik Cathedral

For a refuge in the shade and the chance to see a real work of art, just pay a visit to the Cathedral. The current edifice was built in 1673 by the Italian architect Andrea Buffalini in order to replace the original 12th century cathedral, which was destroyed by the earthquake. Here you can admire Titian’s polyptych, depicting the Assumption, and the skull of St. Blaise, locked in a crown with precious stones. When another earthquake struck in 1979, excavations under the cathedral revealed another cathedral under the current, which had been built during the last period of the Roman Empire. Continuing the excavation work, yet another another church was revealed underneath it, dating from the 6th century.

Dubrovnic is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe; everywhere you look, you will admire a slice of history, a legend, the mark left by a historic personality, a work of art and many other surprises that are impossible to be discovered in only one visit.

Photo source:

Picture 1: nyourpocket.com; Picture 2: ansharphoto.com; Picture 3: thousandwonders.net; Picture 4: apartmani-bonaca.com; Picture 5: flickr.com; Picture 6: onestep4ward.com; Picture 7: justdubrovnik.com
Aug 25

ZAKYNTHOS THE GREEK ISLAND THAT HAS EVERYTHING (ΖΑΚΎΝΘΟΥ)

Zakynthos is the third largest island of the Ionian Archipelago and also has become a very popular destination among tourists. Beautiful beaches, charming places to visit and relaxing atmosphere make Zante (as it is nicknamed) a perfect choice for summer vacation.

Getting to Zakynthos

Being an island, Zante is served by ferries leaving from the continental side of the country and from other Greek islands. Ferries to Kefalonia leave from Agios Nikolaos, while the boats to Kilina (Kyllini) leave from Zakynthos town.

There is also an airport in Zakynthos, close to the resorts of Laganas and Kalamaki. It is both domestic and international flights. You can fly from Athens with Olympic Air, whose prices start from 78 euros per person, one way (during peak season). In summer, there are other low-cost airlines offering flights to Zakynthos.

What can you do in Zakynthos

Due to rainfall in winter, Zante is a lush island, known as the “Flower of the Levant”. A very good time to visit the island is between March and May, when everything turns green.

The island was hit by several earthquakes over time. But the main town was rebuilt and still retains the resemblance to San Marco Square in Venice.

Blue grottos are a must-see. Located in the north of the island, they are known for the turquoise color of the waters (especially in the morning). Tour operators offer guided tours in the area of these unique formations and caves.

The wreck of Navagio was brought ashore in 1981 and is now a tourist attraction known worldwide. Situated in a wonderful location, it offers excellent possibilities for taking creative pictures. The best snapshots can be captured on the platform next to the Agios Gergio Kremnao monastery. And for even more wonderful panoramas of the horizon, go to Cape Skinari in the north side of the island.

Climate

Zakynthos is blessed with a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. It is known to be the sunniest place in Greece. In August, temperatures can easily reach 32º Celsius and humidity is quite high. To avoid high temperatures, plan your journey in May, June, September or October.

The wonderful beaches of Zante

Zakynthos has some of the most wonderful beaches in Greece. Agios Nikolaos is the best on the island. There you can find a bar and you practice a lot of sports: from water sports to sky diving and other extreme sports. Xehoriati beach is quieter and offers dreamlike landscapes and a lovely view from which you can admire Kefalonia from afar. There are two restaurants on the beach with fresh delicious food, where you can indulge yourself in traditional Greek meals.

Enjoy your time here and we assure you that you will want to return!

Photo source:

Picture 1: nstravel.ro; Picture 2: jinfotours.ro; Picture 3: zakynthosharmonyhotel.gr; Picture 4: itaka.pl; Picture 5: grecia.de-weekend.ro; Picture 6: sportychoco.ro/; Picture 7: paralela45.ro
Aug 24

DRAGOMIRNA MONASTERY – A UNIQUE SITE IN ALL BUKOVINA (MANASTIREA DRAGOMIRNA)

The fairy-tale scenery of Bukovina never ceases to amaze us with its timeless beauty. Wherever you look, you see a piece of history, you see the evidence of faith, and the beauties of nature. In this journey we will visit two very interesting and fascinating sights that will remain in their memory by their unique and picturesque character.

Located between the mild hills of Bucovina, 12 kilometers northward from the former residence of Stephen the Great and the Metropolitan of Moldova, Dragomirna rises like the proud stem of a millennial tree between the fortress walls. Built as if it was meant to taunt the heights, in search of more light near the woods, shaded by a curtain of trees and mirrored by the water of the majestic lake nearby, this place of worship, through its antiquity, originality of style, elegance and solidity of form awakens the admiration of every visitor, and the pious worshiper is as impressed as the art historian.

Bishop Anastasius Crimca Built the Dragomirna Monastery in 1609; it is somehow different from other monasteries in Bucovina, with clear influences of the early 15th century. First of all, the monastery is very large, it is more “aired” the other famous Orthodox monasteries in the area, and fortification walls provide it a greater solidity that can be noticed in the aspect, and proven as well as in the many conquering attempts. On the other hand, the inside of the church is very narrow and the walls are not painted but decorated with engravings.

Beyond the beauty of the landscape, the unusual site, which produces an unforgettable impression, there is strange elegance of the monument, with geometric rigor of great refinement, with a unique frame in terms of proportions and unit volume of all the other Moldavian medieval monuments. Probably precisely this uniqueness of the monument has attracted since early times the attention of specialists, who have set different judgments of value, according to the period and circumstances, but always stressing and pointing out the utter originality of the edifice. Nicolae Iorga spoke about the matchless beauty of Dragomirna Monastery, as well as about its greatness and the overall impression that it makes on its visitors.

The Dragomirna Ensemble was built on the border of two centuries and places itself between two stages of the Moldavian style. Dragomirna Monastery Complex of Medieval Art is composed of the Small or Hermitage Church, the Big Church, defensive walls, the old building of abbots, the five towers, monk cells and the chapel.

You can climb the walls surrounding the monastery and you can admire the interior of the edifice where nuns, busy as the bees, are performing their daily activities. Dragomirna is located in a very quiet area and exudes a peace of mind that spreads around.

The inner walls, which have a height of 11 meters, will catch your eye and will stir your amazement.

Location: Mitocul Dragomirnei town, 15 km north of Suceava, the dN29.

Photo source:

Picture 1: mega-travel.ro; Picture 2: manastireadragomirna.ro; Picture 3: commons.wikimedia.org; Picture 4: skytrip.ro; Picture 5: vladimir-rosulescu.blogspot.ro; Picture 6: skytrip.ro; Picture 7: tumblr.com
Aug 23

THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT CITIES IN LATVIA (LATVIJA)

Are you planning to visit Latvia, the beautiful ex-Soviet republic on the Baltic Sea? Then you must know a few things about the three most important cities of this country: Riga, Liepaja and Daugavpils.

Riga is the capital and also the largest city in Latvia, located at the egress of the Daugava River. It has a population of about 700,000 inhabitants and is the largest city of the Baltic region. From a cultural standpoint, the city is known for its Jugend architectural style – a typical German Art Nouveau sub-genre. Its history dates from the Viking invasion, from the Middle Ages, when it began to develop as a fishing and trade center.

The city structure includes several old churches, the famous Riga Castle and the Television and Radio Tower in Riga, the third largest tower in Europe! It is also a cultural center, where there are several museums such as the Museum of Engineering, the Outdoor Museum, the Opera, Circus and almost any other objective of this kind. The city is located on both sides of the river. Its main neighborhoods are Agenskalns, located on the left bank, which was built mostly in the 19th and 20th centuries and here you can find several museums; Tornakalns with many villas and gardens, and if you are interested in Soviet architecture, you can go in Purvciems, the Russian neighborhood.

Daugavpils is the second largest city in Latvia, located on the Daugava River as well. It has a population of 104,000 inhabitants. It is approximately 120 kilometers from the border with Russia and almost half of its population is Russian. The city is an important railway junction and an industrial center that contrasts with many lakes and parks surrounding it. It used to belong to Poland and then to the Russian Empire until 1920. It is also an educational center with art and technical universities. Outside the city, the newly built airport is welcoming the visitors who are eager to find out more about its history, culture, architecture and people.

Liepaja is a city located in the western part of Latvia, on the shores of the Baltic Sea, being a port with a population of 85.000 inhabitants. Do not go there if you have a problem with the wind, because the area is famous for its sea breezes. Therefore, it is near the largest wind plant in Latvia. This city was a major port during imperial Russia, and a very popular resort. Here you will admire various architectural styles such as houses, Jugend (Art Nouveau) buildings in Soviet style and some green spaces and expanses of water. There are a few churches. Tourists often go in the park by the seaside for its sandy and immaculate beaches. Transport network includes buses and a tram railroad.

This is a general depiction, but every street corner and every building is full of legends and beautiful surprises, so come visit!

Photo source:

Picture 1: expedia.co.uk; Picture 2: expedia.co.uk; Picture 3: 2015.lvrally.com; Picture 4: bestourism.com; Picture 5: fgb.by; Picture 6: campusluccastudenti.it; Picture 7: grandpalaceriga.com
Aug 22

TOP FIVE MOST POPULAR TOURISTIC SITES IN POLAND (POLSKA)

Poland. A country that has crossed heavy centuries, full of conflicts, in order to reach the status of a modern and independent nation that is today. Those who visit Poland will discover its rich culture, extraordinary landscapes, historical buildings and delicious cuisine and we assure you that you will be full enthusiasm. We are offering you five suggestions of the most interesting places and sights to visit in Poland.

Wawel Castle

People have lived on the site on which Wawel Castle is built since the Paleolithic. The castle itself, located in Krakow, was built in the 14th century, commissioned by the Polish monarch Casimir III the Great. Built in Gothic style, the Wawel is hosting the best preserved part of the Polish Crown – the legendary sword Szczerbiec, used at the coronation ceremonies of the Polish kings from 1320 until 1764. Decorated with symbols and floral patterns, the sword has a notched handle, hence the name of “jagged sword”.

Auschwitz-Birkenau

A visit at Auschwitz-Birkenau is an experience that can hardly be transcribed into words. The immense size of the former Nazi concentration camp is the first thing that hits you as you approach the entrance of the museum in Oswiecim. Arranged in memory of over 1.1 million victims of the Nazi regime, who have perished here during the Second World War, Auschwitz-Birkenau has been visited by over 25 million people.

Masurian Lake District

This chain of lakes is located in the lower basin of the Vistula River at the border with Lithuania. More than 2,000 lakes, connected by an intricate system of canals and rivers form the most popular European lacustrian destination. The lakes are surrounded by hotels and camping trips and tourists often choose to visit the beautiful area by bicycle or make long boat rides to admire unique landscapes.

Slowinski Sand Dunes

Located in the north of the country, the sand dunes are part of the Slowinski National Park, located on the Baltic Sea coast. The park is named after the slovincina inhabitants who lived here long ago and the Kluki outdoor muezum dedicated to them will tell you more about their history and culture. The dunes were formed by the waves and wind and sometimes they rich heights up to 30 meters. Their shape changes over the years, so the dunes are known as the “moving dunes”.

Malbork Castle

Malbork Castle was founded in 1274 by the Teutonic Knights who used it as their headquarters in a bid to defend Poland from enemy attacks and to continue their sovereignty over northern Baltic territories. The castle was rnhanced several times over the years to cope with growing numbers of knights until they surrendered in Königsburg in 1466. Today, Malbork is the most important attraction of the city with the same name.

Photo source:

Picture 1: arounddeglobe.com; Picture 2: famouswonders.com; Picture 3: bykoket.com; Picture 4: easyvoyage.co.uk; Picture 5: en.wikipedia.org; Picture 6: pomorskie.travel; Picture 7: en.wikipedia.org
Aug 19

A PIECE OF JEWELRY IN HATEG, ROMANIA: DENSUS CHURCH (BISERICA DENSUȘ)

A road in Hateg County does not mean only the bison reservation or the famous Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa. Well, maybe if you go to Hateg and want to visit something, the two objectives above will be rightly top the list. However, remember that the area has one of the most beautiful churches in Romania, so after you pass Hateg swerve out of the way on a distance of 10 kilometers and reach the village of Densus; you will be amazed of what you will discover.

You find the church very easily once you get there. You enter the gate (is should always be open, if not, you can call a neighbor to bring the key), climb the stairs which goes across a small orchard which is  prolonged in a cemetery and you will immediately notice the old architectural gem arising beautifully towards the sky – a place of worship dating since the dawn of Medieval times. If you’re lucky enough to get to Densus in a sunny day, you will notice immediately the beautiful contrast between the old walls and the blue sky. The church has a blurry history: it looks like a mausoleum that was initially raised by the Romans in honor of General Longinus Maximus, who perished in the battle against the Dacians. Other versions talk about the fact that this place would have been a place which housed a temple even before the arrival of Roman legions. Recent discoveries reveal that the church of Densus has only about 800 years old, dating from the 13th century.

The first thing that strikes you when you get near it is the material of construction. the church seems made of heterogeneous pieces. Polished stone dominates, but at its base there are the supporting Roman columns and vertical boulders (materials from Sarmizegetusa) – and you would think that at the construction there were more artists who have contributed, considering the different styles and different ideas; however, the entire result is superb and one of a kind. It is true that the building was restored in 2000, but wisely it does not live you this impression it any second; the patine of time is very obvious and it adds a lot to its charm. The entry is free and the priest seems a great and kind man, we learned that he had opposed the visitation fee. Sunday sermons are still kept at the church, which made it famous and people started writing about it and it’s probably true that the Densus Church is the oldest church in Romania where sermons have been taking place for such a long time.

The interior is narrower than you could imagine, simplicity is the essential word: four central columns, supported by huge slabs where you can admire numerous old inscriptions. On one wall there is a painting on a blue background, which is dating from the first half of the 15th century, signed simply with the name “Stefan”. But what is truly great about this place is the atmosphere that envelops the surroundings. An incredible feeling of peace is veiling you from the moment you climb the first  stairs and, as you cover the church with your gaze and surround it with your steps and enter inside the edifice, you abandon your previous thoughts that kept you connected to the contemporary everyday stress of the reality and get back to a forgotten time of still peace and atemporal serenity. All these things make the little church of Densus a real jewel of Hateg County.

Photo source:

Picture 1: panoramio.com; Picture 2: ro.wikipedia.com; Picture 3: panoramio.com; Picture 4: commons.wikimedia.org; Picture 5: medievistica.ro; Picture 6: dan.romascanu.net; Picture 7: adevarul.ro
Aug 18

THREE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CASCADES IN THE ROMANIAN CARPATHIANS

The western Carpathians on the territory of Romania are the home of some of the most beautiful natural sights in the country. The amazing natural treasures are beginning to gain popularity and worldwide fame and and also a greater number of tourists who are impressed by the fairy tale –like scenery, clean air and the habitability of the locals.  There are many things to be seem in these surroundings, but let us start getting acquainted to the area by being introduced to three of the most beautiful cascades that you can imagine.

Susara Cacade

Susara Waterfall is on the easiest route that you can take (the sign of the blue cross): from Sasca Montana on the Susara river, about 40 minutes of quiet walking with a side a little more difficult when you have to do balancing along a wall so you do not fall into the river that is 20 centimeters deep. The two-stage waterfall is about 15 meters high and the water falls on a thin wire, on a steep rock covered in green moss, in a crystalline pool. You can include Susara on a longer route, about 4 hours long, which includes the Devil’s Lake endpoint, through Cracu Porcului and The Seats – two of the stops that will offer you a great view.

Vaioaga Waterfall

Located in the Nera- Beusnita National Park, on Bei River, Vaioaga Waterfall is one of the most beautiful in the entire country. It can be reached on foot from the park entrance (where you pay a fee of 5 lei), following the road to the Trout Basin or by car, on the same country road. After 2 km, on the right, you will see the panel that signals the presence of the waterfall. Descend a few meters and you will find yourself in a beautiful natural setting, whose central attraction – Vaioaga – will surround you with it’s hectic and neverending song, protected by a tree trunk whose dramatic diagonal increases its beauty.

Bigar Cascade

A few years ago, the site of the World Geography wrote about Bigar cascade, including it in the top ten most beautiful waterfalls in the world. Situated on the 45th parallel, the DN57b, 12 kilometers from the town of Bozovici, the waterfall has indeed a special beauty, being fed by a spring which flows into the water of the Minis river. Its peculiarity is that water flows evenly on a huge mushroom-shaped rock, “dressed” in green moss.

The waterfall is very easy to find, situated right on the road between Anina and Bozovici. During the busy and crowded days, the parked cars block the naval lane. Due to the fact that little has been added to the environment and the road is almost as rough as possible, with no particular urban-development, the waterfall can be photographed from above high, and descending to the base of the “mushroom”, from any possible and impossible agle.

Photo source:

Picture 1: romaniarurala.ro; Picture 2: genunetwork.ro; Picture 3: meteomd.com; Picture 4: railroutes.deviantart.com; Picture 5: romania-travel-guide.com; Picture 6: rockerschallenge.ro; Picture 7: hailabord.ro
Aug 17

BELGRADE – THE UNKNOWN FACES OF THE SERBIAN CAPITAL (BEOGRAD)

Belgrade is one of the most full of personality European capitals. While still recovering after its turbulent recent history, marked by was, its spirit is stubbornly making its way through the present and future, in a continuous process of transformation and rebirth. One of the most hectic and vivid cities, Belgrade has a lot to offer to its visitors. It is not yet among the top-list touristic spots – which is a pity, because it can easily compete with any other capital in Europe -, but it seems that the grape vine is very efficient and the news run fast: Belgrade is worth being known in detail and an increasing number of tourist are taking this piece of information for granted. Here are a few other suggestions for you to take into consideration when you come and visit this great city:

Take a stroll through Kalen Market

There’s no better place where you can come into contact with the real lifestyle of the locals than Kalen Market, where Serbs buys vegetables and fruit directly from producers. You expect to see here the usual seasonal merchandise, cold meats and cheeses, but you can also buy traditional delicacies such as Sir (cheese) and Kajmak (an unripened cheese, similar to a thick cream). Vendors are offering you their products to taste and are proud to show you the highest quality merchandise. In the market you can find bakeries, pastry shops, restaurants and small shops and a flea market which is held daily, where you can buy any imaginable souvenirs.

Explore the Savamala District

Savamala has undergone radical changes since the 19th century, when it was the commercial center of the city, thanks to its proximity to the Sava River and the central station. During the Second World War, most of its historic buildings, including those raised under the Ottoman Empire, were destroyed by airstrikes, and what remained untouched, has been neglected in favor of developing the new Belgrade, on the far shore . Only in recent years, Belgraders have realized the potential of this area as a center of creativity. The new cultural initiatives, such as the “House” House, an artistic location and exhibition space, where every year in June, there is a festival taking place, or KC Grad, where they organize debates and workshops; these two spots have gained an increasing importance by bringing cultural value of the area.

Spend an afternoon in historic Kalemegdan Park

Before having been transformed into a tranquil oasis of greenery, Kalemegdan Fortress was part of Belgrade – a battlefield where they killed millions of people in an attempt to defend the city from enemies. The park began to take shape after Serbia’s release from the Ottoman reign; trees have been planted, paths cleaned and monuments have been raised, including the statue of Victor ( ‘Pobednik’) and the French Thanksgiving Monument. Nowadays, the locals come here to relax and sail along the Sava River. Nearby you will find the Belgrade Zoo, famous for its rare species of albino lions and tigers, kangaroos and the famous Muja alligator, where he has been living since 1936, and managed to survive both World War II and the NATO bombing.

Admire the architecture of old town Zemun

Former town on the outskirts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Zemun became officially part of Serbia’s territory, ending the First World War in 1918. The tower fence, built by Hungarians on the site containing the ruins of a medieval fortress, is the most famous symbol of the Old Town, and from here you cana dmire the panoramic view of the whole city. Zemun boasts the best preserved architecture in the whole Belgrade and it is a delight to explore these places by foot. Zemun quay connects Zemun and New Belgrade, where you will encounter the famous splavovi – traditional floating clubs and restaurants, which offer the ideal setting for a romantic dinner and an unforgettable evening on the Danube.

Take a tram ride

Tourists usually choose double-decker buses to admire the city’s attractions without consuming too much energy. But Belgrade has two alternative means of transport for those looking for a more authentic experience. “A Streetcar Named Belgrade” is the name of a city tour organized twice a week (on Fridays starting at 20.00 and Saturday at 18.00) with a guide on board telling the story of the city while the tram passes across tourist attractions. An original concept is the “Yugotour” which takes the passengers on a journey theme, in a red vintage Yugo car, and which presents the tourists – in exchange of 45 euros – the past of Belgrade during the communist period.

All these and many more are awaiting for you to enjoy in this amazing city that is slowly but surely coming back to life.

Photo source:

Picture 1: myportfolio.ucl.ac.uk; Picture 2: en.wikipedia.org; Picture 3: agropress.org.rs; Picture 4: datourinfo.eu; Picture 5: wikimapia.org; Picture 6: skyapartmani.com; Picture 7: mojabanjaluka.info
Aug 16

THE AMAZING HISTORICAL EDIFICES OF BUCOVINA (BUCOVINA)

Bucovina is one of the most representative areas in Romania. A historical region of crucial importance throughout the tumultuous history of Romania, it offers endless touristic attractions and possibilities.

Moldovita Monastery

Moldova was built in 1532 by Petru Rares, the son of Stefan the Great, and was painted in 1537, both inside and outside. The frescos on the southern wall are very well preserved. Notice at the outset that the nuns who live here are excellent guides for groups of foreign tourists – a very good note in the context of tourism. The monastery’s stylish and dapper, the church is close to the cells and the entire surrounding is filled with flowers that give it a special note. In the courtyard there is a statue of Petru Rares. Tourists will appreciate, not only the beauty of the place, but also the active presence of the nuns.

Sucevita Monastery

You cannot see Sucevita without seeing Moldovita, its “sister” located somewhat near. Sucevita monastery is about 50 years younger, built in 1583 by Irimia Simion and Gheorghe Movila, the former becoming the first leader of Moldova shortly after lifting this monastic building. One of the last churches painted on the outside and a part of UNESCO heritage, its stately elegance will delight the visitor’s eye with a specific shade – not so famous as Voronet blue, though -, but certainly delightful: green, symbol of the Holy Spirit. You will fall in love with the mural paintings and the silence of the place.

The Fortress of Suceava

This is an objective that represents a top sensational attraction. Unfortunately, a while ago, the lack of funding and interest made the most important fortress of the rulers of Moldova enter a long process of restoration, starting from 2012. Regardless of that, hadn’t you already known a few pieces of information, you will find out on the spot about the bravery of the Moldavian rulers and soldiers against all those that attempted to conquer these beautiful lands: from the Russians and Polish to the Ottoman Turks and many other migratory peoples – without luck and success, however!

The restoration process has been unfolding and is now done and over with, therefore the visitors are fully and quietly able to enjoy the place; no more workers on scaffolding! You can now admire an excellently built fortress, to which have contributed over the years rulers and political figures like Petru Musat I (he raised it in 1375), Stephen the Great, Alexandru cel Bun (Alexander the Kind), Vasile Lupu, Ieremia Movila and other Moldavian leaders who totally devoted their efforts into achieving and preserving a very hard city to conquer and a historical symbol. Unfortunately it was damaged  in 1497, after the Polish attack lead by John Albert, several earthquakes during Duca Voda – 1678-1683, the city turned to ruin and went into oblivion until the early twentieth century, when the Austrian architect Karl A. Romstorfer lent a helping hand and reestablished the glory on the old walls of this historic edifice.

And fortunately, after him, the current local authorities have shown the same interest and devotion and put it back on the well-deserved tourist track, where you can see it, admire and meditate upon the past..

Check for the prison of the edifice, it’s a truly sensational place to see!

Photo source:

Picture 1: youtube.com; Picture 2: infopensiuni.ro; Pictuire 3: xmaps.ro; Picture 4: festivaluri-romanesti.ro; Pictyure 5: svnews.ro; Picture 6: mapio.net; Picture 7: orasulsuceava.ro
Aug 12

THE MGNIFFICENT MASTIC TOWNS OF CHIOS (ΧΊΟΣ)

Discover the fantastic world of mastic (resin) cities in Chios island of Greece (Mastihohória), a fortified complex of settlements of rare beauty. The existence of these cities is closely linked to the “tears” of mastic trees that grow only in the south of the island. The Genovese built this complex to provide shelter to families who lived here and cultivated the trees. At some point during their occupation, they have also raised fortresses to protect their land. The massacre of the residents by the Turks destroyed the economic structure of this society.

The turbulent history of these cities reflects miraculously in the buildings’ architecture: for defense purposes, they were built offshore and surrounded by high walls, with a central tower; the last defense possibility if the walls were attacked by Arab pirates. The tower has no doors, but invaders could enter by using ladders, because the bridges were built of roofs. The streets were narrow and dark, with hidden alleys, which can not only make the invaders feel confused, but they were used as hideouts by locals, allowing them to quietly plan their attacks.

There are currently only 24 such settlements that have resisted the passing of time, many of which were destroyed by the catastrophic earthquake that took place in 1881. Some cities are still intact, including Mestá, Pirgí, Olympia, Kalamoti, Véssa Patrik, Vouno, Elati and Kini, forming impressive medieval towns. The recent restoration works performed on the old stone residences have contributed significantly to beautify the landscape, and managed to recreate the atmosphere of the times long gone.

Mestá is the best preserved fortified city in the complex. A tour of these places will give you a chance to admire three impressive castles, ancient churches and magnificent stone houses built side by side and linked by arches. In Pyrgos you will discover impressive black and white geometric decorations which adorn the exterior walls of the houses – the so-called “ksistá”. In Avgonima, the view will definitely captivate you, because this place is near the island of Psará.

Do not miss the medieval Olympic settlement ocated 31 kilometers south of Chios city. Stroll along the maze- like alleys of Kalamoti where you pass near two-story stone houses that remained intact over time. Kallimassiá was almost destroyed by the earthquake of 1881, but you can still find here ruins and medieval towers of local churches. Enjoy a cup of coffee in the square and get to know the friendly locals who are extremely eager to teach you how mastic is produced, respecting a practice 2,500 years old.

Photo source:

Picture 1: funkystock.photoshelter.com; Picture 2: funkystock.photoshelter.com; Picture 3: funkystock.photoshelter.com; Picture 4: funkystock.photoshelter.com; Picture 5: funkystock.photoshelter.com; Picture 6: funkystock.photoshelter.com