Jun 30

KEFALONIA, AN ISLAND OF MYTHICAL BEAUTY (KEFALONIA)

As the largest Ionian island of Greece, Kefalonia offers tourists paradise-like experiences that include many kilometers of beautiful beaches. The dramatic mountain scenery and pine forests serve as background for fishing villages, traditional taverns and buildings in pastel shades, Venetian type. After having appearing in the Hollywood blockbuster “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, Kefalonia has had a plus in terms of tourism. Look what you can see and do in Kefalonia, perhaps the most beautiful island in the Ionian Sea.

Relax in Fiskardo during a hot afternoon. Known as the St Tropez of Greece, Fiskardo was once the richest fishing town of the country. With time, fishermen have lost importance and authority, and this is when the Fiskardo was reinvented into a destination spot for relaxation. Many international stars and celebrities were spotted by paparazzi in this splendid city. What makes a place so loved by tourists? It’s easy. The marine scenery, the rich specifics, the beauty of Venetian-style architecture, the houses colored in pastel shades and fascinating history of the city, the warmth of the locals and these are only a few things!

A fun fact about Fiskardo is that, in 2006, there was discovered a room full of gold jewelry, bronze goblets and dishes that lasted for over 2000 years. It was so well preserved during these last two millennia because it has been forgotten and rediscovered by chance and strangely, the doors’ pins are still functional.

Take a gondola ride on Lake Melissani. This underground lake was not discovered until 1951, when an explosion caused the roof to give way, leaving a massive hole in the cave ceiling. Get a boat and paddler and enjoy the clear waters of incredible electric-blue.

Explore the Drogarati caves. Drogarati Caves are less than 40 minutes’ walk from Arostoli and are breathtaking. They are situated 120 meters above sea level and have a depth of approximately 95 meters. Caverns with more than 150 million years old – you’ll definitely be impressed. Afterwards, you can climb down the rock steps and enter a quiet cavern adorned with stalactites and stalagmites.

See the Loggerhead turtles in the Gulf of Argostoli. Argostoli is the capital of Kefalonia. Here you will find restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. But the most important thing when it comes to this city is the Loggerhead turtles. In the morning, between nine and eleven the turtles are patrolling the gulf beaches, waiting for the fishermen to leave behind the fish that could not be sold. Sitting a few meters from them and watching them in their natural habitat is an experience that cannot be experienced in any zoo.

Find paradise on Myrtos Beach. You will recognize this beach as soon as you see her. Myrtos Beach is one of the most beautiful and most photographed beaches across Europe. Locals will remind you constantly that it is the beach that has made a considerable contribution to film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Myrtos is entirely covered with very fine white pebbles, which blend harmoniously with the crystal-clear sea. Limestone cliffs surround the beach, separating it from the rest of the island.

Go on a cruise under the Greek sunny skies. There are numerous types of boats that you can choose from to take a cruise in Kefalonia, and the ones with glass bottom are the most popular among tourists. The facilities of this type of boat are the possibility of admire the underwater beauty of the crystal-clear sea, the chance to do some diving, jumping off the bridge, a traditional Greek meal served on another sandy island and the karaoke session on the way back.

Also, enjoy a kayak ride: you’ll have the perfect opportunity to combine the sun, the sand and the sea in the best way. The calm waters around the island are perfect for kayak rides. You will enjoy beautiful landscapes and you’ll pass by caves and beaches accessible only by water. But don’t do it unless you are very experienced in this area, otherwise take an experienced person in a double kayak.

Another amazing experience that Kefalonia can offer you is visiting… a few other islands nearby; a ferry ride between Argostoli and Lixouri costs $ 6 per person and it goes every half hour. In addition, you can choose Ithaca, Lefkada or Zakynthos.

Don’t miss your chance to go to a Greek tavern. Perhaps you might think that it’s a joke, or a cliché. However, because the Greeks have an economy based on tourism, you will notice their tendency to offer a wide range of European cuisine, and not specifically Greek. So I suggest you to see where the locals dine and follow their example. There are many good taverns in Kefalonia.

If you want to retire in a quieter place, similar to Fiskardo, Agia Efimia is right place. It is an old fishing town in eastern Kefalonia, where you can feel the atmosphere of the old days. Although it is much less known than Fiskardo, Agia Efimia is the ideal place where you can have a drink or lunch without worrying that a busload of tourists will shatter the silence.

Photo source

Picture 1: www.thomascook.com; Picture 2: www.loyal-travel.com; Picture 3: www.itaka.pl; Piture 4: www.efrosinivillage.com; Picture 5: www.thomson.co.uk; Picture 6: thomson.co.uk; Picture 7: www.pinterest.com
Jun 29

THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA AND ITS HIDDEN CHARMS

Sometimes, the nicest things exist where we least expect and look. Most people dream of exotic vacations on desert islands, but they ignore so many other wonders nearby, that are at least as awesome and maybe even easier to acquire. The Republic of Moldavia is one of the hidden gems of Europe, which many people miss out, but they have no clue about the touristic potential that it holds. We are going to present you a few of the interesting and amazing places that you will find in the Republic of Moldova and are waiting for you to discover them.

The following suggestions serve as eloquent evidence that Moldova is rich in rural landscapes and that anybody across the world would choose as their holiday destination. Starting from the largest cellar in the world and continuing with the fascinating monasteries, touristic locations of Moldova are an invaluable treasure waiting to be discovered.

Soroca Fortress is in the center of Soroca town, about 160 km north of Chisinau. In the Middle Ages the city of Soroca was part of a vast defensive system of Moldova. It was built close to the Nistru River cross path on the site of the old fortifications. In 1499, on the command of Stephen the Great, the city erected a wooden square. Between 1543 and 1546, during the reign of Petru Rares, the city is rebuilt from its foundation entirely in stone, as we see it today. The fortress is a medieval monument in Moldova, which was kept in its original form, as it was designed by craftsmen and the entrance in the bastion there is a small military church.

In the same area, you can visit the “Candle of Gratitude” Monument (located high on a rock above the bank of Nistru River), which represents one of the most important creations in the history of Moldova, and you can also visit the beautiful Cosăuţi Monastery.

The Orhei Museum Complex, situated in a rocky gorge of Raut River, over 200 meters deep, is one of the most famous areas rich in archeological vestiges and remains of different civilizations established between the area of Nistru and Prut. It is one of two places in the world where ancient ruins dating millennia ago have been preserved is such a good shape. Stone caverns confirm the presence of the first human settlements that date back a few hundred thousand years. The rocky hill hosts a strong fortification of the Dacians, dating between the 5th and 3rd century b.C. The surface of the archeological complex is extraordinarily small for the large number of natural and architectural monuments directly descended from history and legend.

Here, tourists can visit the Farmyard Museum (19th century), the landscape reserve “Trebujeni” and many other beautiful sight seeings.

Milestii Mici Cellar entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2007 after having been validated as having the world’s longest and highest storage capacity. Nowadays, it is an underground wine city with a total length of galleries of over 200 kilometers, with streets named after famous wines and along which there are placed oak barrels and tanks with a total capacity of 65 million liters, underground waterfalls, fountains and tasting rooms.

A special place within the Cellar is represented by the “Milestii Mici” Golden Collection, where you will find about 2 million bottles of wines of the finest quality. You can also visit the “Estate of Maniuc Bei” and the “Milestii Mici” wine warehouses.

In the center of Moldova, in a picturesque area with green and deep forests there is one of the oldest monasteries of Moldova – Capriana, founded in 1429. It was built by various rulers, including Stephen the Great, and has long served as the residence of the Metropolitan of Moldova. Being closed and devastated during the post-war years, it reopened again in 1989, becoming a symbol of national revival. At Capriana you can find the largest monastic library in Moldova, with precious royal gifts.

Nearby you can visit many beautiful old churches, such as “Assumption” (built in 1545), “Saint Nicholas” (1840), “St. George” (1903), “Capriana-Scoreni” landscape reserve, the oak of Stephen the Great; the oldest reserve of Moldova – “Codri”, Răciula Monastery or Cojusna Winery.

Photo source

Picture 1: orhei.net; Picture 2: amadeus.extralan.ro; Picture 3: calatorie.md; Picture 4: moodle.md; Picture 5: publika.md; Picture 6: zoom.mediafax.ro; Picture 7: calatorie.md
Jun 28

BUCHAREST, A CITY OF WIDE BOULEVARDS AND LUXURIOUS PARKS (BUCUREŞTI)

The Romanian capital, cultural and economic center of the country, was founded more than five hundred years ago and is the best starting point for a tour of Romania. In the ’30s, Bucharest was known as “Little Paris” because of its boulevards delimited by trees. Here you can also admire an Arc de Triumph on the impressive Kiseleff Boulevard that is longer than the Champs Elyses and during springtime you can admire the splendor of the trees in bloom.

Despite extensive reconstruction plan in the ’80s, Bucharest remains a pleasant city full of parks, greenery, with cafes open on sidewalks in the summer and pleasure boats on the lakes and rivers that flow through it.

It is easy to handle Bucharest. The underground network is spread all over the city, and the fare for a journey is unique. The main avenues through the town are displayed on the north-south direction – from the Arc de Triomphe to the Civic Centre -, and are intersected by others that stretch from east to west. Calea Victoriei, which continues the Kiseleff Road, is the favorite promenade place for the city residents especially on summer evenings.

Here you will find majestic public buildings like the National History Museum and the Palace of the Post Office and towards the southern end of the avenue there is Cismigiu Park. Magheru Boulevard is parallel to Calea Victoriei and it contains travel agencies and airlines, cinemas, theatres, galleries and hotels.

You will probably be surprised by the eclectic mix of architectural styles in Bucharest: from Curtea Veche, the remains of the 15th century palace of Vlad Tepes – who was the founder of the city -, the old Orthodox churches, the second Empire style villas, heavy Stalinist architecture of the communist period and ending with the Palace of Parliament, a colossal building with six thousand rooms, the second largest in the world after the Pentagon.

Bucharest is always very interesting things waiting to discover them. While in Bucharest, do not miss its museums, especially in outdoor Village Museum located in Herastrau, near the Arc of Triumph. Here you see examples of architecture and handicrafts from all over Romania, including the famous wooden churches in Maramures and it’s the first such museum ever opened in the entire world.

Other “musts” include the National Art Museum, located in the former Royal Palace, the National History Museum on Calea Victoriei, housing the superb silverware of national treasure, and Curtea Veche / the Old Court, with its painted church in the sixteenth century.

Nearby there is the splendid Patriarchal Church, built in 1657, and now represents a contrasting note of the Civic Center’s modernity. And do not miss the Stavropoleos Church near Curtea Veche, a real jewel of Romanian Orthodox architecture. If you are lucky you are in one of these churches during a christening or a wedding, you will witness an unforgettable ceremony.

Bohemian life in Bucharest

The city’s artistic life has always been at the height of its Parisian nickname and today it is more active than ever. National Opera always keeps a classic repertoire – Puccini, Verdi, Rossini, Mozart.

In the splendid neo-classical style building of the Romanian Athenaeum international concerts are held or supported by the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. However, the ticket price is much lower than in other countries.

All tourists like to shop; you will find shops in Piata Unirii / the Union Square area and the main avenues. If you want to make a change, you can walk into a small bazaar belonging to the merchants on the streets of Lipscani Street, near the Old Court.

Here you can acquire beautiful souvenirs made by local artists, most of them unique, made of ceramics, glassware, fabrics and wood carvings. Another unforgettable experience would be to visit the bustling Flea Market on a Sunday morning, meaning a flea market on the banks of Dambovita River.

The restaurants of the capital have come to life again; roast beef, chicken or pork are the basis of many typical dishes and are followed by a wide range of pastry specialties or desserts. For a better appetite, taste the Romanian wines and tuica, the national drink.

The prices are reasonable and the atmosphere in bars, restaurants and night clubs is welcoming, brighten up by rhythms and beats from all over the world. Romanians are a full of life people, who like to party and feel good. Join the locals and fun is guaranteed!

And if you get exhausted by the hectic vibe of the city, you can escape for a few hours and discover the surroundings of Bucharest.

Bucharest is surrounded by forests and lakes, with old palaces and monasteries located in this picturesque landscape. Snagov Monastery, which dates from 1408, is treasured by Bucharest citizens who also go to this area to practice water sports on the lake.

Also, the elegant Mogosoaia Palace, built in the eighteenth century, which is at a distance of 14 km (9 miles) north of Lake Mogosoaia is worth visiting. And there are many other places and events – such as theatre, music, handicrafts festivals – that take place all year long, which will leave you a wonderful impression and will make you want to come back for more. eleff

Photo source

Picture 1: torp.no; Picture 2: www.bucharestdailyphoto.ro; Picture 3: ro.wikipedia.org; Picture 4: metropotam.ro; Picture 5: hotelelizeu.ro; Picture 6: snagovclub.ro; Picture 7: hotelarcdetriomphe.ro.
Jun 27

COTROCENI PALACE – THE CORE OF POLITICAL DECISIONS FOR ALMOST FOUR CENTURIES (PALATUL COTROCENI)

In 1679 Mr. Stefan Cantacuzino raised the Cotroceni hill a monastery. In 1888, Prince Carol I of Romania built a palace monastery to serve as residence in Bucharest. Building plans were made by architect Paul Gottereau in classic Venetian style.

Later, Romanian architect Grigore Cerchez redesigned the north wing national romantic style, adding a large room with a terrace and two gazebos above the columns, one of which was a replica of the famous Hurez gazebo.

Cotroceni Palace is part of the Cotroceni National Museu, an institution specialized in presenting the medieval and modern history of the palace, and its evolution and transformation over time. Cotroceni Palace, the church and monastery reflect three centuries of history where political, military, diplomatic, religious and cultural aspects are directly interwoven with the general evolution of Romanian society. Unfortunately, in 1977, former President Nicolae Ceausescu converted the palace into a guest house and in 1985he ordered for the church built by Stefan Cantacuzino to be demolished.

Thus, over three centuries, a long line of remarkable personalities have made decisions and ruled Romania from here, starting with the founder of the palace, the rich prince Serban Cantacuzino. Among them, we should remember Constantin Brancoveanu, Nicolae Constantin Mavrocordat, Alexandru Ypsilanti, Gheorghe Constantin Hangerli, Alexandru Mourousis, Barbu Stirbei, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Carol I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, and Ferdinand I.

By its content, the museum displays a rich variety of art belonging to Romania’s national values, as well as decorative arts from all over the world. Cantacuzinian space seems to be a space suitable for organizing presentations of works of art that highlights the exceptional value of old age. Among notable items on display there are richly carved tomb stones – an expression of admirable art of carvers and decorators, as testimony of the vigor the art of Cantacuzino and Brancoveanu architectural styles.

Currently the Cotroceni Ensemble proves that architectural design has a clear unity and artistic composition. The core of the ensemble is the monastery built in the late 17th century by Serban Cantacuzino, an exceptional piece of Romanian medieval art and architecture. It has undergone many changes over the three centuries of existence; some are remarkable in design and proportions, and others being totally inadequate. But they did not affect the initial conception of the building, its structure and general expression of volumes.

The interior architecture of the museum and the spaces within the buildings that are part of the Cotroceni ensemble is perceived as a stylistic conglomerate, at first leading to a slight confusion caused by putting together or overlapping several functional and aesthetic remodeling interventions. Until today, the most typical works are the initial construction of the monastery (late 17th century) and the royal palace (late 19th early 20th century), as well as the recent restoration and expansion of the whole.

Photo source

Picture 1: www.presidency.ro; Picture 2: mediafax.ro; Picture 3: paginadepolitica.ro; Picture 4; romaniadacia.wordpress.com; Picture 5: garbo.ro; Picture 6: commons.wikimedia.org; Picture 7: panoramio.com; Picture 8: cultural.bzi.ro
Jun 24

CORFU, THE NYMPH WHO SEDUCED NAPOLEON BONAPARTE (KERKYRA)

Since ancient times, the island named after the nymph Kerkyra (the daughter of the God of the Rivers,), also known as Corfu has represented an important cultural center since the days of yore; largely inhabited by Phoenicians, it was later conquered by Philip II and his Macedonians took control of the island. With time, he was attacked and conquered by the Spartans, Illyrians and Romans, the latter remaining the absolute rulers for next five centuries, but were granted autonomy in exchange for using the island’s biggest port as a transit point in their expeditions. So the Roman mark is yet easily observed in the architecture and infrastructure. Also Corfu is hosting the first modern Greek University built in 1824.

A holiday in Corfu will make you feel like a god. As an Olympian god, namely, whether you’d like to be Poseidon and patron over the crystal clear waters surrounding the island or you would rather be Dionysus, god of wine – a drink appreciated by the Greeks during toga parties organized in Corfu. The island has everything you could want: the imposing Venetian palaces, durable fortresses, captivating museums and lively nightlife. You should know that Corfu has a rather different history, compared to the rest of Greece. The island has never been a part of the Ottoman Empire, so you will see no Turkish influences there; however, Napoleon Bonaparte had fallen in love (like the rest of us) with the island and decided to annex it to his empire. And there is a great Venetian heritage, due to the influences throughout the centuries – hence the amazing architecture.

Corfu is characterized by lush vegetation, complemented by olive groves and harmoniously embraced by the waves. To see all of the island’s scenery and wealth of attractions you would need at least two weeks. On the other hand somewhere around five days here could be enough – to begin with! -, because it will give you time to tick all the major attractions. And then you will want to return and enjoy the rest.

You could begin you close encounter with the two fortresses called simply the Old Fortress and the New Fortress, which certifies buildings Venetian architectural heritage. Venetian culture is not the only one that has put its mark on the appearance of buildings in Corfu, the city was subjected to French and English domination over time, then take a walk in the Palace built during Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

You can then discover the finesse of sand, pamper yourself for the day on one of the beaches of Corfu. You have plenty of choices, because Corfu has more than 30 beaches. You might choose the south, which is said to be the best, with fine sand, or you could head to the north. Here you will enjoy landscapes that are difficult to describe in words, but you have to bear the naughty white pebbles that cover most beaches in the area.

The most popular among tourists are the beaches of Paleokastritsa and Benitses.

Book one day to visit the archaeological sites. The ancient Palaiopolis site brings together samples of the most interesting monuments of the Greeks: Agora, the Roman baths and two temples in Doric style.

Near Mon Repos you will discover the Temple of Artemis Gorgous, built in the late sixth century BC. Menekratis’s tomb, located in Garitsa, is also worth seeing, especially if you love history.

Even if sunshine and the overall specific Mediterranean climate will tempt you to spend as much time outdoors, resist and assign one days visiting the most important museums. The Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine Museum and the Asian Art Museum you will surely love. Do not neglect the Solomon Museum, the Sea Shell Museum and the Municipal Art Gallery.

Rest a bit in one of the taverns of Corfu and enjoy Greek specialties that you can find here: Bourdeto (a stew very spicy fish stew seasoned with lots of red pepper), Bianco (a kind of stew, but made from white fish, garnished with a lot of garlic). You can still order Sofrito (a specialty made from slices of veal marinated in vinegar and seasoned with garlic and parsley). Of course, all these delights should be filled with ouzo, the Greek anise raki.

Reserve yourself a day or several hours to take a trip to the Mourtos. You will see so with your eyes where the Greek fleet was hidden during the Second World War.

When you come back, check the nightlife of Corfu. Pink Place and Palladium Night Club are two places which stand out and to any local would recommend them to you.

You have probably seen a t least a few American movies when college students take part in toga parties; it’s a habit borrowed from an ancient – and rather unusual, some might say – habit from the time their ancestors. Let yourself be enveloped by the rhythms and unmistakable Sirtaki, socialize with other tourists and befriend locals and you will never forget attending such a party. Just so you can say with hand on heart that you’ve received your initiation in having fun Greek style.

Before you go and say farewell to Corfu, even if you are not among those who love water sports, exceed your limits and try to scuba diving.

P.A.D.I. (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) licensed professional instructors will help you discover the lesser known side of the waves. Dive Easy, Die Seven Islands and Corfu Achilleon Diving centers are the most popular scuba diving clubs. On the other hand, if you’re more courageous and you’re not afraid of diving to the depths (up to seven meters), buy a special fork for snorkeling and hunt for octopuses!

Photo source

Picture 1: vamostour.ro; Picture 2: de-weekend.ro; Picture 3: infotravelgrecia.ro; Picture 4: deltagroup-travel.com; Picture 5: planetware.com; Picture 6: boomsbeat.com.

Jun 23

CASA CAPSA – THE MOST FAMOUS DELICACIES IN THE BALKANS (CASA CAPŞA)

One of the most famous families of Bucharest was the one of Dimitrie Capsa. Shopkeepers by vocation and having traveled all over Europe with strong business and connections all over the continent, the Macedonian by origin Capsa Family decided to settle in the heart Bucharest

Up to 1850 being a merchant, bringing loads of great fairs, mean danger, uncertainty. Dimitrie Capsa was lucky, had 12 children and had never faced any dangers; four of his sons established a bakery-confectionery that become famous throughout Europe.

One of the brothers was educated in France at Boissier, the foremost master chocolatier of the time. Two other opened in 1852 the sweet store named  “Two brothers”. The wonderful sweets soon began to put in the shade all oriental goods (baklava, sarailie, Tukish delights, cataif, sorbet) made by other chefs.

At the beginning of the Crimean War, one of her brothers leave to Sevastopol with merchandise; on the way it had spoiled and arrived in Bulgaria without a penny in his pocket. But there, on borrowed money, he began preparing jams. And this is when fame and legend begin. He moves in the center of Bucharest to the place where the cafeteria- restaurant stands today. They begin importing merchandise from France that are being introduced to a new and curious clientele that is astounded at the impressive delicacies: absinthe, pineapple, ice-cream in forms of perfect compositions.

In just two decades, Capsa defeated all competition. A new restaurant was added to the confectionary; the walls of the new place were adorned with red marble – hence the name “tomb of the pharaohs”.

Grigore Capsa invented the “Joffre” cake.

At the invitation of King Ferdinand and Queen Mary of Romania, the famous French Marshal Joseph Jacques Césaire Joffre arrived in Bucharest in 1920. The grand confectioner Grigore Capsa, who meanwhile had become the supplier of the Royal House, created in honor of the Marshal a chocolate cake in a cylindrical shape suggesting the French military helmets.

Marshal Joffre had diabetes, and because of this fact the master pastry chef who studied in Paris invented a cake that could be consumed without risk of the guest. The cake was named after the acclaimed French personality and was made of butter, sugar, eggs, flour, flavorings, cocoa of the highest quality, and was dressed in chocolate. The “Joffre” Cake began to circle the world being taken over by French cuisine, from whose tradition was inspired. However, the recipe has entered the Romanian confectionery offer and there is virtually no confectionery in Romania that does not prepare the cake in question.

The regulars clients of the place were politicians, diplomats, journalists, painters and musicians. The atmosphere at the tables inside or outside was similar to that from Paris (Procope) or Vienna (Sacher). You could hear a lot of French being spoken.

In December 1916, at the outbreak of war, Bulgarian occupation troops established their headquarters at Casa Capsa. They robbed the cellars of all the treasures gathered by Capsa brothers: French wines from the cellars of Napoleon III since 1848-1858. Until 1918, Bulgarian troops now ate, bean soup in clay bowls at the tables once belonging to one of the most elegant restaurants in Europe. It was a reason for them to feast, with undisguised pride, at the most famous culinary Balkans location.

Between the wars, Capsa acquired a new profile, becoming a literary café. All the country’s brightest minds have been there. Gossip, words of wisdom, they all formed under an unequaled intellectual emulations.

At the same time, Casa Capsa was providing the most sumptuous dining for restaurants belonging to the Royal Palace, Jockey Club, diplomatic missions, ministries. The menus were printed, painted or written by hand and on their back there have signed the customers: from royalty, ministers, parliamentarians, famous artists – it all represents today an archive of the Romanian royalty and high class.

The outcome of Warld War II and the arrival of the Communist regime meant a steamroller over the elitism promoted at Capsa. The classic menus that were pieces of art on their own were now typed, some in Russian; the place was renamed simply called “Bucharest”, the silver cutlery was replaced with ordinary pieces, waiters of “healthy origin” – all these have trivialized the place, so proud not long ago.

But still, Capsa was a flashy café during communist times as well, but without the spiritual meetings and discussions that once took place here. After 1989, the attempt of regaining the cultural vibe, but the glory and importance of yore failed to lift to the level that was once known, remaining but a select local with many memories and a history that cannot be overlooked when we refer to Bucharest past.

Photo source

Picture 1: en.wikipedia.org; Picture2 welcome2romania.wordpress.com; Picture 3: getlokal.ro; Picture 4: cazari.ro; Picture 5: booking.com; Picture 6: amfostacolo.ro; Picture 7: mancare.ro.
Jun 22

BUCHAREST-THE OLD TOWN AND ITS YOUNG NIGHTS

The area known today as the Old Town of Bucharest is placed between Splaiul Independentei (Independence Embankment), I.C. Bratianu Boulevard, Calea Victoriei, Elisabeta Boulevard and is made up of several streets of historical value: Lipscani, Gabroveni, Blanari Selari, French Street, Stavropoleos.

Lipscani is today one of the oldest streets of Bucharest, being attested by documents since June 5th, 1589. Known as the “Main Street”, Lipscani was the most important commercial and handicraft center the city. Archaeological discoveries made at Hanul cu Tei (Linden Inn), in the basements of Gabroveni Inn and Lipsacani Passage prove that the area was inhabited since the 15th century.

Strada Doamnei is another important street in the Old Town arwa of Bucharest. Its name derives, as many other street names in Bucharest, from a place of worship – Biserica Doamnei (the Church of the Lady – referring to the Lady Mary, the second wife of Serban Cantacuzino, a noblemen from a prominent family). Most buildings were built between the late 19th century and the beginning of 20th century, among which there were churches, but also banks, residential buildings and cinemas.

The French Street is bordered by houses built in the nineteenth century. Most of them were erected after the great fire of 1874. Here we find perhaps the most important historical monuments in the entire Old Town: Old Court Church and the Manuc’s Inn.

Smardan Street is one of the first streets of the Romanian capital. On this street, at number 39, in Hotel Concordia, Alexandru Ioan Cuza was named Lord of the United Principalities of Romania. Up to this day, there stands a memorial plate attesting the historic event: “In this building, in the years of the union of Romanian Principalities, there was Hotel Concordia, where in the evening of January 23, 1859 Alexandru Ioan Cuza was decided ruler of Romanian Country by double election of the leading men of the National Party.”

Covaci Street has an interesting history: that of the famous mititei – the delicious fried sausage. On this street, at number 3, there was a famous restaurant frequented by many writers, until the middle of the last century – “La Iordache,” Ionescu Iordache’s Restaurant, the place was also known as “La o idee” because one of the daily customers was a famous pamphleteer Nicolae T. Orasanu. Here it’s said that is where were the mici, one of the culinary delights of the Romanian cuisine, were invented.

Architecture of the buildings has been influenced by various styles prevalent being the Renaissance and Baroque. Under the pavement of Lipscani Street there were discovered the ruins of several medieval inns. The buildings were nationalized in 1948, and in 1980, the communist authorities gave them in use to the Rroma ethnics but they have brought them to an advanced state of decay, turning them into a slum of dilapidated houses.

The degradation continued until the 1990s, but after a few years of restoration, the image of the area between the Union Square and Cismigiu Park was completely changed. Thus, in recent years, Bucharest residents and tourists enjoy their evenings spending time at large terraces, appetizing cafes, restaurants and clubs.

Old Town preserved the charm of the old times, but nowadays it has turned into a realm of contrasts: recently restored elegant buildings next to tired houses that seem to almost fall apart; modest terraces are reflected in the windows of luxury cafes; an elegant theater near a dilapidated courtyard all of these may seem a bit disconcerting; however the place has a poetry of its own.

Yet, the Old Town, whose meanings cannot be discovered fugitively, is a world that deserves to be known step by step and appreciated at its true value. Basically, each corner of the Old Town is a testimony of the beginnings and heritage of the becoming and lasting of a great city. Touristic circuits have been introduced in this area of the city that lives day and night by good mood and a slight interwar mood and flavor.

The Old Center of the capital has become in recent years the headquarters of fun, night life and entertainment. Every night, it attracts thousands of locals, expats or foreign tourists; There is nobody who lived or visited Bucharest who hasn’t spent at least one night on the streets of Lipscani, Smardan, Blanari Covaciu or the French Street. Currently, there are over 200 pubs here for all tastes, from bars and restaurants to pubs and bistros.

Today, the restaurants in the Old Town can be ordered by their specific, and some have become very famous, such as Divan, a highly appreciated Turkish; but other than this, you can find St. George Restaurant with Hungarian cuisine, and no less famous Romanian restaurant Caru ‘cu Bere.

All locations in the Old Town welcome its customers with a spacious terrace, most of them featuring cooling system for hot summer days when nothing is more appropriate than a frappe and a corner shadows.

Options for cafes and clubs are no less numerous, and the area has become one of the most frequented at night by both tourists and locals. Regardless of age, tourists and locals stop at least one evening a week, if not the whole weekend to listen to trendy music, to participate in a karaoke or dance until dawn, hence the variety of clubs in the Old Town area, which compete in a variety of offers and parties of all kinds.

In this period, the old center of Bucharest is passing through an extensive process of recovering. Known mostly for restaurants and bars, there have begun to appear reputable shops slowly turning it into an important commercial area.

The regular Saturday night, regardless of the season –this is what you can encounter in the Old Town: the crowd gathered on the promenade, pubs and terraces are full of happy people having fun or standing in line in front of the stands with delicious food, drinking beer and fill the scenery and the narrow intricate streets; all these are reasons enough to come and see for yourself what happens on a Saturday evening in Bucharest.

Photo source:

Picture 1: romania-tours.ro; Picture 2: east-tour.com; Picture 3: stophavingaboringlife.com; Picture 4: puravidahostels.ro; Picture 5: agoratravel.ro; Picture 6: romaniavip.com; Picture 7: viewthrumygloballens.blogspot.ro
Jun 21

HERASTRAU PARK, A WONDERLAND IN THE HEART OF BUCHAREST (HERĂSTRĂU)

Herastrau is located in the northern part of Bucharest and at this time, Herastrau Park is the largest park in Bucharest; moreover, is the largest park within a city in Europe. It is a favorite place for residents of the Romanian capital because of the many possibilities of fun: cultural activities, water sports and all sorts of glam events.

By the year 1806, the fancy faces of the Romanian capital used to go out for a walk on the banks of Herastrau Lake. In 1936 Herastrau was built by reclaiming the marshy area during 1930 and 1935. Also, in 1936, thanks to the efforts of the renowned sociologist Dimitrie Gusti, the Village Museum was created it was created on the perimeter of Herastrau Park. It is one of the largest institutions of its kind in Europe, which leverages through specific means the entire ethnographic and folkloric legacy of the people in different regions of Romania. The Village Museum in Bucharest is the first open-air ethnographic museum in the world. Its creator, sociologist Dimitrie Gusti wanted the museum to be a synthesis of all villages in Romania. King Carol II himself attended the official opening of the ethnographic museum.

In 1920, several Romanian personalities founded the Sports Association “Country Club” which later became the “Diplomatic Club”.

Herastrau is a special residential area, consisting of the Elisabeta Palace built by architect Mark M. Cornelius, becoming the official residence of King Michael of Romania. Here in December 30, 1947,the King signed the forced abdication and went into exile.

If you want to be closer to this park, while visiting Bucharest, there are numerous accommodation spots and you can find many welcoming hotels with facilities; you can find them everywhere, which makes your visit to Bucharest and Herastrau Park even more enjoyable.

Herastrau Park is actually a leisure complex which today embodies among its attractions a summer theater, exhibition halls, water sports clubs, night clubs, cafes, restaurants, hotels and many other facilities, while Herastrau Lake itself is used for recreation, fishing, water sports and sailing.

Herastrau is the place where you can practice almost any kind of sport and has areas for recreation and culture and areas for sports and entertainment.

This way, the new park has grown to include a rich arboreal vegetation consisting of willows, poplars, ash, linden and maple. These trees used to frame statues of historical figures from both the domestic and international culture.

One of the most beautiful spots of the park is the Rose Island with its dream-like colorful garlands of roses contrasting with the verticality of the load-bearing white columns.

There is also a statuary ensemble named “Grotto”, made up of three statues, representing two giants and a virgin. The latter is the well-known and highly appreciated “Sleeping Nymph” built in 1906.

In the Herastrau Park two main areas were subsequently developed: a quiet area dedicated to rest and an amusement area dedicated to culture, active leisure and sports.

In 1995 a roller track was built: this particular area of the park has later gained the name of Skate Park. Moreover, in 1998 the Japanese Garden was added with the support of the Japanese Embassy in Romania.

Currently, Herastrau contains Expoflora, an area organized along 15 hectares where every year there are different impressive floral ornamentations. There are also two theaters: one designed for children and one for adults.

Also, Herastrau encompasses two pavilions for exhibitions, libraries, an arbor dedicated for reading or chess, wharf, an amusement park, a train that tours the entire park, terraces, restaurants and cafes.

In another article we will mention about the crazy and hectic night life around Herastrau area, with its countless clubs, theme parties, luxury galas and fun, fun, as much fun as you can imagine. So, with all these activities, no wonder everybody falls in love with Herastrau.

Photo source:

Icture 1: fotohdr.ro; Picture 2: commons.wikimedia.org; Picture 3: mygola.com; Picture 4: john77.deviantart.com; Picture 5: goingoutpedia.wordpress.com; Picture 6: flikr.com; Picture 7: pinterest.com.
Jun 17

LINDEN INN, BOHEMIAN ATMOSPHERE AND GREAT BEER

Linden Inn is the only inn in Bucharest that has kept intact the original form of the early nineteenth century. Linden Inn was built in 1833 by Anastasie Hagi, Gheorghe Stefan Polizu and Popovich. The letters A.P. and S. P. – the initials of the owners – and the date when it was constructed have remained preserved above the entrance corridor, since then until today. Along Gabroveni Inn, Manuc’s Inn, the Old Café or the Princely Palace, Linden Inn is one of the most representative buildings of Romanian architecture and also one of the few places that preserve the very special atmosphere of two centuries ago.

Currently, Linden Inn houses the largest art gallery in Romania. At Linden Inn Art Gallery you can find ancient artifacts, such as vintage furniture, paneling, tapestries and carpets, paintings, photographs, albums, old documents, watches, cameras and gramophones, coins and medals or icons. The gallery has several lounges: Louis XV Hall, Louise-Philippe Hall, the Rococo Hall and Louis XVI Hall. The “Spanish type” courtyard of the Inn has a rectangular shape and the access is through two arched entrances and heavy iron gates that are closed overnight.

The brewery is the place where history continues to be written. The impressive design, the pictures displaying scenes of Bucharest in the old days creates a feeling that you have travelled in time, during the ’30s. In addition, the location is among the few in the historical center with a capacity of more than 300 people.

The evenings at the Linden Inn continue the specific legend of the place: live bands and concerts with renowned artists, football matches, stand-up comedy performances, theater and improvisation. From the menu of a successful evening you should not miss a cold beer; the guests can have the pleasure to serve it, together with the delicious food at the special tables with incorporated drafts. All these and many others are great reasons that make you want to come back to this place.

During the summer, the inn’s courtyard becomes a place where you won’t be sorry for losing your nights with your friends drinking beer. The terrace, away from the crowded Old Town, offers intimacy and warmth becoming a cozy corner that you need to relax.

Currently, Linden Inn is also home of the Embassy Restaurant and several art galleries, which preserve old artifacts, such as paintings, photographs, albums, old watches, gramophones, collection coins and many other precious picturesque remains of the past.

Photo source:

Picture 1: horeca.ro; Picture 2: one.ro; Picture3: restograf.ro; Picture 4: berariahanulcutei.ro; Picture 5: hotnews.ro; Picture 6: madrina.ro; Picture 7: hotnews.ro.
Jun 16

TOP FIVE CLUBS IN BUCHAREST OLD CITY

In every club in the Old Center of Bucharest you’ll find a unique atmosphere, entertaining parties that will make you feel good, people eager to have fun and many other attractions. While you’re here, make a pledge to go to a different club each week end, just to compare and see what’s new.

Local revelers and party people know well which the best clubs are in the Romanian capital and particularly in the Old Town. For those who are expatriates or foreign tourists, here are some fun options.

Club Bound

Those who love nightlife know that on Smârdan Street at no. 30 you will find Bound Club: nightclub, bar and dance club – the place for the best parties. Prices are acceptable for all budgets. A beer can cost 9 lei depending on the brand chosen, and customers who come here are always satisfied. Do not miss!

Cliche Club & Lounge

Very close to the previous, again on Smârdan no. 4, in the heart of the Old Town, we find Cliche Club & Lounge, with a capacity for up to 150 people. It is a modern and elegant lounge where you can escape during the day to enjoy a coffee and a club where you only listen and dance on good music and get to the peak of enjoyment. Events held here every night are the most pleasant way to forget the hectic working days. Every night is special: rhythms for all tastes, varied and colorful, and a fun show of live cocktail making. Cliche Club & Lounge is open Monday to Sunday from 12.00 until the last customer.

Bastards Club

On Lipscani Street no. 28 there is the Bastards Club, the perfect place to have fun with friends. Bastards Club in the Old Town awaits you with many surprises, dancing parties and good music. Menu prices are more than decent, you won’t believe it.

Chat Noir Club

Chat Noir Club is a groovy hideaway where you can enjoy unique cocktails that you will not find elsewhere; it’s not just a night club, but a concept that embodies several genres mixed in perfect balance, where you can enjoy funk, swing, jazz, big-band, soul, blues, reggae, African and Balkan beats. Every Wednesday, Chat Noir Club invites you to the After Work Soiree, the new series of parties dedicated to those who know that the best reward after a hard day’s work is: quality time when you can have an original cocktail with friends. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday there are parties at student prices. The address is Blănari Street no. 5, Old City Bucharest. As for prices, they are for all budgets starting from 6 lei for a beer, a special Chat Noir shot 10 lei, up to to 200 lei and a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Maraboo

Street Blănari no. 12 you find the poshest club in the Old Town – Club Maraboo: the perfect combination of modern café on the first floor and nightclub club located in the basement, where parties last until morning! Addressing an exclusive concept, which relies on unique theme parties and invited artists, with exotic landscaping, Maraboo Club has a capacity of 200 seats, sofas and chairs. Marabou organizes various parties and weekly events Wednesday to Saturday and other private parties and corporate anniversaries, product launches, presentations, etc. in any day of the week, except that a reservation is needed, obviously. The club is closed on Monday.

Now it’s time to make up you mine and chose the first one starting from tonight!

Photo source

Picture 1: localuri-bucuresti.ro; Picture 2: orasulvechi.ro; Picture 3: eatermagazine.ro; Picture 4: metropotam.ro; Picture 5: pelipscani.ro; Picture 6: bestofromania.eu, Picture 7: bestofromania.eu