Sep 20

CISNADIOARA CASTLE – A RELIC OF THE OLD TIMES IN THE HEART OF SIBIU (CETATEA CISNĂDIOARA)

A visit around Sibiu, the former cultural capital of Europe in 2007, cannot be complete without seeing the castle of Cisnadioara, a place that is loaded with positive energy and serenity.

As you arrive in the village of Cisnadioara, which is located 10 kilometers from Sibiu and two kilometers from Cisnadie, you have to go up the Saint Michael Hill, from the village, on a path that is not very steep and a quarter of an hour you shall get to Cisnadioara Castle, in fact, a Roman basilica, which has its first historical mention in the year 1223 (when its  construction ended); it is mentioned in the archives that was donated to the Cistercian monastery of Carta, by Magister Goulinus. They say, moreover, that Cisnadioara village itself had been founded by a group of French monks, caregivers of the Cistercian order.

The fortified church is surrounded by six meter high walls and offers a splendid view over the valley of Sibiu. Built on a narrow place, it had acted as an observation point. The church is simple, composed of a nave, two side aisles and larger. The windows are narrow and inside was brought in 1940, the funerary monuments of Austro-Hungarian and German officers who died on duty during the First World War, in fighting in and around Sibiu.

Some time ago, the deal of divorces among the Saxon community settled in the area was quite complicated those days. If a couple was no longer getting along and wanted to divorce, the villagers offered the two the chance to come to common terms, trapping them in the city until they reached the conclusion that life must continue together. Otherwise, the two were left there for life. Of course, it’s a legend but perhaps this has some truth in it.

Another legend of the site has in the spotlight the young men who, before marriage, had to undergo a ritual in which to prove their manhood by rolling a boulder up the hill above the city. Boulder size depended on the “size” the lad’s love for his future wife was. Boulders can be seen today in the courtyard and had the role of … cannon-balls against besiegers.

If we mention the picturesque scenery of the region, the beautiful mountains and awesome fresh air, then you have even more reason the come visit the surroundings. For accommodation and meals, you have a lot of options in any of the pensions located near the city.

Photo source:

Picture 1: trecator.ro; Picture 2: sibiul.ro; Picture 3: cavalerintaramea.ro; Picture 4: sibiul.ro; Picture 5: citynews.ro; Picture 6: cartitaplimbareata.ro; Picture 7: cartitaplimbareata.ro
Sep 20

THE MOST FASCINATING, BUT LITTLE KNOWN ATTRACTIONS IN EASTERN EUROPE

There is no person who has not heard about places like Paris, Barcelona or Rome – but Europe is untouched corners that can occur successfully in a top beauty and charm, with the added advantage of being away from the crowds. However, there are places at least as fascinating and beautiful and side are the old continent, which, unfortunately, are less known. Have a look on the list compiled by AboutEastern Europe and discover hidden gems four, but ready to welcome you with open arms, so you can discover the charm.

Lancut, Poland
Poland is full of castles, but Łańcut is truly a breathtaking place. Details of these aristocratic residences, impressive dimensions are delightful, and a tour of the palace takes you through beautifully decorated ballroom, which dominates chandeliers, bigger than you. The city shows a rich history of the Hebrew people and worth visiting Łańcut synagogue here: facade is a true masterpiece, charming by its magnificent columns and frescoes.

Klaipeda, Lithuania
A port city bustling with German-style taverns that studded cliff, Klaipėda is one of the most beautiful European destinations. Reserve a table at Memelis for a plate of cheese, olives and sausages that going for beer. Once you’ve calmed hunger and thirst, you can start exploring the Curonian Spit sands in the wild, found on the Baltic Sea. Make a trip to explore the forests, seafood and folklore of the region.

Tartu, Estonia
Those who come in this beautiful Baltic country, usually headed by Tallinn or the resorts on the island but the vibrant university town of Tartu, also not to be missed. Enters the centuries-old history of these places, making a visit to the tower university, where students serve their punishment once disobedient, or take a walk through the park Toomemägi. In addition, a dinner served in this city will not let bankrupt, so walks confidently in any premises near the university.

Olomouc, Czech Republic
If others have piled on Charles Bridge in Prague, you can enjoy tranquility in Olomouc, one of the most beautiful cities in the Czech Republic. Here you will find the same charm as the architectural capital, less chaos. Plus he has to turn a few aces up his sleeve: Horni Namesti astronomical observatory, holy halls of the monasteries dating from the 12th century and a place where you can eat to your heart: U Andela.

Photo source:

Picture 1: routeperfect.com; Picture 2: visitestonia.com; Picture 3: trip2lt.com; Picture 4: senas.ku.lt; Picture 5: panoramio.com; Picture 6: runawayjuno.com
Sep 20

SEDLEC CHAPEL IN PRAGUE – THE INCREDIBLE BUILDING MADE OF HUMAN BONES

Although it welcomes thousands of tourists each year, the church in Sedlec is little known and not so much promoted. Partly because of the rather morbid history and architecture that is has.

But for those who have an appetite for gloomy experiences, here is what to expect.

Viewed from outside, the church does not seem to be anything special from others of the same bill, common in Central and Western Europe. But its little secret is one of the great achievements of mankind: the strength to face the feeling of helplessness in the face of death, played in artistic accepted – a variety of aesthetic ugliness, with remarkable results. Or maybe is it an ode to the human body?!

Human architecture… literally. That is the ossuary, a Roman Catholic chapel located near All Saints Cemetery in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. Although in 1870, when the interior has been reinvented, there were no courses in design, contemporary architects agree on the fact that Frantisek Rint did a very good job, even though his work may not necessarily represent a source of inspiration. Church near the cemetery of All Saints, pieces of furniture, chandeliers, decorating walls, family crest Schwarzenberg and even signature decorator are made of human bones, masterfully combined to give an air of uniqueness of a place that otherwise would not be able to cross the threshold of anonymity.

The skeletons of some 40 000 people are in the small chapel, but chose destiny after death as their eternal sleep to spend at least one form … unusual. The skulls and bones are everywhere and intersect to create the most fantastic scenery imagined. Stringing orderly human material shows that nothing happens by chance, while marking a different perspective on art. The piece de resistance is the chandelier that contains bones that enters the human body structure. His presence was turned into a game popular among visitors who tried to find out whose bones correspond anatomical parts lined up on the ceiling of the church.

One of the great obsessions of mankind is represented by physical form that the human spirit takes to fulfill the “mission” to Earth. Most dreamers of them have tried to integrate this material into spiritual shape, giving it an artistic dimension. From tattoos, piercing, body beauty techniques, all methods tested. Framing religious human space, is perhaps the ultimate form that the body has chosen to worship art.

The history begins in 1278, when Henry, abbot of the monastery of Cistercian order was trims in Jerusalem by King Otakar II of Bohemia. In return, he brought with him a small amount of land Golgotha, which he spread it in the abbey cemetery. The good news was quickly spread and the result was an increased number of requests for final resting places. Later, two other events had to multiply the number of those buried there. Plague – the Black Death of the Middle Ages, and fights against Hussites led to a significant increase in the cemetery area.

Only in 1870, a wood carver, František Rint would definitely make their mark on their specific church. It had to solve a serious problem, which neither his predecessors had not been able to give him head. Bones, increasingly more, they had no place to be stored and throw their version was not one too “orthodox”. The idea of “saving” who came Rint’s turned into a regular church high on the list of objectives in the Czech Republic. One that it has commissioned sculptor accomplishment of the work were none other than the powerful Schwarzenberg aristocratic family, who possess the Sedlec. Love for art was rewarded by Rint by representing the family coats of arms, what else? … Of human bones. Restoration and “beauty” lasted three years. Rint used for decorating bones arranged in pyramid shape by the monk half blind, but before he milled, to keep a uniform color.

A strange curiosity, an interesting lesson in anatomy, a meditation on death or macabre masterpiece? The answer remained the appreciation of visitors, and most said that, far from being scary place reassuring and defers them the opportunity to reflect on life and death.

Visiting hours & Costs
The church can be visited daily, except 24th and 25th December. The schedule is set according to the season. Thus, from April to September, the church is open to visitors between 8:00 and 18:00 in October and March, between 9:00 and 17:00, and during November to February, the church is open from 9: 00 to 16:00. Entrance fee for adults is 50 kronor, students and children over 9 years pay 30 crowns, while families pay a single fee of 130 crowns. If you like thrills and would like to visit the church at night (between 8 pm and 12 pm) have to decide ahead of time to make a bookings for a fee of 100 crowns per person. A Czech koruna is equivalent to 0.148 RON. For transport, you can take the tourist bus that goes through downtown.

Transport & Accommodation
Due to the prosperous silver mines in Kutna Hora, the location became, after Prague, the second item on the list of most important cities of the Bohemian kingdom in the Middle Ages. Currently, the town is part of UNESCO. Even if you are staying in Prague deserves to sacrifice a day of the holiday to visit this area, away from a specific European capitals. Besides the ossuary in Sedlec in Kutna Hora you can also visit the Church of St. Barbara and Italian Court. The best opportunity, if they choose Prague as a hub is to opt for one of the trips organized, during which you will benefit from a guide.

Prague to Kutna Hora you can take the train or bus. Best bet would be to ask the information because the staff there is always ready to answer questions with updated information.

Hotels in Kutna Hora idea are cheaper than Prague, a double room at the hotel, ranging from 52 Euros per night and 76 Euros per night.

Photo source:

Picture 1: kuriositas.com; Picture 2: kuriositas.com; Picture 3: cloudmind.info; Picture 4: kalmistopiiri.wordpress.com; Picture 5: thisgirlabroad.com; Picture 6: ourtravelpics.com