THE ROMANIAN WESTERN CARPATHIANS, A PARADISE FOR SPELEOLOGY ENTHUSIASTS AND NOT ONLY (MUNTII APUSENI)

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For those of you who are passionate of tracking, long walks in the middle of nature, speleology, searching the secrets of the surroundings and admiring the view while enjoying the fresh air, the Western Romanian Carpathians is the place to … Continue reading Continue reading

May 27

IULIA HASDEU CASTLE – A TEMPLE FOR THE WORLD OF BEYOND

The temple dedicated to Julia Hasdeu in Campina was the place of refuge for Romanian scientist and occult aficionado, Bogdan Petriceicu-Hasdeu, after the death of his sole daughter. The Castle in Campina is said to be still visited by the spirits of its former owners and during some nights, the locals said that they could hear Julia playing the piano in the ovations of her father, and some nights, the old Hasdeu can be heard screaming and hauling at the window, overwhelmed with grief for the loss of his daughter.

hailabord.ro

hailabord.ro

Extremely affected by the death of Julia, to which he was very fond, Hasdeu built a peculiar edifice meant to intercede the grieving father’s communication with his daughter in Heaven, by spiritualist sessions. The monument is also known by the name of the Castle of the Magus, or “Spiritualist Temple at the foot of the Carpathians”. This building, alongside the Hasdeu Family vault at the Bellu Cemetery in Bucharest, is the only spiritualist temples in the world.

Julia Hasdeu Castle is very impressive thanks to its outstanding architecture and the emotional story of parental love whose presence can still be perceived in the air. Julia Hasdeu Castle lies in Campina, Boulevard Carol I, no. 199.

amfostacolo.ro

amfostacolo.ro

Let us begin with a few words about Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu and his two Julias: his wife and daughter.

Hasdeu lived from 1838-1907 and was a leading figure of the Romanian culture, a great writer, academician, politician, historian, journalist, lawyer, linguist and folklorist.

Julia Hasdeu was the wife of the scientist, whom he loved very much and married on June 10, 1865, in Bucharest; their marriage lasted about 40 years. Unfortunately, his beloved wife died on July 2, 1902.

amfostacolo.ro

amfostacolo.ro

The daughter of the prestigious scholar, Julia Hasdeu, was born on 14 November 1869. She was a very smart child at the age of 2 years old was able to read, memorize and recite long poems. She won first prize at the end of secondary school, at the age of only 11 years and at that time already knew three languages: French, German, English. In 1881 she went to Paris to continue her studies. At 16, she took the baccalaureate in Letters and was enrolled at the Sorbonne (the first woman student there). She loved the French language and literature and wanted to be known as a writer. Unfortunately at the age of 18, she contracted tuberculosis and died on September 29, 1888, despite her parents’ efforts. Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu and his wife were very affected by this and began to believe in the idea of immortality Julia.

B.P. Haşdeu began practicing spiritualism as the only way to communicate with the world beyond. This castle built between 1894 and 1896, was inspired by the spirit of his daughter, Julia. Initially, it should have had the form of a cathedral, but later plans were changed leading to its present shapes consisting in three stone towers, the middle being the highest and harboring a temple. The day of July 2nd was the symbolic date when the scientist was celebrating his two Julas: his wife and daughter.

Inside the castle, by the windows, there are two parallel mirrors and it is said that everything that goes by there is multiplied to infinity. The building is full of mystery because of the symbolic elements present inside.

sarahinromania.canalblog.com

sarahinromania.canalblog.com

Parental love is still present in the air inside the castle. B.P. Hasdeu lived 10 more years in this castle, and on 25 August 1907 he has died.

Two stone sculptures representing two sphinxes guard the entrance on the domain.

At the entrance you are welcomed inside the reception room of Julia Hasdeu, the wife, comprising: a Boulle style pendulum that belonged to the scientist; a portrait of Efrem Hajdeu, ancestor of B. P. Hasdeu; a marble bust of Julia Hasdeu, the wife; a showcase several personal items etc.

romanialapas.ro

romanialapas.ro

The living room hosts medallions and mural paintings of Tadeu Hasdeu (the scholar’s grandfather), Julia Faliciu (his wife), B.P. Haşdeu, Alexander Haşdeu (the son of Thadeu), Elizabeta Hasdeu (the mother of the scholar), Julia Hasdeu (the daughter), Nicholas Hasdeu (the scholar’s brother). Here you can also find a monumental clock that belonged to the father of the scholar; Rococo style furniture; table and fruit bowl; a showcase with porcelain ware, etc. All items are unique and have an uncommon beauty and elegance.

It is knows that Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu was a devoted freemason and passionate of occult sciences, that is why, the entire architecture of the building has a special significance and symbolism.

romanialapas.ro

romanialapas.ro

The Temple of the castle has a special emotional and spiritual charge: here can be admired a symbol of the Holy Grail and a wood statue representing the Christ, made by the French sculptor Raphael Casciani, that is very well-preserved and has constantly been protected from earthquakes or other acts that had unpleasant effects on the castle. In the temple there is an altar where an pianin that is said that sometimes it plays by itself. There are even testimonies stating that, during the visits to the castle, music emerged from the piano without anyone toughing it and everyone was astonished. This area is surrounded on one side and the other of the two chambers with the role of libraries.

viata-medicala.ro

viata-medicala.ro

The working desk of B.P. Haşdeu includes a Rococo style sofa and armchairs; a walnut desk; paintings and other things that belonged to academician.

Julia’s room includes: her doll; a notebook of arithmetic; Julia’s diary; a sculpture bust of Julia; the working table thereof; two icons; Julia’s inkwell etc.

The darkroom, were spiritualism séances used to be held keeps spiritualist manuscripts; paintings; the spiritualism table and photos; three seats called “tripods” with masonic symbols encrypted; a gas lamp etc.

romania-insider.com

romania-insider.com

There is a hole in the wall that connects with the scholar’s desk through which it is said that Julia’s spirit descended.

Roughly, these are the things that you can see this castle of surreal beauty.

The entrance ticket to the castle includes an audio guide which provides details of all exhibits in the castle, and also has a message for you Julia visitors.

May 19

SIBIU, MEDIEVAL FLAVOR AT THE FRONTIER BETWEEN EAST AND WEST

The first human settlements in Sibiu date from the Paleolithic area, and the first documents of the city appear in an archive issued in the late twelfth century by Pope Celestine III.

In the Roman epoch there was a settlement called Cedonia (in the Guşteriţa neighborhood of today). A short journey into the fascinating history of this city will give you the image of this town, its role and importance in the development of the region and even in other parts of the country.

noi-zambim.blogspot.ro

noi-zambim.blogspot.ro

According to historical evidence, in 1241 Sibiu was conquered and partially destroyed by Mongol hordes. But it raised like a Phoenix from its ashes and the 14th century represents the beginning of an unprecedented development period for Sibiu, which, under most favorable auspices, had become the most important city in Transylvania, due to commercial interest.

Sibiu had more than 13 gateways in the city (some scholars say even 14) and some of them are still standing and represent the most important monuments of Sibiu even today.

fede.ro

fede.ro

Poarta Scararilor / The Stair makers Gate is the oldest building in Sibiu, still standing today. Some say it’s the first form of fortification, as it is known to have existed ever since the twelfth century. The fact is that the stone gate had been standing there as a major fortifications, probably before the Mongol invasion period. In the sixteenth century the gate undergoes changes and reinforcements, with the reconfiguration of the city by including the Lower Town in the fortified enclosure. It functioned as a gateway for about three centuries; afterwards it received a secondary role by strengthening the Lower Town. It remains one of the most important gates of the medieval period, as all roads, coming from all three Romanian Principalities were connected to this entrance in the city of Sibiu. Is has kept the same purpose until today; it was restored in 2005 and it remains one of the most important monuments of Sibiu.

galerie.liternet.ro

galerie.liternet.ro

The Tower Hall is the most important monument of the city, a symbol in itself and few know that is one of the oldest gates that are still standing. Its history overlaps with the one of the city. The name comes from the neighborhood in which it had been erected: during those times, that was the place where the city hall was located.

The Tower Hall served as fire lookout, arrest, warehouse, and in the last two centuries it hosts the Museum of Sibiu. It was rebuilt in 1588, restored again at the end of the 19th century, then in early and mid-twentieth century.

Sibiu medieval period was characterized by economic growth and continuous development.

The society was very well organized and locals formed connections with shoemakers and craftsmen from Moldova and Romanian Country, as well as Hungary and Germany, therefore, this area, just like Targu Mures, Targu Secuiesc, or Brasov was a very prosperous economic center.

wwwromaniamea.blogspot.ro

wwwromaniamea.blogspot.ro

Craft and merchant associations in Sibiu have obtained a number of rights and privileges which led to an unparalleled flowering of city life; and rulers of Moldavia and the Romanian Country have granted Sibians with certain facilities, like, for instance, in the 14th century, the inhabitants of Sibiu had monopoly and priority over the trade with Romanian Country. Following the continuous economic development, in 1366 Sibiu was declared “city”.

And not just economic, but cultural, as well: the first book written in Romanian language was published in Sibiu in 1544. In 1692, Sibiu became the capital of Transylvania and the connections and influences with the Austrian Empire flourished.

lucianstere.ro

lucianstere.ro

Brukenthal Palace is the most important proof and a living witness, so to speak, of this flourishing period. Sibiu is becoming a promoter of progress in the country: the first railroad was built in 1872, electric current is introduced in 1897, the headquarter is set at Astra Sibiu etc. Throughout the centuries, many Saxon families had settled in the region, strengthening the social, political, cultural and economic connections with their homelands.

Unfortunately, the historical events that followed (World War II and the communist regime) have led to a substantial reduction in the Saxon population in the city, whether as a result of deportations to Siberia initially or subsequently as a result of massive emigration to Germany.

In recent years, with the efforts coordinated by the former mayor of Sibiu, turned Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis the prestige of Sibiu war reestablished and, in 2007, Sibiu become the European capital of culture, together with Luxembourg.

edusoft.ro

edusoft.ro

It is one of the most vivid, aristocratic and authentic cities of Europe, where several important artistic festivals take place annually, hosting a great number of visitors from Romania and worldwide.

If you visit Sibiu, you will be introduced to the peak of Romanian and European culture, architecture, cuisine and a great bonus of amazingly beautiful natural environment which surround the city.

May 17

THERME CENTER IN BUCHAREST, A PLACE TO BE ENJOYED WITH YOU FRIENDS AND FAMILY (THERME)

Therme Center is a new attraction spot located close to Bucharest, in the nearby suburb named Balotesti.

It was opened in January 2016, and it is a complex of spas, theme saunas, pools and aquatic fun, with everything that it implies.

http://www.onlinesport.ro/

http://www.onlinesport.ro/

Once you enter, the wide space, which resembles the set of a futuristic / sci-fi movie, will overwhelm you. And so will the gentle personnel who is always there to serve you and make you feel comfortable and very helpful.

It is made up of three sections: Elysium, the Palm and Galaxy. For each zone you will receive a particular wrist-watch that will serve as an electronic wallet that will help you buy whatever you need inside the area and have access to your locker.

http://www.economica.net/

http://www.economica.net/

Elysium has six saunas – each has a unique motif – , a selenium and zinc panoramic pool, where you can relax and have a drink at the pool bar, sky lounge and terrace, showers, massage, nine different areas with deck chairs and a restaurant which is open daily between 12.00 and 15.00.

The Palm area is a miniature rain forest that hosts about 500 palm trees from all over the world that surround the gigantic pool. There are three other pools dedicated to aromatherapy and Jacuzzi, where you can relax and enjoy a tropical day, regardless of the season you are in.

click.ro

click.ro

Galaxy is the family zone, where children and adults as well can enjoy the spectacular slides that look like giant snakes rambling around each other. There is an open-air pool, and another covered one, which simulate sea waves. In the same perimeter there are: another restaurant, a snack bar, several smaller pools and playgrounds, where you can spend quality time with your dear ones.

Therme Complex hosts several scientific workshops with educational and informative purpose, where you will find out more about the secrets of our planet and the cosmos, all you have to do is stay tuned and keep an eye on the schedule.

www.europafm.ro

www.europafm.ro

It is opened daily, and if will offer you a great deal of summertime fun, even if you are in the middle of the winter.

May 16

Romania’s eco treasure- the cob house from Timisoara

casaverdeAfter 12 years working in Canada, Ileana Mavrodin, architect and natural builder decided to head back to her native country in Romania. She settled for her first cob house in Sasca, a village close to Timisoara city, in the west part of the country. Her project is called Casa Verde, which means The Green House.

The concept of this project is all about healthy, environmental, cheap and sustainable way of building in natural areas untouched by civilization. People from around Europe are visiting Ileana every year for a piece of advice on how they can build the house of their dreams using nothing but ecological materials. This initiative brought her many fans in Romania and outside of the country and someone actually had the idea of building a whole village with cob houses in Berca, close to Buzau town (which is located around 110km away from Bucharest, the capital).

A natural material to build with, that you can use straight from your backyard, is earth. Originated from an English word, cob means lump or rounded mass. During her workshops at Sasca, Ileana Mavrodin teaches you how to make a house from the scratch using cob. Cob is the result of mixing earth, sand and straw. The experience of using cob goes beyond your building skills and gets you into a magical and exotic feeling because you can freely use both hands and feet to model your house. If you ever wanted to know how Demi Moore felt in Ghost when she was sculpting with clay, now you can find out visiting this part of Romania and learning this ancient building technique. Everything is organic when you build with cob, from the material to its round, natural shape.

The interior of a cob house is very cozy, appealing to your desire to feel at home; to a home like in only fairy tales you would see. If you want to go ecological all the way, you can use recycled materials for the house; you can integrate colorful glass bottles in the walls of the construction to philter the natural light in different shades. Most of people choose to have their walls painted with inspiring mandalas or creative flower patterns. A cob house can have a hippie look, or a chic one, or definitely a contemporary and elegant one. A very interesting part of the building it is the green rooftop and there you can leave your inspiration run wild and bring into your private suspended garden the flowers you always wanted to keep in the house but it seemed you never had room for them.

If you decide to come to Sasca at one of Ileana’s workshops you can also experience for a whole week how it is to live and eat organic, because the guests are hosted in the beautiful village in traditional houses and the food is provided by local people from their own sustainable farms.

Photo source

www.casa-verde.ro

 

May 13

MOGOSOAIA PALACE, THE PERFECT PLACE FOR A GETAWAY OUTSIDE BUCHAREST

Since summer is almost here, a few hours closer to nature are always welcome. If you are in Bucharest and you fancy going out in the open, but a regular park doesn’t sound so interesting, or you do not want to further away from the city too much we suggest Mogosoaia Palace.

Mogosoaia is located about 15 kilometers further from downtown Bucharest and within easy reach, being an accessible spot even for those who have no personal car. A halt at the lake and a walk among the tall trees in a warm and sunny day, the beautifully attended walkways are a comfort for the soul and luckily picnics are allowed, so things can get even better.

mycountry.ro

mycountry.ro

Mogosoaia Palace was built by Constantin Brancoveanu and was completed at the beginning of the eighteenth century, on a piece of land that belonged to the wife of a boyard named Mogoş – hence the name of the assembly. Afterwards it was taken into custody by the Brancoveanu family for about 120 years, and then turned over to the Bibescu family. The palace is designed in a Renaissance style Romanian known as Brâncovenesc – an eclectic style that combines elements Renaissance, Baroque and Oriental.

turistderomania.ro

turistderomania.ro

You will be seduced from the beginning by the beautifully sculpted statues placed on one of the gates of the domain and the floral details on buildings that are absolutely fascinating.

The buildings are in very good condition, recently renovated, there is no advertising banner that affects the fairytale-like charm of the place. Alleys also integrate into the landscape and welcome you to discover every corner of the place.

turistderomania.ro

ioanabudeanu.com

Entrance to Mogoşoaia complex is free, you pay only if you want to visit the Museum of Art situated in one of the buildings.

St. George Church is right outside the complex, at the entrance. As you pass the gate, it appears in front of a wide, airy yard, inviting you to relax and step into the world of voivodes and dames of past times.

An exterior ladder will help you reach the gate tower, and from here you can admire the whole domain. The atmosphere has something of the simplicity of a monastery and exposes a discreet elegance.

ioanabudeanu.com

ioanabudeanu.com

Overall, that architecture of the ensemble is rather transparent, uncomplicated, but pleasant and harmonious: brick and romantic floral decorations or other plant motifs are predominant. The façade that faces the lake guards an Italian-style garden with clipped hedges that form a small maze and the steps leading to the water are guarded by two stone lions. On another side of the Palace there is a parcel full of colorful flowers and another one with purple irises, that make it look like a set from Kink Arthur’s tales.

An important side of the palace we have the Cuhnia, an archaic word signifying the Brancovenesc style kitchen; it was built between 1681 and 1702 and now hosts exhibitions and different events.

The guest house had been built by George Bibescu in 1870 on the site of a seventeenth-century mansion and it was restored by George Matei Cantacuzino between 1922-1930. Currently, there is a terrace where you can serve something.

Other impressive elements that make up the Mogoşoaia complex are greenhouses, ordered by Nicolae Bibescu at a workshop in Paris in 1890 and rebuilt in 2002; the Bibescu family vault, which is beautifully nestled between tall trees; and the ice supply, which in the past, blocks of ice from the lake Mogosoaia used to be kept under thatched.

http://mapio.net/

http://mapio.net/

The best time to visit this magnificent place is during the week, when the area is fairly quiet and there is hardly anyone around. On weekends when the weather is good, the place fills up, but the atmosphere is as delighting, it only depends on yourself If you like to be surrounded with crowds, or you prefer to stroll along and meditate without being disturbed.

Mogosoaia Palace organizes all kinds of events, concerts and festivals, the best known being MogoşoaiaClasic Fest.

May 10

TARGU OCNA – A PINCH OF SALT IN THE HEART OF THE CARPATHIANS (TÂRGU OCNA)

Targu Ocna is placed on the eastern slope of the Eastern Carpathians, in the historical region of Moldova, in Bacau county, on a picturesque lowland at the confluence of two rivers: Trotus and its affluent, Slanic. The landscape is rugged, with heights which variate between 400m – 600m.

http://www.salrom.ro/

http://www.salrom.ro/

Nature has been generous with this region. Natural riches are varied and important: forests, orchards, vineyards, rivers, farmland and major deposits of coal, salt, construction materials and mineral waters.

The gorges and ghats created by Trotus River and its affluents have built pathways between Moldova and Transylvania, which boosted the exchange of goods and development of the area throughout time.

http://www.marisano.ro/

http://www.marisano.ro/

The history of these places provides the resort with significant beauty and mystery. The settlement flourished in close connection with the intensification of the exploitation of salt.

In parallel with the exploitation, processing and marketing of salt, the “Salt” Targu Ocna, in recent years has been developed as a trendy touristic activity that has medical benefices as well.

At Targu Ocna tourism services have been diversified in later years by arranging of a modern recreation complex, inaugurated in the summer of 2010. At the surface, the location has a swimming pool with salt water, showers, medical consulting room, terrace, shop and free wireless internet.

bacauairport.ro

bacauairport.ro

For a pleasant ambient the visitors can enjoy spending time sunbathing on chaises provided with parasols, playing table tennis and basketball on specifically arranged sports fields for tennis, volleyball and even a bowling alley. Sports equipment can be rented on the spot. There is also a module and a barbecue where different food products can be consumed.

The natural environment adds charm to the formula needed for an unforgettable day and the salt water lake and the waterfall complete the fascinating landscape with their presence.

And within the immense underground voids, the labyrinth of thousand meters galleries, the locals have created a modern touristic base which gives you the impression of a “city in the deep”.

Since the resort has plenty of opportunities for the entire family, children could not be ignored; there are plenty of playgrounds equipped with swings, slides and seesaws. Inflatable slides are the favorite place for the youngest visitors. Slot machines constitute attraction for tourists of all ages and connoisseurs can enjoy a game of pool.

In the underground there is room for gymnastics and a medical consulting room. Respiratory problems are currently treated by specialized personnel.

http://www.tgocna.ro/

http://www.tgocna.ro/

Inside the mine, there is also a food kiosk, a terrace and souvenir shop, so there are plenty to do and you will have a great time and a wonderful experience.

In 1992, at the initiative of the unity employees in the heart of the salt massif, the first underground Orthodox Church in Europe has been built; the church is dedicated to Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners. In front of the altar is the iconostasis which consists of 24 icons. On both sides of the altar, there are placed icons of Holy Martyr Barbara and Holy Paraskevi, the patron of Moldova.

The iconostasis, the Throne of the Divine King and the beautiful chandelier illuminating the church have been skillfully manufactured by the miners and artisans of great talent and carefulness, dedicating a piece of their soul to eternity.

ghidulturistic.ro

ghidulturistic.ro

Within the complex, there is a newly built “Museum of Salt” where you will find information about the genesis, evolution exploitation and processing of the creation of salt and its therapeutic virtues and you can admire the interesting exhibits that recall the past.

This natural wonder, the salt, so necessary for our daily existence is considered the “white gold of the Earth”, and the “slice” of health and relaxation that visitors will gain by visiting the underground are offer generously to those who know how to value these natural blessings.

Targu Ocna offers a unique experience where you can relax with the entire family, improve your health and knowledge and, last but not least, you will get acquainted to the traditional Moldavian hospitality.

http://www.orthphoto.net/

http://www.orthphoto.net/

There are plenty more tourist attractions on the perimeter of Targu Ocna; the beautifulOrthodox Church of Saint Barbara, the leisure and touristic base, located in the salt mine on the 9th level underneath the surface, Magura Ocnei Monastery, the church of the former Raducanu Monastery, Magura Park and plenty of historical memorial places and ancients architectural monuments, such as Tescanu Rosetti Cultural Centre – a spot dedicated to the memory of the famous composer George Enescu.

As for accommodation, you have a luxurious hotel and plenty of idyllic pensions that will offer you all the conditions that you need for a perfect holiday.

May 04

THE MUDDY VOLCANOES IN BUZAU, A LUNAR LANDSCAPE ON EARTH (VULCANII NOROIOSI)

http://romaniarurala.ro

http://romaniarurala.ro

The Muddy Volcanoes represent geographic formations created by natural gas at 3,000 meters depth pushing to the surface the clay mixed with water from the lower layers of the ground: once the mud is pushed to the surface by the pressure of gas, it forms a cone.

Although, when you think of volcanoes, you imagine hot lava, the mud surface is cold, as it comes from layers of clay at a shallow depth, which does not reach to the lithosphere close to the magma reservoir.

There are about 1100 mud volcanoes known in the entire world. In Europe you can still find active mud volcanoes in Italy, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova and in Romania of course, but there is such a region in Canada, as well.

http://www.daciccool.ro/

http://www.daciccool.ro/

In Romania, due to the great gas reserve of Romania, we encounter mud volcanoes in several areas of the country, such as the Depression of Transylvania, Banat Plain and Buzau. Mud Volcanoes in Buzau occupies the largest area and are the most famous: the Big Bluffs – as they are popularly known – occupy an area of 22 hectares, and the Small Bluffs span on 15.6 hectares.

http://atlas-geografic.net/

http://atlas-geografic.net/

Both Big Bluffs and Small Bluffs are close to the town of Berca nearby, and the access to them is at hand if you know the way or choose it wisely, according to the marks.

The big volcanoes are right by the road coming from Berca. After leaving the car in the parking lot, buy ticket from kiosk, where you can find souvenirs, as well, and, under no circumstance, do not light a cigarette! Smoking is forbidden due to the gas that is spreading in the air.

http://www.aeagency.ro

http://www.aeagency.ro

At the entrance, there is a sign with explanatory notes, a map and visitation rules.

Once you get there, you will encounter a marvelous sight that seems to be from another planet; the volcanic cones are not so high, and eruptions are not as violent, and you can admire this lively process in silence and complete calm, with no danger whatsoever. The landscape is in continuous change, because every once in a while, a new cone appears, and an old one grows in height.

http://hormia.ro

http://hormia.ro

Once you receive all the needed information, prepare to be amazed! I assure you that no description can enclose the astoundingly surreal view, and all previous statements that you might have read are short in depiction.

Apr 19

PIATRA-NEAMT, THE MEETING PLACE OF THE SACRED AND MODERN (PIATRA-NEAMT)

A timeless realm of pastoral hills, majestic mountains and old monasteries, Neamt district, placed in the south of the historical region of Moldova, is a popular touristic spot for those who enjoy nature, history and tranquility.

The capital of Neamt is the town of Piatra Neamt and it is built on the relics of Petrodava, an old Dacian settlement.  Piatra Neamt bears the traces of other ancient cultures, such as Cucuteni – one of the most famous prehistoric cultures of Europe. It is bordered by five mountain peaks belonging to the Eastern Carpathians, is crossed by the River Bistrita and offers all the benefits of a natural environment placed in the middle of one of the most beautiful areas of Romania.

pn1

http://www.viziteazaneamt.ro/

You can get there by train that connect Piatra Neamt to Bucuresti – the capital city of Romania, iasi (one of the busiest Romania cities) and Targu Mures (placed in the nearby historical region of Transylvania) and the nearest airport is 60 km towards the South, in Bacau.

There are plenty of accommodation opportunities, due to the fact that, in recent years, Piatra Neamt has encountered a considerable economic development that boosted tourism, as well.

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The Youth Theatre http://www.ziarpiatraneamt.ro/

If you have decided to arrive here, you were probably allured by the crude beauty of the Ceahlau Peak – considered a sacred mountain, similar to Olympus, in Greece. There are many legends related to this imposing natural monument, which hosts the homonymous national park, among the most beautiful in Romania. Ceahlau is the highest peak of the Bistrita Mountains and has always been considered the watchtower and the protector of the ancient surrounding lands and its inhabitants. Long ago, when the ancestors of today’s Romanians celebrated their ancient beliefs, they considered that it was the residency of Zamolxis – the principle of Creation and Ceahlau was named Pion/Peon (the Home of the Pillar). And nowadays, when the area hosts such a great number of monasteries and settlements of Orthodox hermits, it is considered the second most important mountain of Christianity, after Athos Mountain in Greece.

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http://www.piatra-neamt.net/

The landscapes – mountains and lakes – are the greatest resource of Piatra Neamt, together with the monasteries which represent real pieces of architectural jewelry that lasted since the times of Stephen the Great – the Moldavian Prince who bravely defended his homeland and the Christianity by the invasions of the numerically superior Ottoman Empire at the dimmet of the Middle Ages. Stephen the Great is also the founder of some of the most beautiful Orthodox monasteries in the country and is said that he would build a monastery after every won battle.

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Agapia Monastery https://commons.wikimedia.org/

Among the most prestigious one in the area, I would mention only a few that are not to be missed: Agapia, Almas, Neamt (attested by the documents since 1210), Petru Voda, Sihastria (built in 1655), Bistrita Monastery, Durau, Daniil Sihastrul – which bears the name of the Stephen’s spiritual father, a wise hermit who guided his decisions.

You can also visit the Court and Tower of Stephen the Great, which is available all-year long and the Histrory and Archeology Museum, where you can admire the greatest collection of Aeneolithis artifacts in Europe.

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Neamt Monastery http://www.crestinortodox.ro/

But don’t imagine that modernity has missed this picturesque place, on the contrary; it is one of the most vivid cultural and artistic cities of Romania: The Theatre of Piatra Neamt is a prestigious stage, where some of the greatest names of actors and directors of the last century began their careers. Also, there are many other festivals throughout the year that will enrich your experience, such as a Classic Music Festival, an International Theatre Festival and countless folklore festivals that will introduce you to the local traditions.

Apr 11

THE ROMANIAN PALACE OF PARLIAMENT (PALATUL PARLAMENTULUI ) – CONTEMPORARY GRANDEUR AND ARCHITECTURAL MASTERPIECE

The biggest administrative building in the world is located in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, and it is probably one of the most controversial edifices build in the recent history.

http://www.blog.wellcome.ro/palatul-parlamentului-romania

http://www.blog.wellcome.ro/

The building plan begun in the year 1978, after the great earthquake of 1977, when a great part of Bucharest – a city with an architecture that lasted since the pre-World War I period – had been knocked down by the seism. At that time, the incumbent president of Romania, the Socialist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, saw the destruction of Bucharest as an oportunity of renewal and “The House of the People” – as it is known by its original name – was considered the crown jewel of the Romanian capital. The chief architect was Anca Petrescu, a reputable architect who gained Ceausescu’s respect; she brought the project to an end and lead a team of as many as 700 architects and 20.000 workers.

casa_poporului2

http://zoom.mediafax.ro/

Fun fact: speaking of Pharaohs, The Romanian Parliament is bigger then the Pyramid of Kepos in Egypt by two percent!

At that time, it was one of the most lavish and exorbitant  buildings of the 20th century, as it represented about one-third of the country’s budget on a period of five years (in 2006, its costs have been estimated at around 3 billion Euros) and it implied great pecuniary and human  endeavor.

There has been used a great deal of resources and materials, such as tones of marble, crystal, expensive wood essence, leather, glass and Romanian manufactured carpets and curtains that add to the elegance and exquisite furnishments.

The numerous conference halls of the Romanian Parliament Building have hosted countless events and meetings of the most important contemporary political figures and they are opened to the public eye almost every day (except for those days when official events take place), according to the visiting program.

casa_poporului1

http://www.casapoporului.ro/

There still is a lot of hard feeling around this building coming from some of the residents of Bucharest, as, to many of them, especially of older age, it represents a painful wound that reminds them of how Nicolae Ceausescu forced them to relocate from their elegant old mansions, in apartment buildings in different parts of the city, because the construction perimeter is settled on the area of the former bourgeois quarter “Uranus”, where everything was demolished from Ceausescu’s orders. We can conclude that every colossal masterpiece involves a great sacrifice.

The Romanian Parliament has 12 levels above the land surface – offering a spectacular view of the city – and eight levels underneath. Its substructure is also a subject of many urban myths, as it is believed that the hidden face of the building shelters a nuclear bunker and a net of mysterious catacombs that lead to secret escaping gates. But that is, of course, legend that adds to the remarkable character of the construction.

Whether it is true, or not, you can see it for yourself and reserve a day to visit the Romanian Parliament during the established program.

http://www.artline.ro/