Apr 23

Sucevita Monastery (Manastirea Sucevita)

Sucevita Monastery, whose dedication day is the Resurrection of our Lord, has been erected in Suceava County (Romania) in the last decades of the 16th century by a family of boyars called the Movila.  The monastery is located in the village with the same name, on the bank of Sucevita River.  

Structure

Sucevita Monastery has a trefoil structure and a closed church porch. There are however two small open church porches on the southern and northern sides which are formed out of pillars connected by braced arches.

http://manastiribucovina.romaniaexplorer.com

 

The monastic construction has a quadrilateral shape with 6 m walls in height and 3 m in thickness. The walls have forts, guard posts, a sentinel path, 4 towers in each corner of the fortification and a chapel located above the entrance gallery which bears the Moldavian emblem. There are still preserved old chambers belonging to the Movila family and cellars where, according to the chronicles of Ion Neculce, a magnificent treasure was hidden.

History

The oldest construction erected on this place was a little church whose dedication day was the Transfiguration of Jesus. On the eastern side of the enclosure, an abbacy was constructed later on. This had a large hall room with a dome which has been transformed into the museum we can see nowadays.

http://worldalldetails.com

 

The next step was to construct the walls encompassing the edifices. These consisted of 3 octagonal towers located to the north-east, south-east, and south-west, and the grand belfry situated to the north-west. It is in this last tower, that two bells which bear the emblem of Moldova and the coat of arms of the Movila family are still preserved. There is another steeple located within the fortification: the Gate Tower.

Between 1595 and 1606, the monastery is completed with two church porches at the entrance – one on the southern side and one on the northern. Within this timeframe the towers are added and the interior and exterior paintings are done. These additions and renovation work are performed under the ruler Ieremie Movila.

Two Moldavian painters undertook the task of illustrating various religious scenes on the walls of the church: Ioan the Painter and his brother Sofronie, and the original painting is still preserved – this bears an important artistic, cultural, historical and clerical value. The towers and the fortified walls convey an appearance of medieval fortress to the monastery.

http://www.crestinortodox.ro

 

The monastery has a burial room, where the rulers Ieremie and Simion Movila rest in peace. The tombstones are made out of Ruschita marble and are considered valuable representations of the medieval Romanian art.

As the Movila family members are considered the founders of the church, there is a votive painting in the left side of the nave where the family of Ieremie Movila is represented. In the opposite part, tourists can admire a second votive painting in which Gheorghe Movila, the one who initiated the building of the monastery, and Ioan Movila, Ieremie and Simion’s father, are illustrated.

Architecture

Sucevita Monastery is a clear representation of the Moldavian architecture. The design consists of a mixture of Byzantine and Gothic elements, to which features characteristic to the old wooden churches of Moldavia are added. And the structure of the monastery stands as example for this: it has a trefoil plan and follows the pattern used during the reign of Stephan the Great – with the closed church porch.

http://felixromania.com

http://www.felixromania.com

 

The other two smaller church porches which are opened are inspired from the Wallachian architectural style. Not to mention the style of the apses, the gothic cornice made out of rock and niches found in the belfry, together with the stellar foundation of this tower –  all are of Wallachian inspiration.

Sucevita Monastery is a true statement of the ancient Moldavian art. Traditional and innovative elements blend in a unique manner, the result being a multicolored church where green is predominant – emphasizing the perennial aspect of the construction, but most importantly, of what the monastery stands for: spirituality, faith.

Paintings 

The iconographic representation is in accordance to tradition, as it has been established during the reign of Petru Rares (at the beginning of the 16th century). But we can also notice new themes of theological- dogmatic character, such as the scenes painted in the nave – which are representations of the Holy Trinity.

http://www.romanianmonasteries.org

 

One characteristic of the iconographic representations is that they are narrative. The painters have illustrated entire scenes with specific saints, thus marking their holy life. These types of paintings were preferred due to the painters’ belief that the scenes could educate the beholders.

It is noteworthy that the pictures, even though religious in nature (as it is normal taking into account that this is a monastery), are also depicting particular landscapes and architectures which are specific for the post-Byzantine era.

The museum

Inside the museum located within the Sucevita Monastery, tourists can gain knowledge of the medieval art of the 15th and 16th centuries: they can gain insight into the architecture, sculpture, paintings, manuscripts and silverware of that time.

http://www.raoulpop.com

 

It is here that one of the most valuable collection of medieval pieces of art in Moldavia is found: laic portraits, tombstones, needlework. Among these items, tourists can admire the silver casket which holds Lady Elisabeth’s hair (Ieremia’s wife) and exquisite embroidery works which date back since the reign of Stephan the Great and which have been stitched with gold and silver threads, pearls and silk.

Access

If you are coming from Radauti town, you can drive along National Route 17 A and then turn to the south-west and drive for 11 km until you reach Marginea locality. Another 5 km in the same direction will get you to Sucevita Monastery.

Apr 20

The Medieval Town of Sibiu (Sibiu – Oras Medieval)

Sibiu is a Romanian town situated in the Transylvanian area and it is one of the most well preserved medieval towns found on the territory of this country. It has been built by the Transylvanian Saxons (of German origin) but even today, Sibiu maintains the splendor of its glorious days when it was renowned as an influential trading center.

In 2007, Sibiu has been elected the European Capital of Culture. The architecture of the city is impressive as the historical sites have survived the passage of time. You can still see the imposing buildings and the fortifications which were created as a means to protect the original settlers.

http://www.visiteroumanie.com

 

Sibiu, whose German name is Hermannstadt, had been founded in the 12th century and was one of the richer and largest fortresses of its time. The surrounding fortified wall is still visible and this bestows a historical atmosphere upon the town.

The structure is really fascinating: the edifices dating from the 17th century are distinguishable due to their steep roofs with attics. The buildings are separated by narrow streets, but further on the streets become wider, turning into large squares which are dominated by churches.

It was in Sibiu that the first homeopathic laboratory in the world was opened by Samuel von Hahnemann.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/

 

Sibiu is divided in two sections: the Upper Town and the Lower Town. The first one is where all the historical sites can be found, whereas the second section comprises vividly painted houses surrounded by cobbled streets.

Original structure

The fortified constructions of Sibiu consisted of 39 defensive towers, 5 safeguard towers and 5 artillery batteries. Every portion of the town still preserves the ancient architecture, but the most well conserved section is the one to the south east. The reason for this is that the fortifications were strengthen through improvement works as the majority of the enemy assaults came from the southeastern side.

http://www.discoverthetrip.com/

Tourist attractions

Tourists can admire three towers from the 15th century which have maintained their original structure throughout the centuries. These are the Harquebusiers’ Tower, the Carpenters’ Tower and the Potters’ Tower. The Great Tower, or the Thick Tower (as it might be known by some), dates from the 16th century. One noteworthy fact about this tower is that it housed the first theatrical representation ever held in Sibiu (in 1778).

Probably the most important tourist attractions located in the Upper Town are the Great Square, the Little Square and Huet Square. Each of these places in its turn has something important to offer. Of high touristic value are the Roman-Catholic Church (which combines the Baroque and classical architectural design) and the Brukenthal Palace (where the Brukenthal Museum is now located), both situated in the Great Square.

http://members.virtualtourist.com

 

This square is connected to the Little Square by means of a passage which goes underneath the Council Tower. This tower, which has been constructed in the 13th century, offers an impressive panorama of the town and for this reason tourists do not pass the occasion to visit it. The roof of the tower was initially constructed in a pyramidal form, but as the time went by, this structure suffered considerable changes, in as much that today it still bears the four corner steeples added in 1826.

In the Huet Square, the most relevant edifice is the Evangelical Cathedral. This has been erected on the place of a Roman basilica in 1510 and it is representative of the Gothic style. But as time went by, the edifice underwent transformations. At present the cathedral combines various architectural styles: the mural representation of Christ’s Crucifixion intertwines elements of the late-gothic period and of the renaissance.

http://www.astro-travels.com

 

Other notable edifices are located in the Great Square, which has been declared an architectural monument by the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Sibiu also has the first iron bridge ever constructed in Romania, called the Bridge of Lies (built in 1859), and an artistically crafted stairway (constructed in the 13th century) consisting of two identical staircases and arches which is meant to link the two sections of Sibiu (Little Town and Upper Town).

http://farm4.static.flickr.com

 

The Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, built from 1902 to 1906, is the second cathedral in Romania in terms of size, being surpassed by a cathedral situated in Iasi County. The Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral is adorned in the neo-Byzantine style and one of its most imposing elements is the chandelier made out of massive gold.

Centuries of history are written in walls of Sibiu. Different cultures and different styles are wonderfully intertwined so that any visitor would be amazed of the architectural scenery.

Apr 19

Mud Volcanoes (Vulcanii Noroiosi)

The geothermal wonder called mud volcanoes can be found in Buzau County, in Romania. While upon first hearing the name, we might tend to think about a frightening phenomenon, the reality is that mud volcanoes are craters in miniature.

Formation

Mud volcanoes are formed with the help of natural gases that exist at more than 3000 m depth. These enter in contact with the phreatic sheet and the clayey soil found at the surface and the result is a fluid paste of an ashen coloration which is known as a mud volcano. This is a very rare phenomenon in the world, but Romania has more than 30 hectares covered with these volcanoes.

http://jurnaluldebuzau.ro

 

The mud volcanoes definitely create an unusual image, conveying a gloomy look to the landscape. Tourists are bedazzled not only by the volcanoes themselves but by the scenery these form together with the unique vegetation which has adapted to the saline environment. If you get real close to the volcanoes, you can actually hear the ground “mumbling” – a voice coming from the depths of the land.

Due to the visual effect conveyed to the setting, the region is also known as marshes. The structure of the mud volcanoes is similar to that of the conventional volcanoes, only that in this case, the eruption does not provoke devastating effects. The cons do not exceed 5 or 6 meters in height which is a direct cause of the distance to which the “volcanic emission” is being thrown. Due to this phenomenon, the entire region is arid – an exception making the plants which have adapted to the dry and salt soil, as it has been previously mentioned.

http://www.academiacalatoriilor.ro

 

Other tourist attractions in the region

This is definitely a place worth visiting as you are going to gaze upon something you have never seen before. There are other tourist attractions in the area so you should make sure that you get around to all of them.

For starters, you should check out Sarata Monteoru which is one of the most important balneo-therapy resorts in the area. It is located at 20 Km from Buzau and it is renowned for the efficient treatments (with mineral, sulfurous and calcic springs) it offers for all sorts of illnesses. The area is visited by a considerable number of tourists on an annual basis due to the clean air, the picturesque landscape and the cures conducted at the resort.

http://pandaartistic.blogspot.com

 

In this region, you can also see Istrita Hill, where the treasure “The Hen with the Golden Chicks” has been foun,d and you can visit the Amber Museum or the Nucu region which is famous for the paranormal activity developed here.

The Amber Museum is located in Colti commune, Buzau district, and resembles a rural house with three levels, but only the downstairs and the first floor are arranged. The collection on display at the museum is singular not only on the Romanian territory by worldwide. Among the objects you can admire there is a piece of amber weighting more than 1800 grams and another of 1500 grams, both having a vivid coloration which ranges from transparent yellow to green and opaque black.

http://turismbuzau.ro

 

But not only segments of amber are found here. The museum has on display icons, documents, photographs, jewelry from the modern age, popular attire, weaving instruments, but also documents which present the means through which amber is exploited.

Amber is actually a multicolored resin which is formed from different types of pine trees, its age being estimated at 50-60 million years.

 

Visiting hours for the Amber Museum:

Wednesday- Friday and Sunday:  9:00 – 17:00;

Saturday: 9:00 – 14:00;

Monday and Tuesday – closed.

Apr 18

Trascau Fortress (Cetatea Trascau)

Those interested in historical facts would definitely want to visit Trascau Fortress. This is a medieval fortification, built somewhere around 1296 by the sub-voivode Thoroczkay. The construction also goes by the name Coltesti Fortress, especially since it is located in Coltesti Village, from Alba County. This was built for defense purposes, as well as a refuge in times of turmoil when the region was pillaged by Tatar armies.

http://www.panoramio.com

The fortress had been devastated by enemies once before, so the people of Trascau decided to rebuilt the citadel on a hilltop – the location being chosen in purpose on a steep calcareous rock so as to make it harder for invaders to take control of it.

History

The fortress had been confiscated by Matei Corvin in 1470 and left in the care of the Transylvania Voivodeship, but after 40 years it returns to the Thoroczkay (Trascau) family. The fortress suffered immense damage in 1514 when the peasants led by Gheorghe Doja pillaged the citadel. But the Austrian Imperial Army, led by General Tiege, was the one to devastate the fortress almost in its entirety in 1713. The armed confrontation was a consequence of the fact that the Thoroczkay noblemen refused to join Transylvania and the Habsburg Empire.

http://cartitaplimbareata.ro

At present, only two towers and a significant part of the lateral walls are preserved. However, on the northern tower (which exceeds 20 meters in height) visitors can still read the inscription which attributes the construction of the fort to the Thoroczkay family.

Trascau Fortress has been recorded among the Historical Monuments of Alba County, a list issued by the Romanian Ministry of Culture and Cults in 2004.

http://goia-bogdan.blogspot.com

Even if the keep has not maintained its original structure, tourists can still make out the towering edifice. The ruins of Trascau Fortress and the overall scenery will transpose any visitor to those historical times. One cannot help but feel respect and admiration for the historical past written in the walls of the fortification.

Apr 18

Voronet Monastery (Manastirea Voronet)

Location

Voronet Monastery is located in Voronet Town, at a 36 km distance from Suceava County and at a 4 km distance from the center of Gura Humorului Town. This is one of the most valuable monasteries in Romania. The construction work began in 1488 and it took only four and a half months to complete the edifice – which is quite the record, especially for that time.

http://www.basilica.ro

 

Stephan the Great, the founder of the monastery, decided to erect the church on the place of an ancient wooden hermitage and choose Saint George as the patron of the church.

Structure

Voronet Monastery does not have a vast surface. It only measures 25,5 meters in length (without taking into account the church porch). The length of the nave and the narthex is of 7,7 meters and the lateral apses measure 10,5 meters.

The nave and the altar still maintain the iconographic ensemble painted during the reign of Stephan the Great. The representations on the walls of the monastery refer to specific episodes in the life of Jesus (the Passion of Christ – scenes which are uncommon in the nave of a church). The scenes are artistically painted and the characters are magnificently represented.

http://www.turism-blog.ro

 

These stand out due to the seriousness of the protagonists, the vigor of their gestures and of the shapes – in this respect, the scenes representing the Entrance in Jerusalem and the Prayer on the Olive Mountain stand out. The images are so vivid, so realistically done, that it feels as if you are taking part at the actual scenes.

Paintings

The images found in the narthex have been painted ulterior and they consist of decorations and figures which seem to create a link with the exterior paintings. In the church porch, there are different types of paintings (the Church Calendar and the Saint Elijah) which have a humourous touch to them – in a sense announcing the future Transylvanian iconographic representations painted on glass (in the 18th and 19th centuries).

Both the interior and the exterior painting is the merit of Gregory Rosca, the erudite theologian, who has personally supervised the anonymous monk-painters who have represented the specific scenes on the walls of Voronet Monastery. Just to make an idea of the impressive paintings illustrated on the church, you should know that the Last Judgment scene occupies the entire western wall and it is made up of an immense composition in five acts – being the only one of its kind in the entire Christian world.

http://www.gurahumorului.info

 

Due to its amplitude, specialists regard it as representative for the decorative polychromic art and label it as superior to the compositions encountered at Athos and Camposanto (Pisa). The last Judgment Scene is considered worthy of being placed next to the Sixteen Chapel (in Rome), to the mosaics found at Kahrie Mosque in Istambul, or next to the scenes painted at San Marco (in Venice).  This goes to show the exquisiteness of its paintings.

What makes the paintings original? The artist had the courage to blend into the religious representations, traditional motifs (specific for the Moldavian region). These consist of musical instruments such as alphorns and kobsas, of local landscapes, or popular attire.

http://www.rog.ro

 

Near the entrance, you can admire the portraits of the founders of the church: Saint Daniil the Anchorite and the hieromonk Gregory Rosca. The initial shape of the monastery can be seen in the votive painting. The church was set on a rock pedestal and the belfry was set on a square base so as to emphasize its slenderness, its impetus towards the sky. The exonarthex was added back in 1547 at the request of Gregory Rosca who was thus considered the second founder of the monastery.

Voronet Monastery, as it is today, is one of the first Moldavian monuments created in a unique and personal style. The monastery is very original in its design which blends Byzantine elements (the trefoil form of the nave with the belfry), Gothic elements (the “lauching” aspect of the edifice, the arches of the doors and windows, the presence of the abutments) and specific autochthonous motifs (the belfry with four arches and a stellar base, the space underneath the cornice, blind arches at the apses, etc.).

http://www.invizita.ro

 

The arm chairs and some of the lecterns belong to the 16th century, whereas two bells artistically crafted have been a gift from Stephan the Great.

Voronet Monastery stands out due to its architecture and design which are a symbol of refinement. It is no wonder that people all over the world come to this house of worship.

Apr 13

Balea Lake Resort (Balea Lac)

Balea Lake Resort is a highly important tourist attraction, situated in Sibiu County, in Fagaras Mountains (in the Meridionali Carpathians). Balea Lake is a glacial lake located at 2034 m altitude. Balea has 360 m in length, 11,35 in depth and a total surface of 46.508 sq. ft.

Balea Lake

http://www.pensiuneadracula.ro

 

The lake, together with a surrounding surface of 100 ha, has been declared a natural reservation. The setting is spectacular. There are numerous terraces and peaks such as: Iezerul Caprei (‘The Goat’s Mountain Lake’ – 2417m), Saua Caprei (‘The Goat’s Saddle’ – 2315m) and Paltinul (‘Sycamore Mapple’ – 2398m). The lake is found at the foot of Piatra Craiului Mountains and of Olt River Strait.

During the summer, the Trasfagarasan is opened for circulation so you can reach the resort by car. But in the other seasons, the only access to Balea Lake consists of cable tramway. In 1904, the first cabin was built at Balea Lake, on the peninsula situated in front of the lake. This is the most renowned cabin in Fagaras Mountains as it is surrounded on three sides by water.

http://www.summitpost.org/

 

Balea Waterfall is one of the most impressive waterfalls in Romania. It is situated at an altitude of 1234 m and measures 60 m in length. The murmur that the water makes while falling down is quite powerful and for this reason, the cascade is also known as the Howling Balea. The waterfall then divides itself in several other smaller waterfalls which stream more peacefully.

Just to understand how noisy the cascade really is, you should know that tourists cannot get too close to it, as there is no access road. Even if they have to admire it from afar, they can still hear its ‘voice’. It is the voice of nature untamed.

The cascade and the lake can be admired for their actual size and worth from the cable tramway which runs over a 3800 m distance in order to take the tourists to Balea Lake. You cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the beauty of this landscape.Those who have a passion for the mountainside will be pleased to hear that they have a variety of mountain tracks to choose from, some posing a real challenge to the adventurers.

http://www.ecomagazin.ro

 

In 2006, the first Ice Hotel from Romania was inaugurated at Balea Lake and, at present, tourists can vist the Ice Church which is located right next to the hotel. The Ice Church is the first one of its kind in the entire south-eastern part of Europe. The worship house has furniture, crucifixes and icons, all made out of snow and ice.

Different sports, specific for the winter time, are practiced here. The area has numerous natural tracks and for this reason, skiing is the number one sport practiced by the majority of tourists. When the lake freezes, its surface is arranged for hockey, ice-skating and curling. In summer, tourists can engage in rowing.

http://www.alpinet.org

 

Another glacial lake, Goat Lake, is located in close proximity of Balea Lake. The lake is situated at 2241 m altitude and it is separated from Balea Lake by a mountain slope which can be climbed in more or less than 45 minutes. It is definitely worth the effort, as the view from the top of the mountain is fascinating.

Apr 12

Bran Castle (Castelul Bran)

Bran Castle is the main tourist attraction in the Transylvanian region. It is situated within less than 30 km from Brasov, between Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains, on the road which connects the cities Brasov and Campulung Muscel.  The castle has a very rich history, having changed its destination throughout time from a medieval fortress to a royal residence. At present, the castle has become a museum, drawing thousands of visitors every year.

History

The castle dates from 1378, when it has been erected on top of a cliff. At the time, the construction bore high value from a military point of view as it reigned over the Rucar-Bran passage which led through the mountains.

Source: http://www.draculascastle.com

In 1407, the ruler Mircea the Elder received the Bran castle from Sigismund of Luxembourg, the German emperor and king of Hungary. The building remained under Wallachian authority until 1419. In 1427, the castle was taken over by the Hungarian ruler and it underwent a series of fortification and extension works.

The castle become royal residence in the true sense of the word in 1920 when the Town Council of Brasov donated it to Queen Mary of Romania as a token of appreciation for her contribution to the Grand Unification which occurred on December the 1st,1918. The Queen had decorated it according to her taste and had left it as inheritance to her daughter, Princess Ileana, the sister of Carol II. The royal family had been expelled from the country in 1948 and Bran Castle became property of the Romanian state. Unfortunately, the building was abandoned and suffered considerable damages.

It is not until 1956 that the castle is reopened for visitations when it is partially transformed into a history and feudal art museum. In 1987, restoration works are conducted and these are completed by and large in 1993.

 

Source: http://www.tripideas.com

Legend

Bran Castle is mostly renowned for the legend of Count Dracula, which has been promoted extensively through the novel ‘Dracula’ written by the Irish author Bram Stoker. The legend is actually based on a real story which revolves around the ruler Vlad the Impaler who was a cruel and bloody person that punished its enemies and its disobedient subjects by using different types of torturing measures: cutting limbs, boiling people alive, strangulation, burning, mutilating. But the legend distances itself from reality, as the main character is actually a vampire that feeds itself with the blood of its victims. It doesn’t really matter that Count Dracula did not resemble Vlad the Impaler in many ways, the fact remains that the fictional story has stirred the imagination of thousands of readers, bringing them to Bran from all over the world. Visitors are enticed with the idea of seeing in person the place where the cruel vampire dwelt. In fact, some are so convinced of the idea that Dracula actually existed that they are intent in finding evidence of his existence in the castle. This goes to show the impact that the book had on its readers and the fame that Bran Castle has attained throughout time.

Tourists can visit both the interior of the castle and the exterior courtyard and they have an experienced guide at their disposal who can reveal them the secrets hidden inside the castle.

 

Source: http://www.tripideas.com

At present, visitors can admire the ceramic collections, the furniture, weapons and armors which date from the time of Queen Mary’s reign. The modifications made by the Queen are quite noticeable as the castle has been transformed from a military fortress into a summer residence for the royal family, so the esthetic and structural improvements are visible.

In 1932, the Queen requested for an electric generation to be built and from this year onwards, the castle benefited from artificial light. An elevator was also built in order to facilitate the access to the garden from the superior floors of the castle.

A hunting house, a wooden church, a wooden house with 7 rooms and two cottages (one for the Queen and one for her daughter) have been built. You can notice the refined taste of the Queen in the design she conveyed to the entire castle. Among these, the Grand Room (a living room decorated in the German Renaissance style), the Yellow Room, the Music Hall, the Tyrolienne Chamber (belonging to King Carol II) stand out as they are characteristic to that period and to the sophisticated style of the Queen.

 

Source: http://www.romania-tour.ro

In the exterior patio, tourists can visit the Romanian Village Museum which brings together different types of architectural designs and popular customs from all over Romania.

As you can see, Bran Castle is a place where history, culture and myth intertwine. The architecture and the décor are impressive and you will definitely not regret having visited this one of a kind touristic attraction.

Visitation hours:

  • Monday: 11:00-18:00;
  • Every other day: 9:00-18:00.

Price:

  • Adults: 9 RON/person (3 euro);
  • Students: 4 RON/person (1,3 euro)
  • Children under 5 years old have free access
Apr 12

The Bear Cave (Pestera Ursilor)

History

The Bear Cave was discovered in 1975 due to a supervised explosion performed at the local marble quarry. The cave represents one of the main tourist attractions in Apuseni Mountains and it is located in Bihor District, in close proximity of Chiscau village.

The explosion created a well-like opening which provided access to the cave beneath. The first person to descend into the cave was Traian Curta, a miner from Chiscau, who took it upon himself to investigate the cave.

But the first official research conducted on the cave situated at 482 m altitude was performed on September the 20th, 1975, by a group of amateur speleologists called ‘Speodava’, original from Dr. Petru Groza town (which today bears the name Stei). Afterwards, the Speleological Institute ‘Emile Racovita’ in collaboration with the “Crisuri County” Museum from Oradea District, has performed various studies on the cave and has reached a conclusion concerning what needs to be done in order to properly arrange the cave and what protection measurements should be taken. The whole project took five years to be completed, but in the end the cave met global standards and on the 14th of July 1980, it was finally opened for visitations. At present, the cave receives more than 200.000 visitors per year.

Source: http:// www.ihotele.ro

And the reason for it is quite simple: the Bear Cave is worth visiting due to the impressive rock formations located within its walls. The cave is renowned for its variety of stalactites and stalagmites, but also due to the extensive number of bear fossils found here. In fact, this is the reason for which the cave was named this way. In ancient time, the cavern bears would retreat to the cave when they sensed that it was time for them to die. The fossils have remained undisturbed for more than 15.000 because the entrance to the cave had collapsed. Other fossils encountered by explorers belonged to lions, cave hyenas, ibexes, and black goats.

Structure

At the entrance, a special pavilion has been created which consists of a waiting room, a ticket booth, a bar, a small speleological museum and a souvenir stand where you can find items specific for this area.

Source: http://www.liontravel.ro

The Bear Cave has 1.500 m in length and is made up of several galleries disposed on two levels: the first gallery, the superior one, which has a length of 488 m, can be visited by tourists, whereas the second one, which is 521 m long, is destined to scientific research. The superior gallery has 3 sub-galleries and 3 rooms: the Bear Gallery (or the Boone Gallery), ‘Emil Racovita’ Gallery, Candle Gallery, Candle Room, Spaghetti Room and Boone Room.

The Bear Gallery is named this way because 140 skulls but also several shelters used by these animals were discovered in this place. The walls of the gallery are covered with bear paw prints and the theory behind this is that the animals had been trapped within due to a collapsed rock which obstructed the entrance.

In the ‘Emile Racovita’ Gallery, fossils belonging to some animals which went extinct thousands of years ago are on display. The stalactite and stalagmite formations which are found in this area are mesmerizing. It seems that drapes made out of calcareous rocks decorate the place. In the last gallery, the Candle Gallery, tourists can contemplate white stalagmites which have never been touched by human hands. This gallery ends with a 16 m long tunnel which has been artificially created in order to provide access to the surface.

Source: http://www.cipriandumitrescu.com

The stalagmite and stalactite formations, which vary in shape and size, are definitely something to gaze upon. There are some formations which stand out from the rest and which capture the tourist’s attention. These are: the Enchanted Palaces, the Lake with the Water Lilies, the Mastodon and the Dwarf House, the Drapes from the Bear Gallery, the Portal, the Pagoda and the last room, the Elderly Council, which is lit by candles. All of these are wonders of nature and it is definitely worth visiting the Bear Cave in order to admire them.

The temperature within the cave is constant throughout the year (10 °C) and the humidity level maintains itself at 97%.

How to reach the Bear Cave?

If you want to visit the Bear Cave, you have to drive along National Route 76 which connects Oradea and Deva Counties and then take the County Route 763 which will get you to Chiscau village – a 14 km drive.

This is one touristic objective you cannot miss. The cave is famous for the numerous fossils discovered here, as well as for the beauty of its architecture.

 

Visiting Hours:

  • Tuesday- Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00;
  • Closed on Mondays.

Tickets:

  • Adults: 15RON
  • Children: 10 RON

Price for taking photographs: 15 RON

Price for filming: 25RON