Jun 10

JUST A FEW OF BUCHAREST ATTRACTIONS

Bucharest is among the most beautiful European capitals and we have plenty of good reasons to say this. A true urban center that invites you to let yourself captivated by museums with rich collections, by the great vibe that reigns in the historical center, the multitude of buildings with beautiful architecture and many attractions for free. If you’re planning a city break in Bucharest you will be amazed by the quality of hotels and the beauty of the Romanian capital, too little known among international tourists. Moreover, regarding visiting hours, Bucharest can compete for the status of one of the cheapest capitals because most sightseeing and touristic attractions are free; among the many beautiful and interesting spots, we will name a few.

The Historical Center aka Old Town is one of the most chic and crowded places in Bucharest. It’s the heart of the capital – a place studded with elegant buildings built in Baroque and neoclassical style. Downstairs, visitors can delight in one of the numerous terraces, restaurants, pubs or cafes with coffee, juice, tasty and cheap beer and delicious meals from all over the world. Walking around the historical center of Bucharest will give you the feeling that you are back in time, in the Bucharest of yore, when it was nicknamed “Little Paris”, due to its elegant atmosphere, and that feeling will be overwhelming especially when crossing the Lipscani Street.

Manuc’s Inn is one of the best-known and appreciated attractions in the Old Town. It is worth going and admire this historical building with wooden beams, with a huge patio which once was the most loved meeting and negotiations place among the bigwigs back in the old days. Do not forget to pay a visit to the café; there you will admire the classic style of the old time cafés, with velvet sofas and big chandeliers.

You have surely heard of the castle of Vlad Tepes in Bucharest. If the figure of Vlad the Imparels fascinates you, then you surely know about the town of Poenari and the house in which it is said that Vlad was born. Besides that, there is a castle of Vlad the Impaler in the Romanian capital, as well. This castle is located near Carol Park and acquired this name because it is the faithful replica of the fortress in Poenari.

“Caru cu Bere” (the Beer Cart) and “Hanul cu Tei” (the Linden Inn) are two taprooms and historical sites in Bucharest that should not be missed. The entry is free, you can look, take pictures of the beautiful exquisite architecture and leave, but it would be a shame not to stay for a beer and why not, a copious traditional meal, especially as prices are acceptable and the atmosphere is delirious!? However, you’d rather make a reservation, as it might get crowded, especially in the second part of the day.

Stavropoleos Church is definitely worth seeing.  Part of UNESCO heritage, it is an architectural gem built in 1724 in Brancoveanu style and it is one of the oldest monuments in Bucharest. It’s very small and very easy to find, near “Caru cu Bere” and Lipscani.

Cismigiu Park is a lovely green oasis in the middle of a crowded metropolis. You will be thrilled when they discover this corner of of tranquility with beautiful tall trees and wide shadowed alleys, where the nobles of the past centuries used to stroll around. In hot summer days, Cismigiu is ideal for walking and relaxation, so why not ride a water bicycle on the lake!

If you want to admire Bucharest from 137 m above, go to Sky Tower. The entry is also free and the elevator will take you to the 34th floor.

Herastrau Park. If you walking outdoors becomes you, if you enjoy being surrounded by nature, then put Herastrau Park on the must-see list of sights in Bucharest. It was built on the lake with the same name sometime in 1936. You don’t have the “chance” to get bored here: boat trips on pedal boat or on the ship, tennis parties, admiring the Arch of Triumph, the Japanese Garden and  the Herastrau Aquarium; and these are only a few of the park’s attractions.

Free tour of Bucharest: every day, the visitors of the capital receive a free guided tour on double-deckers for about two hours. It starts at Piata Unirii (the Union Square) any time of the day.

Another objective that is also obligatory to visit is the National Military Museum, whose exhibits are divided into various collections such as: Romanian uniforms throughout time, white and fire arms, carriages and harnesses, cosmology and aviation. Exhibits include valuable items such as the sword owned by King Carol I of Romania or the Mannlicher gun belonging to King Ferdinand I.

Do not miss the collection of uniforms which include those of King Carol I, Ferdinand I and Carol II, and also gowns of the Queens Elizabeth and Mary or the Princesses Elizabeth, Mary and Ileana of Romania. The Military national Museum also preserves the largest collection of orders, medals, plaques and badges and comprises over 10 500 exhibits from 53 countries.

And these are only a few of the many interesting places to see and great experiences you can have. To be continued…

Photo source

Picture 1: mercibynovotel.ro; Picture 2: economica.net; Picture 3: radiocluj.ro; Picture 4 puravidahostels.ro; picture 5: hotelelizeu.ro; Picture 6: zilesinopti.ro

 

Jun 06

CHIAJNA MONASTERY, A MYSTERY REMAIN OF THE MIDDLE AGES (MANASTIREA CHIAJNA)

Chiajna Monastery is a place of worship located on the outskirts of Bucharest, at the periphery of Giulesti-Sarbi neighborhood. The historical monument is the subject of many legends and urban myths, gaining its notoriety especially in recent years, since the monastic life restarted in the area. In 2008 the monastery gathered patron “Saint John Jacob the Hozevit”.

The Fanari Prince Alexander Ypsilanti (ruling years between 1774-1782), begins the construction of a large church belonging to a monastery, as a chronicle of the time mentions: “They started to build a monastery at Giulesti, close to Bucharest, and it remained unfinished.”

The one who will carry out this monastery will be another Fanari ruler, Nicolae Mavrogheni (1786-1790), according to the testimony of the same historical document: “They have finished the Giuleşti monastery”, fact that is acknowledged by the archaeological excavations in the 1970s, revealing monk cell foundations all over the area.

This ecclesiastic, cultural and architectural construction of late Middle Ages impresses with its grandeur, with 43 m long, 17 m wide, 1-2 m thick walls and eaves height of 12 m, the largest church ever built in its time. It is unique in terms of architecture because it is the only place of worship, which harmoniously synthesizes original Romanian and post-Brancoveanu style architecture with the neo-Classical pattern. The architect who conceived the church is Johannes Rathner, a Saxon craftsman.

Due to its fortress-like appearance, the monastery housed the residents of its surroundings who found shelter from the invaders. It was bombed by the Turks in 1814, and after 1821 it was abandoned altogether, remaining only the ruins of the great church of the complex.

The church survived several large earthquakes over time, and even those who tried to steal pieces of brick of which it was built, and all this, along with construction of the railway passing some 30 meters close to it has weakened its structure, so today it is in danger of collapsing.

There were many plans and attempts to restore the monastery, especially after 1900; the most recent attempt was even during the socialist regime during 1950-1970.

The monastery is known as the “Chiajna Monastery” or “Mrs. Chiajna” because the land around it passed into the possession of Chiajna County. However, this is not the correct name.

A mysterious face that resembles an angel, a dame, or maybe the Romanian Sphinx was discovered under the plaster on one of the walls.

An urban legend states that there is a curse haunting the place for centuries and that during some nights, locals have noticed gigantic shadow lurking on the walls of the ruins; but there are several variants of the legend: allegedly the former abbot had died of plague and the church didn’t get to be consecrated; others say that Mrs. Chiajna, a boyard lady killed her own daughter because she decided to marry her loved one, not the husband that was imposed on her; and another version is that, in order for the Turkish invaders to not notice the place, the locals took down the church bell and threw it in the waters of the river, hence bringing the curse upon them. It is not certain whether any of these legends are real, but the beauty of the place still preserves a surreal serenity, despite the gloomy tales.

Due to the impressive size and mysterious past, Chiajna Monastery has aroused the interest of many photographers, but also artists who filmed footage for their artistic projects.

Restoration of the Church would be too expensive and its demolition is forbidden, as has the status of historic monument and the clerics are still trying to find a way to bring it back to life.

Chiajna monastery is one of the most important sights in Wallachia, an objective which should not miss it if you are near.

If you want to visit it and admire its still lasting grandeur, there are plenty of accommodation possibilities in the nearby, such a many pensions with very good conditions and prices.

Photo source

Piture 1: infopensiuni.ro; Piture 2, 3; Picture 4: cultural.bzi.ro; Piture 5 chiajna.com: Piture 6 romanianturism.com.
Apr 26

The Old Court Church (Biserica Domneasca din Curtea Veche)

Construction

The Old Court Church is located in Romania’s capital city, Bucharest, and it is the oldest house of worship located in this town. The church was erected by the ruler Mircea Ciobanul (Mircea the Shepard) and Ms. Chiajna in 1559. After the death of Mircea Ciobanu, the task of looking after the church (meaning undertaking the painting and decoration work) was conducted by his son, Petru the Young.

http://www.miscellanea.ro

 

The dedication day of the church is the Feast of the Annunciation, but a second dedication day was instituted after a fire which occurred in 1847 – the patron of the church was St. Antonie the Great. In fact, this shift can be considered as a way to commemorate St. Anton Church which was destroyed in that fire.

Architecture

The Old Court Church is a true architectural gem from the feudal era as it contains an impressive number of vestiges, of immense value. Some of the most important treasures of the church are the iconographic representation of the Holy Trinity at the Mamvri Oaktree dating from the reign of Stephan Cantacuzino, from 1715, which is part of the church altar, and a vessel meant to hold the Eucharist bread which had been donated by St. Constantin Brancoveanu.

http://www.flickr.com

 

But other objects dating from the end of the 18th century and from the entire 19th century are contained within the walls of the church. There are also frescos dating from the time of Stephan Cantacuzino, which have been preserved in their original state, with a few exceptions. However, the frescoes which were altered as a result of the passage of time have been renovated.

Additions to the church were conducted in the subsequent years, as follows: the entrance door made out of stone in 1715 and the interior painting between 1847 and 1853. The artists behind the interior decoration were C. Lecca and Misu Popp.

http://www.dipity.com

 

Tourist attractions

The Old Court Church, now declared a national monument, had been constructed so as to serve the religious purposes of the Old Court. This court was the first of its kind on the territory of Bucharest and consisted of a palace, a church, houses with ballrooms, stables and gardens.

Two major calamities, the 1718 fire and the 1787 earthquake, have effectively ruined the royal court. At present the ruins of the palace has been transformed into a protected architectural site.

In its perimeter, there is also a museum, where tourists can admire the remnants of past times. So if you ever visit the Old Court Church, make sure you check the other attractions that are found in close proximity of this edifice.