Sep 26

SARMISEGETUZA REGIA – THE MOST ACCURATE CALENDAR OF ANCIENT EUROPE (SARMISEGETUZA REGIA)

If you have decided to make a journey throughout the ancient history of Romania, the first thing you must go is Costeşti, the near Hunedoara, some 43 kilometers far, a distance that is easily ported by car, and from there on foot to Sarmizegetusa – the most important Dacian fortress.

What you must know before you see it for yourselves is that, between around 100 B.C.  and 100 A.D., Sarmisegetusa was a true megalopolis. It stretched for dozens of hectares and was protected by a ring of fortresses located on the surrounding hills. It was built on a terraced hill by the mysterious Dacians, the same way the Inca tribes terraced their mountains, but only a thousand years later. The amount of stone brought to these hills in order to build those amazing walls and fortresses around is greater than the volume of stone in the pyramid of Cheops. The stone was brought from quarries at 50-60 kilometers, the most plausible version states that the stone was brought during wintertime with the help of the the sledges. Stone blocks weight from 200 kilograms to several tons each.

The Dacian treasures are legendary. After the wars against the Roman Empire that took place between 105 and 106 A.D., Emperor Trajan brought to Rome enormous quantities of gold (165 tons) and silver (331 tons). The figures vary, but there were public facilities for 123 days and Roman citizens were exempt from taxes for a year.

Most experts say that the Romans did not find the greatest treasure of the Dacians, which luckily still remains buried in the area. It may be in Mount Godeanu, which guards Sarmisegetusa towards the north. The Solar Clock from the Altar – the best known and popularized in Sarmisegetusa – points directly towards north and Mount Godeanu. It is also possible that the treasure might have been moved. The excavations have continued in the area, but nothing of any formal research. The state is trying hard to stop the antique  “poachers” from continuing seeking out and selling various artifacts in the area. Recently, the staggering gold mold has been found by  historians and archeologists.

You can park your car next to the camping in Costeşti and start walking at a brisk pace towards Sarmizegetusa in the direction of the plate indicating 18 kilometers. These 18 kilometers can be driven in full drive, but if you insist going through this route without a car, admiring and enjoying the little surprises that this beautiful scenery has to offer – like birds, fruits and many other delights – the trip will be even more exciting.

Just followed the path of the car to the town nearby, although you can even get there by bike, because the road is easy, rather flat, with a single slope near the western gate of the town. Arriving at the destination you are going to be greeted by a map of this tourist attraction with some inspired additions made by other tourists.

The ruins are well maintained and well preserved, but the actual place is quite deserted in terms of tourism; no guide plates or informative point, of any other info place where you could find a flyer or information in addition to the above map, however there are numerous signs that warn you that “It is forbidden climbing on monuments”. As you’ve probably guessed, the entry is free and the trail traversing the city is at leisure. Make sure you have enough water supplies in your backpack, as an 18 kilometer walk will dry you out.

Limestone and andesite sanctuaries seems to serve and séances in addition to their primary role of historical monuments that represent one of the oldest and most accurate calendars and astronomic observatories of mankind.

If you linger among these sanctuaries trying to decipher the solar disk, you will enjoy a great feeling of serenity and calm, surrounded by the green forests and clean air, but remember to get back to your car just in time, as the path will take about four and a half hours.

If you are considering a day trip to a place so full of history, than this place is worth considering. And if you come along with your children, the little ones will enjoy this trip to the area to run and play and is very easily to keep an eye on them. And if you are passionate about collecting pebbles, or picking wild raspberries, blueberries and other such delights, you will certainly love this experience (sic)! 🙂

Photo source:

Picture 1: welcome2romania.wordpress.com; Picture 2: incomemagazine.ro; Picture 3: 360.inp.org.ro; Picture 4: proalba.ro; Picture 5: youtube.com; Picture 6: turism.gov.ro
Sep 16

THE CAVE AT VADU CRIŞULUI, A PLACE LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE (VADU CRIŞULUI, ROMANIA)

Vadu Crişului Cave was discovered in 1903 by Gyula Czárán after dynamiting the slope and arranging the wooden stairs and bridges soon after. In 1969, the underground facilities are upgraded and the cave is electrified, becoming the second cave in Romania where the electric lighting was introduced.

Vadu Crişului Cave is located in the Criş Gorge, in Padurea Craiului Mountains (the Princes’ Forest), between the towns of Vadu Cris and Şuncuiuş.

The cave has a length of 1 kilometer, of which 680 meters are allowed to be visited by tourists who are not speologists. It has three main large galleries (besides others that are narrower and more difficult to access), and one of them is used only for paleontological research, which is also famous for having been extensively researched by the famous Romanian explorer, biologist and scientist,  Emil Racoviţă.

Vadu Crişului Cave has a more special status because it is crossed by a stream which originates in the karst plateau Zece Hotare (Ten Borders) – Old Man’s Cave, so basically the water forming  inside the cave is the same that creates the Vadu Crişului Waterfall.

We enter the cave through the left side of the underground creek, we pass by the three galleries going upward, which open on the left, we traverse the Suspended Bridge over the lake and arrive at a party spherical high (globe of Earth), above which a limestone canopy has been formed during the ages.

Then two separate ways are splitting: one lower, along the underground stream and the other way that forms the upper floor. Upstairs hallway after completing a small climb in an upper room, where shall descend into the Balcony Hall with the fallen blocks. Underneath these blocks, we go to the Hell gallery and get reacquainted the creek in the Great Hall of the cave.

The road continues to the point of the Straits, where the corridor is obstructed by fallen boulders where the cave visiting ends.

You can reach the cave:

– By train to Cave Halt on Cluj-Oradea route;

– By train to Vadu Crisului or Şuncuiuş and then walking nearby the railway for about 2 kilometers to the same Cave Halt.

– By car from Vadu Crisului: you can leave your car near the football field in Vadu Crisului and then follow they railway or the new Red Circle tourist route;

– By car from Şuncuiuş: you can leave your car in front of Şuncuiuş station and then walk nearby the railway, again some two kilometers to Cave Halt.

Photo source:

Picture 1: infopensiuni.ro; Picture 2: ciraandreea.blogspot.ro; Picture 3: 99tour.ro; Picture 4: informatii-romania.ro; Picture 5: bihorinimagini.ro; Picture 6: bihorinimagini.ro; Picture 7: tai-tai.net
Jul 05

HOLIDAY IN BUCOVINA, A PLACE OF LEGEND AND OUTSTANDING NATURE (BUCOVINA)

A holiday in Bucovina will leave you with the feeling that Romania is a country so beautiful that could live solely from tourism. Certainly, before planning your holiday in northern Moldavia, you will ask yourself what are the most interesting sites and landmarks you should see. Of course, among the wonders of the location, the pride of the place is represented by its famous monasteries. But they are not the only highlights of an area where nature and landscapes will delight you, probably more than anything. I will offer you some suggestions, which are obligatory to see in this realm of old history and legends that is the land of Bucovina. The order is random, but there is a certain route to visit them all, one by one. The roads are excellent and all you have to do is let your feet guide you.

Putna is the first monastery built by Stephen the Great – the Romanian Prince who fought against the Ottoman Empire, being also the place where he was laid to rest, along with his family. Its construction began in 1466 and was completed in 1469, it was consecrated in 1470 after winning the battle of Lipinti against the Tartars. The works were completed by Greek architect Theodore and fortifications were committed somewhat later, in 1481. After a fire and devastation made by the Cossack army of Timus Hmelnitchi monastery was practically rebuilt by Vasile Lupu, during 1653 -1662. Putna Monastrery under the patronage of the Assumption.

Putna is one of the most beautiful and imposing monasteries in the country, due to both its architecture and the landscape in which it is placed, bringing it the top choice of passionate spiritual tourism.

You cannot come to Putna without passing by the cell of Daniil the Hermit.

The holy monk Daniil had decided at one moment of his life to withdraw and settle on the bank of Viteu River, nearby, in the village of Putna today, in order to lead a life dedicated to the Lord, where he was going to spend the rest of 20 more years, in complete hermitage. He found a rock in which he patiently carved a room like a small a chapel, which later became a place visited by many believers who came to seek spiritual advice and redemption. After his death (the exact year is not known), Daniil was buried in the narthex of the Voronet Monastery. At Putna Monastery you can see some of his relics: a finger adorned in silver and 11 pearls and a garnet.

Do not expect to find more than a cell, where you meet a monk who prays. But its location is spectacular and spiritual surroundings will fill you with peace and relaxation.

Built in 1488 by Stephen the Great, Voronet is probably the most famous monastery in Romania. That’s because of the famous “Voronet blue” color which is unique and has a formula which has not been discovered up to this day, despite the scientiffic evolvement. Legend has it that the monastery was founded by Stefan after a visit to the monk Daniil the Hermit, who urged the Prince to not surrender in front of the Turks, and if he prevails in the struggle with them, he must raise a monastery in the name of Saint George. Maybe this is why, this particular monastery, Voronet, was the closest to the soul of the Moldovan leader and also of his followers. Today, the monastery is part of UNESCO.

Exterior paintings, elaborated by theologian Grigore Rosca, are absolutely fabulous: unique, bright compositions,  high-impact themes, original an d inspired traditions including, for example, musical instruments speciffic to the Moldovan area, such a cobza or horn. Voronet blue color that is part of Bucovina symbolic colors (along with other colors such as white of Humor, ocre, yellow, rusty etc.) have been preserving their mystery composition for more than five centuries. The vivid hue, which in the sun it gets an incredible shine has conserved it’s liveliness for so long since its application and has become famous worldwide.

Photo source:

Picture 1: hellobucovina.com; Picture 2: lataifas.ro; Picture 3: explorebucovina.com; Picture 4: romaniatourism.com; Picture 5: www.perlabucovinei.ro; Picture 6: bucovinabooking.ro; Picture 7: blog.ultramarintm.ro; Picture 8: discoverbucovina.info; Picture 9: panoramio.com; picture 10: arratour.ro, Picture 11: platferma.ro; Picture 12: bucovina.net
Feb 26

Maramures

Evolution is not only necessary, but desirable, because it marks our constant progress towards a better and superior stage of our existence. But during this constant transformation, the past seems to inevitably get lost on the way and thus traditions, customs and artistic expressions are lost in the mist of forgetfulness.

But there are still areas in the world where people manage to maintain century-old traditions alive. Such a place is Maramures, a region located in the northwestern part of Romania. It is amazing how the inhabitants of this area refuse to change their cultural heritage and continue to perpetuate it in different aspects of their day to day life.

http://impressivebuildings.com/wooden-churches-of-maramures-romania/

http://impressivebuildings.com/wooden-churches-of-maramures-romania/

The traditions which date back since the Dacian period are still preserved to the present day and tourists who venture in this part of Romania would be captivated of the world they were to discover.

A relevant trait is the wooden churches which impress through their unique architecture. The structures are defined by tall pinnacles and shingled roofs. Although they are definitely not the expression of gradeur, the churches captivate through their simplicity and craftsmanship. There is a multitude of elements which harmoniously combine to complete the houses of pray.

http://landscape-akbar.blogspot.ro/2012/08/top-10-tourist-attractions-in-romania.html

http://landscape-akbar.blogspot.ro/2012/08/top-10-tourist-attractions-in-romania.html

The history behind the emergence of the wooden churches is quite complex, as it is that of the other cultural elements which have been infused throughout time in the area. The geographical, social and political influences are noticeable in each distinct part of art and architecture.

For instance, the mixture of various Orthodox religions, as well as the Gothic influences, have put their mark on various forms of artistic expression.

There are eight churches in Maramures which respect to the fullest the traditional timber architecture. These, as you have probably already guessed, are erected almost completely out of wood, with only the base of the church being constructed out of stones and pebbles.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/Biserica_de_lemn_din_C%C4%83line%C5%9Fti_Susani.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/Biserica_de_lemn_din_C%C4%83line%C5%9Fti_Susani.jpg

To give an example, the Church of Saint Nicholas, dates back to the middle of the 17th century (1643) and it is considered an architectural ‘wonder’, especially if we are to take into account the timeframe in which it was constructed. The rectangular church awes through its dimensions, but more so through its traditional mural paintings which date back to the 18th century (1762). It is no surprise that the church is a part of the UNESCO World Heritages since 1999.

But artistry is easily noticeable in another traditional element. The inhabitants of Maramures are renowned for their carved wooden gates. It is a tradition which has been kept for centuries and today tourists visiting this part of the world will see how the entry to each home is presided by an enormous gate which abounds in traditional symbols and leitmotifs, such as the sun, the twisted rope, the tree of life. These symbols stand for life, continuity, youth, faith, protection from evil spirits and so on.

http://holeinthedonut.com/2013/11/03/breb-romania-maramures-transylvania/

http://holeinthedonut.com/2013/11/03/breb-romania-maramures-transylvania/

The conclusion is this: Maramures has preserved it ancient traditions alive and the unique forms of art which one seldom finds in other parts of the world are present here at every step. So if you want to take a journey into another realm, where the reality you are used to seems to vanish in an instant, then visit Maramures.