Sep 21

THE MERY CEMETERY OF SĂPÂNȚA – THE LIVING PROOF THAT THERE IS ETERNAL FUN (CIMITIRUL VESEL DIN SĂPÂNȚA)

The name of the cemetery comes from the multitude of colorful tomb crosses and satirical poems which are emblazoned on the tombs. The fame of Săpânța town comes from its renowned Merry Cemetery that has become a major tourist attraction.

Legend has it that the cheerful attitude in the face of death is a custom of the Dacians who believed in eternal life and death for them was just passing to another world. They did not see death as a tragic end, but as a chance to meet Zamolxe, the supreme god.

The cemetery dates back to the mid 1930s and is the creation of folk artist Stan Ion Patras, sculptor, painter and poet at the same time. Patras’s creativity has revealed this monumental and famous artwork. Over 50 years, the artist has created hundreds of wooden crosses emblazoned in this characteristic style. After his death in 1977 his work was continued by his apprentice, Dumitru Pop Tincu.

The material used for the crosses is oak, which is writable by hand after it having been cut and dried. At the top of each cross there is a bas-relief with a scene from the life of the deceased. The scenes are simple and we might even say naive style but villagers bring the past alive, presenting a relevant aspect of everyone’s life. They present women spinning wool, weaving carpets or making bread, men who cut wood or till in the garden, shepherds with their flocks, wood workers, musicians and many other traditional occupations.

After the cross is carved it is usually painted with a blue background, the so-called “Blue of Săpânţa”. The scenes are painted using vibrant colors: yellow, red, white and green.

No cross is finished without a short poem, a few simple rhymes, between seven and 17. The epitaphs are sincere, spontaneous and written in the first person – the deceased’s messages to the living. The style is lyrical but satire is found frequently. Each poem contains the name of the deceased and an essential aspect of the life of that person.

With their drawings and poems Stan Ioan Patras and Dumitru Pop Tincu managed to recreate an entire village and gave people a second life after death. The more than 800 painted crosses, which constitute a vast archive preserve the history of the inhabitants of Săpânţa.

Photo source:

Picture 1: agerpres.ro; Picture 2: vezi-lumea.blogspot.ro; Picture 3: infopensiuni.ro; Picture 4: descopera.com; Picture 5: roncea.ro; Picture 6: i-tour.ro; Picture 7: adypetrisor.blogspot.ro
Nov 01

The Merry Cemetery

If we were to take a country and start exploring it carefully, we would be surprised of the many grand discoveries we were to find. And I would like to narrow this statement to a specific domain, namely to tourism. Nowadays, we have a multitude of websites from where we can gather the needed information in terms of tourist attractions in a specific country or area, so if we embark on a journey of discovery, we already have a picture in our minds of how the trip will unfold.

But even so, nothing compares to actually being there, and to the impression you are left with after seeing in person a monument, a historical building or a breathtaking natural setting.

sapanta-merry-cemetery

There is a particular area in the northern part of Romania which has capture my attention a long time ago and which I have failed to present to you so far. I am talking about Maramures and while it is definitely impossible to tackle the subject adequately in one article, I will only focus on a particular attraction – even though a simple overview will not do justice to this land which abounds in cultural objectives, traditions and impressive landscapes.

http://02varvara.wordpress.com

An important attraction, which gathers thousands to these parts of Romania, is the Sapanta Cemetery, which is widely known as the Merry Cemetery. The name of the cemetery might seem puzzling at first sight, as it incorporates two words that have opposite meanings – for how can death have anything happy in it? But when you see the gravestones you immediately understand the meaning of the name. The gravestones are actually works of art which depict certain elements from the deceased life in a humoristic way. While death and the burring ceremony itself have always been treated as solemnly as humanly possible, the Sapanta Cemetery seems to give a new interpretation to human demise. It is indeed a sad moment when you lose someone, but instead of grieving, we should celebrate the individual’s life. And this is what the gravestones do: they portray the ones who had passed to the other side in a lively manner.

http://www.nydailynews.com

The first such gravestone was developed in 1935, by an unknown sculptor, Stan Ioan Patras, who made the inferior side of the cross wider in order to leave room for an epitaph. Soon afterwards merry gravestones sprung throughout the entire cemetery, being dyed in vivid colors and having funny and witty pictures on them.

But the idea for the cemetery did not spring out of nothing. There is a legend according to which the Dacic population had a joyous approach on death because for them it was a mere passage into another realm. Their belief was that life was infinite so death should have been cheered for it equated to transcendence to a better world where they were given the opportunity to meet the almighty god, Zalmoxe.

http://www.messynessychic.com

The work of Patras has brought to life a monumental artistic expression in which history, legend and tradition are intertwined. The scenes represented on the gravestones are connected to the cultural traits of the area meaning that women are represented baking bread, knitting or performing other household activities, while the men are portrayed as wood cutters, sheep herders or while working the land. None of the gravestones is completed without a small poem with simple rhymes. Access within the cemetery is possible after paying a small fee and even if the charge was high, I have to admit that it was worth it because you will see something that you have never seen before and which will change your view about the life- death dichotomy.

Jun 03

Gura Portitei

Now that summer is here and we are awaken each morning with the sunrays gently piercing through our windows, maybe it is time to consider a much deserved vacation in a quiet place where we can enjoy the sun every single day.

Gura Portitei is a village situated in the Danube Delta, in Romania, and has become quite renowned in the latter years due to the tranquility with which it inveils its visitors. This is an alternative to a standard resort near the seaside because unlike the latter, which is most of the time too crowded for many not only in the sense of too many tourists but also because of the multitude of stands which invade the sidewalks, Gura Portitei can be regarded as the epitome of peacefulness. Visitors can reach the village only by boat which means that we are definitely talking about a secluded holiday getaway.

http://www.infotravelromania.ro/

Depending on what it is that you are interested in, you can rent a room at a nice vila or you can opt for an appartment fully equipped with everything you needed. But while comfort is the number one factor for some in determining the quality of their vacations, others depict their perfect holiday in different terms. At Gura Portitei, individuals have the chance to become closer to nature so to speak in the sense that they can camp on the beach, just a couple of meters from the sea. This is how many envisage their vacations: leaving the crowdiness of the city with a backpack on their backs and heading for a quite place where they don’t see anything in sight except sand and water. Lying on the beach all day with the sun warming them is everything they need to detach completely from their day-to-day routine.

http://guraportitei.ro/galerie/

There are other attractions in the area so boredom is something you will not experience while staying here. There are motorboats you can rent either to take a trip on the water or to go fishings, there are tennis and voleyball courts at your disposal if you are interested in practicing your skills and you can  choose to go on a boat trip on the Danube. You can even benefit from the services of a local tourist guide who can show you the surroundings. If you decide to visit Gura Portitei, do not miss out on the trips on the Danube because you are going to be taken aback by the picturesque image you are offered in which the flora and fauna combine harmoniously in order to convey a unique portray of nature.

Apr 29

Curtea de Arges

We will once again venture on Romanian land and uncover a new tourist attraction which will definitely be to your liking. This article is dedicated to Curtea de Arges, a unique city located amid the sub-Carphathian hills. Why is this specific place the topic of a new article? Probably because it comprises distinctive attractions in which history and myth combine harmoniously.

The city is situated in a mountainous setting, in close vicinity of the Arges River, which can only mean that you are going to enter into a picturesque site which will indulge your senses. Those seeking peace and tranquility are bound to find that Curtea de Arges and its surroundings display such qualities.

http://turism-arges.ro/despre-arges.html

http://turism-arges.ro/despre-arges.html

It is not certain how the city came into being but there are several speculations revolving around its development. Some consider that the archaeological diggings conducted in the area revealed that Dacians were inhabiting the place in the year 500 B.C. Others however, who base their presumptions also on archaeological discoveries, deem that the area has not been inhabited prior to the 11th century. But if we cannot say for sure when the city was formed, then we ought to focus on the architectural jewels it offers to its visitors.

Venturing on the streets of the city we will come across various constructions which will undoubtedly capture our attention such as the Municipal Museum, the Episcopacy or the Arges Monastery. Remnants of the Old Royal Court are still preserved. The court was constructed in the 14th century, shortly after the victory obtained in the Battle of Posada and while the centuries that had gone by have gravely deteriorated the court, the remaining fragments still allude to the glorious past of the Wallachians. In fact, this is the reason for which the city is known as Curtea de Arges (Court of Arges).

http://www.adielatravel.ro/statiuni-montane/curtea-de-arges-campulung-muscel_s42.html

http://www.adielatravel.ro/statiuni-montane/curtea-de-arges-campulung-muscel_s42.html

The Royal Church was constructed in the same period as the court, but unlike the later, the former has managed to be kept untarnished by the devastating marks inflicted by time. Not only did the building itself managed to survive throughout the years, but so did the mural painting which wonderfully adorned the church. This was possible due to the several renovations the church underwent. The church was constructed in the Byzantine architectural style and consisted of three distinctive rooms: the nave, the narthex and the altar.

The Arges Monastery is another place of interest especially since there is a legend which revolves around its construction. The myth of creation through sacrifice is deeply ingrained into the Romanian culture and the construction of the monastery is the embodiment of this myth.

Legend has it that the ruler of Wallachia, Radu Voda, was determined to build the most beautiful monastery anyone has ever seen as a way to thank God for the victories he had attained in battles. So he chose the mason Manole to accomplish this task. However, the master mason could not fulfill what he was appointed to do because everything he and his team had managed to complete during the day, was shattered by some unknown force during the night. This occurred for several nights and nothing could explain why this happened. Devoid of other ideas which might lead to the monastery actually being constructed, Manole turned to the mythical interpretation that any act of creation is in need of a sacrifice. So he has decided that a living woman should be put into the walls of the monastery so that the construction could stand erect. Since they could not decide which woman to sacrifice, they decided to let fate intervene and appoint the victim.

http://www.trilulilu.ro/imagini-calatorii/manastirea-argesului-1

http://www.trilulilu.ro/imagini-calatorii/manastirea-argesului-1

The plan was to sacrifice the first woman who would arrive at the construction site in the morning. But the masons could not stand by and watch how one of their wives was sacrificed so they warned them to stay at home the following morning. Manole  was the only one who did not inform his wife about the plan because he believed that his fellow workers would respect the agreement and thus fate would decide for them. But Anna, unaware of what was going on, arrived at her husband’s work only to face her doom. Manole had to hold true to his words so he took Anna and sacrificed her in order to allow his creation to come to life.

The truthfulness of this story is questionable but the outcome of it is that a beautiful monastery was erected in Curtea de Arges and that it constantly impresses the passers-by through its craftsmanship.

Dec 21

The Brukenthal Palace (Palatul Brukenthal)

In Avrig, right beneath the Carpathian Mountains, lies an architectural treasure which undoubtedly deserves the attention of the passers-by. This is the Brukenthal Palace, a unique castle which is the singular one in Romania to be surrounded by a park wonderfully created in the Baroque style.

The palace was constructed as the summer residence of the Governor Samuel von Bruckenthal. It was erected on the highest point in Avrig and it faces the River Olt. The craftsmanship with which it was designed has led to it being renowned throughout the country as the “Eden from Transylvania.”

Brukenthal Palace- http://commons.wikimedia.org

The artistry of the architectural design is mainly the result of the fine tastes of von Brukenthal, the influential political figure who had been the governor of Transylvania for 13 years. The castle contains a wonderful collection of paintings, books and ancient manuscripts, as well as elements of numismatics.

The palace, which has been constructed in the 18th century, together with the garden by which it is enclosed, extends over a surface of 16 hectars.  The construction was in fact initiated in the second half of the 18th century by the then governor Adolf Nicolaus von Bucow, but the one to stand by it in the later stages of the construction and the one to leave his mark on it was von Brukenthal – who had fashioned it to its particular taste. Due to the fact that the Governor of Transylvania had travel around the world it was impossible for him not to draw inspiration from some of the well renowned buildings in Europe. So it is basically no surprise that the constructions after which the Brukenthal Palace was fashioned are the Luxembourg Palace in Paris and the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna.

http://www.lapensiuni.ro

In terms of structure, we are talking about a U shaped building which consists of a central body and two lateral wings. In order to comprehend the fondness that Brukenthal had towards art you should know that the palace contained 212 paintings and 129 engravings displayed on its walls. The passage of time had not destroyed these works of art, in fact those who want to have a look at a beautiful collection should know that these works are preserved in the Brukenthal Museum (which is located in Brasov). The same thing cannot be said by the palace itself as this has not been preserved adequately. In time, the building had passed through several hands and the numerous owners did not look after it as they should have. The degradation of the edifice was further enhanced in the Second World War when it had been used as a military hospital.

U-shape structure – http://www.flickr.com

But with all the tumultous moments it had seen in its lifetime, the building had survived and it can still be admired by people interesed in fine architectural designs and in historical monuments. At present, the palace is protected under the law.

The park posed quite an interest due to the fact that it follows a Baroque design, being organized in terraces. The gardens were not characteristic to a singular architectural pattern, these being arranged after the French, English and Dutch models. This variaty was definitely enticing in the sense that, depending on your location in the park, you had a different perspective over the entire arrangement. Due to the fact that, like the building itself, the park had not been tended to properly, the original design got lost.

Intensive restoration is required in order to regain the former look. But in spite of it all, the Brukenthal Palace, as well as the park, still maintain a glimpse of their original self, their historical character still “beaming.”

Sep 28

Porolissum Fortress (Cetatea Porolissum)

Archeological sites, especially those well-kept, carry an important value because they are statements of ancient cultures and they allow individuals to get a glimpse of the way of life of their ancestors. Porolissum represents one of the best preserved archeological sites on the Romanian territory.

The construction was erected by the order of Emperor Traian with the purpose of blocking the passageway between the Carpathian Mountains and Dacia Porolissensi. But this region had flourished in the following years, being transformed into an important commercial center. Due to this development, the scope of the city had shifted in as much as it had become the capital of the region.

http://www.ghiduri-turistice.info

The initial construction was erected on a stone foundation, with the superior part being made out of wood. The structure could contain within its walls as much as 5000 soldiers. There are some aspects left shrouded in mystery. For instance, the name attached to the citadel has Dacian resonances, but in fact the archeological diggings conducted in the area have not revealed any Dacian settlements to have preceded the Roman fort.

As the region experienced a considerable growth, the citadel was refurbished, the new edifice being erected from stone. While there is no consistent evidence in this regard, there is a general belief that the reconstruction process occurred during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It was around this time that human settlements started to encircle the citadel. In the year 124, the basis of a new province was set by Emperor Hadrian who had appointed Porolissum as the administrative center of the new location.

http://leosuteu.rdsor.ro

But after the quick expansion and the flourishing period it traversed, the citadel was abandoned. This occurred more than a century later, in 271, under the ruling of Emperor Aurelian. But even so, the data collected by the archeologists who had examined the area closely revealed that the citadel was not completely deserted. Only those who have founded the construction had left it behind, but soldiers still remained behind to protect the citadel. Remains of Dacian settlements were found, but the investigations conducted revealed that these were constructed at a later period, after the citadel already reigned proudly over the valley. Also in the region, archeologists found plates which had engraved on them the names of the most important individuals of that time, names of Daco-Roman origin.

http://www.magazinsalajean.ro

The site began being explored at the beginning of the ‘70s, but the diggings continue to this day. The ruins of the city and of military installations have been revealed, such as public baths, a temple, amphitheater and several dwellings. At present part of the stone wall has been reconstructed and diggings are underway in the forum of the city. To the north west of the main entrance, lies a small Dacian fortress.

The area is definitely worth visiting due to the fact that it contains several markers of ancient civilizations. Tourists will be able to see the innovative developments that existed in the construction of such edifices in antiquity. The methods used were definitely impressive if the constructions are still standing after so many time, even if only partially.

Sep 13

Lake St. Ann (Lacul Sfanta Ana)

Lake St. Ann is the sole volcanic lake located on the Romanian territory. It is situated in Ciomatu Mountain, in Harghita County, and was formed on the crater of an extinct volcano that has erupted tens of thousands of years ago – the last eruption being the most recent phenomenon of this kind to occur within the Carpathian Mountains.

The altitude at which the lake can be found reaches almost one thousand meters (946 m). Lake St. Ann is circular and resembles a painter’s palette, measuring 620m in length and 460 m in width (at its widest point). The total surface is of 19.50 ha and the maximum depth reaches 7 m. Why are these pieces of information relevant in this article? Even if the main theme of the texts presented revolves around the tourist attractions which can be found in a specific area, relevant data concerning the formation and presentation of a tourist objective is necessary because it allows people to get a general idea about the place they are about to visit.

http://turistuhai-hui.blogspot.ro

When tourists venture into the “wilderness” in order to visit various monuments of nature, they usually try to find information concerning the weather so as to avoid being taken by surprise by extreme meteorological conditions, but when it comes to Lake St. Ann, these data are easily obtained. The two fissures formed within the volcanic mountain can predict the way in which the weather is about to change. People who dwell in the region will correctly foresee if the day will be characterized by a sunny or a stormy atmosphere. If the emissions coming from the fissures pinch the nose, then storm is underway, otherwise, the day will be sunny, thus allowing tourists to go hiking.

These predictions should be taken for granted because there is a scientific explanation behind the phenomenon. While the volcano is dormant, its core still preserves some of its characteristics, in the sense that some sort of post-volcanic activity still occurs within the mountain and this captures any change in the atmospheric pressure, as subtle as it might be. When the pressure drops, the gases that are located inside the mountain come to the surface, being released in the atmosphere through the aforementioned fissures. These gases are responsible for the pungent smell.

http://www.zborpestetransilvania.ro/lacul-sfanta-ana/

St. Ann Lake is a natural reservation, being a treasure of the environment due to its geological characteristics, as well as to the species of flora and fauna found here.

Besides the fact that they have the opportunity to gaze at a volcanic lake, singular of this kind in Romania and in Eastern Europe, tourists are also drawn to the idea of escaping the agitation of everyday life and retreat into a beautiful natural setting. And this is what Lake St. Ann has to offer. There are no springs which flow into the lake, all the accumulated water comes from the rain.

The location is definitely appropriate for spiritual redemption as it offers the perfect conditions for a retreat into the self. Not to mention that right on the bank of the lake one will find a Roman Catholic chapel dedicated to Saint Ann.

http://www.panoramio.com

There is a legend according to which a girl was to be married, but she resented the idea as the marriage was arranged for financial purposes. In the eve of her wedding, she ran away and threw herself into the lake. Her body was never found and as a result the lake was named after the girl who gave up her life instead of being forced into doing something she did not want.

The natural setting is characterized by several myths, thus there is this sense of mystery revolving around the lake. Maybe neither of the legends is trustworthy, but some might be connected in a way or another to the historical facts. The bottom line is that you are bound have a unique vacation if you choose to visit Lake St. Ann.

Aug 31

Durau Monastery (Manastirea Durau)

Durau Monastery is located in the eastern part of the Ceahlau Mountains, in the balneal climatic resort which bears the same name, Durau, and it has been erected on the site of an old nunnery which dated from the beginning of the 17th century. However, the dwellers of the hermitage changed at the beginning of the 19th century, when the Hierarch of Moldova of that time suggested that the hermitage be transformed into a friary.

The monastery which presents itself before us dates from the 1800s. The construction work was initiated in 1830 and lasted for 5 years. In the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, several hermitages were constructed around the monastery. However, at present, not many of these are still standing, the majority having been demolished with the construction of the balneal climatic resort, Durau – which occurred after the 1970s.

http://www.turismland.ro

 

The position of the religious edifice was cherished for quite a number of years due to the fact that it was located right under the Ceahlau Mountains, having been isolated from the rest of the world and thus conveying the perfect atmosphere for meditation and spiritual uplifting. Not to mention that the natural scenery is breathtaking.

Initially a hermitage, the construction was lifted to the rank of monastery with the help of Gheorghe Panu, a well-known political figure, journalist and columnist, who had contributed extensively to the improvement of the edifice. With a considerable financial help received from the state, Durau Monastery came into being. The main church was restored and the bell tower, the small church within the cemetery, as well as the guest houses, were constructed.

http://www.panoramio.com

The history of the monastery is quite tumultuous. After having been transformed into an actual monastery, this rank was taken away in 1959, when it became an anointing church. After 1989, it was transformed into a friary, and after two years it shifted to a nunnery, 20 nuns having been brought from the Varatec Monastery.

The materials used in the construction of the church were stones and bricks and the plan which it followed was shaped as a cross, the only additional elements incorporated in the structure were two slightly emphasized lateral apses and an additional apse which was located at the altar. The body of the monastery follows the standard design, being divided into the nave, the narthex and the altar. From an archeological point of view, the church is representative for the traditional design used in Moldova for the construction of monasteries. Some elements of ornamentation were borrowed from laic monuments.

http://www.crestinortodox.ro

 

The iconostasis is masterfully carved in gilded lime wood and illustrates Constantinople – as it was structured the moment the iconostasis was created, in 1835 .

The nave differentiates itself from the narthex by means of two side piers which are actually part of the lateral walls. These have been incorporated in the structure of the monastery with a designated purpose: that of sustaining the archway, which in its turn supports the cupola. Both the nave and the narthex receive natural light through the two windows each contains in their design: one oriented towards the north and one towards the south.

The façades of the church with three blind steeples appear to have been formed by several sections coming together, similar to puzzle pieces. However, this is a mere optical illusion due to the pillars used to sustain the entablature.

http://www.viziteazaneamt.ro

The western façade is neo-classical in design, being covered with frescoes. One of the most relevant architectural jewels of the edifice is found on this side of the monastery – the central part of the portico is characterized by a beautifully engraved door, made out of massive oak tree.

The bell tower, which is located within 40 m of the altar, is shaped as a square and contains three levels. The first floor of the tower holds a permanent exposition which is dedicated to sacred art. One of the pieces from this exhibition is a gorgeous iconostasis from the 18th century which incorporates traditional elements, combined with Byzantine features.

Tourists who come to Durau Monastery will not regret their decision to visit this monastic construction. Besides the beautiful paintings which adorn the edifice and the wonderful architectural design used, this tourist attraction will also impress through the beautiful natural scenery it offers.

 

Aug 07

The Red Lake (Lacul Rosu)

The Red Lake, the largest natural dam lake on the Romanian territory, is located in Harghita District in a dingle characterized by a subalpine climate. It has been created in 1837, at the base of Hasmasul Mare Mountain, near the Bicaz Straits. According to the latest measurements (which were conducted in 1987), the lake expands over 114.676 square meters and has a volume of 587.503 m³.

According to the geographical accounts, the lake was formed when a part of Ghilcos Mountain, fell during a torrential storm and blocked the three streams that traversed the valley: Licas, Valea Oii and Paraul Rosu (The Red Stream). The name of the lake was given after the stream that flows in the Red Lake and which, in its path, traverses terrains rich in iron oxides and hydroxides, which have a reddish coloration.

http://www.lacurosu.info

 

The lake is also known as the “Killer Lake” due to the legend which revolves around it. Apparently, during the formation process, when a section of the mountain came tumbling down, a human life was taken. A shepherd and his flock of sheep found themselves being crushed by the massive quantity of terrain that fell on them. In fact the name of the lake is also explained through this legend. It is said that the blood of the victims had poured into the lake, thus being responsible for its color.

http://www.circuiteturistice.com

 

Due to its unique coloration, people have started attaching various meaning to the lake, some of them considering it magical. The reddish nuance has a chemical explanation (it has been provided earlier), but this does not mean that tourists cannot let their imagination wonder in surrealistic realms. And why shouldn’t they? The setting is perfect for this. The reflection of the trees in the calm purple water invites the beholder to take a dreamlike trip. There is the possibility to go on a boat trip on the Red Lake and even across the Red Stream, thus getting as close as possible to nature.

http://www.turistik.ro

 

The imagery that presents itself is breathtaking. Unfortunately, the surface of the lake is in a constant shrinkage process as a result of silting – the alluviums carried by the river build up and thus reduce the size of the lake. Scientists have investigated this process and have reached the conclusion that by 2100 the lake will disappear from the geographical maps. But this situation had to be dealt with accordingly so as to avoid the imminent destiny of the lake. The authorities have decided to initiate several projects meant to stop the alluviums from depositing on the surface of the lake.  These consist of building dams along various creeks that flow into the Red Lake, namely Licos, Suhard, Verescheu, and so on.

Reaching the Red Lake is possible irrespective of the means of transportation you have. If you have a car then things might be easier because you will reach your destination much faster. But there are also trains that can get you there. These will not take you directly to the Red Lake, but from the last train-stop you can take local transportation and arrive at the site.

http://www.puiublog.ro

 

The best part about this mountainous region is that it offers you a variety of options in terms of tourist tracks. There is the Red Lake Track which takes about 90 minutes to complete, the Bicaz Track (which extends anywhere from 180 to 210 minutes), or different tracks that take you up the mountains located in this area. The majority of the tracks are marked so it is in everyone’s best interest to follow the pointers and not stray from the path.

But if hiking is not your cup of tea, then you can enjoy a relaxing day on a boat, making ripples on the calm water of the lake. You will have the opportunity to feed the wild ducks that live here and have got so accustomed to the human presence.

Aug 03

The Romanian National Museum of History (Muzeul National de Istorie)

The Romanian National Museum of History is located on Victoria Avenue, in the Romanian capital city, Bucharest. The edifice which houses the museum is actually the Post-Office Palace which has been constructed back in the last years of the 19th century. History has it that the town council decided to erect the palace on the ruins of an inn which burnt down in 1847.

The architect behind the project, Alexandru Savulescu, designed a neoclassical building which consisted of an entranceway supported by ten Doric columns (the organizational system developed in Ancient Greece according to which the piers were placed directly on the flat pavement). The architect designed steps at the entrance which spread throughout the length of the façade.

http://www.artactmagazine.ro

 

The building presents on both sides (the left and right extremities) two domes, which give an imposing look to the construction. The central post office of the city had its office here for 70 years, since 1970, when the edifice underwent a refurbishing process. Part of this process consisted of rearranging the building so as to meet the needs of a museum.

The museum was inaugurated in 1972 and the collections encountered here have expended year after year so that at present visitors can admire close to 690.000 objects: 78.580 items belong to the archeological domain, 183.714retrace the historical past, the numismatic collection consists of a little over 333.500 items, there are 605 old volumes and more than 80.000 items connected to the study of stamps and postal history.

http://www.tai-tai.net

 

The museum comprises a special section where monuments from Greece, Rome and the Medieval Times are on display. The collections encountered here contain sculptures, items of décor, religious monuments and documents.

The documents retrace different historical periods – one of the most important documents  is Hotărnicia Histriei (the paper through which the future of Histria was determined). This was issued by Laberius Maximus in 100 A.D. and comprised the territorial demarcation of the province as well as some fiscal exceptions granted for fishing in the Danube Delta.

http://unknownbucharest.com

 

Visitors can also gaze upon various types of funeral monuments. According to specific timeframes, the funeral ritual was conducted in a different manner and the monuments used to adorn the resting place of the defunct were constantly changing. These were represented by statuettes, pedestals, inscriptions, altars, representations of mythological beings or stars. Usually the monuments used for funerals comprise two parts: the part with the engraving and the one with the decorations. The lettering inscribed on the funeral stone was usually done in Latin, with some exceptions in which they were written in Greek.

The Romanian National Museum of History also contains 7 sculptures which have been discovered in Moesia Inferior. There is only one sculpture which depicts a male personage, whereas the rest are representations of women in different postures.

http://isaw.nyu.edu

 

In terms of architectural items, the museum has on display ruins from the ancient cities Tomis and Callatis. The Middle Ages are represented through various items with religious symbolism, engravings, gravestones as well as objects alluding to the architectural styles used in that period.

Taking into account that this is the national museum of Romania it is obvious that it contains bits and pieces from each of the ancient civilizations that have dwelt in the region such as the Hellenic civilization or the Dacians.

http://www.descopera.ro

 

Everything from original documents, items of furniture, weaponry, manuscripts, paintings and numismatic collections can be found within the walls of the National Museum of History.

Valuable items, such as precious stones and items made of silver and gold are located in the subterranean vault. These items come in different shapes and sizes, such as golden idols, crucifixes, together with the treasure of the Visigoths (Germanic people) and that of the royal family.

There are numerous objects of immense value located in the National Museum of History, each of them contributing to the rewriting of Romania’s history.