Sep 27

THREE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITIES IN ROMANIA

Romania is a wonderful country with friendly people and great cuisine, where tourism has encountered a setback in the past quarter of a century, but it’s catching up and it is ready to have you as a host.

Let us see three of the most important sites that you must not miss while traveling to Romania.

Suceava

Once the capital of Moldovia (an ancient European principality), Suceava is an intriguing place that’s undergone recent regeneration. It lies quite a way off the usual backpacking trail in Europe (as does much of Romania, beyond Bucharest and the Dracula tours) but it’s worth the trek for the seven painted churches of Northern Moldovia located nearby. These unique and beautifully preserved monasteries are adorned with frescoes and are masterpieces of Byzantine art.

To really see the city in full swing, you should time your trip to coincide with the lively Moldavian Furrier Fair in mid-August or for Suceava Days, a giant street party held in late June. The area will be difficult to explore during the hard winters, but it’s hard to pass up the opportunity of a sleigh ride eh?!

There are only a few hostels in Suceava and they’re a little way out, but for a good time, check them – they are a lively place with bars and nightclubs of their own, and it’s a not very pricey 15 minutes bus ride away from the center.

Sibiu

Sibiu is a city in Transylvania, Romania that has a cultural magic all its own. It will have you instantly spellbound with its striking medieval charm, breathtaking views of surrounding landscapes and delicious food. Its historical center was built into two very pedestrian levels filled with most of Sibiu’s historical sites, colorful houses and cobble stone streets.

An artsy yet traditional vibe exists in the city that appealingly permeates the litany of cafes, festivals and exhibitions that thrive there. Some great things to experience in Sibiu are the Brukenthal Museum, and the Crama Sibiu Vechi restaurant, a great place to enjoy authentic Romanian fare and the view of the historical center from the top of the Council Tower.

Bucharest

We just could not leave the biggest and most important city aside! Bucharest, the capital of Romania is a dynamic modern city with a wildly sensational history. Nicknamed “little Paris” in the early 1900’s Bucharest really plays the part with hip cafes, impressive tree lined boulevards and dramatic modern and historic architecture. Home to many attractions, the most remarkable landmark in this vibrant city is the monstrous Parliament Palace. Being equally enormous and ostentatious, it is a mind-blowing architectural feat trumped only in size by the Pentagon.

Where there are many examples of Bucharest’s cultural and architectural splendor the highlights include the Romanian Athenaeum, an elaborately domed circular building that is the city’s main concert hall, Bucharest University and the National History Museum.

Photo source:

Picture 1: apartamentelavanzare.ro; Picture 2: mydracula.com; Picture 3: raredelights.com; Picture 4: рчц-дфо.рф; Picture 5: goista.com; Picture 6: en.wikipedia.org
Sep 20

CISNADIOARA CASTLE – A RELIC OF THE OLD TIMES IN THE HEART OF SIBIU (CETATEA CISNĂDIOARA)

A visit around Sibiu, the former cultural capital of Europe in 2007, cannot be complete without seeing the castle of Cisnadioara, a place that is loaded with positive energy and serenity.

As you arrive in the village of Cisnadioara, which is located 10 kilometers from Sibiu and two kilometers from Cisnadie, you have to go up the Saint Michael Hill, from the village, on a path that is not very steep and a quarter of an hour you shall get to Cisnadioara Castle, in fact, a Roman basilica, which has its first historical mention in the year 1223 (when its  construction ended); it is mentioned in the archives that was donated to the Cistercian monastery of Carta, by Magister Goulinus. They say, moreover, that Cisnadioara village itself had been founded by a group of French monks, caregivers of the Cistercian order.

The fortified church is surrounded by six meter high walls and offers a splendid view over the valley of Sibiu. Built on a narrow place, it had acted as an observation point. The church is simple, composed of a nave, two side aisles and larger. The windows are narrow and inside was brought in 1940, the funerary monuments of Austro-Hungarian and German officers who died on duty during the First World War, in fighting in and around Sibiu.

Some time ago, the deal of divorces among the Saxon community settled in the area was quite complicated those days. If a couple was no longer getting along and wanted to divorce, the villagers offered the two the chance to come to common terms, trapping them in the city until they reached the conclusion that life must continue together. Otherwise, the two were left there for life. Of course, it’s a legend but perhaps this has some truth in it.

Another legend of the site has in the spotlight the young men who, before marriage, had to undergo a ritual in which to prove their manhood by rolling a boulder up the hill above the city. Boulder size depended on the “size” the lad’s love for his future wife was. Boulders can be seen today in the courtyard and had the role of … cannon-balls against besiegers.

If we mention the picturesque scenery of the region, the beautiful mountains and awesome fresh air, then you have even more reason the come visit the surroundings. For accommodation and meals, you have a lot of options in any of the pensions located near the city.

Photo source:

Picture 1: trecator.ro; Picture 2: sibiul.ro; Picture 3: cavalerintaramea.ro; Picture 4: sibiul.ro; Picture 5: citynews.ro; Picture 6: cartitaplimbareata.ro; Picture 7: cartitaplimbareata.ro
May 19

SIBIU, MEDIEVAL FLAVOR AT THE FRONTIER BETWEEN EAST AND WEST

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

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

noi-zambim.blogspot.ro

noi-zambim.blogspot.ro

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

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

fede.ro

fede.ro

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

galerie.liternet.ro

galerie.liternet.ro

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

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

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

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

wwwromaniamea.blogspot.ro

wwwromaniamea.blogspot.ro

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

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

lucianstere.ro

lucianstere.ro

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

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

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

edusoft.ro

edusoft.ro

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

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

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.

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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.