Sep 22


Timisoara is a beautiful city in Romania which has just been designated the European Capital of Culture for 2021. A visit here is a great opportunity to discover the hospitality of Romanian people, the recent history of this country and a city that has a rich cultural tradition. For starters, we suggest some of the most important sights of Timisoara, to get an idea of what you will find.

The House of the Atlants is a historic building located in the city center. Her name comes from Atlantis columns you see the facade. It was built in 1812 in neo-classical style by the merchant Toma Naum Makri, bound for building rent, with 40 rooms. After the owner’s death the house was inherited by his daughter, married to a Serb. Later the house was donated to the Serb community, then owned by the Serbian Church in 1966 and after the Romanian State ’89 became private property and was renovated. In umătorii years he had more inhabitants, and many owners who now fighting for the building. The courts lie thousands of pages and house athletes and two Turkish cannons buried at the entrance waiting for their verdict.

Merbl Palace situated on Victoria Square was built by architect Arnold Merbl. He was head of the firm Arnold Merbl Co., known outside the city. Victoria Square has created a building: Lloyd Palace.
The Roman Catholic Church Josefin neighborhood was built in 1774 in Baroque provincial. During the revolution of 1848 the church was badly damaged. During the renovation works the ball to cross the tower found a rusty box with two documents about the history of the tower. On the main altar is a beautiful icon-portrait of Virgin Mary, dating from the late eighteenth century. In her yard is the oldest stone statue of St. John of Nepomuk town carved in 1723.

Dauerbach in Victoria Square, was built between 1912-1913 by architect Laszlo Szekely. The building is known as the Palace after Palace restaurant and café, which were arranged even at the end of the building. In the northern part of the ground floor it has operated a pharmacy. Building facade is divided into five parts, one central three parts, taller, which has three gables on the roof shaped ogival braces. The two sides each have two pilasters and the upper level have a gable and a shorter roof.

Fabric Synagogue designed in Moorish style was built in place of a Mosaic synagogue. It was built by entrepreneur Josef Kremmer, by architect Lipot Baumhorn and inaugurated in 1889. It is a monumental building, ornate. I see five domes on the roof of which the center is equipped with eight rosettes. Inside the building is a beautiful organ built by the famous craftsman Wegestein Timisoara. Today the synagogue is in an advanced stage of decay.

Weiss Palace built in 1912 is the beginning of Republic Avenue. From here begins the promenade itself. The building was designed by Arnold company Merbl Co. and the front of László Székely. Weiss family had many popular characters in Punjab, they are doctors, industrialists, entrepreneurs and raising the rent apartment buildings was a lucrative business. Although sf building entrance is on the street. John gable to the main theater. The ground floor commercial spaces.

According to some theories the Roses Park was achieved through the contribution of women rich in the city that they brought their money abroad, many species of roses. In 1891, during the Universal Exposition attended by King Franz Josef, were installed here 10 wooden pavilions. The exposition park was realized by Wilhelm Mühle, and presented over 300 varieties of roses. Mühle was the owner of a horticultural garden with 17 solariums, and the roses he cultivated were renowned abroad.

In 1942 the park is known as the Queen Mary Rosary, but over the years has had many names.
During the Second World War, the Rosariumul was destroyed and was rebuilt in the period 1953-1965, when it reached over 1200 varieties of roses purchased in the country and abroad.
Today the area of one hectare there are only 600 species. The 10,000 roses are planted in eight groups, checkered diamond-shaped, bounded by fences of buxus. The Summer Theater in the park was built in the interwar period.

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Sep 22


Covasna County is located in eastern Transylvania, at the internal curvature of the Carpathians, and it tends to become a major tourist destination for those wishing to discover Romania. Until recently it used to be promoted rather as an area of interest for Hungarian tourists, but Covasna is now opening its doors and proposes some very interesting landmarks, that informs about the customs and traditions of the area. Covasna County is known as the “Land of Mansions” and thermal waters, with no more than 200 mansions and castles that are speeded all across the land, awaiting visitors.

Discover the art of sculpture in corn husk

At the Tourist Information Centre in Ojdula you will greeted, among others, with a table on which there are hand craft items that are made from corn husk. You will immediately discover their author: Szabó Erzsébet “Bimbi”, illustrator and forewoman in this complicated manufacturing craft, who had arrived to Ojdula a decade ago and learned this activity from a master in this traditional craft of Odorhei. We are sure you will like it so much that you will certainly want to acquire some of her creations, which have been presented to a multitude of national and international fairs and exhibitions and have also received several awards and praises. A simple demonstration of making a flower of husk will makes you applaud and realize that folk artists deserve a bigger appreciation.

Learn to prepare kurtoskalacs

Kurtoskalacs, the famous Hungarian desert known throughout the world and adored in Romania at any fair or festival has its own “secrets” of its preparation. Shaped like a pipe, made of wheat flour, milk, eggs, yeast, butter and sugar and seasoned with various spices and flavors, it will make you want to try it more than once; the dough is stretched into strips and rolled on a wood cylinder that in placed on top of a charcoal grill and revolved permanently, to bake evenly. The sugar that is “splash” all over the dough is roasted, then the “pipes” are seasoned with different flavors: cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, vanilla. The name “kurtoskalacs” comes from kürtő – which means “chimney” and kalács – doughnut. According to the legend, the first kurtoskalacs was prepared in Szekler Land for misleading the Tatar invaders, deprived of food, but it is considered that its  “ancestor” is the German Spiesskuchen gingerbread baked on wooden rollers, spoken in a manuscript of Heidelberg. The first recipe that appears under the name of kurtoskalacs is found in Countess Maria Mikes’s cookbook, in 1784.

Hunt the prehistoric aquatic monster on the Saint Ana Lake

Lake St. Ana is the only volcanic lake in Romania, located in the crater of the massive volcanic massif Puciosu Ciomatu Mare. A trip here is almost obligatory, whether you go hiking or by quads, followed by a spectacular full of adrenaline two kilometers long descent on the mountaincart and mountainbike.

You can do several water sports on the quiet lake, which has a maximum depth of 6.4 meters: put on a neoprene suit, grab a plate and try to keep your balance on it without falling into blue water. It is pretty difficult but it’s totally fun. Like any place of its kind, Saint Ana Lake has a legend of its own, one of them telling about a young woman who was to be married against her will by parents. Because she did not want the man proposed as her future husband, she threw herself into the lake on the wedding night, which then received her name. Another legend tells about two ogre brothers who had two castles, one of them having a terribly beautiful chaise, won at a game of dice. Not to be outdone, the other brother put another wager that he will come with a chaise that was going to be even more beautiful. He got one and hitched eight gorgeous girls instead of horses. They failed to move the heavy carriage and the tyrant got angry and began to lash the young girls. One of the eight girls named Ana, cursed him and the curse was fulfilled: the place was devastated by a severe storm, after which the castle of the tyrant and his chariot were ablaze. On the place of the ranked castle was then formed a tranquil blue lake.

Another interesting urban legend states that a water monster similar to Nessie has been seen swimming along several times. It is believed to be a species of ancient dinosaurs that survived the mysteriously extinction and lives peacefully inside the waters of this lake, but divers that had been sent to look for it found nothing.

Besides the wonderful traditions and interesting legends, the surroundings are truly marvelous, so you have plenty of reasons to come along and plan a holiday here, in Covasna County.

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Sep 21


Turquoise bays, stunning beaches and towns that seemed detached from the stories: Croatia has earned the reputation of being one of the most enchanting places in Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, Croatia is no longer the best kept touristic secret of Europe, since the influx of tourists in search of low prices and uncharted territories. Yet you will find something perfect for your stay in Croatia. Below there are some valuable information about the wonderful historic town of Pula.

Located east of Italy in the Adriatic Sea, Croatia adopted several architecture and cuisine from its neighbors after the Istrian peninsula was conquered by the Romans in the year 177 B.C. Nowadays, Pula still retains many monuments dating from the Roman Empire, as a tribute to the history of the Romans whose writing contributed greatly. Pula became a part of Croatia during the war, when residents fled Italy back in their homeland, leaving the locals build the city by themselves.

Things to visit in Pula

If you think about it, do not go on vacation to stay in a hotel room, so explore and discover what Pula has to offer. There are a lot more to do and see than you expect, that will keep the family occupied during the entire length of the stay. Besides admire the Roman architecture that you encounter everywhere, you can do a lot of activities: visits to museums, sunbathing on the beach, racing kart that you can participate with friends and family, observing the marine life at the aquarium.

No trip to Pula would be complete without a visit to the Roman amphitheater, where gladiators fights used to unfold once, and even up to our contemporary days, the amphitheater is still working as a stage, hosting concerts of the biggest names, such as Pavarotti, Jose Carrerras, Elton John, Sting and Jamiroquai.  The Arena in Pula is the sixth largest of the remaining Roman Empire and the only one with all four side towers intact, along with three series of Roman architectural series that rule proudly inside the amphitheater.

Food and drink

If you want to try the local cuisine, among the recommended restaurants there are Galeb, Milan 1967 and Valsabbion, where many of the dishes are inspired from Italian cuisine. But there are also Croatian, Austrian and Hungarian influences. Seafood is not missing from the menu, with fish and shellfish species, a very popular choice among locals. If you want to try a traditional Croatian dish, then you can order the traditional dish named buzara with Kvarner shrimp.

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Sep 21


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.

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Sep 21


At the end of its era of glory in the eighteenth century, Medias used to have 19 towers, seven gateways and defensive walls seven meters high, stretching over 2.3 km. A legend speaks of a maze of secret tunnels that would go under the city. Another one says that in Mary’s Tower, one of the four that are still sanding near the parish church, Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned. Beyond the myths, however, the Trumpeters’ Tower is one of the top ten inclined towers in the world.

The History of the Citadel

Medias settlement was mentioned for the first time in a document from 1267. It was the only settlement in the area called a city since 1359, but during the fifteenth century, since 1407 more precisely, it was going to return to the status of fair.

The Turkish incursions in Transylvania between the years 1420 and 1438 led to a sharp economic and demographic decay of Medias. Under the threat of the Turkish invasion, locals began the fortification works of the old core and, later, of the entire city. In the first half of the fifteenth century, the outer walls have been built and together with another five towers joined by belts, equipped with water ditches and guard roads raised to protect the area around the church of Holy Margareta. All these fortifications will bear the title of castle, as first mentioned the archives in 1450. The city has gradually dowry filled with a dark belt, gates and defensive organization supported by the guild. Of these, some were demolished even by the descendants of old the builders, to comply with the requirements of modern urban planning.

The Construction Process During the Ages

In 1477, Medias’s capacity of defense was to be restored by the order of King Matthias Corvinus. He ordered that all inhabitants, regardless of their social position, to participate in this work, but the work itself bigins much later, in 1490. The ensemble around the parish church was also completed entirely. Another fortification was added to the city,  fortified with wooden palisades, coupled with water ditches. These amounted to a total length of 2,360 meters, a thickness of about one meter in height of seven meters. There were three main access gates to the city, fortified with towers. Construction of the new fortress was completed around 1534, a period status of the town changed again into “civitas” that Medias was never going to lose since then. The climax of the fortification process was reached in the eighteenth century, when the city of Medias had 19 towers and bastions, and to the three main gates were added four more secondary gates.

Saint Margaret Church, along with the entire complex of fortifications around it are called “Castle”. The construction was completed apparently in 1488 and is recorded in the chronicle of Georg Soterius. The inside of the church offers a broad set of garments and pictorial iconography, with heraldic keystones, shrines and medieval fonts gathered from neighboring villages. Among the tombstones, here is the ledger of Christian Schesaus, a proeminet cultural figure of Medias.

Under the weight of the new construction, the foundation for the tower gave way and began to lean toward the northwest almost two and a half meters. Now Trumpeters Tower is one of the top ten towers inclined in the world. To stop it from tilting, the teams of architects and engineers have made two consolidation works: first in the years 1927-1930, when they mounted a belt of concrete to a height of 14 meters, and second in 1976  and 1977, with another belt eight meters long. In 1880, on the tower there was mounted a watch equipped with four weights, 100 kilograms each, that keep the mechanism working.

The Bells Tower, also called the Gate Tower, is located on the western side of the fortification. On the top floor the church bells are placed, the oldest having been imprinted in the year 1449.

The School Tower is located in the north-west, embedded in the school building.

Ropemakers’ Tower is characterized by sobriety, elegance and proportionality. The last level of the tower is provided with a series of throwing holes. In the nineteenth century, the tower got the moniker of “the Fat Tower” where the Saxon community store their smoked bacon.

Mary’s Tower stands out from other towers thanks to the roof of its desk. The access level contains a beautiful painting dating from the late fifteenth century. It is considered that the room served as a chapel for the service of the dead during the epidemics.

Tailors Tower is located on the south side. Inside the high walls, Medias retains some of Masonic symbols: owl, pound, the twins, chrysalis, the square hammer and the compass, the ivy, the poppy, the eagle, the rosa-croce, the octogoans and the seeing eye, just to mention a few of the symbols found in the citadel.

The mysteries of Medias are supprted mostly by the few public information related to its history. One says that in the city there is a labyrinth of tunnels; another is related to Mary’s Tower. It is said that the prison tower, Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned for four hours. Even the grapes in the vine heraldry of the city has its legend: the goldsmiths’ guild had been put up to three bunches of grapes made of gold to hide them in places known onlh by them. The Myth of the Ggolden Grapes turned many adventurers into treasure hunters, but without succeeding.

Of the total of 2,360 meters of defensive walls from the early eighteenth century, the main three gates, four secondary gates and 19 towers and bastions, 1,845 meters of fortifications are still standing, including the towers and 11 bastions.

The leaning Tower, the covered staircase, the old buildings full of Masonic symbols and legends that combines mystical beauty of the past, make Medias an ideal place for a return to the medieval past of Transylvania.

Every year, Medias is the host of a popular and famous Medieval Festival, so you have one more reason to come and visit.

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Sep 20


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.

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Sep 20


There is no person who has not heard about places like Paris, Barcelona or Rome – but Europe is untouched corners that can occur successfully in a top beauty and charm, with the added advantage of being away from the crowds. However, there are places at least as fascinating and beautiful and side are the old continent, which, unfortunately, are less known. Have a look on the list compiled by AboutEastern Europe and discover hidden gems four, but ready to welcome you with open arms, so you can discover the charm.

Lancut, Poland
Poland is full of castles, but Łańcut is truly a breathtaking place. Details of these aristocratic residences, impressive dimensions are delightful, and a tour of the palace takes you through beautifully decorated ballroom, which dominates chandeliers, bigger than you. The city shows a rich history of the Hebrew people and worth visiting Łańcut synagogue here: facade is a true masterpiece, charming by its magnificent columns and frescoes.

Klaipeda, Lithuania
A port city bustling with German-style taverns that studded cliff, Klaipėda is one of the most beautiful European destinations. Reserve a table at Memelis for a plate of cheese, olives and sausages that going for beer. Once you’ve calmed hunger and thirst, you can start exploring the Curonian Spit sands in the wild, found on the Baltic Sea. Make a trip to explore the forests, seafood and folklore of the region.

Tartu, Estonia
Those who come in this beautiful Baltic country, usually headed by Tallinn or the resorts on the island but the vibrant university town of Tartu, also not to be missed. Enters the centuries-old history of these places, making a visit to the tower university, where students serve their punishment once disobedient, or take a walk through the park Toomemägi. In addition, a dinner served in this city will not let bankrupt, so walks confidently in any premises near the university.

Olomouc, Czech Republic
If others have piled on Charles Bridge in Prague, you can enjoy tranquility in Olomouc, one of the most beautiful cities in the Czech Republic. Here you will find the same charm as the architectural capital, less chaos. Plus he has to turn a few aces up his sleeve: Horni Namesti astronomical observatory, holy halls of the monasteries dating from the 12th century and a place where you can eat to your heart: U Andela.

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Sep 20


Although it welcomes thousands of tourists each year, the church in Sedlec is little known and not so much promoted. Partly because of the rather morbid history and architecture that is has.

But for those who have an appetite for gloomy experiences, here is what to expect.

Viewed from outside, the church does not seem to be anything special from others of the same bill, common in Central and Western Europe. But its little secret is one of the great achievements of mankind: the strength to face the feeling of helplessness in the face of death, played in artistic accepted – a variety of aesthetic ugliness, with remarkable results. Or maybe is it an ode to the human body?!

Human architecture… literally. That is the ossuary, a Roman Catholic chapel located near All Saints Cemetery in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. Although in 1870, when the interior has been reinvented, there were no courses in design, contemporary architects agree on the fact that Frantisek Rint did a very good job, even though his work may not necessarily represent a source of inspiration. Church near the cemetery of All Saints, pieces of furniture, chandeliers, decorating walls, family crest Schwarzenberg and even signature decorator are made of human bones, masterfully combined to give an air of uniqueness of a place that otherwise would not be able to cross the threshold of anonymity.

The skeletons of some 40 000 people are in the small chapel, but chose destiny after death as their eternal sleep to spend at least one form … unusual. The skulls and bones are everywhere and intersect to create the most fantastic scenery imagined. Stringing orderly human material shows that nothing happens by chance, while marking a different perspective on art. The piece de resistance is the chandelier that contains bones that enters the human body structure. His presence was turned into a game popular among visitors who tried to find out whose bones correspond anatomical parts lined up on the ceiling of the church.

One of the great obsessions of mankind is represented by physical form that the human spirit takes to fulfill the “mission” to Earth. Most dreamers of them have tried to integrate this material into spiritual shape, giving it an artistic dimension. From tattoos, piercing, body beauty techniques, all methods tested. Framing religious human space, is perhaps the ultimate form that the body has chosen to worship art.

The history begins in 1278, when Henry, abbot of the monastery of Cistercian order was trims in Jerusalem by King Otakar II of Bohemia. In return, he brought with him a small amount of land Golgotha, which he spread it in the abbey cemetery. The good news was quickly spread and the result was an increased number of requests for final resting places. Later, two other events had to multiply the number of those buried there. Plague – the Black Death of the Middle Ages, and fights against Hussites led to a significant increase in the cemetery area.

Only in 1870, a wood carver, František Rint would definitely make their mark on their specific church. It had to solve a serious problem, which neither his predecessors had not been able to give him head. Bones, increasingly more, they had no place to be stored and throw their version was not one too “orthodox”. The idea of “saving” who came Rint’s turned into a regular church high on the list of objectives in the Czech Republic. One that it has commissioned sculptor accomplishment of the work were none other than the powerful Schwarzenberg aristocratic family, who possess the Sedlec. Love for art was rewarded by Rint by representing the family coats of arms, what else? … Of human bones. Restoration and “beauty” lasted three years. Rint used for decorating bones arranged in pyramid shape by the monk half blind, but before he milled, to keep a uniform color.

A strange curiosity, an interesting lesson in anatomy, a meditation on death or macabre masterpiece? The answer remained the appreciation of visitors, and most said that, far from being scary place reassuring and defers them the opportunity to reflect on life and death.

Visiting hours & Costs
The church can be visited daily, except 24th and 25th December. The schedule is set according to the season. Thus, from April to September, the church is open to visitors between 8:00 and 18:00 in October and March, between 9:00 and 17:00, and during November to February, the church is open from 9: 00 to 16:00. Entrance fee for adults is 50 kronor, students and children over 9 years pay 30 crowns, while families pay a single fee of 130 crowns. If you like thrills and would like to visit the church at night (between 8 pm and 12 pm) have to decide ahead of time to make a bookings for a fee of 100 crowns per person. A Czech koruna is equivalent to 0.148 RON. For transport, you can take the tourist bus that goes through downtown.

Transport & Accommodation
Due to the prosperous silver mines in Kutna Hora, the location became, after Prague, the second item on the list of most important cities of the Bohemian kingdom in the Middle Ages. Currently, the town is part of UNESCO. Even if you are staying in Prague deserves to sacrifice a day of the holiday to visit this area, away from a specific European capitals. Besides the ossuary in Sedlec in Kutna Hora you can also visit the Church of St. Barbara and Italian Court. The best opportunity, if they choose Prague as a hub is to opt for one of the trips organized, during which you will benefit from a guide.

Prague to Kutna Hora you can take the train or bus. Best bet would be to ask the information because the staff there is always ready to answer questions with updated information.

Hotels in Kutna Hora idea are cheaper than Prague, a double room at the hotel, ranging from 52 Euros per night and 76 Euros per night.

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Sep 19


The former spiritual center of Russian Orthodoxy and the current capital city of Ukraine is a complex and contradictory metropolis.

Founded around 832 A.D., Kiev was originally an outpost of the Khazar Empire (writer Milorad Pavic had celebrated its memory in his famous Dictionary of the Khazars), an assimilation of Turkic nomadic tribes that created an empire between the Northern part of Caucasus and Pontic steppe. In 882, the city is taken into possession by Prince Oleg’s successor, Riurik, from a Scandinavian dynasty. Oleg unifies under the name of Orthodoxy all the Russian-speaking state formations state, founding the Kievan Russia. And so begins the great glory of the pious city, which focuses and strengthens for three and a half centuries, under the direct political, administrative and religious factor maneuvered by Russia.

Here, for example, during the first half of the eleventh century, the basis of Pecearska Lavra are beginning to raise up – the oldest monastery in Russian space. But the year 1240 brings the most terrible era of in the history of the place: the Mongol invasion of Batu Khan, which had destroyed Kiev literally, by fire. Rebuilt on the old foundations, it will be conquered again in 1321 by Gediminas, who will hand Kiev over to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In 1569, throughout a century, Kiev goes under Polish administration, as the residence of a semi-autonomous principality. Then it joins the Tsarist Russia, undergoing through a period of prosperity, especially in the nineteenth century, when, under the stimulus of the Industrial Revolution, it become the third city of the empire after St. Petersburg and Moscow. Between 1918 and 1920 the city has changes the ruling regime for about twenty times, its suzerainty being given, one by one, to White Russia, Red Russia, Poland and even transience first Ukrainian state. Finally, in 1921 it became the administrative center of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, one of the most oppressive entities of the USSR.

World War II triggered massive damage, but the postwar period brought Kiev back on the podium of the most important Soviet cities, and in 1991, the city gained the status of the capital of an independent state. Very recently, the tents of the Orange Revolution in Kiev dominated the Independence Square from November 2004 to January 2005, bringing it to power the right-wing candidate Victor Yushchenko who was later defeated in the electoral competition.

The fifteen centuries of political turmoil have not damaged the spirit of Kiev, though, and the city began its development and rebirth, despite periodic historical tragedy which it has been forced to face. Pecearska Lavra – the Monastery of the Grote (1015), the current headquarters of the Metropolitan Ukraine and Saint Sophia Cathedral, a genuine national sanctuary, whose construction began in 1037, are two sites on the list of monuments protected by UNESCO, and represent some of the most prestigious touristic sites. The entry into the old town is made through a Golden Gate, a replica of the one in Constantinople, partially destroyed by the Mongols in 1240.

Next to former Imperial Palace, there rises a Neoclassical building that houses the parliament – Rada. On the right bank of the Dnieper River, the impressive Museum of the Great Patriotic War dominates the panorama, guarded by giant Mother Country allegorical statue of 102 meters height and 530 tons. Other impressive statues evoke the personality of famous heroes of the nation, among who, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky and King Vladimir the Great, canonized for his contribution in Orthodoxy among Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Russians.

The traditional protector spirit of the city is a pagan Slavic deity, Berehynia, a kind of Rusalka endowed with magical powers, while the modern spirit is embodied by … the legendary football coach Valeriy Lobanovskyi, creator of the great team Dinamo Kiev (winner of the Winners’ Cup in 1986 and defeated the following year in the European Super Cup Stars final), whose statue was erected at the entrance of the stadium that now bears his name.

Kiev was not only a metropolis dedicated to Eastern Orthodoxy, but also a renowned cultural center, whose fame is continued in modern times by institutions like the famous State Opera (with a ballet troupe often compared to that of the Opera in Saint Petersburg), several museums dedicated to traditional art but also parts of western art, a prestigious drama theater named “Ivan Franko” after the national poet who lived between 1856 and 1916, and also a famous puppet theater and a circus. On one of the many islands on the Dnieper there is built a water park with a Venetian theme, and in the southern part of Pirogovo city, there is an impressive museum of folk architecture of the Ukrainian village, dominated by a group of traditional windmills.

The beautiful secular chestnuts planted along the central boulevards are living emblems of a special relationship with nature, transforming the area into a fishing and water sports paradise, regardless of the season (if summer temperature reaches 30-34 degrees Celsius, during winter time, the river is covered by a layer of ice several meters thick – hence the ice fishing and skating performed as leisure time activities).

There are plenty of things to do and discover on a trip to Kiev. And nevertheless, you will fall in love with this wonderful city and its amazing everlasting spirit.

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Sep 19


The views from the top of the rocks that will leave you breathless, whitewashed churches with blue domes and glittering treasures left by the extinct civilizations are just some of the reasons that make Santorini always present in the most prestigious touristic charts. Officially called Thira, sunny Santorini is undoubtedly the most beloved island of the Cyclades Archipelago, located in south-eastern Greece in the waters of the Aegean Sea.

Santorini is the place where the largest volcanic eruption in human history (from what we know so far) has taken place. If there was anything positive that came out from that terrible explosion is that it made possible the creation of several islands – a whole archipelago – out of one big island. At the same time it was also created the biggest attraction of the location: the island’s caldera. In addition, tourists who are fascinated by ancient history can visit the Minoan artifacts and ancient ruins buried by the eruption.

Known for dry white wines, picturesque beaches and nightlife, Santorini is a popular destination for visitors who want to relax, or have fun. Here’s a top five suggestion list of what to do and what to see in Santorini if you want to discover the archeologist within yourself:

1. Ancient Thera

Situated on high cliffs that face the sea between the beaches of Kamari and PerissaAncient Thera exposes ruins discovered in 1900. Ancient tombs, monuments, remains of houses, churches and fortifications represent a wide and representative post-Minoan display of artifacts. The Roman Baths, the Greek structures of the fourth century and the altar erected in the honor of Apollo, which is adorned with drawings of the eighth century, are absolutely remarkable and preserved in great state. In order to reach the ruins, visitors can climb by foot, straight from the beach or take the bus, taxi or their private car.

2. Therasia (Thirassia)

the island of Therasia is the perfect destination for tourists who want to enjoy the sunny atmosphere of Santorini. The largest of the five villages on this adjacent little isle, also called Therasia, has only around 150 inhabitants. It is accessible straight from the caldera via a rocky walkway. The little island has the same architecture as the picturesque Santorini and the population shares the same customs and traditions. Whether you visit it in a one day trip or that you decide to organize your entire stay there, Therasia offers visitors an authentic Greek experience on the island.

3. Pyrgos

It was once the capital of Santorini. The inner city is situated on a hill offering stunning views across the surrounding area. There are still remnants of a Venetian castle on top of this hill. Inside the castle walls there is a church which is believed to have been built in the tenth century. Relatively unchanged by the presence of tourists, Pyrgos site still has a good deal of medieval architecture. The village is surrounded by wineries that offer tours and free sessions of wine tasting. The wine reserved for dessert is called Vinsanto and is one of the best Greek products.

4. The Museum of Prehistoric Thera

Located in Fira, the capital of Santorini, the museum is the most important cultural attraction on the island. Opened in 2000, it holds treasures discovered on the Akrotiri site, including colorful frescoes. A representation of women picking saffron gives an insight into the life of that era. Blue monkeys are immortalized on other frescoes. Over time, in-depth researches have denied the existence of monkeys Santorini, which makes the existence of these frescoes a truly unusual purpose.

5. Kamari Beach

The biggest and most popular beach in Santorini is located near the village of the same name. The village and beach received its name from a small arch placed in between the rocks on the southern end of the beach, which represents a monument built in honor of the god Poseidon. This black sand beach is the most sought after on the island. It is crowded with hotels, bars and nightclubs. Besides sunbathing, scuba diving is also a popular activity.

But Santorini has a lot more to offer. It is a fascinating world-within-the-world and only a slice of Greece that, nevertheless, has its own identity. We shall help you discover other aspects of Santorini in future articles.

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