Mar 27

Travel Advice That You Can Trust

The act of traveling can teach us incredible things. It really opens you up to new ideas. There is nothing quite like moving beyond the familiar and being exposed to something completely out of the ordinary. Getting to see it in person, far outweighs any inconvenience you may experience during travel.

Pack your luggage in such a way that it can be easily carried, even for fairly long distances. You’ll be walking with your luggage more often than you might think. A lighter bag will make your trip easier, safer and much more fun for you than if you are lugging a heavy case.

Before departing on a trip, the wise traveler makes sure at least one person back home knows where he will be. This “home base” contact should also be updated with any unplanned changes the traveler encounters on the way. Someone who knows where a traveler is – and where they should be – can be a great help in the case of trouble on the road.

The best part of traveling is being able to spend freely once you get to your destination. While the hotel and the flight are usually the most expensive part, the best trips usually involve spending a ton of money out and about. So before you travel set up a savings plan such that you have a fat wallet after paying for the hotel and the flight so you can maximize your enjoyment.

Replace the lock on your luggage with a combination lock. Many pieces of luggage come with locks and keys. Keys get lost. Not that it matters. The locks are so cheaply made, they can be broken right off. It would not be a bad idea to discard them entirely and replace them with a sturdier combination lock.

Be sure to compare airfares online. The Internet is a wondrous thing. These days, there are dozens of websites that will allow you to book a flight online. Some of these websites also allow you to check competitor rates for tickets. This makes it very easy to shop around for the best price.

Traveling with groups can be frustrating to say the least. Who wants to miss their flight because one or more member of the group can’t be located. One solution is to make everyone wear the same color of brightly colored t-shirts or maybe even visors that can be take off once you are in the air.

Before undergoing any major traveling, make sure you get plenty of rest the night before you leave. A lack of sleep can cause you to make poor decisions and causes forgetfulness. The consequences of bad choices when traveling are far more severe, than normal, so make sure you’re well rested.

Next time you’re out on the town and looking to grab a bite, consider chowing down at the nearest Japanese restaurant. Fresh sushi and sashimi are full of protein, very low in fat, and also incredibly delicious. Salmon, for instance, is amazingly rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.

Always check out a visitor’s center near your destination. They often have a lot of pamphlets on different attractions. A lot of these will even have coupons inside to get a discount. So not only will you find things to do, but you can save money while you do them!

Before you begin thinking about where you would like to travel next, subscribe to get emails from major airlines, hotels and rental companies. It will increase your amount of “junk” mail, but these newsletters often include information about last-minute hotel deals or flights that will allow you to use your frequent-flyer miles. Since these deals go quickly, finding out about them first is essential.

Travel can really help a marriage. It does not have to be an expensive vacation to an island resort. A simple weekend travel adventure to another state or even in your own city can be just what you need to feel reconnected. Spending time alone with just one another can help couples feel good again.

Follow your dreams and fish the Alaskan rapids or swim in a tropical paradise. Travel helps you create your own fate, and can give some purpose to your life. This not only gives you something to eagerly anticipate, but the planning part gives you something to do in your spare time. Travel can give you memories that will bring smiles and warmth to your life for years to come. Don’t delay! Begin planning your trip now.

Mar 23

Take A Trip You Will Always Remember

hey say that travel broadens the mind, but it’s hard to expand your horizons when you’re dealing with endless hassles or trying to figure out where your luggage went. Before you take that next vacation, save yourself the headache with the tips in this article. They’ll help make your trip go smoothly.

When you are traveling to a foreign country, learn something about its customs ahead of time. It will help you avoid embarrassing mistakes in local etiquette. It can also help you understand and appreciate the culture a little better. In a way, you will be representing your country in a foreign land, so you would want to make a good impression.

When traveling to a strange city, always be aware of your surroundings. Both, extremely busy and extremely quiet streets, can carry added risk. Tourists who are busy gawking at the sights may turn around to find their wallet gone. Always check to see who is around you and pay attention, if you feel like someone might be following you.

A great tip to keep in mind when you’re looking to book airline tickets, is to compare airline rates online. By comparing airline rates online, you can find the cheapest deal available, and save yourself a lot of money.

If you are traveling with a group, be sure to book in advance. Booking in advance will make it more likely that your group will be seated together. If you are traveling with children, you certainly do not want to leave seating arrangements to chance. Book early and confirm your seating arrangement.

If you want to plan a successful trip, you should establish a budget. Think about things such as travel expenses, accommodation, food, and money to visit attractions and pay for gas once on location. If your trip seems a little too expensive, look for cheaper accommodation or wait until you have enough money saved up.

Make your travel plans more affordable by looking through the website of the airport that you will be visiting. You can get information about charter airlines that will not show up in other online flight searches. The airport will also have information on low-cost carriers. Both of these options can save you money, but make sure that you check for hidden fees.

Tired of the same boring road trip? Next time you have to pack up and go to an out-of-town event, try something different. After you map your main driving route, pick a few random places off the beaten path to stop at along the way. It could be a small mom-and-pop diner, a state park or maybe your first visit to a comic book store. Not only will this break up your drive, you will have added memories to keep forever.

While traveling to a foreign country is an exciting experience, it can also be risky if you aren’t familiar with its laws and customs. For that purpose, the State Department of the United States created a website ( that you can visit to find out a wealth of information on the country to which you are traveling, including facts on crime, health conditions and popular attractions.

Do not ever tell a street vendor where you are traveling from. These vendors are experienced sellers. They know the financial interests of many different cultures and will use yours against you to get you to buy what they are selling. Just tell them, “No, thank you,” and keep walking.

Find out if you need any vaccinations before travelling to your chosen destination. You should visit your local health professionals and ask them to recommend vaccinations and also ask them about any other precautions you should take while away. You don’t want to risk getting infected with a preventable, dangerous disease while on vacation.

Local travel is a great way to see your own area, while still feeling you are getting away. You can stay in local inns and hotels for much less than traveling out of the area you live in. No matter where you live, it is possible to enjoy this area as a vacation spot and learn more about your own local history and landmarks.

No matter what sort of travel plans you have, whether it’s a cruise around the world or a road trip to a neighboring state, your trip will go more smoothly if you take advantage of the advice in this article. Just remember what you’ve learned and you’ll have a great time.

Mar 23

Worried About Traveling? Read These Tips First!

If you are like most people, you have probably heard a ton of scary stories about traveling. In most of these stories, the problems could have been averted through proper planning. This article provides valuable advice that can help prevent such problems from happening to you. Make sure to follow the advice.

When traveling, whether it’s for a day or a month, don’t advertise your absence on social media sites. If you do, this lets people know that you’re going to be away from home and that most likely your house will be empty. This significantly raises your chances of being robbed while you’re out of town.

When traveling, always be prepared to have things stolen. Make advance photocopies of all of your important papers. You can even upload electronic scans of these documents for easy access while traveling. The local American embassy can assist you in contacting those at home who can wire you emergency funds or help in replacing your passport, but not much else.

Before departing on a trip, the wise traveler makes sure at least one person back home knows where he will be. This “home base” contact should also be updated with any unplanned changes the traveler encounters on the way. Someone who knows where a traveler is – and where they should be – can be a great help in the case of trouble on the road.

You can save a lot of room in your suitcase depending on the way you arrange your clothing. If wrinkles are not necessarily a problem upon the arrival of your destination, using the rolling method can help save many inches of square space. Simply fold your clothes into a long, narrow strip, and roll them as tightly as you can.

When going on a trip, make sure to split up your bank cards, credit cards, checks and cash. Put them all into different hidden pockets of your purses and travel bags. Following this simple tip will ensure that if you do get robbed, you will not be stranded without any money.

You have several insurance options when traveling. When you book a trip, you should decide, first of all, what kind of traveler you are and your appetite for risk, and then determine which policy or policies you should purchase to cover contingencies on your trip. The sooner you make these insurance decisions after booking, the less money you will pay and the more options you will have. You may buy trip cancellation insurance, a popular option; insurance against loss of your luggage; insurance against medical emergencies; or even weather contingency insurance.

For safety, when you are packing to go on a trip you should always include a first aid kit. You should also put a pair of tweezers in your suitcase in case of any splinters that get picked up along the way. You always want to be prepared for any emergency.

Make your baggage easy to spot. Place large bright stickers and pictures all over your luggage, so that when you spot it coming through, you know for a fact it is yours. This helps to not only find your bag, but also to get rid of the embarrassment that comes when you accidentally grab one that isn’t yours.

When booking a hotel online, don’t forget to search the web for discount codes or promotions for that hotel chain. If you are a AAA (American Auto Association) member, don’t forget to request the rate, which most hotels in North America have. There’s no reason to pay list price for a hotel room, so shop around and ask for better rates.

Making long term travel plans can seem time consuming and frustrating. The best way to make sure you have all your ends tied before leaving is to make a check list of all that needs to be done. This will ensure that once you have left, you will not be left thinking you are missing something important.

Remember that many of the stories where a travel experience went wrong was because people did not prepare themselves enough. You now have the advice needed to take the worry from your vacation and find the relaxation that you deserve.

Feb 27

The Wawel Cathedral

I personally have always been attracted to churches and cathedrals because these monuments inspire so much those gazing upon them. And I’m talking strictly from an artistic point of view. There are so many buildings which manage to move people due to the multitude of elements they encompass within their structure. Whether we are talking about the façade, the size of the edifice or the interior design, there is always something that impresses the visitors.

Wawel Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church which still stands erect in the Polish town of Krakow after almost a century. There is much history behind the monument and many important events have occurred within the building, such as the coronations of monarchs. Moreover, it was in this specific cathedral where Pope John Paul II was ordained into priesthood.

But this type of historical accounts might not stir your interest so we should give a short description of the impressive edifice in order to better pinpoint why you should pay a visit to the Polish church.

First of all, it should be mentioned that the cathedral has a Gothic architectural design and that it guards several ‘jewels’ within its walls. The main altar is located in the main apse of the church and it dates back to the middle of the 17th century. Stepping forward towards the main altar, visitors will see how this is encompassed by 4 pillars made out of black marble which sustain atop a canopy. Moving your eyes away from the canopy and glancing below, one will notice the impressive silver coffin that reigns over the area. It is within this beautifully adorned sarcophagus that the remains of the national patron St Stanislau were laid to rest.

But this is only one of the many tombs which are sprinkled throughout the cathedral. To give another example, the sarcophagus of King Vladislav II Jagiello is located closely to the entrance of the church. It is constructed out of Hungarian red marble and influences of late Gothic art are visible. Even if the different names provided here might not ring any bells, it does not mean that you should dismiss the Wawel Cathedral as an unattractive touristic destination. On the contrary, you could gain some insight into the Polish history, but what is more important, you will be admiring sublime artistic manifestations.

The cathedral is surrounded by 18 chapels, each an expression of art in itself. For example, the Chapel of the Holy Cross has drawn much attention due to the fact that it abounds in Russian frescos from the 15th century. It also prides itself with two exceptional triptychs which have been painted in the Gothic style.

If I have made you even a little bit curious about what this tourist attraction has to offer, then you should not doubt the fact that you have cross its threshold when you visit Poland.


Feb 26


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 11

Olesko Castle

It is amazing how history is inscribed in the massive walls of structures and how monuments are thus given a voice. And this statement can easily be verified by taking a simple exemple and depicting the complex history behind it. And this is going to be our purpose in this piece of writing.

Olesko Castle is a monumental structure which dates back to the 13th century and which has accumulated in its ‘portfolio’ quite a number of noteworthy events.

First of all, it should be pointed out that in the 14th century the edifice was an important fortification of the ancient town Rus. But in almost two hundred years it had changed its scope dramatically, having evolved from a stronghold into a palace of the nobility.

It was in the last years of the 15th century that its refurbishing was initiated and due to excellent craftsmenship it became a reflection of Italian Renaissance architecture. Thus began the era when the castle came under the rule of the aristocratic class.  It was in this precise castle that Jan III Sobieski (the king of Poland) was born and where he oftentime lived.

The location of the castle is easily explained if we are to take into account the fact that it was initially a fortification.  The construction stands tall on the top of a hill, guarding Olesko, the small town situated on the slopes beneath, and it has a cellar through which those in the castle could have escaped in case they were under siege.

In the second half of the 20th century, a new restoration was initiated in order to enhance the condition of the structure and to properly refurbish it for its new purpose: that of housing a museum. And it has maintained this purpose until the present day. The exhibitions on display are impressive, consisting of hundreds of works of art such as paitings, old furniture, jewelry, statuettes, still-lives and different kinds of icons which date back as early as the 10th century. The historical accounts tourists can discover there remarkable.

But the castle is not the only attraction. The edifice is surrounded by beautiful gardens which comprise wonderful sculptural designs. It is no wonder that many tourists are drawn to Oleska. They can admire works which are centuries old and which reflect the evolution of the fine arts in time.

Tourists can also venture into the cemetery which is relatively close-by where they will discover fascinating antique shrines. This being said, Oleska Castle is worth your attention if ever in the neighborhood.

Feb 10

Lenin’s Mausoleum

A while back, I have published an article on the website in which I have presented the famous Red Square in Moscow. Today, I ‘return’ to Russia and to the Red Square in order to depict more accurately  one of the attractions located here  which has only been mentioned in passing in the previous article.

I am talking about Lennin’s Mausoleum, which has been erected in the Red Square shortly after the death of Vladimir Lenin. Located in the center of Moscow, the mausoleum is a well-known tourist attraction, especially since visitors can actually gaze upon the communist revolutionery.

Shortly after his demise, which occured on the 21st of January 1924, a wooden burial chamber was constructed in order to lay to rest his earthly remains. But such a construction was not worthy of the Soviet ruler. Thus the architect Aleksei Shchuse was commissioned to erect a much appropriate and lasting mausoleum for Lenin.

The construction was completed in 1930 and it was exquisitely executed, inasmuch as it complements the Kremlin which stands behind it, the architect having used the same pallet of colors and materials, so that the two seem to be part of a unity. The pyramidal construction appears to be small which is quite a surprise taking into account the Russian masterpieces which impress not only through their architectural designs but also through their impressive stature.

But the eye is oftentime deceiving and that is the case in what concerns Lenin’s Mausoleum. Looking at it from the outside, the vault is relatively small, but exploring the mausoleum unveils that its width enlarges towards the underground. There are two levels underneath the building. One floor was designed as a resting space for public figures who visited the place and for Kremlin guards, while the other had administrative functions, more accurately it was used for supervisory purposes during the embalming procedure. Unfortunately for tourists, this areas is not open to the public, even if it has lost its initial scope and it is no longer used.

One is allowed to enter into the funerary chamber, but items such as bags or cameras have to be left in the coatrooms because photographing or filming is forbidden inside the premise. Even though tourists get the chance to literally look Lenin in the face, this occurance is swift in the sense that guards rush visitors so that they do not glance at Lenin more than a few minutes. The reason? Well, there has been a lot of controversy in the past regarding this matter. Some have actually implied that it wasn’t actually the body of Lenin deposited in the mausoleum. At least not any more. It was rumoured that the body was substituted long ago by a wax figure and this is why visitors are ushered out of the funeral room so quickly. Whether or not this is the case is debatable. Maybe you should venture yourself on Russian territory and see the body with your own eyes. Then you can judge for yourself.

Besides the fact that you cannot film inside the mausoleum, there is an etiquette you need not overlook. Respect has to be shown when inside the tomb which means no talking out load, no smoking, no keeping your hands in your pockets and no wearing hats (with the exception of women).

With the exception of Mondays and Fridays, as well as legal holidays, the mausoleum is open for visits daily from 10:00 until 13:00.  Tourists still wait in line to get access inside Lenin’s tomb and it is really no wonder because who would not want to visit the resting place of such an important historical figure?

Feb 03

Mauthausen (Austria)

The memory of WWI and II is kept alive throughout the globe, whether we are talking about monuments erected in celebration of the fallen heroes or whether we put forth the exhibits presented in various museums from all over the European continent. But probably the places which best depict the gruesome reality of the world conflagrations are the former concentration camps which even today bring chills to visitors.

One such camp is situated in Austria, at a 20-kilometer distance from the city of Linz, in the small town Mauthausen. The camp came into being on the 8th of August 1938 and it was mainly established in order to provide the stone quarry which existed in the neighborhood with the necessary laborers. Initially, all the prisoners were forced to build the camp which would serve as their confinement quarters, only afterwards to be delivered as slaves to the stone quarry. The building of the camp was concluded in 1939 and it expanded greatly in the year to come, inasmuch as in summer of 1940 it had turned into one of the biggest labor camps which existed in Europe.

What some of you might be oblivious to is the fact the concentration camps were developed in accordance to their purpose. While many of these complexes were built to house prisoners of all types, Mauthausen was actually created for specific purpose: to annihilate the people of the superior social classes. In other words, the concentration camp aimed to exterminate through labor – which meant that the educated individuals from countries which were subdued by Nazi Germany were subjected to infernal toils that ultimately crushed their bodies.

Mauthausen housed many prisoners but their number increased considerably almost overnight, to the extent that the administration had to enlarge the establishment in order to ‘accommodate’ everyone. This meant surrounding the fields to the north and west with barbed wire and keeping the newcomers, which were mainly Jews brought in from Hungary and Russian soldiers captured in battle, in the open almost all year long.

This was a ‘category III’ concentration camp which was basically one of the most severe kinds there were. Those brought in were never supposed to leave the premises and their demise was inflicted by labor.

But there were exceptions to the rule, as it so often happens. The terrible and sometimes useless works they had to perform were beyond imagination. Because the guards were given exact orders concerning the extermination of the inmates, they started to be creative. One historical account talks about how a stone which weighted almost 45 kilograms was laid on a prisoner’s back and how he was afterwards ordered to run around with the heavy burden. The outcome is no surprise: the prisoner fell to his death due to exhaustion. Another method of annihilation was to take a group of inmates to a garage, command them to remove their clothes and spray water over them. Taking into account that in the wintertime the temperature went below minus ten degrees Celsius, the result of the practice was evidently hypothermia.

Gas Chamber-

Gas Chamber-

These historical facts conjure up terrible images of what humans are capable of doing towards other humans. A trip in this land where so many atrocities have occurred will definitely not be what you might have imagined. The road there takes you through a pastoral setting which inspires only peace and tranquility. But once you reach your destination, reality strikes you.

The barracks might no longer look as grim and terrifying as they did in their ‘peak,’ but walking around the location you will get to see the chambers of death: the crematory as well as the rooms in which the inmates were brought in order to find their death by heavy beating.

Visitors can also see the ‘stairway of death’- the infamous cliff from where the prisoners were pushed over the edge to find their death into the granite quarry which spread below them.

The camp is filled with an abundant number of commemorative items, such as monuments, statues and tiles with various inscriptions. To put it simple, the area has been transformed into a sort of memorial which keeps the sufferings of the prisoners alive and brings homage to them.

The complex is situated at a relatively small distance from Vienna. Tourists can reach Mauthausen in almost an hour and a half and even if for some the location might be out of their course, it should be pinpointed that this camp is one of high historical value and the discoveries you will run across will be change you forever.

Jan 31

Museum of the Great Patriotic War

When it comes to our historical past, there is a lot of information which fails to reach people over generations, especially since history, as it has been pointed out numerous times, is written by the winners. Even if it has always been underlined that history offers an objective look over the events which have changed the face of the world in time, it is worth mentioning once more that subjectivity is forever present in the history books, especially since we have only one side of the story presented to us.

But nevertheless the accounts historians provide individuals with are of extreme value as they recall the past events which would have otherwise fallen into forgetfulness.

But since the purpose of this website is to allow readers to get as much information as possible about the tourist attractions available throughout Eastern Europe, we are going to do just that.

The subject matter of today’s article is the Museum of Great Patriotic War, or as it is officially known: ‘The National Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 years.’

Even without knowing too much historical facts, it is quite simple for everyone to determine that the Great Patriotic War is an obvious allusion to WWII and to the Nazi invasion. It is not the purpose of this piece of article to give insight into the conflagration itself, so we are going to focus our attention on the memorial complex which has been developed as a means to commemorate the heroic souls which have perished while protecting their country. The idea to create the Museum of the Great Patriotic War emerged almost immediately, but it was not put into effect as there were other matters more urgent for the government to attend to, such as developing strong plans of reconstructing the nation and building the economy from scraps.

It was not until 1974 that the museum came into being and it was initially housed by the former Klovsky Palace. Even though it drew attention since its inauguration, in time it gained even more importance and it became a national icon. This is actually the largest museum located on the Ukrainian territory and even more, the most prominent one. The exhibits contain more than 300 displays and the museum constantly unveils new additions to the exhibitions, keeping the history alive.

The museum houses exhibits which portray the heroic acts of Ukrainian soldiers in battles carried in different parts of the world and what is more, it focuses on enriching the military history of the country by carrying research in the domain, by gathering scientific facts and by cataloguing the developments of the Ukrainian army.

The impressive expositions have been gazed upon by almost 25 million tourists that have come from all over the world to admire the exhibits the museum has to offer.

The Motherland Monument is part of the National Museum of History and it is a highly recognizable monument throughout the world. This item is a statement for the battle carried and for the bravery with which the soldiers have defended their motherland. This being said, it is no wonder why the monument is named the way it is. In order to best capture the significance of the monument, the architects behind it have developed it at a large scale, in as much as one can spot the immense sculpture from either corner of the Ukrainian capital.

It is erected on a platform which measures 40 meters, reaching 102 meters in height and weighting more or less 500 tons. Standing tall with its sword high above her head, the statue seems to be a guardian of the Ukrainian nation, always being on the lookout for possible dangers and always prepared to take them head on.

The sculpture, as many other monuments which are part of the National Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 years are unique – most of them due to the intelligently developed mechanisms behind them. The bottom line is that this specific museum preserves a considerable piece of the Ukrainian history and it is worth your time if you ever visit Kiev.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.