Romania

Romania houses Transylvania a name which conjures up images of vampires, creepy old castles, dark and forbidding woods, howling wolves and medieval Saxon towns peopled by folk with pitchforks and torches and the occasional stake. And to be honest it is all that, minus the vampires. And the pitchfork carrying Saxons have also mostly abandoned ship.

Romania is a fascinating country, where the inhabitants still call themselves Romanus (citizens of Rome), and speak a Latin based language despite the fact that the Romans left around 1700 years ago. How’s that for dedication! As an aside, the Romans themselves called the region Dacia, which is now the name of a car. It’s a nation where fairy tales are made, and the occasional nightmare. If Hans and Gretchen exist it is likely they are living somewhere in the vast forests of Romania, near one or another cute Saxon township that looks like it came right out of a film. Together with Count Dracula. Obviously.

So hire yourself a Dacia and ride around this bizarre and beautiful country where time seems to have stood still. According to Top Gear it houses the most spectacular road of Europe. I would say it houses the most spectacular villages, scenery, castles and people as well. To be safe bring a bag of garlic, and a stake with you.

Romania is truly a country you have to visit. It should be high up on any would-be traveller’s bucket-list!

The old Saxon city of Braşov, takes you back to another time. Nearby is Bran Castle (aka Castelul Bran, Törzburg, and Törcsvár), famous hideaway of fictional Count Dracula

-- Highlights from Romania

Stroll through Bucharest (aka București) and look at the ridiculously big Parliament Palace, built by erstwhile dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, visit the Patriarchal Cathedral and Mitropoliei Palace and any one of the many other churches and monasteries dotted around the city, and be cultural in the Museum of the Romanian Peasant

Go to stunning Sibiu (aka Hermannstadt, or Nagyszeben), or even more stunning Sighişoara (aka Schäßburg, or Segesvár), birthplace of Vlad the Impaler and as medieval as you can get it

Visit Sinaia in the Carpathian mountains, home of Peleș Castle (aka Castelul Peleș), summer residence of the former Kings of Romania

Ski in one of the many ski resorts in the Transylvanian Alps

Hike Retezat National Park (aka Parcul Naţional Retezat), or do some rock climbing in Piatra Craiului National Park (aka Parcul Național Piatra Craiului)

Admire the beautiful Painted Monasteries, of which Voroneț is the most famous example

Spot birds, and other wildlife, go fishing, lie on a secluded beach and just get away from everything in the Danube Delta (aka Delta Dunării), a UNESCO site

Go back in time at Greek founded Histria (aka Istros)

Hike into a fairy-tale in Maramureş, where horse-drawn carriages still rule the day, and where there are no less than eight, yes eight! World Heritage listed sites, you will understand why when you see the churches

Hints and Tips for Romania

There is so much to see in this country that making a top ten list almost amounts to sacrilege! Go and find out for yourself.

No visa’s needed in this EU country.

A Romanian phrasebook will be handy on the country side, French is also widely spoken by the older educated generation, English by the younger. You might be able to make yourself understood in Spanish, Italian or any other Romance language, but don’t count on it.

Brasov

Nearby is Bran Castle

Sinaia

Prahova County, Romania

Sinaia

Sinaia (Romanian pronunciation: [siˈnaja]) is a town and a mountain resort in Prahova CountyRomania. It is situated in the historical region of Muntenia. The town was named after the Sinaia Monastery of 1695, around which it was built. The monastery in turn is named after the Biblical Mount Sinai. King Carol I of Romania built his summer home, Peleș Castle, near the town in the late nineteenth century.

Sinaia is about 65 kilometres (40 miles) northwest of Ploiești and 48 kilometres (30 miles) south of Brașov, in a mountainous area on the Prahova River valley, just east of the Bucegi Mountains. The town’s altitude varies between 767 to 860 metres (2,516 to 2,822 feet) above sea level.

The city is a popular destination for hiking and winter sports, especially downhill skiing. Among the tourist landmarks, the most important are Peleș Castle, Pelișor Castle, Sinaia Monastery, Sinaia CasinoSinaia train station, and the Franz Joseph and Saint Anne Cliffs. Sinaia was also the summer residence of the Romanian composer George Enescu, who stayed at the Luminiș villa.

Located in Prahova River Valley, 120 km from Bucharest and 49 km from Brasov, in Prahova County in the region of Muntenia, at the foot of the breathtaking Carpathian mountains – Varful cu Dor, Furnica and Piatra Arsa Mountains the Sinala tourist resort makes one of the most popular and the oldest tourist resorts of Romania.

The first inhabitants of this territory were monks who lived at the Medieval Sinaia Monastery Mihail Cantacuzine built the Sinaia Monastery in 1690. Prior to World War II and the abdication of the royal family, Sinaia was a summer retreat resort for Romania’s anstocracy. A walk up the mountainside reveals many grand summer homes from this period that look like the fairy tale. The high and steep Carpathian peaks of 2000 meters rise all around the Sinala tourist center providing exceptional panorama and wonderful conditions for vacations and various treatments throughout the year. Sinaia covers an arta from Gura Padurli to the north, to “Vadul Cerbulur inn, to Izvorul Dorulut, and to the new quarter called “Platoul (vor

Also called the “Pearl of the Carpathian Mountains, Sinala is located at an altitude between 767 m and 860 meters

and besides the wonderful landscapes. It offers the possibility of practicing winter sports. The access to the Sinala s

slopes in the resort is possible by taking the cable car to Cota 1400 and then to Cota 2000 The Siasa tourist resort ha

5 ski slopes with low difficulty, thus serving medium and large categories of tourists from the beginners to the very

experienced skiers. The Sinaia ski slopes features ses varying between 500 and 2500 meters, totaling 11.500 m of

practicable land for ski

The Tourist Information and Promotion Center, located in a building in the Mayoranty yard offers compte information about the touristic activity. The Salvamarn Mountain Rescue Public Service also has its headquarters here. Among the main attraction points we can enumerate The Feles Castle Peisonut Gara Regata-the Royal trans station Sinala Monastery, Sinala Casino, George Enescu” memorial house, the “Lumin villa in Cumpatu quarter Nicolae lorga’s house (on Ghe. Doja Street) Anastasie Simu’s house a great lover and collector of Romanian pieces of art.

Bult between 1912 and 1913, at Carolts wish, Sinaia Casino is located in the “Dimitri Ghica Park The first shareholder was Baron of Marcay, shareholder at Monte Carlo Casino, after whose plans Sinaia Casino was built as well After a short period of time it entered the circuit of the greatest casinos in the world, special trains bringing the gamblers in the resort During the 30s it became the man attraction plint of the resort, what brought the economic and social development of the town as well, it is said that at that time, there were at least 800 persons per day that visited the Casino Aher 1947 the building became Casa de Cultura the House of cultures where plays, folkloric performances and concerts were organized:

Only in 1975 it was completely renovated and used for temational meetings Nowadays, Sinaia Casino houses the International Conference Center which is in charge of organizing conference symposiums, congressel having all sorts of modern facilities high speed internet, four international telephone n simultaneous translation interprets, parking lots and to on Sala Oglinzor (the Mirrors Room in shelter sod person reception Salonul Oval (the Oval Salung has a capacity of 340 places Safonul cu Sitnigun (the Grape Salon fewer than 60 person reunions Sala de teatru (The theater room) has 400 seats, and there are also two pratical

The train station in Sinaia was built in 1913, and at the beginning of the 20th century here stopped important international trains, ske Orient Express or Arlberg Express. On the platform there is a plaque built in the memory of the Romanian Prime Minister L. Gh. Duca, killed by legionaries in 1933. The second train station, Gara Regala (the Royal train station was built in 1939 and it was for the trains transporting the Royal family. At that time, the insignias of Carol were on the building in the central room there was a square mural pariting, with sides of 55 meters presenting e royal hunting, and which had a Laon Inscription: Volvode Basarab, the 14th century. The official destination of the Royal train station was kept also during Communism, the American president Gerald Ford passing by in 1975 Nowadays the Sinaia train station is not open to the public

Shaa Monastery, aho called the Cathedral of Bucegi Mountains, is the first construction in the area of the present Sinaia resort, built at the end of the 17th century by Mikhall Cantacuzino, after his return from the Sinai Mountain This is how the name of the monastery came from, as the settlement appeared near the shrine and was named after The legend has it thyr Mikhail Cantacuzino and his family went on a trip to the holy places.

One day he reached the Orthodos monastery en Sinal Mountairt with Saint Catherine as its dedication day Impressed by what he had see and fell in the holy lands when he came home he decided to build monastery with the same name as Sina Mountain

The Sinaia Monastery was built between 1690 and 1695, having as goal the protection of the commercial nuute on the Prahova River Valley as well, in time, more precisely in the 19th century, because of the great number of monks, a ne monastery was built, called Curtea Noua (the New Court thanks to the efforts of priors loasafat and Panie. This was the first electric lighted place of worship in Romania. The museum of Sinaia Monastery was founded in 1895 on the occasion of the monastery’s bicentenary.

The Sinaia Monastery Museum is the flest religious museum in Romania which houses invaluable Orthodox worshiping items the first Bible translated in Romanian and printed at Bucharest n 1688, with the good will of ruler Serban Cantacuzino) and the gorgeous collection of icons. Inside the church there can also be found the epitaph made by Ana Roth, worked on cotton cloth with needle and golden were and colored six between 1897 and 1900. The piece of work of world value, is included on the UNESCO ist Tache Ionescu’s tomb Prime minister during the World War I, who also had an important role in the Unification of 1918, is to be found in the yand of the old Sinaia Monastery. He specified in his will that he wanted to be buried in Sinaia

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