- Bucharest City Tour
- Red Bucharest
- Snagov and Mogosoaia
- Transylvania Day Trip
- Romania and Bulgaria
- Transylvania, the Land of Legend
- Danube Delta, Hidden Treasure
- Dracula, Myth vs History
- Jewish Heritage Tour
- Transylvania and the Painted Monasteries
- Medieval Romania
- Grand Tour of Romania
- Photography Tour
Arbanasi is a village in Veliko Tarnovo Province of central northern Bulgaria. It is known for the rich history and large number of historical monuments, such as 17th and 18th century churches and examples of Bulgarian National Revival architecture, which have turned it into a popular tourist destination.
Arch of Triumph Initially built of wood in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I, Bucharest's very own Arc de Triumph was finished in Deva granite in 1936. Designed by the architect, Petre Antonescu, the Arc stands 85 feet high. An interior staircase allows visitors to climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city. The sculptures decorating the structure were created by leading Romanian artists.
Athenaeum in Bucharest The work of French architect Albert Galleron, who also designed the National Bank of Romania, the Athenaeum was completed in 1888, financed almost entirely with money donated by the general public. One of the preeminent public fundraising campaigns ever in Romania, the "Give a penny for the Athenaeum" campaign saved the project after the original patrons ran out of funds. With its high dome and Doric columns, the Athenaeum resembles an ancient temple.
Barsana Monastery It is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Romania. This well-maintained convent is located in the village of Barsana, about 25km southeast of Sighetu Marmatiei. The monastic buildings are built of wood and according to local tradition little or any modern tools have been used. Great skill of local craftsmen and artists is there to be seen in very beautiful carvings and frescoes in the style of the Moldovan churches.
Bicaz Canyon Bicaz Canyon is one of the most spectacular places in Romania, located in the north-east part of the country, in Neamt and Harghita counties. The canyon was dug by the waters of Bicaz River and it serves as a passageway between the Romanian provinces of Moldova and Transylvania. Also within the Canyon is the Red Lake, with its traditional cabins, hotels, and its famous lake created by a landslide in the 19th century.
Biertan Fortified Church The 15th century fortified church at Biertan (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is perched high on a hill in the middle of the village. Three tiers of 35-foot-high defensive walls, connected by towers and gates, encircled the complex, making the church impossible to conquer during medieval times. Featuring late-gothic architecture with heavy doors and double exterior walls, the church boasts the largest Transylvanian multi-paneled wooden altar and a remarkable wooden door which once protected the treasures in the sacristy.
Black Church Built between 1385 and 1477 on the site of an earlier church (destroyed by Mongol invasions in 1242), the construction of the Marienkirche, as it was known in German, was hampered by extensive damage caused by Turkish raids in 1421. The church was given its new name after disaster struck again in 1689, when the Great Fire leveled most of the town, blackening the walls of the church. Restoration took almost 100 years. Of two towers planned, only one was finished. The Black Church is the largest gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul.
Black Pottery of Marginea Located in the North of Romania, a few km have of Radauti in Bucovine, at the edge of the forests centenaries, the village of Marginea is famous especially by its black pottery. This pottery kept for essence the features which it had with the Neolithic era: the form remains unchanged as well as the technique of cooking and ornamentation. This pottery is of indigenous, Dacia tradition and one finds it on territory of Moldavia and of the east of Transylvania.
Bran Castle Built on the site of a Teutonic Knights stronghold dating from 1212, the castle was first documented in an act issued by Louis I of Hungary on November 19, 1377, giving the Saxons of Kronstadt (Brasov) the privilege to build the Citadel. Although Stoker never visited Transylvania, the Irish author relied on research and his vivid imagination to create the dark and intimidating stomping ground of Count Dracula, leading to persistent myths that it was once the home of Vlad Tepes, ruler of Walachia.
Brasov Fringed by the peaks of the Carpathian Mountains and resplendent with Gothic, baroque and renaissance architecture, as well as a wealth of historical attractions, the medieval city of Brasov, located just three hours north of Bucharest, provides a great introduction to the region. Among Brasov’s best know historical and cultural attractions are the Council Square, the beautiful St. Nicholas Church, the Black Church – the largest Gothic church east of Vienna.
Brukenthal Palace Facing west of the square is the stunning Brukenthal Palace, built between 1778-1785 by a Viennese architect in a refined late-baroque style. It is now the home of the Brukenthal Museum, the oldest and one of the finest art museums in the country. The palace was built by Baron Samuel von Brukenthal to serve as his official residence and house his collections of Romanian and Western art, 16th – 18th century religious sculptures and icons, stamps and coins, as well as an impressive library.
Calnic Fortified Church Built in the 13th century by Count Chyl de Kelling, the Fortified Church at Calnic (German: Kelling) is one of the most imposing defensive structures in Transylvania. First mentioned in a 1269 document, the fortress served as a residence for Saxon nobility until 1430, when it was sold to the peasant community of Calnic.
Church on the Hill To the north of the Clock Tower stands one of the most representative gothic-style structures in Transylvania, the Church on the Hill - so called because of its location on the School Hill (1,373 ft high). First mentioned in a document in 1345 and superposed on a former Roman basilica, its construction lasted almost 200 years.
Cluj Napoca The western Transylvania city of Cluj Napoca, tracing its origin back to the Dacian settlement of Napoca in 2nd century A.D., is today a vibrant cultural and university center. The main square, resplendent with 18th and 19th century buildings, is dominated by the 15th century St. Michael’s Church, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Romania. The square is also home to the 18th century baroque Banffy Palace, housing the weaponry and Romanian painting collections of the Art Museum.
Constantin Brâncuşi (February 19, 1876 – March 16, 1957) was a Romanian-born sculptor who made his career in France. Famous Brâncuşi works include the Sleeping Muse (1908), The Kiss (1908), Prometheus (1911), Mademoiselle Pogany (1913), The Newborn (1915), Bird in Space (1919) and The Column of the Infinite (Coloana infinitului), popularly known as The Endless Column (1938). Considered the pioneer of modernism Brâncuşi is called the Patriarch of Modern Sculpture.
Council Square Located at the heart of old medieval Brasov and lined with beautiful red-roofed merchant houses, the Council Square, known to the Saxon population as the Marktplatz, is a nice place to rest and soak in the beautiful scenery. In the center of the square stands the Old Town Hall, now home to Brasov's History Museum, while the southeast corner is dominated by the town's most famous landmark, the Black Church.
Curtea de Arges Monastery The Monastery of Curtea de Arges dates from the 16th Century, it is believed to be the most beautiful church in Eastern Europe. Behold the sad legend of Manole as you take in its beauty, the legend says that Manole, the master builder, had to sacrifice his wife by locking her into the wall to stop the monastery from falling apart. The monastery is also the final resting place of the first two kings and queens of Romania.
Danube Delta The mighty Danube River flows 1,788 miles from its springs in Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea. Just before reaching the sea it forms the second largest and best preserved of Europe's deltas: 2,200 square miles of rivers, canals, marshes, tree-fringed lakes and reed islands. The Danube Delta is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise. Some 300 species of birds make Danube’s Delta their home, including cormorants, white tailed eagles and glossy ibises.
Great Square First mentioned in 1411 as a grain market, the Great Square – the largest square in the city, has been throughout the centuries a quiet witness to the town’s lively merchant activity, assemblies and even public executions. Located in the heart of the old walled city, the square was designated an architectural monument by UNESCO and features some of the most impressive buildings in Sibiu.
Horezu Monastery The Monastery of Horezu was founded in 1690 by Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu in the town of Horezu, Wallachia, Romania. It is considered to be a masterpiece of "Brâncovenesc style", known for its architectural purity and balance, the richness of its sculpted detail, its treatment of religious compositions, its votive portraits, and its painted decorative works.
Huet Square Huet Square is home to a mix of Gothic buildings dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral (Biserica Evangelica). This impressive structure, featuring five pointed towers, was built in 1520 on the site of an old Roman basilica. The simple, stark interior is in total contrast to that of the Catholic Church. Here, you can also find the city's only fully German school, the Samuel von Brukenthal Gymnasium, which exemplifies the city's proud German heritage
Hunyad Castle The greatest Gothic-style castle in Romania, Corvinesti was built by the Anjou family on the site of a former Roman camp. The castle served as a fortress until the mid-14th century when it became the residence of Transylvania's ruler, Iancu de Hunedoara. Iancu upgraded the fortress transforming it into the most stunning castle in Transylvania. The beautifully preserved structure features a sumptuous Knights’ Hall, an impressive drawbridge, high buttresses, inner courtyards, a chapel and some 50 rooms resplendent with medieval art. The courtyard features a 100 ft. well dug into stone.
Ieud Wooden Church The Wooden Church of Ieud was built in 1364, and is the oldest church in Maramures. Built of pine and fir with small windows, a double roof and a single, impressive steeple, it features 15th century primitive Byzantine-style murals. Fourteen icons, illustrating moments from the Judgment to the Crucifixion biblical scenes are placed along the path leading up to the church to recall The Way to the Cross that Jesus Christ walked to Golgotha.
Little Square From the Great Square, walk through one of two tunnels under the arches of the Council Tower to arrive at the Little Square. This second fortified square was home to the town’s most prestigious master craftsmen, who lived in rows of arcaded houses along the north and east sides. Today, small shops, cafes and businesses line the square.
Maramures Maramures is an area of the country known for its timeless tranquility. In late afternoon, old women sit outside their gates coaxing coarse wool onto spindles. Many still favor traditional dress, meaning white frounced blouses, striped woven panels covering full black skirts, headscarves and opinci, a sort of leather ballet slipper from which heavy yarn criss-crosses over thick socks. On Sunday, such dress is practically “de rigueur”, even for little girls.
Merry Cemetery The Merry Cemetery is the cemetery of the village Sapânta, in Maramures county, Romania. It is famous for its colorful tombstones with naive paintings describing, in an original and poetic manner, the persons that are buried there as well as scenes from their lives. The Merry Cemetery became an open-air museum and a national tourist attraction.
Mogosoaia Palace Located in the village of the same name on the shore of Mogosoaia Lake, this palace reflects the Brancovenesc architectural style, featuring traditional Romanian staircase balconies, arcades and columns. Built by the Walachian prince Constantin Brancoveanu between 1698 and 1702 as a summer residence, the palace features a beautiful Venetian-style loggia on the facade facing the lake and a balcony with intricate Brancovenesc-style carvings overlooking the main courtyard. Today, the palace houses the Brancovenesc Museum with exhibits of valuable paintings, wood and stone sculptures, gold and silver embroideries, rare books and precious manuscripts.
Moldovita Monastery The Monastery of Moldovita pronounced "Mol do vee' tsa", located in the village of Vatra Moldovitei, was built by Petru Rares in 1532. The predominantly gold and deep blue paintings on the exterior walls were completed in 1537. The large and vivid Siege of Constantinople highlights the frescoes. Another stunning representation depicts the Tree of Jesse, representing Christ’s genealogy, a wide-spread iconographic theme in Europe during the Middle Ages.
Museum of Painted Glass Icons The Museum of Painted Glass Icons Painting on glass has been a tradition for 200 years in the villages around Sibiu. In 1968, the founder of the museum, priest Zosim Oancea, started to collect 18th and 19th century icons richly painted on glass. Today, the museum exhibits the largest collection of painted glass icons in Europe - more than 700, as well as furniture and ceramics.
Museum of the History of the Jewish Community Housed in the magnificently preserved Great Synagogue (1850) in the city's historically Jewish neighborhood, this museum traces the history of Romania's Jewish population. The displays include a collection of books written, published, illustrated or translated by Romanian Jews; a small collection of paintings of and by Romanian Jews and memorabilia from Jewish theaters including the State Jewish Theater. The museum also contains a large collection of Jewish ritual objects from Romania, collected by Rabbi Moses Rosen (1912-1994), the late Chief Rabbi of the Romanian Jewry.
Museum of the Romanian Peasant Opened in 1906, the museum features the richest folk art collection in Romania, with over 90,000 artifacts that trace the colorful and diverse cultural life of the Romanian people. The displays dip into all aspects of life in the Romanian countryside. Exhibits of agricultural tools, carpets, icons, furniture, photographs and films build up a complete picture of Romanian folk culture. In 1996, the museum was named European Museum of the Year.
National Art Museum Located in the neoclassical former Royal Palace, set amid a wealth of historic buildings such as the Romanian Athenaeum, Kretzulescu Church and the Hotel Athenee Palace-Hilton, the museum currently exhibits over 100,000 works divided into two major sections. Its National Gallery features the works of major Romanian artists, including Grigorescu, Aman and Andreescu. There is also a roomful of early Brancusi sculpture.
Parliament Palace Built by Communist Party leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, the colossal Parliament Palace (formerly known as the People's Palace) is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon. -It is the world's second-largest office building in surface (after the Pentagon) and the third largest in volume (after Cape Canaveral in the U.S. and the Great Pyramid in Egypt) - The crystal chandelier in the Human Rights Hall weighs 2.5 tons - Some of the chandeliers have as many as 7,000 light bulbs.
Peles Castle Peles Castle a masterpiece of German new-Renaissance architecture, considered by many one of the most stunning castles in Europe. Commissioned by King Carol I in 1873 and completed in 1883, the castle served as the summer residence of the royal family until 1947. Its 160 rooms are adorned with the finest examples of European art, Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows and Cordoba leather-covered walls.
Prejmer Fortified Church Prejmer Fortified Church (UNESCO World Heritage Site) The largest fortified church in southeastern Europe, Prejmer (Tartlau in German) was built by Teutonic knights in 1212-1213. The powerful surrounding walls are 40 feet high and 10-15 feet thick. Historical records attest that in its 500 years of existence, the fortress was besieged 50 times. However, it was only captured once, in 1611 by Gabriel Báthori, Prince of Transylvania.
Savings Bank Palace Boasting one of the most impressive neoclassical facades in the city, this structure was built in the 19th century to the design of French architect Paul Gottereanu (who between 1875 and 1900 designed more than 50 buildings in the city, to house the first Romanian Savings Bank. The square-shaped palace has a large central dome with metallic ribs separated by glass, which allows natural light to come in; there are also four smaller domes.
Scholars’ Stairs Located at the end of School Street and connecting the Citadel Square with the Church on the Hill, the Scholars' Stairs, or Schoolboys' Stairs, as it was also known, makes for an interesting piece of medieval architecture. Built in 1642, the covered stair-passage was meant to facilitate and protect schoolchildren and churchgoers on their climb to the school and church during wintertime. Originally, the stairs had 300 steps, but after 1849, their number was reduced to 175.
Sibiu Designated European Capital of Culture in 2007, Sibiu retains the grandeur of its earlier days when rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade. Explore the old city center with its upper town, home to most of Sibiu's historic sites, and lower town, lined with colorful houses on cobblestone streets and bounded by imposing city walls and defense towers overlooking the river Cibin. Sibiu makes an ideal base for the exploration of the nearby countryside and villages.
Sighet Memorial The Sighet Memorial was opened in 1997 in the former "Prison of the Ministers" (Inchisoarea Ministiriilor) in the town of Sighetu Marmatiei "Sighet" located in the far north west, in the beautiful Maramures region. It is one of the best museums in Romania depicting the evolution and atrocities committed by the Communist regime in Romania.
Sighisoara The medieval town of Sighisoara, a perfectly intact 15th century gem with nine towers, narrow passageways and cobbled streets, burgher houses and ornate churches. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sighisoara is also the birthplace of Vlad Draculea, nicknamed Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes), ruler of Walachia from 1456 to 1462. It was Vlad who inspired Bram Stoker’s fictional creation, Count Dracula. His house is just one of many attractions here.
Sighisoara Clock Tower Sighisoara's main point of attraction is the Clock Tower, also known as the Council Tower, built in the second half of the 14th century and expanded in the 16th century. In the 17th century, a two-plate clock, with figurines carved from linden wood, was set at the top of the tower, with one dial looking over the Lower Town, and the other facing the citadel. This intricate two-plate clock has been working continuously since the Middle Ages.
Sucevita Monastery Sucevita Monastery Founded in 1581 by Gheorghe Movila, Bishop of Radauti, it was later expanded by his brother, Ieremia, ruling prince of Moldavia. Sucevita was the last of the 22 painted churches of Bucovina in 1602-1604 and has the largest number of painted images. Sucevita boasts a magnificent depiction of the Ladder to Paradise. Red-winged angels in orderly rows attend the righteous on a slanting ladder to the heavens, each rung inscribed with one of the monastic virtues. Sinners fall through the rungs and are driven by grinning devils to the chaos of hell.
Surdesti Dating from 1767, the famous wooden church in Surdesti, built of oak beams skillfully intertwined, displays well-preserved interior watercolor canvases and a remarkable 175-feet tall belfry. Surdesti is known to be one of the highest oak buildings in the world with an overall height from ground level to the top of the steeple of 235 feet. Remarkably, no metal was used to erect the belfry as even the fastenings are made entirely from wood.
Turda Salt Mine Salt was first extracted here during the antiquity and the mine continuously produced table salt from the Middle Ages (the mine being first mentioned in 1075) to early 20th century 1932). Since 1992, Salina Turda is a halo-therapy center and a popular tourist attraction. Inside the salt mine the temperature remains constant (10-12 °C) all the time, at any time of the year. Humidity in the air remains constant too, at about 75-80%.
Village Museum The Village Museum was founded by royal decree in 1936, this fascinating outdoor museum, the largest in Europe, covers some 30 acres on the shores of Lake Herastrau in Herestrau Park. It features a collection of 50 buildings representing the history and design of Romania's rural architecture. Steep-roofed peasant homes, thatched barns, log cabins, churches and watermills from all regions of the country were carefully taken apart, shipped to the museum and rebuilt in order to recreate the village setting.
Vlad Dracul’s House Vlad Dracul's House is located in the Citadel Square of Sighisoara, close to the Clock Tower. This ocher-colored house is the place where Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's famous Dracula, was born in 1431 and lived with his father, Vlad Dracul, until 1435 when they moved to Targoviste. The ground floor of the house serves as a pastry shop while the upstairs is a restaurant.
Voronet Monastery Perhaps the most famous and stunning of the painted monasteries is Voronet (Vo ro nets), founded in 1487 by Stephen the Great to celebrate a victory over the Turks. Widely known throughout Europe as "the Sistine Chapel of the East" due to its interior and exterior wall paintings, this monastery offers an abundance of frescoes featuring an intense shade of blue commonly known as ‘Voronet blue.’ The composition of the paint continues to remain a mystery even now, more than 500 years after the church was built.