Corvin Castle of Hunedoara

Corvin Castle of Hunedoara

corvin-hnedoara

Withstanding the harsh passing of time and the fierce attacks of it’s enemies, this Gothic Renaissance structure, has been doing it’s duty as Transylvania’s protector since the XV century. The construction of the castle was commissioned by John Hunyadi (Iancu de Hunedoara in Romanian) when he was elected as the regent-governor of the Kingdom of Hungary. ‘You cannot be a great ruler without a proper castle’ and this was exactly what the Hunedoara area, belonging to the principality of Transylvania, was missing.

The castle is a large and imposing dwelling with tall towers, bastions, an inner courtyard with a deep fountain, multi-coloured roofs, and a myriad windows and balconies adorned with stone embroideries. The castle also features a double wall for enhanced fortification and is flanked by both rectangular and circular towers, an architectural innovation for the period’s Transylvanian architecture. Some of the towers (the Capistrano Tower, the Deserted Tower and the Drummers’ Tower) were used as prisons. The ‘Buzdugan’ Tower (Mace Tower) was solely built for defensive purposes and it had its exterior decorated with geometric motifs. The rectangular shaped towers have large openings to accommodate larger weapons.

 

The castle has 3 large areas: the Knight’s Hall, the Diet Hall and the circular stairway. The halls are rectangular in shape and decorated with marble. The Diet Hall was used for ceremonies or formal receptions whilst the Knight’s Hall was used for feasts. In 1456, John Hunyadi died and work on the castle has stagnated. Starting with 1458, his son Mathias Corvinas became the new king of Hungary and of course rolling prince of Transylvania. New commissions were being undergone to construct the Matia Wing of the castle.

In 1480, work was completely stopped on the castle and it was recognised as being one of the biggest and most impressive buildings in Eastern Europe.

The 16th century did not bring any improvements to the castle, but during the 17th century new additions were made, for aesthetic and military purposes. Aesthetically, the new Large Palace was built facing the town. A two level building, it hosted living chamber and a large living area. For military purposes, two new towers were constructed: the White Tower and the Artillery Tower. Also, the external yard was added, used for administration and storage.

 

Legends of the Castle

The Raven and the Ring – how it became the family crest

Legend says that John Hunyadi was the barticle-title-895976fb2e8f-333-198-1-85-jpgastard child of King Sigismund de Luxembourg with a beautiful Transylvanian commoner names Elizabeth. As the king loved her dearly and did not want to shame her or her family, he decided to marry her with one of his knights Voicu. The king gave Elizabeth a ring and asked for his son to wear it when he would be older. Years passed and 14 year old John received his ring, one day when he was washing his face in the river he took the ring of and put it next to him. A raven attracted by the shine of the stones, stole the ring from the grass. John quickly lifted his bow and arrow shutting the raven down and getting his beloved ring back.

When the king heard of this great story he decided that their family crest would be the Raven with a ring in his beak.

 

The Fountain

The fountain that can be found in the castle’s courtyard was dug by three turkish prisoners that John captured during a battle. They were promised freedom if they would dig a well so that the castle would have drinking water. The prisoners animated by the promise of freedom worked day and night for 15 years, digging in the hard rock to obtain water. The well was completed after John’s death and his wife decided not to honor the promise made to the three prisoners. They were so upset they carved on the inside shaft of the well: ‘Water you have but you don’t have a heart’.

 

Fun fact! One of the coolest places in the castle is the dungeon or torture chamber, where they have these very realistic prisoners. Be careful not to miss it as it is divided in two parts, when you enter the courtyard immediately to the left and to the right.

 

Prejmer Fortress – Practical Information:

VISITING HOURS: 01.10.2016-31.03.2017

Mondays: 12:00 – 17:00*
Tue – Sun: 09:00 -17:00*
*Last entrance is 45 minutes before closing time (16:15)

Winter Holidays Schedule 2016

30 Nov 2016 –  09:00-17:00*

01 Dec 2016 –  09:00-17:00*

24 Dec 2016 –   10:00-14:00*

25 Dec 2016 –   Closed

26 Dec 2016 –   10:00-17:00*

31 Dec 2016 –   10:00-14:00*

01 Ian 2017 –    Closed

*Last entrance is 45 minutes before closing time

TICKETS:

Adults
Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec – 20 Lei
Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct – 25 lei
Mai, Jun, Jul, Aug – 30 Lei
Pupils– 5 Lei (based on student ID)
Student – 5 Lei (based on student ID)
Pensioners – 10 Lei (+65 years)
Photo fee – 5 Lei
Video fee – 15 Lei
Guide fee – 30 Lei Romanian, 50 lei Foreign language

Fees for organized groups:
Minimum 30 persons;
Adulti
Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec – 15 Lei
Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct – 20 lei
Mai, Jun, Jul, Aug – 25 Lei
Pensioners – 8 lei/pers.
– Pupils/students – 4 lei/pers.

Tourist Info Center Hunedoara
Tel/Fax +40.354.880.011
informareturisticahd@gmail.com

Getting there:

Address: Strada Castelului 1-3, Hunedoara 331141, Romania. See map HERE

Tel: +40 786 048 718

Email: contact@castelulcorvinilor.ro

Here you can find information about trains: http://www.cfrcalatori.ro/

Here you can find information about bus schedules: http://www.autogari.ro/

 

By Guided Tour from Bucharest (Licensed guide/driver & transportation)

www.unzipromania.com

office@unzipromania.com

 

 

Prejmer Fortified Church

Prejmer Fortified Church

Prejmer Fortified Church is one of my personal favorite fortresses that really makes the past and turbulent history come to life. Only being there inside the fortress, inside the defense corridors, you can catch a glimpse of the gone by eras when every day was a battle for survival.

You might be thinking of what a fortified church means, well the villagers needed a place to hide when their village was under attack so they built a wall around their church, this way they were protecting their religions space and  their own lives. They built almost 300 storage rooms on three or four levels, on the interior side of the wall, in order to keep supplies for times of siege. The fortress-church withheld 50 attacks throughout it’s history without getting conquered. This is an amazing achievement considering it was the peasant’s defense system.

Prejmer Fortified Church

The Evangelical Church and the Peasant Fortress built around it, have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1999. The church was built by Teutonic Nights during the 13th century and fortification around was done by the German colonists living in the area, during the 15th century.

Prejmer Fortified Church

The walls are 12 meters high (39 feet) and 3-5 meters thick (10-16 feet) and they create two defense lines, the gate area and central area built around the church. Having a ring shape, it has a diameter of 80 meters (263 feet) and the defese corridor found at the top of the walls was used by the men to shoot and pour hot tar and boiling oils on the enemies trying to protect their families. The corridor is dark and kind of spooky (btw: I totally love it 😉 and it has small opening to allow the use of weapons.

If you walk all around the defense corridor you will encounter one special opening created to hold multiple gun barrels on both sides, it is called the Organ of Death and it was invented by the locals to shoot multiple times at once and do it continuously, causing the enemy great loss and spreading fear.

Do visit this place if you have the chance, you will love it!

Prejmer Fortress – Practical Information:

 

VISITING HOURS:

Summer Season (01 May – 31 October)

Monday – Friday: 09.00 – 18.00

Saturday: 09.00 – 17.00

Sunday: 11.00 – 17.00

Winter Season (01 November – 30 April)

Monday – Saturday: 09.00 – 16.00

Sunday: 11.00 – 16.00

TICKETS:

Adults: 8 LEI 

Children/Students: 4 LEI

 

Getting there:

Address: 2 Str. Pietei (town center), Prejmer village, Brasov county. See map HERE

Tel: (+4) 0268 36 20 52

There are six trains a day from Brasov to Prejmer (take any train heading for Intorsura Buzaului), the journey taking just 20 minutes. A taxi from Brasov to Prejmer costs approx. 50 lei. Prejmer is also served by minibuses from Autogara Vest (at the far end of Strada Lunga): all minibuses to Sfantu Gheorghe pass through here.

Here you can find information about trains: http://www.cfrcalatori.ro/

Here you can find information about bus schedules: http://www.autogari.ro/

 

By Guided Tour from Bucharest (Licensed guide/driver & transportation)

UnzipRomania Travel UnzipRomania Travel

www.unzipromania.com

office@unzipromania.com

 

9 Dracula sites to Visit in Romania

9 Dracula sites to Visit in Romania

Vlad III the Impaler Dracula, it is quite a name and a legend to live up to. Although it is true that myth and history blend to create the portrait of this infamous prince, we cannot take away the fact that Romanians consider him a hero and the entire world knows of him, one way or another.

Why a hero you might be wondering, well because he was not killing for fame or richness, he was killing to protect his people and his religion. Although somewhat controversial, he is not the worse in history, remember Atilla the Hun, Genghis Khan, Ivan the IV of Russia and the list could go on. He was not special in his ways of battle, that is Hara principatelor romanesti sub Mihai Viteazul 1600how the entire world was like, he was special in his purpose: protecting the Romanians (Wallahs) and their land of being torn apart.

FYI. During his time Romania was divided in three little countries (principalities) that were administrated separately but they all had Romanians on their territories. Although Vlad was born in Transylvania, his family came from Wallachia and this is the territory that he rulled.

Only God and those who lived in those times know the truth. We can only hope that what historians, scribes and story tellers recorded was the truth. 

Neagu Djuvara, Historian

List of sites related to Vlad Dracula that can be visited in Romania:

1.Bucharest Princely Court. 557 years ago Vlad the Impaler founded the fortress of Bucharest in his quest of defeating the Ottoman Turks. Vlad was ruling his country Wallachia which had a direct border with the Turkish Empire, the Danube. Being in need for a nearby fortress to serve for retreat and protection he decided this place should be Bucharest and we all appreciate it very much 🙂

The ruins of Vlad’s fortress were revealed in 1972 by Romanian archaeologists exactly in the heart of Bucharest, the Old Town. Being so conveniently located don’t hesitate to wander on French Street (Strada Franceza) to sneak a peak. You can also visit the neighboring church called the Princely Church where the rulers of Wallachia were being crowned.

Vlad the Impaler court Bucharest
Bucharest Princely Court

2.Targoviste Princely Court. The town of Targoviste was the medieval capital of Wallachia, a location where Vlad ruled following his father and grandfather. It is said to be the first place where Vlad used his trademark torture – the impalement – trying to bring justice after a group of noblemen murdered his father and brother in an attempt to overtake the throne. You can visit here the ruins of Vlad’s mansion, the Great Church which is an exquisite Romanian architectural site decorated with valuable frescoes dating the 16th century, Chindia tower used for defense and also treasury. Do climb the tower which has at each floor an exhibition about Vlad’s journey though life and enjoy a wonderful view of the town from the top.

Targoviste Princely Court
Targoviste Princely Court

3.Poienari Fortress. This amazing stronghold located in the mountains has saved Vlad’s life numerous times. Climb the 1480 steps to explore the fortress while enjoying a spectacular scenery of the Carpathians. Don’t be afraid of the impalees hanging at the entrance or the torture area on the right side, they are just props meant to show a little insight into those crazy medieval days.

Poienari Fortress
Poienari Fortress

4.Replica of Poienari Fortress to be found in Carol Park, Bucharest. Called the Castle of the Impaler (Castelul lui Tepes) this fortress was built in 1906 by Kind Carol I, to celebrate the 40th year of being on the throne of Romania. The architects studied the ruins of the real fortress and this is how they imagined it during it’s glory days. Sadly this site is open for visiting only twice per year: on May 25th for Heroes Day and October 25th for Army Day.

Poienari Fortress, Bucharest
Poienari Fortress, Bucharest

5.Snagov Monastery. This little monastery located on an island in the middle of Snagov lake holds the tomb of Vlad the Impaler. The tiny stone church has  a great history and fabulous Orthodox frescoes are definitely worth a visit. Legend says that Vlad was beheaded in the woods around Bucharest when fighting the Turks. The enemies took the head as a war trophy, after the battle the monks brought his body to the monastery to be buried and finally find peace.

Snagov Monastery
Snagov Monastery

6.Bran Castle aka Dracula’s Castle. Although Vlad never lived in this castle, there is a small connection between the price and this great medieval dwelling: Vlad’s grandfather was castellan of Bran, which was a great honor for the Wallachian ruler. Secondly it is said that Vlad spent a few nights in the castle when fighting the Germans and Hungarians in Transylvania, trying to liberate the territory of foreign control. For the legend or for the history do not miss this castle. Read more HERE

7.Huniady Castle. Another fantastic medieval Transylvanian dwelling that I definitely recommend visiting. Legend says that Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned in the dungeons of this castle after being accused of treason by Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary.

8.House of Dracula in Sighisoara. Sighisoara is the most medieval town in Transylvania with narrow cobblestone streets and colorful houses, with defense towers and stone walls that make you feel like a time traveler to the 1500. The town is divided in two, lower town with buildings dating the 18th and 19th century and the upper town, the former medieval citadel that is a splendid UNESCO site and gives you a chance to see how people were living in the middle ages between the protective walls of a fortress. Sighisoara is the birth place of Vlad, you can visit the yellow house where he was born in 1431 and where he lived with his family until the age of 4, when his father became ruler of Wallachia and moved to the capital of Targoviste.

House of Dracula, Sighisoara
House of Dracula, Sighisoara

9.Brasov. Vlad lived for some time in Brasov, apparently for economical and political reasons and also to keep an eye on Dan, a pretender to the throne of Wallachia, member of noble family and rival to Vlad. Read more about visiting Brasov HERE

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Mistress of Dracula – Katharina of Brasov

Katharina and Vlad the Impaler
Katharina and Vlad the Impaler

It was Christmas Eve 1455 in the Transylvanian city of Brasov or Kronstadt / Corona as it was called in those days. It was snowing heavily! A few young girls were trying to pull uphill, in the snow, a big sled filled with supplies for the soldiers in the Weavers Bastion. The bastion was located near the house of Vlad the Impaler, who was at that time military governor of Brasov. Being with his officers on the hill, Vlad jumped to help. The gallantry of the prince seemed strange for everybody around, until they noticed he could not take his eyes off the blue-eyed blonde little lady.
Khatarina was the daughter of the Weaver’s guild leader in Brasov. Her relationship with the prince lasted 20 years and resulted in five children: Vladislav (1456), Catherine (1459), Christian (1461), Hanna (1463) and Sigismund (1468). The cruel ruler overwhelmed his young mistress with great tenderness, during the 20 years, she was the only woman for whom he asked the high priest to allow him to get a divorce.

Love story in the Tartler house
When she met the prince, Katharina was 17 and he was 34. She was educated in a Franciscan Monastery and lived her with her father Thomas Siegel and mother Susanna Fronius in the house called Tartler. The building still exists today and can be seen at Str. Poarta Schei No. 14.

Vlad the Impaler often visited Katharina at her house, where she spent most of her time weaving in a room downstairs. Vlad gifter her with the most beautiful dresses of silk and lace from Venice and Flanders.

Until meeting Katharina, Vlad had many loves, including Ursulla from Schassburg / Sighisoara, Erika from Bistrita and Lize from Hermannstad / Sibiu. These affairs of the prince created discontent among the Saxon guilds, families wanting to marry their daughters with someone from their community. Vlad was careful to marry or get engagements for all his mistresses, except Katharina. He could not bear the thought of sharing her with someone else.

The Transylvanian Chronicle from the 18th century tells that the romance of Prince Vlad, military governor, Duke of Fagaras and Amlas with Katharina created great revolt among pretenders to the girl’s hand, three of them coming from rich families of the Saxon community. It is said that his love for Katharina sparked violent crisis: sword throwing, kicking things around or taking revenge on those who were around. The prince’s scenes of jealousy terrified the city of Brasov and during one of them he even wounded a priest.

Bartholomew Massacre and the Golden LocksVlad-The-Impaler-dracula-untold-37680708-854-347

On 2 April 1459 upset with the high taxes imposed by the Saxons in Brasov and their intrigues around the country, Vlad destroyed all their corn crops. He trapped hundreds of townsmen and merchants coming into the city with goods, took near the city slums, in the neighborhood of Bartholomew and started impaling them one by one.

During the Bartholomew massacre, Vlad received the news that the merchants wives had attacked Katharina’s house. They beat her, tied her to the pillory in the Square and cut her long golden locks. Because they cut her locks, the prince threatened to burn entire city. In order to save his beloved, Vlad, freed the other Saxons who were to be killed in Bartholomew.reportaj-katharina-din-schei-marea-iubire-a-lui-vlad-tepes-0
Legend has it that Vlad was able to recover one of the braids of Katharina and then kept it almost religiously. One day surprised that his wife opened the closet where he kept the locks as a sacred object, he became very angry and mistreated her. Vlad the Impaler wanted to take Katharina as his wife, but religion did not allow divorce, even though he had more children with his mistress than with his own wife. He often wrote to the Patriarch and even to Pope Pius II, asking him for a letter of indulgence to have his marriage with Anastasia Holszanska (granddaughter of Queen of Poland) annulled, but he never received approval.
After the death of the prince, Katharina, at the age of 39, returned to the monastery where she was educated as a child. Of the 20 years of love, the only witness that still stands today is the house at Str. Poarta Schei No. 14.

Beautiful Katharina was the only woman who managed to tame the heart of this cruel and feared ruler.

Dracula – The Romanian!

Romania’s national heroVlad-Tepes

When we think of Dracula we almost always think about the made up character, the bloody vampire that always makes a good Halloween story for the kids. But have you ever thought about a brave man, a fighter for Christianity and for the continuity of his nation?

Oh, the legendary count Dracula, the fierce vampire from Transylvania with his sparkly sharp teeth and white pale skin. What if I told you he was not a vampire but a great warrior, not a monster but a hero for his people, the Romanians?

When we think of Dracula we almost always think about the made up character, the bloody vampire that always makes a good Halloween story for the kids. But have you ever thought about a brave man, a fighter for Christianity and for the continuity of his nation?

He is one of Romania’s national heroes, one of the rulers who believed we were worth fighting for and who never chose the easy way to save his own skin at the expense of the masses. He fought together with his grandfather Mircea the Elder, with his cousin Stephan the Great (Stefan cel Mare), with other rulers as Mihai the Brave (Mihai Viteazul), Alexandru the Good, Petru Rares, Iancu of Hunedoara (John Hunyadi) to free the Romanian people, to give them rights, to make them good and honest people.

Throughout this blog I will tell you the story of his life, the battles he fought both with other people and also with himself because even if he was not a demon, he did have his demons. I will also give you scary facts, funny tales, amazing happenings and breathtaking events.

You may wonder why I wrote this article. Well, I sort of feel the need to protect him, to clear his name if I may call it that. I need to speak in his name and tell you this: ‘I am not and never was a monster. I did not enjoy bringing death to others. I only did what I had to do to protect my people and my religion, even if that meant protecting the people from themselves and giving up my religion so that my descendants would freely practice it.’

Do not worry, I never ‘saw’ him and he never ‘spoke’ to me :D. I just feel that on an international level his reputation is stained and that people know the fantasy but don’t know the truth. The real Dracula, the Romanian prince is far more fascinating because he was not a living dead, he did not have superhuman powers and he still managed to become renowned all around the world and to bring fear into the souls of his enemies.

When you are feared and demand for respect, not many will like you, they would hate the power you have over them and try to replace you with someone that can be bought, controlled and easily manipulated. If you are such a force of nature people will gossip, will invent stories about you and will try to make a fool out of you, kind of what happens to celebrities nowadays. People invent stories about them, some very crazy and whimsical, in order to get revenge, public recognition and diminish the power of an individual by publicly humiliating them.

Stand beside me in my mission of protecting Dracula’s reputation (as crazy as that may sound). Join me on a life changing experience, full of unexpected, silly, funny and also creepy events following in the steps of Vlad Dracula  – The Romanian!

Brasov – touristic capital of Transylvania

My dear Brasov, I probably see this town as often as I see my home town Bucharest and I still love it, still like spending my afternoons guiding tourists on it’s old narrow streets painted with color and architectural flavor by spectacular houses from centuries ago.

Why I love it? – you might be wondering, well beside the obvious reasons: great historical value, architecture etc., I love it because it is alive and it makes me happy to be there every time. I enjoy seeing the locals filling the town square with their laughter and energy, I love their seasonal fairs selling anything from home made cakes and jams to jewelry or books. I like having a latte and doing some people watching in between the medieval buildings that give it a special feeling and it’s very interesting how in this town the cafes have outdoor seating even in winter time.

I love the warmth of the people always greeting you with a smile, I really like the food and restaurants in Brasov (found a few gems that I will definitely share with you later on) and last but not least I love the legends that have always made the history of this place come alive in my mind like no other.

What to see in Brasov?

First wander around Council Square just admiring the architecture, make sure you don’t miss the historical Catherine’s Gate, Rope street – one of the narrowest streets in Europe.

2014-10-19 16.41.37

strada-sforii2strada-sforii-brasov

Catherine's Gate Brasov
Catherine’s Gate Brasov

Afterwards pop inside the 15th century Black Church, largest Gothic church in between Saint Sofia in Istanbul and Saint Stephan’s Dome in Vienna.

Black Church Brasov
Black Church Brasov

If you are up for a little hiking and if you like photographing a town from higher grounds go up to the Black Tower for an incredible view over the historical center, the Black church and surrounding area.

 View of Brasov from the Black Tower
View of Brasov from the Black Tower

After all the exploring a nice meal is deserved. Stop at Sergiana for a traditional Transylvanian meal, expect a lot of delicious pork dishes.

Cake and coffee and people watching is a must while in Brasov and German Bakery is the place where I always get my coffee and sugar fix.

Cafe in Brasov
Cafe in Brasov

People and places – a photographic sneak peak into Romania’s rural life

I have discovered on Facebook this amazing Romanian photographer named Stefan Bela and I believe his photos show the real Romania. Discover rural Romania through the lenses of his camera, I did and I saw amazing things.

Click on each photo to see album.

Winter in Maramures
Winter in Maramures
Rural Romania
People and Places
Autumn mornings
Autumn mornings
Christmas caroling
Christmas caroling
Romanian landscapes
Romanian landscapes

10 Things to See and Do in Bucharest

Bucharest, the largest city and capital of Romania is an architectural puzzle, where French 20th century palaces intermingle with boxy communist style buildings and modern glass towers. Bucharest is prettier, nicer, safer and more modern than you imagine. It is crowded and noisy as any capital, it has a great art scene, vivid night life, a remarkably tumultuous history, friendly warm people, mouth watering food and many touristic and not so touristic sites that are dying to be discovered.

1. Be amazed at the Parliament Palace, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon. Called by the locals the ‘House of the People’ as it was constructed by the people with their own money for the megalomaniac communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu (1918-1989). Marvel at the ginormous building that was built on the site of an entire residential district and if you dare take the inside guided tour (don’t forget to bring your passport).

Parliament Palace, Bucharest
Parliament Palace, Bucharest

2. Tour Cotroceni Palace for a dazzling hour of Royal flamboyance. Built by a team of French architects in the 19th century at the demand of King Carol I of Romania, this Classic Venetian castle features a number of function rooms; many of which were decorated to the whims of Queen Marie, the English wife of Carol’s heir. You will also be able to view her astonishing art collection.

Cotroceni Palace Bucharest
Cotroceni Palace Bucharest

3. Explore Revolution Square for impressive architecture and a great history lesson. Revolution Square is located on Victory Avenue near the Romanian Athenaem – Bucharest’s Concert Hall for Classical Music, former Royal Palace which is nowadays the National Art Museum and the grand University Library. This area has a special vibe and meaning representing the freedom of the people from the monster of communism in December 1989.

Revolution Square
Revolution Square

4. Princely Court of Vlad The Impaler aka Dracula. In a small corner in the Old Town of Bucharest lies the ruin of Vlad Dracula’s Castle. You will be surprised to know that Bucharest was actually founded in the 15th century by this Romanian hero, when he was in need of a fortress protecting him from the Ottoman Empire.

Vlad the Impaler - Princely Court, Bucharest
Vlad the Impaler – Princely Court, Bucharest

5. Take a walk in Bellu Cemetery to admire the great pieces of art that decorate the tombs of Romanian noblemen, writers, artists, scientists and politicians. You can spend half a day wandering around the small alleys that tell so many stories and legends through life size statues, intricately embellished mausoleums and surprising items like the wing of an airplane decorating the resting place of a pilot.

Bellu Cemetery
Bellu Cemetery

6. Do some reading in the most beautiful bookshop in Europe. Carturesti Carousel bookstore located in the Old Town of Bucharest was opened in a superb historical mansion formerly called the ‘Carousel of Light’. Enjoy the great architecture, have a tea or coffee and flip trough books, music and souvenirs.

Carturesti Bookshop
Carturesti Bookshop

7. Spend the night at Cismigiu Hotel  on the Broadway of Bucharest. The history of this hotel started in 1912 when it was called Palace Hotel and housed in it’s 200 rooms all the celebrities and officials visiting Bucharest. Take a walk on Regina Elisabeta boulevard to admire the Belle Epoque buildings and don’t miss Cismigiu gardens – Bucharest’s oldest park, after which the hotel was later named.

Cismigiu Hotel Bucharest
Cismigiu Hotel Bucharest

8. Indulge your music loving self with a concert at the Romanian Atenaeum. With wonderful acoustics, very talented musicians and an edifice that resembles a palace rather than a concert hall, you are definitely inn for a symphonic treat.

Romanian Atenaeum Bucharest
Romanian Atenaeum Bucharest

9. Have dinner at Caru cu Bere, the best traditional Romanian restaurant in Bucharest. Have dinner in this 1899 amazing beer hall built in Neogothic style and richly decorated with frescoes, stained glass windows, mosaics and wooden carved paneling. Try Romanian dishes like ‘Sarmale’ cabbage rolls stuffed with minced meat and polenta on the side, pork knuckle and sour krout, stews, soups and the freshest salads. Do not forget to try their house made beer or a glass of Romanian wine and last but not least, a piece of Chocolate cake that will make you to never forget this place.

Caru cu Bere Restaurant
Caru cu Bere Restaurant

10. In the evening explore the Old Town which comes to life after dark (no vampire pun intended ;). Have a drink at SkyBar while admiring Bucharest from above, make a stop at the Shoteria for a special drink or at Bicicleta (Bicycle) for a tasty smoothie.

Old Town Bucharest
Old Town Bucharest

Peles Castle

Peles Castle

A story of kings and queens living in their fairy-tale world opens up before your eyes upon arriving in the area of Peles Castle. It served as a royal summer residence to the kings of Romania starting late 19th century. Built by King Carol I of Romania, it was very modern for it’s time  – the first castle in Europe to have electricity and also central heating, central vacuum cleaning and an intricate architecture.

It is one of the most beautiful, interesting and fascinating castles in Europe and definitely Romania’s No 1. Located in the town of Sinaia, which is one of the best mountain resorts in Romania, this castle will not disappoint as it is worth visiting both on the exterior admiring the vivid mountain landscape, the grand statues that guard the gardens to the out-of-this-world interior where French, German, Austrian, Italian, Turkish and Moorish styles intermingle to create an unique design which will charm and impress you.

Peles Castle – Video:


Peles Castle – Practical Information:

VISITING HOURS:

LOW SEASON: October through May
Open: Wednesday 11:00 AM to 05:00 PM; Thursday through Sunday, from 09:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Closed: Monday and Tuesday

HIGH SEASON: June through September
Open: Tuesday 11:00 AM to 05:00 PM; Wednesday through Sunday, from 09:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Closed: Monday

*Please note that Peles Castle is closed during the whole month of November for restoration. Check the castle website for the exact dates closer to November.

TOURS & TICKETS:

Standard Tour (Ground floor tour; 45 min.)

Adults: 20 lei | Seniors (+65 yrs.): 10 lei | Pupils / Students: 5 lei

*Ticket office closes at 04:00 PM, last entrance for Standard Tour is 04:15 PM.

Extended Tour (Ground floor & First floor; 1h15min)

Adults: 50 lei | Seniors (+65 yrs.): 25 lei | Pupils / Students: 12.50 lei

*Ticket office closes at 04:00 PM, last entrance for Extended Tour is 03:15 PM.

Getting there:

Peles Castle (Castelul Peles) is located in the town and ski resort of Sinaia (44 kilometers from Brasov and 122 kilometers from Bucharest).

Address of  Peles Castle: Muzeul National Peles, Str. Pelesului, Nr. 2, 106100 Sinaia, Jud. Prahova.
Phone: 0040-244-310.918, Phone/Fax: 0040-244-312.416
Email: museum@peles.ro
Web: www.peles.ro

1.By Car:

You have to take European road E60 aka national road DN1 from Bucharest – Ploiesti – Comarnic – Sinaia.

2.By Train:

The average journey time between Bucharest and Sinaia is 1 hour and 56 minutes and the fastest journey time is 1 hour and 29 minutes. On an average weekday, there are are 16 trains trains per day travelling from Bucharest to Sinaia. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays. The first train from Bucharest to Sinaia departs at 05:53. The last train from Bucharest to Sinaia departs at 23:30. Trains that depart in the early morning hours or very late evening may be sleeper services.

3. By Guided Tour from Bucharest (Licensed guide/driver & transportation)

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Bucharest

Bucharest GeneralAthenaeum - Concert hall Information

Location:
Elevation:
Size:

Inhabited since:
First documented:
Population:

Southern Romania

190-295 ft (55-90 m)
City of Bucharest – 88 sq.miles (228 sq.km);
Metropolitan area – 587 sq.miles (1,521 sq.km)
500 BC
1459 AD
1.921 milion (2014)

Landmarks

Bucharest - Romanian AthenaeumKnown for its wide, tree-lined boulevards, glorious Belle Époque buildings and a reputation for the high life (which in the
1900s earned its nickname of “Little Paris”), Bucharest, Romania’s largest city and capital,
is today a bustling metropolis.

Romanian legend has it that the city of Bucharest was founded on the banks of
the Dambovita River by a shepherd named Bucur, whose name literarily means “joy.”
His flute playing reportedly dazzled the people and his hearty wine from nearby vineyards endeared him to the local traders, who gave his name to the place.