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Best of Brasov Top 3

Brasov is one of the most important tourist attractions of Romania. Located not far away from Bucharest – the main entrance of the country, Brasov is known for its well preserved medieval citadel and for its tree-covered hills that surround the town. Once in Brasov you could roam on the quaint cobblestone alleys and streets, some of them preserving an indelible mark of the medieval times. Let yourself magnetized by the charm of the old buildings and by their intricate architectural elements. Get lost on the mountain trails that encircle the old town, reaching serene and unspoiled mountain areas. In the end you could take a break on a terrace, enjoying a drink. But let’s see the main tourist attractions of Brasov, the most known landmarks.

1. The Black Church

This landmark represents practically the history of this town. Built in times of turmoil, the Black Church is known not just for its amazing Gothic architecture or for its blackened volcanic rock but also for being the first Protestant church of Transylvania, its firs Evangelical sermon being recorded in 1542. Beside the regular religious exhibits of a church, such as the baptismal font, the altar or the impressive organ, the Black Church owns the largest Anatolian Carpet Collection outside of Turkey. And if you are lucky, you might attend an organ concert.

2. The Panoramic View

The main advantage of the old town is given by its location, an area surrounded by the hills of the Postavaru Mountain. The closest highest point from Brasov is the Tampa Mountain (960m/3149ft). Take the cable car all the way to the top and from here take the trail toward the panoramic deck. Located right next to the Hollywood-like letters of Brasov, the deck offers an stunning view over the entire old city and  beyond. From here you can observe the reddish color of the roofs, the steeple of the churches, the old watching towers, the bastions and the exterior walls. The hole medieval pattern of the old town is revealed in front of your eyes like in a giant game of a child. Beyond the old city, beyond the fortress of Brasov and the new town, one can see the plains of the former Burzenland Country.

3. The Council Square and the pedestrian alley

Before anything else Brasov is a medieval town and this can be seen very well while roaming on its streets and alleys. The main square of the old town is the Council Square. Wide, spacious and full of pigeons, the square is surrounded by many beautiful old buildings, each of them boasting interesting and intricate architectural elements. In the center of the Council Square of Brasov one can see the former Town Hall, now the History Museum. The oldest building of the town stands up majestically even today. It is here the trumpet guards used to announce the dangerous invasions. The main pedestrian alley of the old town, known as the Republicii Street, starts from the old square. In the summer time this alley practically becomes a long table with hundreds and hundreds of chairs and tens of umbrellas. It is a prefect location for a drink and a prefect spot for observing beautiful girls.

text and pictures by Daniel Gheorghita


Bucharest is cool

According to slate.fr Bucharest is the second coolest city of Europe.

The top took in consideration some peculiar but interesting aspects such as the price of beer, the number of the students in the city and the number of neighborhoods where the locals and tourists can have fun. Also these destinations are considered as affordable for tourists.

There are two tops and Bucharest came on the second place in each of them. It is interesting that Bucharest became one of the coolest cities of Europe exactly when the Romanian Ministry of Tourism decided to promote this city as a destination for young people and for wild parties. Well, it seems they are right.

As a tour guide, but also as a resident of this city, I couldn’t agree more, both with the local authorities and the French site, when comes to name Bucharest a destination for entertainment.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide


Best of Romania in 2011

Due to my job as a tour guide I have many chances to take good pictures. This year I had many tours – large groups, medium-sized groups or individuals. I went pretty much all over Romania and beyond its border in Hungary, Bulgaria or Serbia.

I own the pleasure of taking these pictures to my tourists who had hired me as their tour guide. For this, let me thank you. Below one can see a slideshow of 30 pictures taken all over Romania in 2011. It was quite hard to choose them.

In order to view the slideshow you need to install flash. Also, take advantage and see the pictures in full size (hover your mouse pointer over the right upper corner of the picture and select the full size view). For more details about each picture, roll the mouse over the picture and the information will pop up. Enjoy this Top Best 30 Pictures of Romania in 2011!

  1. The Bucegi Mountains
  2. Sighisoara, TransylvaniaDramatic sunset.
  3. The Humor Convent, BucovinaOne of the painted convents of Bucovina.
  4. Golden finchCismigiu Garden - Bucharest.
  5. The Fagaras MountainsBalea Stream.
  6. The King\'s Stone Mountain
  7. Miclosoara, TransylvaniaCount Kalnoky\'s Estate.
  8. Vadu Izei, MaramuresSpring works.
  9. Turda, TransylvaniaThe salt mine.
  10. Targu Jiu, WallachiaThe Endless Column by C. Brancusi.
  11. SinaiaOne of the 6000 bears of Romania.
  12. Densus1000 year-old church.
  13. Viscri, TransylvaniaHorse-drawn cart.
  14. Barsana, MaramuresBarsana Convent - girl dressed in local costume.
  15. Cluj Napoca, TransylvaniaHot summer day.
  16. Sapanta, MaramuresThe famous Merry Cemetery.
  17. Poenari Castle, WallachiaThe real fortress built by Vlad the Impaler.
  18. The Mehedinti Mountains.Exotic fir trees - European Black Pine.
  19. BrasovPanoramic view.
  20. Sighisoara, TransylvaniaThe Clock Tower.
  21. Snagov, Wallachia.Forest road.
  22. BucharestThe old town.
  23. Sighisoara, TransylvaniaThe Clock Tower.
  24. Eftimie Murgu, BanatWater mill still in use.
  25. ButterflyThe Bucegi Mountains.
  26. Stavropoleos Church, BucharestA jewelry of the Orthodox Church.
  27. Brasov, TransylvaniaThe Black Tower.
  28. Decebalus RexThe Iron Gates. The tallest monument of Europe.
  29. Bran, TransylvaniaThe Bran (Dracula) Castle.
  30. Balea Lake and Balea ChaletThe Fagaras Mountains.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide


Metro ride – travel in time

Buy a subway card and get a really cheap ticket for a trip back in time. How is this possible? Well, all you have to do is to buy a metro ticket in Bucharest and get to the station called Politehnica.  Get off the train there, and you will literally step onto a fossil-floor which dates back to Cretaceous Era, just 65 million years ago.

The story of the subway in Bucharest starts in the 1970s when the second Romanian Communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, ordered the authorities to build a metro network for the city. Of course, the idea had existed long before then. The first stage of the project took four years, 1975 – 1979. The metro station Politehnica was opened a few years later, in 1983. Few people in Bucharest realize that the floor of this station is, in fact, a petrified ocean 65 million years old. The stone, which is red limestone brought from the Western Carpathians (Muntii Apuseni), contains rare fossils like seashells, mollusks, corals, algae, gastropods and stromatolites. Therefore, this metro station is, in fact, a spectacular and unexpected paleontographical site.

The company that runs the Bucharest metro intends to take advantage of this situation by transforming the station into a tourist destination. They plan to bring giant screens and billboards which will give the passengers more details about the treasures lying beneath their feet. Just one more thing not to miss when you visit Bucharest, a city of many surprises!

Update, December 2013

It’s been a while since I wrote this post so I decided to see if something was done in the meantime to mark properly the story of the floor from Politehnica metro station. Well, guess what, nothing happened.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide


Death to the Pigs!

The pictures might be too tough for some of you!

The slaughtering of the pig, known in Romania as Ignat, is an ancient religious celebration in which the animal is scarified. In fact, it is believed that the slaughtering day coincides with the one of the ancient solar god who dies only to resurrect few days later, hence the reason for sacrifice.

Pig Slaughtering

This religious sacrifice is celebrated each year, generally on December 20th, by many inhabitants of the country side. It is an important day for the whole family who prepares everything for the sacrifice early in the morning. According to the tradition, the pigs have dreams about knifes the night before the butchering.

A very peculiar event happened in the winter of 2011 when a Romanian tried to slaughter his pig and he ended up with his own throat cut by the pig! Unfortunately, he died almost instantly. It seems that while he was fighting with the pig, he lost his balance and fell down. In that moment the pig practically cut his throat with one of its trotters.Several adults tie the pig with ropes and after that it is dragged to the place where is going to be killed. This is done with a long and sharp knife, the throat is stabbed and the blood vessels cut. This is the cruelest part of the process taking in consideration the pig’s struggle, noise, the fight for its life and the large quantity of blood. For Romanians and other nations of Eastern Europe there is an important distinction between an ordinary killing of an animal and this sacrifice. That’s why the owners of the pig follow a series of rituals. They are not allowed to work in that day or with the pig’s blood they draw a cross on the forehead of the kids. After that the pig is covered by a pile of straws or hays which are set on fire in order to burn its hair. Then it is washed with hot water and it is cut off in different parts. It is the time when parts of the pig’s skin is flayed and given to the kids to eat it with salt.

It is a lot of work in this day, pretty much each piece of the pig being used as food. Everything ends with a good portion of fried pork and some strong alcohol.

Due to the animal rights activists, the authorities try to implement a more human method of killing the animal by using a captive bolt pistol. Even so, the traditional method prevails by far.

If you want to see this event you should be in Romania somewhere between the beginning of December and December 20th.

  1. The slaughtering of a pig
  2. The slaughtering of a pig
  3. The slaughtering of a pig
  4. The slaughtering of a pig
  5. The slaughtering of a pig
  6. The slaughtering of a pig
  7. The slaughtering of a pig
  8. The slaughtering of a pig

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide


The 7 wonders

1. Everybody had a job.
2. Although everybody had a job, nobody was working.
3. Although nobody was working, the plan was always 100% fulfilled.
4. Although the plan was always 100% fulfilled, there was nothing to buy.
5. Although there was nothing to buy, everybody had everything.
6. Although everybody had everything, all of them were stealing.
7. Although everybody was stealing, nothing was missing.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide