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Archive for ‘Transylvania’

Cehetel

Cehetel (Csehétfalva in Hungarian) is a remote village located in the county of Harghita, Transylvania. There are not many old records about this forgotten village but it seems that it exists before the 15th century.

Today, Cehetel or Csehétfalva, is a small village inhabited by Hungarians. The main attraction of Cehetel is the Unitarian Church built on the site of a former church which had been demolished previously. The present one was finished in 1826. Simple, of small dimensions, the church of Cehetel attracts the attention of any visitor through its leaning tower. Finished in 1835, the tower started to lean on one side so badly that the owners took down the bells. The leaning process had continued till 1917. Today it represents a major attraction for the few travelers who dared to adventure here.

For any traveler Cehetel is a fantastic reward. The remote village, surrounded by tree-covered hills, is a great chance to admire the old Hungarian architecture, the dirt roads or the people and their animals. Definitely, you’ll like this forgotten world. A visit here will give you the feeling you can touch the past.

I’ve visited this place in 2006 and I intend to come back. Once in the village of Cehetel ask for the reverend. He and his wife will be happy to show you the little village and their church, all the secrets of this off the beaten path tourist attraction from Transylvania, Romania.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide

 

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

 

Casa cu Zorele

As a tour guide, I had many chances to stay overnight in all kind of places all around Romania. I’ve stayed in 5 and 4-star hotels – taking advantages of their many offers, from king size beds to wifi Internet, in medieval building, some of them 800 years old, or in traditional guest houses, where the owners’ hospitality can match the beauty of a room.crit_001

Well, nothing matches my small-2 kilos tent with its tiny veranda pitched beneath a ridge of Fagaras at an altitude of 2400m (7874 ft) on a rainy day. The silence, disturbed by the rain drops only, the fresh air, the smell of the rich grass, the staggering alpine landscape and the emotions of a secluded adventure are by far much better than a 5-star hotel.

Despite my tastes regarding types of accommodation, I must admit there is a place which impressed me a lot. It is Casa cu Zorele or Morning Glory House. While driving 100km/h between Brasov and Sighisora, at a certain point you’ll pass by the small village of Crit located in a valley. From the main road you can see its old fortified church and the reddish tiled roofs of the scattered houses. Few travelers observe this village, fewer visit this quaint place.

If your curiosity, or something else, pushes you towards the village of Crit, once at the outskirts of this place you’ll have the impression you made a journey hundreds kilometers long and now you are in a very remote place of Transylvania. Deeper in the village, on the dirt roads, where the dust behind a wooden cart traps like in a phantasmagoria the shimmering light of the mornings, you’ll have the feeling you made a trip not just for hundreds of kilometers but a trip back in time hundreds of years.

Trapped by each detail of this world you’ll observe the old houses built by the Germans, some of them 200 years old, now dwellings of gypsies and Romanians, the animals – cows, horses and many others, walking freely on the roads or the people greeting and scrutinizing you in the same time.

In order to make this place even more interesting and attractive, a couple from Brasov had quit the jobs and adventured in buying an old German house in Crit. From the outside it looks like an ordinary house of this village, although it’s clear from the first glimpse somebody properly takes care of it. But once in the interior courtyard, you are astonished by the medieval feeling of this place. Everything looks neat but in the same time very old and in very good conditions. You would say the first owners of this place have just left the house and in the evening you would expect to see them coming back to their house. Each detail is like a rural symphony of the Saxon life, the ceramic tiles embellishing the windows frames, the wild flowers and plants of the courtyard bringing a corner of the nature in the yard, the old door handles reminding of the ancient crafts, the barn telling the visitors this was a rural house.

They renovated this house taking in consideration the traditional methods of building a German house, adding to each room a private bathroom. The rooms, quite large, respect the old atmosphere of the Saxons who colonized Transylvania 800 years ago, the German furniture adding a beautiful touch to this atmosphere.

To this beautiful renovation of an old German house I must add the owners who manage to become the main attraction of this place and it is quite hard to do this when taking in consideration this forgotten and bucolic village. This family, middle-age, is a great pleasure to be with for a couple of days or more. The owners, educated, speaking French, Italian and English, will be more than glad to give you information, talk with you about these places, to assist you with good advises.

The Lady of the house is not just a pleasant presence but a great cook, her meals being just precious and delicious moments. By any reason, don’t skip their dinners and breakfasts. On the other hand, the man of the house can arrange different entertainment activities. He can arrange a wooden cart ride in the village and its surroundings, he can organize for you a bicycle tour in the vicinity or he can take you to observe old and dyeing crafts like the one of the charcoal makers.

Of course, I don’t like to transform my recommendations into beautiful apotheosis and I’ll try to find things I didn’t like. Well, there is no one. Despite all these, I must say I didn’t like owners’ negative attitude regarding a certain city of Romania. It is good to criticize things that are not as they should be and Romanians have this quality in criticizing themselves but rejecting the values of a place just because it has many other problems it’s just a mistake. I understand their mistake ’cause I did it myself, too.

In the end I must say if you want to dive in the history of Transylvania, to observe the old architecture, to enjoy tasty meals and have interesting conversation or just to relax then this is the place: Casa cu Zorele.

Web page: www.casa-cu-zorele.ro
Tariff: €€€
Location: Crit – 31km from Sighisoara on the national road DN13
Recommendation: ♥♥♥♥♥

  1. CritCasa cu Zorele.
  2. CritA wooden cart.
  3. CritA local in horse-drawn cart.
  4. CritThe forest of Crit.
  5. CritHouses of the village.
  6. CritTraditional house.
  7. CritCasa cu Zorele Guest House.
  8. CritLocal fair.
  9. CritA ride in a horse-drawn cart.
  10. CritCasa cu Zorele.
  11. CritTraditional house.
  12. CritA ride in a horse-drawn cart.
  13. CritGate of a house.
  14. CritCasa cu Zorele.
  15. CritHouse.
  16. CritLocals going to the local fair.
  17. CritTraditional house.
  18. CritCasa cu Zorele.
  19. CritOn the roads of the village.
  20. CritCasa cu Zorele.
  21. CritA ride in a horse-drawn cart.
  22. CritCasa cu Zorele.
  23. Crit
  24. CritCasa cu Zorele.
  25. CritA ride in a horse-drawn cart.
  26. CritCasa cu Zorele.
  27. CritLocal fair.
  28. CritLaundry let to dry.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide

 

Count Kálnoky’s Estate

I had the chance to visit together with my tourists the quaint town of Miclosoara,  Miklósvár in Hungarian. Located just 50km (31mi) north of Brasov, Miclosoara seems to be years and years back in time, just the main paved-road spoiling the medieval atmosphere. This is common for Transylvania, a magic land where tens of villages, maybe even hundreds, have been preserved very well, being kept far away from the bustling and modern life.

miclosoara_001

Right after the anticommunist revolution of 1989 few people knew about this place. It is the moment when a young count came back to his roots and took back his estate which had been confiscated by the communists. Count Kalnoky put Miclosoara back on the map of the Szeklerland, the core of the present Hungarian minority from Romania. In fact he did much more, he had managed to make from this forgotten little village an important tourist destination of Romania.

The estate was restored and now became the major attraction of this area. The old houses were renovated without destroing the old atmosphere. Today, several courtyards and buildings are part of the estate. The rooms are nothing more but a step back in time. Each detail reminds of the once glorious days of the Szekler community.

The place is administrated by employees well trained and local guides. Dinners and lunches can be served in the cellar of the main manor house.

Although this was the most amazing place I’ve ever stayed for one night, there are still some things that can be improved. By far the main problem is that the owner is nowhere to be seen. I realize he is busy, an important person, but this is the main idea of a place like this, to be greeted by the owner, to feel the warmth of the house, to be told the history of each door (e.g. the door of the bathroom from my room dates back to 1862 and nobody told me its story), window, piece of furniture or even iron nail. You are going to be greeted by a manager (this word scratched my years in a place like this one) who is very nice, willing to help you but he will never be able to act as an owner. In fact this place reminded me of a similar place from Crit where the owners renovated an old house, too. There, the owners are the main attraction by far and not their amazing old house.

The dinner we took in the cellar of the Count Kalnoky’s Estate was OK, but nothing outstanding. In fact the dessert was quite horrible, a very dry and insipid cake. The wine one the other hand was a very good choice.

To conclude, I must say that Count Kálnoky’s Estate blown up my mind but not my heart. It is a place I would recommend to anybody for the amazing restorations of these buildings and for the remote old village.

There is now doubt for me that Count Kalnoky deserve a great respect for his achievements, for the fact that he helps the local communities and for saving the old buildings of Transylvania. And I hope these achievements will make other owners of similar castles or manor houses which are scattered all over Transylvania, to follow his example and invest in this ruins of a glorious past.

Web page: Count Kalnoky’s Estate

Tariff: €€€€

Recommendation: ♥♥♥♥♥

  1. The Count Kalnoky\'s EstateThe road toward the town.
  2. Miclosoara
  3. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  4. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  5. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  6. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  7. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  8. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  9. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate.
  10. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  11. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  12. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  13. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  14. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  15. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  16. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate.
  17. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  18. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  19. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  20. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  21. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  22. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  23. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  24. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  25. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  26. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  27. MiclosoaraThe Count Kalnoky\'s Estate
  28. MiclosoaraOn the roads of the village.
  29. MiclosoaraTraditional house.
  30. MiclosoaraTraditional house.
  31. MiclosoaraHorse-drawn cart.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide

 
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Powerd by Daniel Gheorghita.