-Maramures – folklore and traditions,
-Bucovina - Painted Monasteries...
Romania offers a rich tapestry of tourist attractions and vacation experiences unique in Europe: beautiful medieval citadels in Transylvania, the world-famous Painted Monasteries of Bucovina - placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, the unsolved mystery of Dracula - a mixture of history and legends surrounding the merciless Prince Vlad Tepes (The Impaller), traditional villages in Maramures - “the land that time forgot”, where you can enjoy the real country life, the carriages – witch a long time ago were the only way of traveling, and, of course, here you can taste the Romanian food, traditional one and very tasty, home made and pure organic. In your trip to Romania you will discover all this and much more… so, join us!
Day 1. Bucharest – Arrive and transfer to the hotel. The guide will pick you up and you will enjoy a visit of the city depend your flight schedule. Sightseeing: the former Royal Palace (nowadays the Art Museum), the Athenaeum, ride along Victoria Avenue, the University, the National Theatre, the Opera House, Manuc’s Inn, the medieval core of the town, the Patriarchy, the Antim Monastery, the Italian church, St. Joseph Cathedral. We will visit the Palace of Parliament, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon. Accommodation in Bucharest at 3* hotel.
Day 2: “The Royal Day”
Bucharest – Sinaia – Bran – Brasov. After breakfast, be ready to start our day and feel like a king or like a queen because this day belongs to you. We will meet the guide at 09:00 am and will start slowly and modest our way to the kingdom. First we will visit the most beautiful castle in Romania and one of the most interesting in Eastern Europe, Peles Castle, the summer residence of the Romanian kings. A testimony to the 19th century ruler’s refinement, the wonderful edifice was built after the wish of Romania’s first king, Carol I, and it happily mingled everything that was most beautiful and representative about the neo-Renaissance. Peles has entered history as the place where some of the most important decisions were taken regarding Romania’s fate. Anniversaries, balls, music, literary events, and theater shows organized on the scene of the theater hall gave life to the castle and refreshed the Romanian high life. The atmosphere of this place preserves so much of the force of those times that visitors will be surprised when, at their departure, they will notice that no gilded carriage is waiting at the stairs! We will go to Azuga city where will serve a delicious lunch well accompanied with a Wine and Champagne tasting: sparkling wines and champagne type wines, produced after the traditional "champenoise" method.
The wine cellars from Azuga were built in 1892, by the Rhein family, official supplier for the royal court. Visit the royal cellars, we will see the fabrication process of the champagne, we will taste sorts of champagne and wine. Here you have the possibility to buy authentic Romanian champagne and wine at very good prices. After you felt the taste of Romanian wine, you should try also the Romanian food, also, very tasty. You will enjoy a traditional lunch to Azuga cellars after the wine and champagne tasting.
Then, we will visit the most representative fortress of Transylvania, named Rasnov Fortress which was built about 800 years ago on a rocky hilltop, elevated at about 150 m above in the small town of Rasnov. It is one of the biggest rural fortresses in the country and somehow unique in that it was meant to be a place of refuge for the commoners from sieges over extended periods of time.
Finally, the bonus: the view over the mountains, green fields and little brown dots - houses from the small surrounding villages is magnificent!
Then, we will continue our way to discover the well known Transylvania’s Castle – Bran Castle, an important national monument and landmark of the Romanian tourism, due not only to the beauty of the Castle and the landscape but also to the legend of Count Dracula.
The first documentary attestation of the Bran Castle is the act issued on November 19, 1377, by Ludovic I D'Anjou giving the inhabitants of Brasov the privilege to build the Citadel "on their own work and expense"... Between years 1920 - 1927 the Bran Castle was restored under the guidance of the Royal Court architect, Carol Liman. He transformed it into a beautiful summer residence, surrounded with a park, fountains, a lake, walking alleys and halt terraces and built the "Tea House" of Queen Maria. Since 1956 the Castle was opened as a museum of history and feudal art. Hopping you liked what you have seen in this day, we will overnight in Brasov city and we will imagine our kingdom. Accommodation in Brasov, 3* hotel.
Day 3: “The Medieval Day”
Brasov – Viscri – Biertan – Sighisoara. After breakfast, the guide will show you Brasov, maybe the most beautiful city in Romania. The city has two different parts - the largely Baroque area coiled beneath Mount Tampa and Mount Postavaru, and the surrounding sprawl of apartments and factories. The main attraction is the old town - the Schei district - still having oodles of charm, where you will surely find lots of old sights to see; The Black Church that houses a priceless collection of Oriental rugs as well as a 4000-pipe organ, The Town Hall Square, The Central Park, The Rope Street – the narrowest street in Europe and the first Romanian School in Transylvania.
Leaving Brasov, we will head our way to the Saxon Villages in Transylvania, some small villages where the time has stopped.
The Saxon villages display a remarkable, unspoilt harmony between people and landscape. The houses follow a clear pattern: they sit end-on to the street, painted in a rich variety of ochres, greens and blues, with distinctive hipped roofs. The houses themselves are built to a format, with their cobbled courtyards, winter and summer kitchens, vegetable patches and colossal timber frame barns enclosing the rear end of the courtyard.
A special village is Viscri, due to its oldest fortified church in Transylvania, dating from 1210, included in the UNESCO Heritage. Known as the village in which Prince Charles of Great Britain has a vacation home, Viscri village is a universe of peace, far away from the third millennium tumult.
Viscri is first mentioned in written documents in the 1400's but is thought to have been settled in the 12th century, at the site of a small chapel, which eventually grew into the fortified church that stands today. Like many of the villages in the region, it has survived with its traditional layout and architecture intact. Without a doubt, a visit to a place like Viscri is a unique experience. To see a way of life most "modern" peoples might not even imagine still exists is a wonderful thing, and it is easy to fall in love with the idealized, simplified life that time in Viscri shows the short-term visitor.
Finally, we will arrive to Sighisoara, the “most medieval town” if we can say that. Sighisoara, one of the few inhabited fortified towns in the world, a unique citadel, provides a splendid example of medieval town planning. Here, all the elements of the medieval world have been perfectly preserved. The whole medieval citadel is a part of UNESCO World Heritage. How beguiling seems the idea of a Middle Age inhabited by people of today! German architectural influences are visible throughout the entire city. Sighisoara, the citadel founded by the Saxons in 1191, is still a living city…
Before this day ends, we will visit Biertan Fortress located in the locality of Biertan. Here we come across one of the most majestic and valuable fortified churches in Transylvania. In 1995, the fortified church of Biertan was included in the list of the world architectural patrimony under UNESCO patronage.
Built on a hill, situated in the center of the locality, the church dominates, through its silhouette, the walls, the streets and the houses of the village. The church constructed in the late Gothic style, was built between 1492-1516. Worth mentioning is the extraordinary iron lock with 22 bolts at the sacristy door put into motion when the key is turned only once. Equipped with an ingenious and complicated secret locking and unlocking system, this bolt was manufactured by the Biertan artisans, being considerate a miracle of medieval technique. Being displayed in the Paris Universal Exhibition, in 1937, the sacristy door of the Biertan Church was awarded a prize. After this wonderful day, we will come back in Sighisoara where will overnight in a 3* hotel.
We have the possibility to serve a special dinner in the house where Vlad Dracul was born. With its aspect of an Italian palace, the house was transformed into a restaurant that perfectly recreates a medieval atmosphere. We will serve the favorite plate of Dracula and will drink his favorite red wine Vampire.
Day 4: “Feel the Nature”
Sighisoara – Bicaz Gorges- The Red Lake- Gura Humorului. Enjoy a good breakfast at the hotel and then get ready to go to another part of Romania named Moldavia County. On our way will pass thru Bicaz Georges and will visit the Red Lake.
The Bicaz Gorges, gorges in the Eastern Carpathians, on the river Bicaz, makes the connection between Transylvania and Moldavia. The gorges attract by its beauty many tourists every year. They are crossed by a winding road. The limestone walls of the gorges are like a medieval fortress walls. Bicaz Gorges is a real rock climbing paradise, with huge walls over 300 m high, including spectacular ceilings, deep crackers, great clear faces.
The Red Lake is located in the Oriental Carpathians at 980 m altitude, near Bicaz Gorges, surrounded by Ceahlau and Hasmasu Mare mountains. It is a unique region in the world, where the ever green pine forests and the fresh air gives perfect relaxation conditions. It is a natural dam lake and it belongs to a very picturesque natural reserve of complex (geological, botanical and landscape). The lake was formed recently, in the summer of 1837. The unusual magic is amplified by a lot of trunks of the old fir trees, which come out from the water passing through the image of Little Suhard Mountain reflected in the lake mirror. In the evening will arrive at Gura Humorului city where you will be accommodated.
Day 5: “The Famous Painted Monasteries”
Gura Humorului – Maramures county. After breakfast we will go to discover the famous monasteries of Bucovina region. The "Painted" Monasteries is the major Moldavian destination, because of the vivid and animated frescoes on their church walls. These depict Biblical and other scenes, designed in sequences almost like strip cartoons to educate the local people in the Orthodox religion. Due to their singleness, the monasteries in Bucovina are now UNESCO protected cultural sites. The art historians compare their artistic value with the mural paintings of San Marco church of Venice or the church of Orvietto. The secret of the Moldavian painters who prepared the colors and the techniques that made the paintings incredibly resistant is still a mystery.
Voronet Monastery (1547, most known for the frescoes with predominant blue color - Voronet blue, surnamed “The Sixtin Chapel of the East", these frescoes depict a fairy-tale world, painted on a "piece of heaven". This "jewel of Bucovina" was built by Romanian great ruler Stefan the Great in 1488). After Voronet, continue driving and visit Moldovita Monastery, also a wonderful creation.
Moldovita Monastery that we can see today dates back to 1532 and is due to ruling prince Petru Rares (1532-1546). It has, like Sucevita, the aspect of a fortress, with imposing towers and high, thick walls (6 m high, 1.2 m wide). The most interesting painting is the Siege of Constantinople on the south facade, relating to the Romanians' fights against foreign invasions, especially Turks. The painting combines scenes of the siege of Constantinople from 1453 with others referring to a previous such attempt made by the Persians, in 626.
Our last stop is a special small city named Marginea who is the Moldavian City of Black Ceramic. Marginea Ceramics is already a well-known brand. Historians date the beginning of pottery at Marginea in 1500. Pottery appeared due to the necessity of storing food. Due to its geographical position, Marginea commune is surrounded by forests, its soil is argillaceous and it is crossed by the Sucevita River. Before the communist oppression in Marginea there were at least 60 families of potters as declared an old potter who reached Munich to present his craft.
We will see here, who the artisans make the platters, the bowls, the pots, all kind of dishes, pitchers and cups, vase, candlesticks. The tourists have the possibility to purchase these great treasures of Bucovina. We will cross the Carpathian Mountains to Maramures County where will overnight.
Day 6: “The land of wooden churches”
Maramures – An unique lifestyle. In a rich country, blessed with forests, the wood offers the possibility for everyone to become an artist. The wooden churches with their tall and pointed steeples are representative especially for the landscape in Maramures and also are included in UNESCO’s World Heritage. The villages in Maramures continued to vividly assert the independence of their customs and their folklore. Today you can visit and admire their unique lifestyle. Few other parts of Europe have developed so distinctive a rural culture.
Arrived in Maramures, we will be pleased about the Iza Valley and the wonderful landscape of the entire region. Your gladness will be completed with the visits of the UNESCO wooden churches which will show you the significant name of Maramures.
The wooden church of Barsana, known as the "Holy Mother's Entrance", was originally built in 1720 and later moved to its present location on Jbar Hill in 1806. Barsana is impressive with his wood architecture; the church is getting your attention with the baroque style paintings, with scenes from the New and Old Testament.
Desesti, a small village on the Mara Valley, in Maramures has a fine example of the traditional Maramures wooden church. It is named "Pious Paraschiva" and was built in 1770. According to the inscription on a beam of the pronaos roof, the interior frescoes date from 1780 and were made by the master painter Radu Munteanu from the village Ungureni in the Land of Lapus and of his helper Gheorghe from Desesti.
After that, drive to Sapanta and visit the Merry Cemetery, unique in the world, amazing due to its originality. The wooden crosses, sculptured and painted by craftsman Stan Patras, turned it into an authentic museum. The colours of the crosses and the humorous texts on them capture for eternity the essential episodes of life and show the strength of the Romanian spirit, which do not fear of death. In the evening will arrive in Baia Mare where will overnight.
Day 7: “Cities vs Villages Day”
Baia Mare – Sibiu - Sibiel. Leaving Maramures, we will continue our way to the city of Sibiu. Sibiu/Hermannstadt as European Capital of Culture in 2007 aims at opening gates through which the city’s rich cultural landscape and diverse life will meet that of Europe. Brukenthal Palace and the collections put together by Baron Samuel von Brukenthal represent the nucleus of the present Brukenthal National Museum, the most important museum of Sibiu city. Here you can admire the European Art, Romanian Art and Contemporary Art.
Marginimea Sibiului is a unique ethnographic area in Romania situated west of Sibiu, limited in the southern part by Sadu valley and north by Saliste valley including 18 villages. The villages developed a mixed economical life, based on agriculture, raising animals and traditional crafts, with a particular accent on sheep rising. The greater part of the villages in this area preserved strong spiritual and ethno-folkloric traditions. Although modern constructions progressively replaced the old and traditional ones, the atmosphere in Marginimea Sibiului remained unaltered. The festive costumes of a rare elegance, embroidered in black and white, are proudly worn during the holidays and the crafts inherited from generation to generation are still practiced nowadays with great success.
We will visit Sibiel village where the largest collection of glass stained icons in Europe is displayed: Glass Icons Museum. Here in Sibiel, the host will wait for us with the carriage with horses and will show us in short way, how is to travel with the old “mean of transport”. Then, the host will prepare for you a warm traditional meal with pure biological and home made food- very tasty. You will taste first our typical brandy named “Tuica”, after that you will enjoy a tasty meal and will try our Romanian home made wine. (made by your host). Accommodation in Sibiel at the guesthouse.
Day 8: Sibiu – Cozia Monastery – Bucharest
Leaving Sibiu, we will go ahead to Bucharest, the capital of Romania.
Following Olt River’s valley, we will cross the Carpathian Mountains from Transylvania and reach Bucharest. On our way will visit Cozia Monastery erected by Mircea cel Batran in 1388 and boasting his tomb, is one of the most valuable monuments of national medieval art and architecture in Romania.
Arriving in Bucharest, we will have a short city tour and then we will accommodate at 3* hotel, centrally located. In the evening you can discover the city by your own and late you can try the night life of the capital.
Day 9: Bucharest. After you enjoyed a great breakfast at the hotel the guide will transfer to the Airport, for your flight.
Cost for 2 persons traveling: 1259 USD/person in double room
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