Day 1: Bucharest - Sibiu (270 km). Meet the guide at 9:00 a.m. We will start the tour heading north from Bucharest to Sibiu, passing through the Carpathians Mountains into Transylvania. On your way visit Curtea de Arges Cathedral, one of the most famous buildings in Romania. Curtea de Arges Cathedral, built in the 16th century by Prince Neagoe Basarab of Wallachia is the burial place of many kings, queens and princes of Romania. Its legends have inspired many Romanian poets. One tradition describes how Neagoe Basarab, while a hostage in Constantinopole, designed a splendid mosque for the sultan, returning to build the cathedral out of the surplus materials.
Another version has Radu Negru employing Mesterul Manole or Manoli as architect. Manole being unable to finish the walls, the prince threatened him and his assistants with death. At last Manole suggested that they should follow the ancient customs of placing a living woman into the foundations; and that she who first appeared on the following morning should be the victim. The other masons warned their families, and Manole was forced to sacrifice his own wife. Thus the cathedral was built. When Manole and his masons told the prince that they could always build an even greater building, Radu Negru had them stranded on the roof so that they could not build something to match it.
They fashioned wooden wings and tried to fly off the roof, but, one by one, they all fell to the ground. A spring of clear water, named after Manole, is said to mark the spot where he fell. This motif is widespread in S-E Europe, most notably also in Russia, like the blinding of the Masons of Vasili Blajenii Cathedral by Ivan the Terrible.) After visiting Curtea de Arges Cathedral, start driving to Sibiu. “Sibiu 2007” represents once – in-a - generation opportunity for a Romanian city to host the European Capital of Culture designation. 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.
Sightseeing tour in Sibiu, visit: Piata Mare (The Big Square), Piata Mica (The Little Square), Piata Huet (Huet Square), Iron Bridge, Biserica Evangelica (The Evangelical Church) and Mitropolia (The Orthodox Church). Accommodation in a 3*** guest house (breakfast included), in Sibiel. Traditionally dinner in guesthouse in Sibiel with pure biological and home made food- very tasty. **The tour will take the way with Curtea de Arges between June 15 and September 15 when the Transfagarasan Road is open. For the others periods we will take the Olt river valley course and on our way to Sibiu will visit Cozia Monastery.
Day 2: Sibiu – Sighisoara – Baia Mare (350 km). After breakfast drive to Sighisoara, Europe’s best preserved medieval town. Sighisoara is one of the most beautiful towns in the heart of Transylvania. The whole medieval citadel is a part of UNESCO World Heritage. German architectural influences are visible throughout the entire city. Sighisoara was for several centuries a military and political stronghold. One of its most famous attractions is the Clock Tower (Council Tower), built in the 14th Century. This was the control tower of the main gate of the 2,500 foot long defensive wall.
The tower has seven foot thick walls and was used to store ammunition, food reserves, archives and the city's treasures. The clock was placed in the tower in the 17th Century. Highlights include: Guild Tower, Venetian House (built in the 13th Century), Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) House, Antler House, Wood Covered Staircase, Hill Church, Hermann Oberth Square. Optional: Lunch in the house where Dracula was born, today a famous restaurant. Continue in the afternoon to the city of Baia Mare, the gate to Maramures. Arrival in the evening and accommodation in a 3*** hotel in Baia Mare.
Day 3: Baia Mare – Sighetu Marmatiei - Moldavian Monasteries (300 km). In the morning, breakfast buffet at the hotel. After breakfast drive to Sapanta. Visit the Merry Cemetery from Sapanta, 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.
Visit the wooden churches of Maramures. Following the Iza and Mara rivers, admire impressive landscapes and visit some of the oldest churches made of wood, special places within UNESCO's patrimony, as well as a row of Maramures gates, authentic rustic triumphal arches. After that, we will cross the Carpathian Mountains to Bucovina, the famous region in the north-east of Romania. 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.
Day 4: Voronet Monastery – Agapia Monastery – Sucevita Monastery – Piatra Neamt (195 km). After breakfast will visit 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 Sucevita, Agapia and Neamt Monasteries.
Sucevita is chronologically the last and greatest monastic ensemble among the painted monasteries in Bucovina, as it has the appearance of a real fortress, with towers, buttresses and watch roads. The interiour of Agapia Monastery was painted in 1858 by our greatest painter, Nicolae Grigorescu, at the age of 20. Due to their artistic value, these painting can be considered a real art gallery. Surrounded by old forests, at the bottom of the mountains, is raising the oldest monastery of Moldavia - Neamt Monastery.
Sumptuous, with delicate color effects, only by architectural point, the monastery shows the maturity of the Moldavian architectonic style, curdled during Stefan cel Mare (Stephan the Great) ruling. The facades of the church are covered with the decoration characteristic for Stefan cel Mare's foundations: Gothic windows, friezes with enameled disks, colored in green, yellow and brown. Accommodation in a 3*** hotel in Piatra Neamt city, in the mountain feet. Optional dinner.
Day 5: Piatra Neamt-The Red Lake (Lacu Rosu) – Prejmer – Brasov (250 km). Breakfast buffet at the hotel and start to Brasov. We continue via the Bicaz Gorges, gorges in the Eastern Carpathians, on the river Bicaz, making the connection between Transylvania and Moldavia. The gorges attract by its beauty many tourists every year. They are crossed by a winding road. We will pass thru Lacu Rosu/Red Lake Resort where we will have a short stop for admire the landscape, taking some nice pictures and find out the legend of this wonderful place. On the way to Brasov we can visit: The Fortified Church in Prejmer - the biggest fortified church in the Southeastern Europe built in the 14th century.
The fortress with double walls and dungeons makes me think to the ancient tales. Inside its walls there is a church, but the interesting thing here is the honeycomb like inner wall. Every family had one small room for sheltering in case the village was attacked. In peaceful times they used it as a storage room for food. Nowadays only one family lives here and takes care of the citadel. Few years ago a complete restoration of Prejmer was done with the help of the village community. Arrival in Brasov. Accommodation in a 3* hotel.
Optional: a special musical dinner in Cetate Restaurant in Brasov, for the opera music lovers – with Filarmonica from Brasov. In the Medieval Saloon you will enjoy a recital including chamber music, dance and arias of classical and pre-classical music.
Day 6: Brasov – Bran - Sinaia – Bucharest (175 km). In the morning, after breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a city tour and then, depart for an excursion through the Carpathian Mountains to the town of Bran. Brasov, maybe the most beautiful city in Romania, 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. It really worth’s visiting the medieval part of the city with: The Black Church that houses a priceless collection of Oriental rugs as well as a 4000-pipe organ. The Town Hall Square, the Franciscan Monastery, the Central Park, The Black Tower, The White Tower, Ecaterina’s Gate, Schei Gate and the Rope Street – the narrowest street in Europe. In the afternoon will go to Bran village to visit Bran Castle. Here, enjoy the tour of the famous Bran Castle (known as “Dracula’s Castle”).
Situated at 30 km from Brasov, between the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains, Bran Castle is 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". In exchange for this, the king confirmed the subordination of 13 localities to Brasov town and conferred the leadership of Bran Fortress to a lord of a castle who had also jurisdictional attributions.
The permanent garrison was numerically restrained to 12-24 soldiers: archers and ballisters. Between the years 1419-1424 the Fortress returned in Sigismund's possession. On December lst, 1920, the Brasov Town council donated the Bran Castle to Queen Marie of Great Romania, as a symbol of gratitude for her contribution to the achievement of the "Great Union" of 1 December 1918. 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. In 1938 Queen Maria left with will the Bran Castle to her daughter, Princess Ileana. Since 1956 the Castle was opened as a museum of history and feudal art. Then we will continue to Sinaia, the beautiful mountain resort surnamed “The pearl of the Carpathians”, where you will visit Peles Castle, one of Romania’s most beautiful palaces, once the summer residence of Romanian Kings, and also one of Romania’s most important museums.
The construction of the castle began in 1875 and the building was inaugurated in 1883. The castle has 160 rooms, opulently decorated with leather, ebony, walnut and mother of pearl, with invaluable collections of art and furniture. PELES Castle was the final resting place for several Romanian monarchs, including King Carol I, who died here in 1914, as well as King Ferdinand and Queen Maria. You can also visit Pelisor Castle, situated next to Peles Castle. You will be charmed by the greatness of nature and the wonderful castles. In the evening arrive in Bucharest.
- 495 euro/person in double room.
- Guaranted departures:
* June: 6th and 20th
* July: 11th and 25th
* August: 8th and 22nd
* September: 4th and 19th.
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