Thursday, 8th May 2014
Capital and largest city. Located in Romania’s southern region.
Buses from Chisinau, Moldova, mostly arrive at Filaret bus station in the south, approximately 10 hours (15 Euros), linked to downtown by tram 7 or bus 232. One daily bus from Sofia, 7 hours (18 Euros), stops near Tineretului subway station. From Athens, several per week, 16-20 hours (around 60 Euros), arrive at stations along Viilor Road.
City metro has four lines and is fast. Buses, trams and trolley buses all require Active cards.
Looking towards the front of the massive Parliament Palace. In the foreground, a parade featuring men in colourful traditional dress and carrying drums and other percussion instruments.
The Parliament Palace, built by the socialist regime of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, is one of the largest buildings in the world. Its construction started in 1984 and was nearly complete at the time of Ceausescu’s overthrow in 1989. Today it houses both chambers of the Romanian Parliament. It has approximately 1,100 rooms over 12 storeys above ground and several more underground. Regular tours of the palace are available. The tourist entrance is on the north side.
Tony in Piata Unirii (Union Square) near the Parliament Palace. A four-faced clock standing on a decorative post behind.
Piata Universitate (University Square). A small park at the side of a busy traffic intersection. A large sculpture in the shape of a violin behind.
Looking the other way, towards the side of the square, to a queue of vehicles on the road in front. On the far side, a good view of the Intercontinental Hotel, which is 77 metres (253 feet) high.
A busy street close to Piata Universitate containing the Agriculture Ministry. The National Theatre is also alongside but not in view.
Back at Piata Universitate. A brass band now playing in the centre of the square.
The front of Coltea Church, again near Piata Universitate. This church was completed around 1701-1702, replacing an older wooden church.
Closer view of the front entrance to Coltea Church. Short stone columns supporting arches. Faded painted decoration around the arches. A few steps leading up to an entrance porch.
Inside Coltea Church looking down the aisle towards the altar. The altar decorated in gold with painted panels.
Inside the front porch of Coltea Church, looking towards an inner entrance doorway decorated with stone carvings.
Looking down the side of Coltea Church towards a large and grand-looking building with a central dome. This is Coltea Hospital (Spitalul Coltea). This is the oldest hospital in Bucharest dating from 1704, around the same time as the church. However, the original building was destroyed by an earthquake in 1802 and it was built in neo-classical style from 1888.
Looking from Coltea Church across a busy road to the Sutu Palace, which houses the Museum of Bucharest. The building is neo-gothic in style and dates from 1833-4. It was built by wealthy merchant Costache Sutu.
Looking across Piata Unirii (Union Square). View from the pavement along one side, which is busy with people. This very large square is bisected by Unirii Boulevard (Union Boulevard). It is an important transport interchange with metro, bus and tram lines meeting here.
Saturday, 10th May 2014 – late afternoon and evening
Timișoara, in the west, is the largest town in the Banat region, on the north bank of the Bega River. This university town was the origin of the 1989 anti-communist revolution. The bus and train stations are close together. Free walking tours available and good public transport.
The photos with Tony in were taken by Andreea.
Tony sitting on a bench at a bus stop with two Romanian guys.
Tony with a different Romanian guy in front of Fish Fountain in Victory Square (Piata Victoriei) in the centre of Timișoara.
Andreea and Tony on the balcony of Downtown Hostel Timișoara. Andreea part owns the hostel.
Looking down into Victory Square from Downtown Hostel Timișoara. There is an area of grass and flower beds in the centre. Taken during the evening.
At the north end of Victory Square with Hotel Timișoara on the right and the Weiss Palace (Palatul Weiss) on the left. The Weiss Palace was built from 1912 by the Weiss family, who were local doctors and businessmen.
The grand looking Universitatea Politehnică (University Polytechnic) building on the north-west side of Victory Square. Lit up in the semi-darkness.
Sunday, 11th May 2014
Back in Victory Square the next morning. Looking down the long narrow square with the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral just visible away at the south end.
The Opera House at the north end of the square. Construction was completed in 1875. Tony in the foreground.
Another view of Victory Square busy with people: ornamental hedges and trees in the centre and café tables down one side.
The tall elegant façades of buildings down the east side of Victory Square. They today house shops on their lower floors.
Tony, self-taken shot in front of Fish Fountain.
A bronze statue of Romulus and Remus being suckled by a she-wolf, standing on top of a pillar in the centre of Victory Square. This was a gift from the Italian government erected in 1926.
Tony outside a doorway into the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral. The cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Timișoara and Metropolis of Banat. It was built between 1936 and 1941. It has 11 towers, with the highest central one standing at 90.5 metres (297 feet) in height.
A group taking a tour inside the cathedral. View down the central aisle to the golden main altar at the far end.
At the tall main altar decorated in gold with painted panels in niches.
At the other end of the cathedral looking towards the main doorways. Painted decoration of the walls and an arched ceiling above.
Tony examining a display case containing artifacts inside the cathedral.
Looking up at the cathedral’s front façade. A central tower with smaller towers at either side. A clock face in the upper-centre of the middle tower.
Tony sitting on a bench by the Bega River. A river barge, now being used as a restaurant, moored in front.
Tony on the river side path by a road bridge.
Monday, 12th May 2014
Looking along a street off the north-east corner of Victory Square towards Iancu Huniade Square (Piața Iancu Huniade).
View towards the south-west corner of Union Square (Piața Unirii). The centre of the square is undergoing reconstruction and is fenced off. The building directly in front is the Serbian Orthodox Vicariate, which is baroque in style, and dates from the 18th century. To the right a small part of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral can also be seen.
Another large baroque style building on the north-west side of Union Square. Restaurants and bars on the building’s lower floors.
St George’s Cathedral on the east side of Union Square. Construction of this Roman Catholic cathedral started in August 1736 and it was completed in 1774. It is Austrian baroque in style. The front façade includes two bell towers.
In a side street looking towards the side of St George’s Cathedral at the far end.
A traffic roundabout with a large circular fountain in the centre. The inner part of the fountain is raised up high on concrete pillars with jets of water spraying up into the air in a ring. Located east of Union Square.
A poster for the Revolution Memorial (Memorialul Revolutiei) showing a large mass of protesters sitting in Victory Square. The Revolution Memorial is a museum documenting the 1989 uprising, which led to the overthrow of the communist regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu. The uprising started in Timișoara and led to 1,104 people being killed.
A concrete segment of the Berlin Wall outside the Memorialul Revolutiei. There is a wreath laid in front of it. The museum is located in old army barracks located off Strada Popa Șapcă just north of the centre.
Inside the museum. A photograph showing tanks in Liberty Square (Piața Libertății) during the 1989 revolution.
Another photo showing large crowds in front of the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral.
Models of two men in police or army uniforms dating from the time of the 1989 revolution. One holding a riot shield.
A pair of flags: one the communist-era Romanian flag, which is a blue, yellow and red tricolour with vertical stripes, the same as the present Romanian flag, but with the coat of arms of the Romanian Socialist Republic in the middle. The other flag appears to be a French tricolour with the centre cut out.
A large wooden cross with Christian icons carved on the front. Still inside the museum.
Tony in front of the Berlin Wall segment with a guy he met in the street. He kindly accompanied Tony to the museum and help him to take photos and read the information.
Front façade of the Citadel Synagogue. This former synagogue was built 1863-65. The front wall is decorated with a brick mosaic pattern with a large round window incorporating the Star of David in the centre.
Tony outside the English-style King’s Pub next to a life-sized model of a Queen’s Guard in red tunic and bearskin hat.
Fish Fountain lit up during the evening.
Tuesday, 13th May 2014
View from a bridge over the Bega River.
Town located in south-west Transylvania on the Mures River.
View across Parcul Unirii (Union Park) to the Alba Carolina Citadel. The Alba Carolina Citadel, which incorporates the historic upper town, was built between 1715 and 1738 on top of older fortifications. It is one of the largest Vauban-style fortresses in Europe with about 7.5 miles (12 kilometres) of ramparts and seven bastions giving it a star-shaped perimeter.
Tony on a wooden foot bridge leading over stone ramparts on the edge of the citadel.
Now on a different wooden bridge leading to one of the six defensive gates into the citadel. On the right, within the citadel, the 58 metre (190 foot) high bell tower of the Coronation Cathedral. The bell tower is at the entrance to a complex of buildings which surround the cathedral itself.
Tony on the bridge with a view of the rampart walls extending behind him.
Tony at the inside of Poarta IV (4th Gate). This gate passes along a passageway through the middle of a building. The inside entrance is decorated with stone carving, including a double-headed eagle, the coat of arms of the Austrian Empire, in the top middle. There are male statues on plinths at either side.
Tony by a life-sized bronze statue, probably of a soldier or guard. He is holding a long musket at his side.
Inside St Michael’s Cathedral. Tony standing in the middle of the central aisle. This Roman Catholic cathedral was built between 1247 and 1290 in Romanesque style.
Looking towards the front façade of St Michael’s Cathedral. A bell tower standing in the right corner of the building. The main entrance in the middle, set back inside a porch, with a high vaulted ceiling.
Tony in front of a large bronze statue of Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazu) on horseback. He was a Romanian prince who lived between 1558 and 1601. During his reign between 1593 and 1601 he successfully united for the first time the three Romanian principalities of Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia.
Outside the National Museum of the Union. This history and archaeology museum was inaugurated in 1888. It is housed in the Babilon Building built between 1851 and 1853 by the military as officers’ dwellings.
Tony outside the grand entrance to the Union Hall (Sala Unirii). This is where the act of unification between Transylvania and Romania’s two other provinces (Wallachia and Moldova) was signed on December 1, 1918. The building is a national monument and today part of the National Museum of the Union.
Tony by a large bell sitting in the middle of a square in Alba Iulia’s upper town. There are a number of decorative human heads protruding from the top of the bell and the sides are decorated with reliefs depicting historic scenes.
Tony touching a bronze statue of a soldier or guard with his musket held aloft.
Tony by yet another bronze guard, this one at the inside of Poarta III (3rd Gate). The gate is decorated with stone carvings, including four statues.
Tony standing outside 3rd Gate with a real man in historic guards’ uniform and holding a musket. A drawbridge in front of the gate. This side of the gate is again topped with statues and has a double-headed eagle in the top middle.
Tony on the bridge to one of the gates. Behind are two tall rampart walls built of brick with a broad ditch or moat in between them. The moat is landscaped with grass and has footpaths running along it.
Tony by a life-sized bronze statue of a woman carrying a basket of roses.
Tony sitting on a bench between two more bronze statues: on one side a peasant woman holding a container of eggs and on the other a boy holding a single egg.
Yet another bronze statue: this one an upper class woman wearing a formal dress and hat.
In front of the bell tower to the Coronation Cathedral. The main entrance leading to an inner courtyard goes through the middle of the tower. The cathedral itself is in the middle of the courtyard and can partially be seen through the entrance. The cathedral is Romanian Orthodox and was built 1921-1922.
Town in south-west Transylvania, located 40 miles (60 kilometres) from Alba Iulia.
Wednesday, 14th May 2014
Outside Hunedoara (Corvin) Castle, Hunedoara town, in the rain. Looking towards the main entrance accessed via a wooden bridge, which passes over the Zlaști River, flowing 30 metres beneath.
Construction of Hunedoara (Corvin) Castle began in 1446 on the site of an older fortification. It was built on the orders of John Hunyadi (Ioan de Hunedoara). It is Gothic in style and includes several towers, some round and others square, with pointed tiled roofs. In 1854 the castle was badly damaged by fire and was later extensively restored. In 1974 it was made into a museum.
On the wooden bridge looking towards the entrance gate and tower.
Knight’s Hall: a large hall inside the castle with a vaulted ceiling.
Walkways and steps inside one of the towers.
Museum display of an historic bedroom, including a wooden bed and two chests of draws.
Looking at a leaded window through which the inner courtyard can be seen.
Visitors emerging from an arched tunnel built of brick.
A large table and kitchen dresser, part of another museum display. Also stuffed birds and skulls of deer and other animals on the walls.
A group of visitors sheltering from the rain under a covered walkway at the side of the inner courtyard.
Looking into the inner courtyard. A pair of wooden stocks at the far side.
Another view of the courtyard. Buildings around the sides, the stone walls partly covered with render or plaster. The ground wet and quite muddy due to the rain.
Looking into the top of a wide deep well within the courtyard.
Inside a room, perhaps a cellar or dungeon, with arched brick walls and ceiling.
Inside the Great Hall. Vaulted ceiling. Steps leading up to two doorways.
Courtyard within the castle. Square tower in front. People sheltering under umbrellas.
Tony back at the main entrance doorway.
View of the castle’s exterior. The Zlaști River flowing in a natural moat below. Tall stone walls of the castle rising up from the edge of the moat. A row of four small round towers protruding near the top of the walls.
Back in Alba Iulia at Strong Hostel. Tony with a young couple from Sweden who were cycling across eastern Europe to Asia.
Founded in 1191, Sibiu is a historic city in Transylvania, central Romania. Located some 215 kilometres (134 miles) northwest of Bucharest. It was known as Hermannstadt in Transylvanian Saxon.
Sibiu straddles the Cibin River, a tributary of the river Olt. It was designated a European Capital of Culture for the year 2007. Sibiu is part of historic “Siebenbürgen” – seven fortresses – a word that later became the German denomination for Transylvania. Sibiu became the biggest and most important town of the Transylvanian Saxons. It is one of the seven medieval Transylvanian cities along with: Alba Iulia, Bistrita, Brașov, Cluj-Napoca, Medias, Sebes, and Sighișoara.
The old city of Sibiu lies on the right bank of the Cibin River, on a hill situated approximately 200 metres from the river.
Thursday, 16th May
Front door to Hostel La Padre.
A hat hanging on a cart wheel inside Hostel La Padre.
View along Strada Nicolae Bălcescu: a wide pedestrian street in Sibiu’s Upper Town. It is the main street in this area and lined with historic buildings containing cafés and shops.
Further along Strada Nicolae Bălcescu. A group of café tables in front. Again an attractive mix of historic buildings, mostly Germanic in style.
Looking towards a small square half way along Strada Nicolae Bălcescu.
A compact fountain with a decorative stone column at its centre. Strada Nicolae Bălcescu.
Entering Grand Square (Piața Mare) at the northeast end of Strada Nicolae Bălcescu, upper town (Romanian: Orașul de sus, German: Oberstadt). As the name suggests, this is the town’s largest square, and it has been considered the centre of the city since the 15th century. 142 metres long and 93 metres wide, it is one of the largest squares in Transylvania and is lined with an impressive collection of historic buildings, many of these were originally merchant’s houses, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. In the centre of the square many parked cars can be seen, part of a weekend car sales event, as most are new with prices displayed on their windscreens.
Tony outside the main entrance to the Roman Catholic Church on the north side of Grand Square. It is baroque in style and was built between 1726 and 1738. It is painted cream with a red tiled roof. There’s a clock tower at the west side (not in view).
Inside the Roman Catholic Church looking along the central aisle towards the main entrance. The aisle has a red carpet along its length with rows of wooden pews at either side.
The golden main altar lit up inside the Roman Catholic Church.
View along the north side of Grand Square from the entrance to the Roman Catholic Church. Tony standing immediately in front.
An excellent view down into Grand Square from the top of Council Tower (Turnul Sfatului) in the square’s northeast corner. The tower is one of the city’s symbols and this former fortification tower dating from the late 13th century has been successively rebuilt over the centuries. It was originally an entrance gate in the town’s fortified walls. The clock tower of the Roman Catholic Church can be seen to the right. Beyond, there are views across the city to the Fagaras Mountains off in the distance.
Friday, 17th May
Another view along Strada Nicolae Bălcescu. People sitting at outdoor café tables.
Back in Grand Square. In front, a series of fountains: simple jets of water shooting from the paved surface of the square.
To the right, Sibiu City Hall, located in the northwest corner of Grand Square. It is baroque in style. The Tourist Information is housed on the ground floor.
Grand entrance to the Brukenthal Palace on the northwest corner of Grand Square. The palace, one of the most important Baroque monuments in Romania, was built between 1778 and 1788 by Samuel von Brukenthal, who was Habsburg governor of Transylvania. Today the palace houses the Brukenthal Museum. Brukenthal himself assembled the museum’s first collections, which were officially opened to the public in 1817.
The northwest corner of Grand Square. The very pale blue building in front is the Casa Albastra (Blue House) or Moringer House, another baroque building dating from the 18th-century. The old coat of arms of Sibiu is on its façade. Today the building is part of the Brukenthal Museum and houses a collection of Romanian artwork.
13th century Council Tower (Turnul Sfatului) seen from Little Square (Piață Mică). There are two passageways through the base of the tower to Grand Square.
View of Small Square (Piață Mică) with Ocnei Street leading down into the Lower Town (Orașul de jos) at the left side of the picture. Small Square was less important than Grand Square. Small Square’s northwest side has a curved shape, unlike the Grand Square, which has an approximately rectangular shape.
Looking towards the northwest corner of Small Square, which like Grand Square is lined with historic buildings, but here they are somewhat smaller and less grand. A bride can be seen standing a little way across the square with smartly dressed family or friends sitting on benches along side.
View over Ocnei Street leading down to the Lower Town. A café opposite.
Liar’s Bridge spanning Ocnei Street to the Lower Town. Built in 1859, this was the first wrought iron bridge in Romania.
Outside the Museum of Universal Ethnography housed in the ASTRA Palace in the northwest corner of Small Square.
View of the Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral (Biserica Evanghelică) looking from Liar’s Bridge. The cathedral was built in the 14th century on the site of a 12th-century church. Its 73 metre (239.5 foot) high spire is a local landmark. Located in the centre of Huet Square (Piața Huet). The cathedral is presently closed for restoration. Huet Square is the area where the earliest fortifications were built in the late 12th-early 13th centuries. Buildings around this square are mainly Gothic.
Samuel von Brukenthal College at the southwest side of Huet Square. This is the oldest German school in Romania, built in place of a former 14th-century school. The present building was erected in the 18th century.
A café with a view over the Lower Town at the side of Huet Square.
The stone façade of the Evangelical Cathedral.
Again in front of the Cathedral. An area fenced off due to restoration work.
Founded in 1234 as Corona, a Latin word meaning “crown”, given by the German colonists known as
the Transylvanian Saxons, who also named it Kronstadt, German for “Crown City” which is reflected in the city’s coat of arms. Located in southeast Transylvania, surrounded by the southern Carpathian Mountains. Elevation, approximately 600 metres (2,000 ft). It’s located in the central part of Romania, approximately 166 kilometres (103 miles) north of Bucharest and 380 km (236 mi) from the Black Sea. There are several hostels.
In 1211 King Andrew II of Hungary invited the Teutonic Knights to settle and defend the “Burzenland” in the southeastern corner of Transylvania to guard the mountain passes of the Carpathians (Karpaten) against the Cumans. The Knights constructed numerous castles and towns, including the major city of Kronstadt (Brașov). Alarmed by the Knights’ rapidly expanding power, in 1225 Andrew II expelled the Order which henceforth relocated to Prussia in 1226.
Saturday, 18th May
People sitting on steps around a large modern fountain in Council Square (Piaţa Sfatului), arguably the centre of Brașov. It has apparently held annual markets since 1364, being visited by merchants from the country and abroad. The square features medieval buildings in different architectural styles.
Looking towards the Council House located in the middle of the square. This was built in 1420 and was previously used as the town hall. It today functions as the Town History Museum.
Lots of people sitting on benches and around the fountain in Council Square. Taken in the late afternoon.
The southwest corner of Council Square with the Black Church (Biserica Neagră) visible beyond. This large church was built by the city’s German community and is the main Gothic style monument in Romania. It was completed in 1477, replacing an older church (demolished circa 1385). The cathedral acquired the name after being blackened by smoke from the 1689 great fire. It has only one bell tower housing a six ton bell, the biggest in Romania.
Self taken shot of Tony in Council Square.
Another view across Council Square. Historic buildings in various styles on the opposite side, including the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral visible on the far left. The cathedral has a domed tower on its roof.
Tony standing in front of the fountain with the Council House behind.
Tony at the side of the Black Church. The church is approximately 85 metres (278 feet) long with tall buttressed stone walls and elongated gothic windows. The Black Church is the largest gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul.
Tony in front of the main entrance into the Black Church. Large wooden double doors with a decorative stone surround.
Standing further away from the main entrance at the south-west end of the church. The bell tower can be seen on the right side with a clock face in view near the top.
The Black Tower (Turnul Negru), a 14th century medieval defensive watch tower on a large rock on Warthe Hill (Staja Hill), part of the city’s former fortifications. It survived two fires caused by lightning, getting its name as a result of the first fire in 1599. Today the tower is 11 metres high with a glass roof constructed in 1995 and accessed up wooden stairs. It houses temporary exhibitions.
A good view of the old town from Warthe Hill (Staja Hill), including the Black Church in the middle distance. In the foreground Tony is standing with Andrea, her dad Stephan worked at the hostel where Tony stayed.
Tony with Stephan, again overlooking the town from Warthe Hill. Tony touching Stephan’s cap.
Tony at the foot of a long steep flight of stone steps that lead up to the White Tower (Turnul Alb). This semi-circular tower was built in 1494 on top of a rock. The tower has five stories and its height ranges between 18 and 20 metres. Its name came from the whitewash that coated its walls.
View of the 16th century Graft Bastion. A tall square-shaped stone tower. Tony standing on a wooden bridge leading to the entrance doorway.
Tony on the entrance steps of the George Bariţiu Library. This was the first public library in Brașov. The building dates from the early 20th century and is Art Nouveau in style. The library has been housed here since 1969.
Sunday, 19th May 2014
Looking along the aisle to the main altar inside the Roman Catholic Cathedral. This cathedral was erected during 1776-1882 on the ruins of an older church. It was designed by architect Iosif Carol Lamasch and is considered the most representative building of the Baroque style in Brașov.
A statue of Christ on the cross, mounted on a wall inside the cathedral.
Another view across Council Square (Piaţa Sfatului). People sitting on a bench in the foreground. In the background, a good view of forested Tâmpa Hill. The hill sits at the edge of the city near the old town and rises to 960 metres (3,150 feet ) above sea level. There is a cable car to the top with excellent views over the city from the top.
Tony sitting on a bench in Council Square eating a sandwich.
The photos below were taken on a free city walking tour. The tour begins daily at 6.00 pm next to the fountain in Council Square. Look for a female guide with an orange umbrella – be aware of the 6.00 pm trumpet tune from the tower of the Old Town Hall as the walking tour begins.
Another closer look at the Council House (also known as the Old Town hall) in Council Square. This is the most important building in the square. It is three storeys high with a clock tower rising up on one side. This tower is known as Trumpeter’s Tower and was used during the Middle Ages as a watchtower for warning the local inhabitants of approaching danger.
ony standing at one end of Rope Street (Strada Sforii). This passageway, paved with cobblestones, is said to be the narrowest street in Romania and one of the narrowest in Europe! Tony is touching the walls at either side. Other participants in the walking tour are behind. It is situated near Șchei Gate and is perpendicular to Strada Cerbului (Stag Street). Apparently, it was initially built as a corridor that firemen could use and is first mentioned in 17th century documents.
Șchei is the historically Bulgarian and Romanian neighbourhood outside the old walled city. It is comprised of mainly small houses built along narrow roads with gardens and small fields on the sides of the mountains. Until the 17th century, the inhabitants of Şchei were forbidden from owning property inside the city walls. The people living in the Şchei could only enter the town at certain times and had to pay a toll at Catherine’s Gate for the privilege of selling their produce inside the town. They were not allowed to use the other four entrances.
Locals using a sports park and running track on the edge of the old town.
Tennis courts with a large partly gothic looking building behind. The building has tall pointy towers on its roof. It was built in 1894, entirely out of wood. It is part of the Olimpia Tennis Club and houses a restaurant.
View over the roofs of the old town looking towards the Black Church.
Catherine’s Gate (Poarta Ecaterinei). This is the only original city gate. Built by the Tailors’ Guild in 1559 for defensive purposes replacing an older gate destroyed by flooding in 1526. Above the entrance, the city’s coat of arms can just be seen: a crown on the trunk of an oak tree and roots.
Tony with Catherine’s Gate behind him.
A stone plaque on the side of a building dedicated to Aurel Vlaicu (1882 – 1913). He was an engineer, inventor, airplane constructor and early pilot.
Union Square (Piața Unirii), the second square in the old centre. Half a mile (0.85 kilometre) from Council Square. The first Romanian school (started in 1583) is located near here.
Unknown Soldier Statue in Union Square. It commemorates the end of the First World War.
At the entrance to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (Biserica Sf. Nicolae) looking from Union Square. A stone arched entrance gate with a cross on top is immediately in front. The church itself beyond with two prominent towers topped with long narrow spires towards the front. There are other smaller towers further back. The church was established in 1292. It was later rebuilt in stone by the locals beginning in 1495 and continuing through the sixteenth century.
In the churchyard of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. A wooden cross with flowers left near the base in front.
The tiled roof at the side of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. A turret-like tower protruding.
Tony with other participants in the free walking tour on Warthe Hill (Staja Hill).
Tony with the female walking tour guide in front of the Black Tower (Turnul Negru). She is holding an umbrella.
Monday, 20th May 2014
Tony outside a stone gateway into Râșnov Fortress. A portcullis reconstructed in wood above. The fortress was built as part of a defence system for the Transylvanian villages at risk of outside invasion. It is said to date from the 13th century. Râșnov is located about 10 miles (16 kilometres) from Brașov. It can be easily reached by bus.
View looking up at the stone walls and towers of Râșnov Fortress from near the entrance. It sits on top of a rocky outcrop.
The four photos below were taken by Andrew Harvey. The guard would not allow Tony to enter the fortress grounds because he claimed the ground was too rocky and rough.
Excellent view of forested hills from Râșnov Fortress. The snow-capped Carpathian Mountains away in the distance.
The fortress walls running down the rocky hill.
A small deep lookout or arrow slot through the fortress walls.
Stone walls outside Râșnov Fortress.
Tony inside Bran Castle. He is standing in front of a fireplace listening to an audio guide. Bran is located 16 miles (27 kilometres) from Brașov. It can be reached using the same bus that runs to Râșnov. Often referred to as “Dracula’s Castle”, this is one of several locations linked with the Dracula legend in Transylvania. The castle stands on a 60 metre (200 foot) rock. The interior of the castle is now a museum.
Tony standing on a wooden rooftop balcony at Bran Castle.
A room displaying old furniture. Tony touching a display cabinet.
Tony standing between two old suits of armour.
Tony again listening to his audio guide. He is on a long passageway running along the outside of the building just below roof level and open to the outside. View down into the inner courtyard.
Tony touching the end of a miniature canon, which is pointing through a window.
A wishing well in the castle’s interior courtyard. Decorative stone carving around the base. Tony standing at one side.
Interior courtyard. The walls are a mixture of stone and timber frame construction. Tony at the bottom of a flight of stone steps leading to a doorway.
Tony on a steep path leading up to Bran Castle. A good view of the castle above, standing prominently on top of its rocky outcrop.
Back in Brașov. Tony in front of a bronze sculpture of Romulus and Remus being suckled by a she-wolf. This scene comes from the legend of the founding оf Rome. These sculptures are found in several Romanian cities. They were erected to symbolise Romania’s Latin heritage. The large grand looking building in the background is the City Hall.
The City Hall with a small park in front.
Evening view from Tâmpa Hill. The city below can partially be seen through the trees.
Tony in front of a small drinking fountain.
Again by the drinking fountain. Tony with Rebeca and Leo. Rebeca is a school friend of Andrea’s. Leo worked at the hostel where Tony stayed.
Tony sitting on a bench with Andrea and her mum Viorica.
Tony near the bottom of Tâmpa Hill overlooking the Olimpia Tennis Club.
In front of Șchei Gate (Poarta Șchei). The gate resembles a triumphal arch with three openings. Rebuilt in 1827.
Tony and Leo on narrow Rope Street.
A well-preserved walled town first documented in 1280 AD. Located on the Târnava Mare River in Mureș County, Transylvania. Known as Schassburg in German.
Wednesday, 22nd May 2014
View along the Târnava Mare River with grassy banks at either side.
A narrow cobbled street in the Citadel. The Citadel is the old walled centre of the town located on a hill side. It was built in the 12th century, when it was known as Castrum Sex (Fort Six) and was further strengthened and extended in the 15th century. It is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Old grave stones at the side of the Dominican Monastery Church. The church is Gothic in style and is located next to Museum Square (Piața Muzeului) not far from the Clock Tower. The first documentary evidence for the church dates from 1298. It was part of a Dominican Monastery until the 1550s, when secularisation of the monasteries forced the Dominicans to leave Sighișoara, and it was taken over by the city council.
A cobblestone path under trees at the back of the Dominican Monastery Church.
Museum Square looking towards the Venetian House. This pale greyish green coloured house was built in the 16th century. It was later restored in Venetian Gothic style with the upper part of the windows forming a three-lobe arch and with pointed-arched doors.
A shop selling craft items on a short street between Museum Square and Citadel Square.
Looking towards Museum Square with the Clock Tower in front. This is the town’s main landmark. It was built in the 13th century and stands at 64 metres (209 feet) high. It served as the gathering place for the City Council until 1556. Since 1899 it has housed the town’s History Museum. In front of the Clock Tower to the right, the yellow building is known as Vlad Dracul House. This is the place where Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula, was born in 1431 and lived with his father, Vlad Dracul, until 1435 when they moved to Targoviste. A wrought-iron dragon can just be seen hanging above the entrance.
Tony in front of the main entrance to the Dominican Monastery Church.
A stall selling Dracula t-shirts and water-colour paintings of the town in Museum Square.
Tony in front of a bust of Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) on top of a stone column.
Inside the History Museum, located in the Clock Tower. In front, a large reconstructed vase incorporating pottery fragments dating from the Late Bronze Age (1200-1100 BC).
View over the red-tiled roofs of the old town from the Clock Tower.
Looking into Museum Square from the Clock Tower. Part of the Dominican Monastery Church visible to the right.
The main entrance into the History Museum at the foot of the Clock Tower.
Another view of the Clock Tower from the front. An arched passageway running directly through the middle. Also in front, a man in traditional dress, including a red tunic and black cap.
Citadel Square (Piața Cetății). This square is lined on all four sides with historic houses dating from the 15th to 18th centuries. They are painted in a variety of colours.
At the foot of the Scholars’ Stairs. A long flight of stone steps covered along their length with a wooden roof. Built in 1642, they lead up to the Church on the Hill, a cemetery and a school. They were built to protect school children and churchgoers from the elements on their climb up. Originally there were 300 steps, but after 1849 this was reduced to 175.
At the top of Scholars’ Stairs looking down.
Outside the entrance to Liceul Teoretic “Joseph Haltrich”: a high school close to the top of Scholars’ Stairs.
A steep narrow cobblestone road leading up to the Church on the Hill (Biserica din Deal). Only the lower walls of the church are in view. First mentioned in a document in 1345, the church is on the site of a Roman fort on the side of the hill. It contains many frescoes and a crypt. Originally a Catholic church, it became the main church of the Saxon (Germanic) inhabitants of Sighisoara, who had shifted from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism after the 1547 Reform.
Wooden steps leading up to graves in a Lutheran cemetery next to the Church on the Hill.
Looking down hill along a cobbled street with Citadel Square visible at the far end.
Outside the 14th century Tailors’ Tower (Turnul Croitorilor) with a double archway passing beneath the stone tower. One of several surviving gates and towers that can be found around the Citadel walls.
Mid-16th century Cobblers’ Tower (Turnul Cizmarilor) located at the north-west corner of the Citadel.
Back at the Clock Tower. Looking up at the stone front façade with a clock face and bell in view towards the top.
Thursday, 23rd May 2014
In the Lower Town (Orasul de Jos), beneath the Citadel, looking across the Târnava Mare River to the Orthodox Cathedral (Catedrala Ortodoxa). The cathedral was built in Byzantine style between 1934 and 1937 and strikingly painted in black and white. It is accessible via a footbridge over the river that can be seen to the left.
A square in front of the Orthodox Cathedral.
Located in north-west Romania, and part of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca is Romania’s second most populous city. It can trace its origins back to the 2nd century AD, when it was a Dacian settlement known as Napuca. The name Cluj originates from the Medieval Latin name Castrum Clus, the first written record of which appears in 1213.
Thursday, 23rd May 2014 (evening)
Union Square (Piata Unirii) busy with people. Union Square is the largest square in Cluj situated in the city centre. In the background is St Michael’s Church, which was built in the late 14th century in Gothic style and named after the Archangel Michael, the patron saint of Cluj-Napoca. The Neo-Gothic tower was added in the 19th century. It remains the tallest church tower in Romania today standing at 76 metres (249 feet), or 80 metres (262.5 feet) including the cross on the top. Also in view in front of the church is a large equestrian statue of Matthias Corvinus. He was born locally and became King of Hungary and Croatia, reigning from 1458 to 1490.
Tony with Teresa in Union Square. Tony met Teresa whilst travelling in Romania. She is from The Netherlands.
Tony in front of three young ladies in white wedding dresses on stilts. Many locals were dressed in costumes as part of Cluj Week, which included live opera and/or traditional orchestral music and performances on a large stage in Union Square.
Tony with a man dressed in a costume made up of mirrors.
Tony touching a bear’s head, part of another costume.
Friday, 24th May 2014
Steps leading up to the main entrance to the Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral. A large Orthodox cathedral on Avram Iancu Square built between 1923 and 1933.
Another view of the cathedral from Avram Iancu Square.
Looking into a large circular fountain located in Avran Iancu Square. A tall pillar can be seen rising from the centre of the fountain. On top of the pillar (and not in view) is a statue of Avram Iancu: he was a lawyer and leader of the 1848 Romanian Revolution in Transylvania.
Tony in front of the fountain.
A market stall selling wooden toys and boxes in Avram Iancu Square.
More market stalls in front of the fountain. The one in front selling rugs. The pillar and legs of the Avram Iancu statue can be seen behind.
Saturday, 25th May 2014
Tony outside the main double doorway into St Michael’s Church in Union Square.
Inside St Michael’s Church. A sculpture of the Virgin Mary and Child.
A side altar with golden angels on top.
Near the front of St Michael’s Church looking back at rows of chairs and pews.
In Union Square looking towards the side of a large stage used for the Cluj Week musical performances. There are a group of musicians standing near the stage, holding instruments, including a double bass.
View along a fairly narrow street – Strada Matei Corvin – near St Michael’s Church. The white painted building with a large doorway just visible at the far end is Matthias Corvinus House. This is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It was built in the 15th century in Gothic style as a small guesthouse. During its history, the house has served as a jail, hospital and museum. Today it is home to a visual arts institute.
Doorway into the Franciscan Monastery and Church. This church was built between 1260 and 1290 on the site of an older Catholic church destroyed during the Tatar invasions of 1241. It is a combination of Baroque and Gothic architecture.
View towards the front side of the Franciscan Church. The church stands at the east end of Museum Square (Piața Muzeului).
Tony in front of the “Carolina” Obelisk in Museum Square. This is one of the oldest monuments in the city. It commemorates the visit of Emperor Francis I and his wife Carolina Augusta in 1817. Museum Square is a long narrow rectangle in shape. There are many cafés around the edge.
Sunday, 26th May 2014
A group of people listening to a tour guide in front of the equestrian statue of Matthias Corvinus in Union Square.
Day trip to Salina Turda Salt Mine, located in the Turgau-Valea Sarata area of Turda. The mine was opened to the public in 1992 as a halotheraphy centre and museum of salt mining. Salt was first extracted from the area during antiquity with the mine continuously producing table salt from the middle ages until 1932. Turda is located on the Arieş River in Cluj County about 18 miles (29 kilometres) from Cluj-Napoca.
Monday, 27th May 2014
Tony with two guys from Germany on a bus heading to Turda.
Tony standing in a long straight access tunnel heading into the mine.
A small wagon on rails once used to move the salt.
Looking down into a vast conical chamber within Terezia Mine. The chamber is 90 metres (295 feet) in height and 87 metres (285 feet) in diameter. At the bottom there is an underground lake with an island in the middle. The island has several circular platforms built on and around it with connecting walkways. Due to the way these structures are lit they have a strange UFO-like appearance looking from above.
Tony on a walkway looking down into the chamber.
Now at the bottom of the massive Terezia Mine chamber looking up at curious naturally formed wavy patterns in the salt rock walls towering above.
Tony on a wooden walkway over the underground lake.
Tony sitting in a boat on the lake. The lake is up to 8 metres deep.
A cobbled street outside Turda’s History Museum. The museum is housed in a substantial stone building, once a prince’s palace. The entrance is in view with a wooden balcony above.
Back in Cluj. Tony sitting in a bar-restaurant with a group he met at Transylvania Hostel where he stayed. Tony is sitting at the end of the table. The lady to the left of Tony is Larisa, she is Romanian and worked at the hostel. The lady nearest to the camera on the left is Rachel from America. The photo was taken by Per from Denmark.
City located in Maramureș County near the Iza River in north-west Romania.
Tuesday, 28th May 2014
A prison cell inside the former Maramureș County prison, which was built in 1897. The Securitate of the Romanian Communist regime ran the prison during the 1950s and 1960s as a place for the detention and political repression of public figures who had been declared “class enemies”. The cell in view was occupied by Iuliu Maniu, former Romanian Prime Minister, who died in this prison in 1953. The prison is now a museum, part of the Memorial for the Victims of Communism.
Tony in front of statues of people being tortured in a garden behind the prison, part of an exhibition.
The main doorway into the Assumption of the Virgin church. A circular window above. This orthodox church dates from 1892. Inside there are icons by well-known Maramures painter Traian Biltiu Dancus.
A courtyard at the side of the Assumption of the Virgin church. A stone cross immediately in front.
Wednesday, 29th May 2014
Outside the large Orthodox Cathedral. Built between 1985 and 1998. Dedicated to St Michael and St Gabriel. It has four towers topped with spires.
Located in the Bukovina region of north-eastern Romania. The city was the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1388 until 1565. This region is famous for its painted churches. In 1993 UNESCO listed eight of these churches as a World Heritage Site. The churches were built between 1487 and 1585. They are painted inside and outside with Biblical stories and symbols. The purpose was to teach the peasants about Christianity at a time when few people could read.
Friday, 31st May 2014
Biblical scenes on the outside wall of the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin, part of Humor Monastery. Located in Mănăstirea Humor village about 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) north of the town of Gura Humorului. The church was constructed in 1530 by Voievod Petru Rareş and his chancellor Teodor Bubuiog. The monastery was built over the foundations of a previous monastery that dated from around 1415.
View of the church’s exterior with the walls almost completely covered with frescoes. These frescos of amongst the best preserved of the eight painted churches. The dominant colour of the frescoes is a reddish brown with patches of blue. The eaves of the roof have a large overhang to help protect the paintings beneath from the weather.
A stone watch tower at Humor Monastery. The tower was built in 1641. Humor monastery was forced to close in 1786 by the Austrian administration of Bucovina, but reopened again 1990.
Now at Voroneț Monastery. View of a side wall of the Church of St George completely covered with frescos. These feature an intense shade of blue, known in Romania as Voroneț blue, which can be seen in this picture. The monastery is located in Voroneţ village, now part of Gura Humorului town. The monastery was constructed by Stephen the Great in 1488 to commemorate victory at the Battle of Vaslui.
Tony standing in front of the Church of St George.
At the opposite end of the Church of St George. A tower visible on the roof decorated with sixteen tall niches, in four of which are windows, and above these a row of smaller niches. Again the eaves have a large overhang.
Tony next to the Church of the Annunciation at Moldovița Monastery. Situated in the commune of Vatra Moldoviței, Suceava County. Built in 1532 by Petru Rareș, who was Stephen the Great’s illegitimate son. The frescoes, which cover the exterior and interior walls, were painted in 1537.
Another view of the Church of the Annunciation. An octagonal tower on the roof.
View of the monastery’s outer stone walls. There are three towers in the walls of which two can be seen: a round corner tower and a central gateway tower. Tony is just visible standing next to a well.
Outside the entrance gate. A large wooden doorway leading through the square shaped stone tower in the monastery walls.
Tony in front of a giant stone hand in the mountains of Suceava County. It was built to commemorate the joining of two roads through the mountains. It was chilly when Tony was up there, about 7 degrees Celsius.
View from the stone hand sculpture. Partially wooded hills and valleys covered with patches of mist.
Tony at the Church of the Resurrection at Sucevița Monastery. Located in the village of Sucevița, 18 kilometres (11 miles) from the city of Rădăuţi. The monastery was built in 1585, but the paintings date from around 1601, which makes Sucevița one of the last churches to be decorated with the famous exterior paintings. In view, the paintings include rows of angels ascending a ladder (Jacob’s Ladder), as well as other Biblical scenes.
Back in Romania after visiting Ukraine and Republic of Moldova.
Iași is a large city located in Romania’s north-eastern Moldavia region. The city is an important cultural and academic centre, with a large student population attending the city’s five universities. Iași was the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1564 to 1859 and later the capital of Romania from 1916 to 1918.
Sunday, 8th June 2014
Tony outside the Metropolitan Cathedral. Three of the cathedral’s four towers are visible. Construction of the cathedral began in 1833 on the site of older churches dating from the 15th and 17th centuries. The cathedral was completed in 1839, however, cracks soon appeared in the central arch, which eventually collapsed in 1857. The building was then left in ruins until 1880, when reconstruction began, and this was completed in 1886.
Larisa and Tony in front of a fountain outside the Palace of Culture. The massive Neo-Gothic Palace of Culture was built between 1906 and 1925 on the ruins of the medieval Royal Court of Moldavia. The Palace has 298 large rooms and initially was used for administrative functions, including housing the County Law Courts. Today it contains the Moldova National Museum Complex with four museums inside: The Museum of Art, the Museum of History, the Museum of Ethnography, and the Museum of Science and Technology.
Another view of Tony by the fountain with the impressive front façade of the Palace of Culture above.
A large round fountain with stylised sculptures of female nudes sprayed with jets of water.
The same fountain as in the previous photo. Located in the middle of a traffic island.
A pair of stone lions. This is part of the Obelisk of Lions dating from 1834. This monument includes four lions around its base with an obelisk in the centre standing at 13.5 metres (44 feet) tall. Located in historic Copou Park.
Copou Park, located in the Copou Hill neighbourhood, dates from 1834 and was one of the first public gardens created in Romania.
View of Copou Park with a stone bust of Mihai Eminescu visible in front. Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889) was a romantic poet and novelist – often regarded as the most influential Romanian poet.
Another view of the Obelisk of Lions surrounded by flower beds and ornamental hedges.