Situated in the western Romania on the banks of the river Mures, Arad is a modern-built city and contains many beautiful buildings. It is an important industrial center and transportation hub, it is also the seat of a Romanian Orthodox bishop and features two universities, a Romanian Orthodox theological seminary, a training school for teachers, and a music conservatory. The Fortified Town of Arad is one of the Transylvanian fotresses built in the Vauban star-shaped style. Arad's city hall is an impressive building which has to its right and left another two palaces 2 centuries old. Other tourist sites that well worth a visit are: Neuman Palace, Judiciary Palace, Cenad Palace, Bohus Palace and The Old Theatre (Hirschl), built by Jacob Hirschl in 1817, the oldest stone theatre in Romania.
Maramures is an ancient Dacian region, rich in gold, uranium and other minerals, located in the north-west of Romania about 500 kms from Bucuresti. Maramures is an ideal area for people who like the outdoor and Baia Mare is a good starting point for exploring the region. Due to the concentration of economic activities found in the city and their importance, Baia Mare ranks third in northwest Romania, after Cluj Napoca and Oradea. The area is quite mountainous, the Rodna Mountains and the Pietrosul Massif are the highest peaks in the Oriental Carpathians. Some of the mountains such as the Gutai and Tibles Mountains are of volcanic origin.
If you happen to trace some places mentioned in the Dracula novel, then Bistrita is a place not to be missed. This is the area that Bram Stoker chose as the setting of Dracula's castle. The capital of the Northern Bistrita- Năsăud County has several well preserved medieval buildings, an Orthodox church dating from the 13th century and a county Museum. The Bistrita-Năsăud County Museum, located in a former barracks, contains Thracian, Celtic, and German artifacts. Another attraction of Bistrita's central square is the Lutheran church which was built by the Transylvanian Saxons, originally constructed in the 14th century in Gothic style but remodeled from 1559-1563 by Petrus Italus with Renaissance features.
Brasov is a charming town located in the geographical centre or Romania and is one of the most visited places in Romania. Founded in 1211 on an ancient Dacian site, Brasov exudes a distinct medieval ambiance. Stroll around the old Town Hall Square where you can admire colorfully painted and ornately trimmed baroque structures. Don't miss the Black Church, the largest gothic church in Romania. The interior is impressive and well-kept and houses one of the largest organs in Eastern Europe. The "Brasov Citadel Fortress" is another interesting site. Poiana Brasov, mainly a ski resort, but also a sightseeing spot is just outsite the city. The nearby Bran Castle, attracting many fans of Dracula can be easily reached from Brasov.
Once known as the "Little Paris", Bucharest, Romania's capital, is known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards, and glorious Belle Époque buildings. There is even an Arc de Triomphe on a boulevard longer than the Champs Elysees, with a range of trees that flower beautifully in the spring. You will be intrigued by the city's eclectic mixture of architecture, from old monasteries to Orthodox Churches, Second Empire mansions, the stolid Stalinist architecture of the communist years and the colossal Parliament House, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon.
The unofficial capital of Transylvania, the 2000 years old Cluj-Napoca is one of the most vibrant cities in Romania. It is nowadays one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centres in Romania. Located in a hilly area, the city spreads itself around the Somes river towards the surrounding hills. The architecture in the downtown is reminiscent of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, while elements of modernism have now been added to give the city a modern, exciting feel. There are lots of museums, parks and a European renowned Botanical Garden that are sure to appeal even to the most demanding visitor. Not to mention the countless cafes, restaurants, clubs and discos where one can have a great time at any time of day or night.
Dating back from 657 BC, when it was founded by the Greeks under the name of Tomis, Constanta is nowadays the fourth largest city in Romania, an important cultural and economic center, worth exploring for its archaeological treasures and the atmosphere of the old town center. Its historical monuments, ancient ruins, grand Casino, museums and shops, and proximity to beach resorts make it the focal point of Black Sea coast tourism. Activities include tennis, water-skiing, paragliding, scuba diving, and horseback-riding. Open-air restaurants, discos and cabarets offer a wide variety of entertainments.
One of the oldest cities in Romania, Curtea de Arges is well worth a visit for its magnificent monastery as well as being home to Wallachia's oldest surviving church, built by the princes who ruled Wallachia from the adjacent palace during the 14th century. From here, self-driving brave hearts can tackle the extraordinary Transfagarasan Highway, a magnificent and challenging mountain pass (supposedly Europe's highest, reaching 2,034m/6,672 ft.) that wends its way over the Fagaras Mountains and into Transylvania; due to extreme weather conditions the route is only open for 3 months of the year. The Fagaras Mountains are a very popular hiking, trekking and skiing destination in Romania.
Located at the confluence of the Danube and Siret rivers, Galati is one of Romania's chief ports and the site of the country's largest shipyard. The tourist attractions are the Eastern Orthodox cathedral - St. George (Sfântu Gheorghe) build in 1906, and another particularly striking fortified church (that of St. Mary - Sf. Precista) on the banks of the Danube, which was built in 1647 (legend has it that a tunnel was dug from the church and under the river). Other features of the city include a botanical garden, several museums, a television tower opened to the public and offering full view of the city, the newly-restored Galati Opera House, and a a sculpture park lining a promenade of several kilometres along the banks of the Danube.
The third-largest Romanian city, Iasi has been cultural and academic centre of the Romania since 1408. The city prides itself with publishing the first Romanian newspaper and establishing the first Romanian university. One of its highlights is the splendid neo-gothic Palace of Culture, housing nowadays four museums. Iasi boasts an impressive number of Orthodox churches, almost 100.The oldest, the Princely Saint Nicholas Church, dates from the reign of Stephen the Great (1457-1504). The finest, however, are the 17th century St. Paraschiva Metropolitan Cathedral and Trei Ierarhi Church. Cultural life gravitates around a National Theater, Tatarasi Atheneum, a famous Botanical Garden, an array of museums and memorial houses, an independent theater and several student organizations.
Situated immediately north-east of Constanța, Mamaia is the biggest resort on the Romanian Black Sea Coast. It is especially designed for families with children. Warm climate, miles of sand beaches, ancient monuments, vineyards and modern resorts make it a major summer destination of Europe. Beaches, stretching from Mangalia to Mamaia, are dotted with fine resorts and hotels, and countless sports and entertainment facilities. Sports like snorkeling, scuba-diving and paragliding offer thrills from May to October. Expeditions to typical country villages, the ruins of the ancient Greek fortress of Histria, and the Danube Delta can be easily arranged.
Located in the heart of Transylvania, on the valley of Târnava Mare river in the Sibiu County, Medias has one of the best preserved historical centers in Romania and also some well preserved medieval fortifications. It is surrounded by medieval churches, 2 of them UNESCO heritage sites. One of the most impressive symbols of the town is the Tower of the Buglers, which is about 70 meters tall. The heavy pressure of the tower on the sandy soil is the reason why the tower is slightly tilted to the North. Between 1927 and 1930, and later in 1972, the tower was consolidated. The St. Margaret Church is another impressive site build in the 15th century. Its roof consists of colored vitrified tiles, and 4 turrets were built.
Located on the northwestern part of Romania, Oradea is the main gateway to Western Europa. Oradea's architecture is a mix between Communist-era buildings, and beautiful Baroque buildings, remnants from the era when the city was part of Austria-Hungary. The Fortress of Oradea, dating back from the 12th century, is one of the most impressive sights of the town. Other sights are: the Baroque Palace of Oradea, a wonderful Baroque museum with 365 famous windows, the biggest Baroque cathedral in Romania, the State Theatre, plans for which were designed by two Austrian architects who had built around 100 theatres and opera houses in Europe. The Felix Baths health spas, located just outside the city are also worth visiting.
Set amidst beautiful pine forests in the Carpathian Mountains, Poiana Brasov is a touristic resort for ski and nature lovers. There are numerous ski slopes ranging in all difficulty levels from beginners to advanced including slalom runs, downhill and an Olympic run. In the centre of the resort you will find the Ski School that provides excellent training lessons with English and German speaking instructors. Poiana Brasov is also a great location for summer adventure holidays. It offers numerous well marked trails and paths for hiking trips to see the rugged nature of the Carpathian Mountains. Excursions can also be arranged to the near-by tourist attractions such as to the historic city of Brasov, the Citadel of Rasnov, and Bran Castle.
Satu Mare is one of the most beautiful cities in Romania. The personality of the city and its true fascination lies in the voluptuous richness of its urban architecture. The building which hosts the Art Collection of the Satu Mare County Museum has two wings with different architectural styles. Only one wing remained from the building bought by Baron Vecsey in 1789 and this is considered to be the oldest standing civil building in Satu Mare. In 1842 the second wing of the museum was added, built in neo-Gothic style. The Roman-Catholic cathedral occupies a central position in Piata Libertatii. Another neoclassic treasure located in Piata Libertatii is the Ormos House. The Dacia Hotel is located in the center of the city and is one of the most beautiful Secession style buildings in Transylvania.
Sibiu was the largest and wealthiest of the seven walled citadels built in the 12th century by Transylvanian Saxons. The city of Sibiu holds one of the best preserved historical sites in the country, many of its medieval fortifications having been kept in excellent state. Its old center has begun the process for becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Sibiu and its surrounding area have many significant museums. Brukenthal Palace, one of the most important Baroque monuments in Romania houses the main part of the National Brukenthal Museum, opened in 1817. In 2007 Sibiu was the European Capital of Culture. The city also lies close to the Făgăraș Mountains - a very popular trekking destination.
Founded in the 12th century by Saxons, Sighisoara still stands as one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Europe. This perfectly intact 16th century gem with nine towers, burgher houses and ornate churches rivals the historic streets of Old Prague or Vienna, and is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. This is the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, who inspired Bram Stoker's fictional creation. The landmark of the city is the Clock Tower, a 64m high tower built in 1556. It is today a museum of history. Other attractions include the Church on the Hill with its 500-year-old frescoes, the 13th century Venetian House and the Church of the Dominican Monastery, known for its Transylvanian renaissance carved altarpiece, baroque pulpit, Oriental carpets and 17th century organ.
Situated in the beautiful Prahova Valley at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains, Sinaia is regarded as the Pearl of the Carpathians. About an hour north of Bucharest, Sinaia is home to the fabulous Peles Castle, a fairy-tale-like ediface built by King Carol 1 in the 19th century as the royal family's summer residence. Its interiors are an opulant display of elegant design and historical artifact. Other tourist landmarks include: Pelisor Castle, Sinaia Monastery, Sinaia Casino, Sinaia train station, and the Franz Joseph and Saint Anne Cliffs. Sinaia was also the summer residence of the great Romanian composer George Enescu, who stayed at the Luminis villa. Sinaia is also a popular destination for hiking and winter sports, especially downhill skiing.
Once the capital of Moldova, Suceava is a pleasant city and worth a visit for its sights and museums. This is the starting point for excursions to the elegant painted monasteries in the surrounding countryside. A possible tourist route comprises the Princely Fortress of Suceava, the Sf. Ioan Monastery in Zamca as well as the medieval churches of Saint Dumitru, Holy Ressurection and Mirui. A point of interest is also the National Museum of Bucovina with its valuable historic and archaeological exhibits. The Saint George's Church of Suceava is one of the seven Painted churches of northern Moldavia included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Sucevita, monastery from Sucevita village, was built in 1585 by Ieremia Gheorghe and Simion Movila. It is composed from a big fortified yard, with high walls and towers, the complex of monahal houses and the church situated in the center, a masterpiece of the Moldavian medieval architecture. Decorated with paintings, dating from 1601, that cover all the walls of the church, both inside and outside, Sucevita is one of the most valuable ensembles of Romania painting. The frescoes are very remarkable, colorful and well preserved. The number of scenes and personages is higher than in any other church in Moldavia. Sucevita is considered the last flowering of the custom of painting the church façades that mark the reigns of Stephen the Great and Petru Rares.
Targu Neamt is a good base for trips to several orthodox monasteries may be not as famous as Bucovina's painted monasteries but equally beautiful. Neamt Monastery, founded by Stefan cel Mare and Agapia Monastery are not to be missed. The Neamț Fortress was built in the 14th century by Voivode Petru I (possibly on the ruins of a smaller Teutonic castle), and is located on the north bank of the Neamt river. Right across Ozana river lays the village of Humulesti the birth place of one of Romania most famous and loved writers, Ion Creanga. Right before Neamt Monastery you can visit the small animal reservation "Zimbrarie" where you can see aherd of wisent the European bisons who once used to roam these mountains.
Timisoara is considered Romania's most cosmopolitan city, with western European cultural influences and progressive aspirations. This was the first European city to install street lighting, and the first to run off hydroelectric power. It was also the second European and the first city in Romania with horse drawn trams in 1867. It is surnamed "Little Vienna" because the entire city center consists of buildings built in the Kaiser era, which reminds one much of the old Vienna. The old city consists of historic city quarters with several historic squares and proms. These are: Cetate, Iosefin, Elisabetin, Fabric. Numerous bars, clubs and restaurants have opened in the old center in the fine old baroque square.
Founded in the 7th century BC by the Dacians, Tulcea or Aegyssus, as the city was known in antiquity, was conquered by the Romans who rebuilt it after their plans, their technique and architectural vision. The town was successively under Byzantine (5th - 7th century), Genoese (10th - 13th century) and Ottoman rule before finally being reunited with Romania in 1878.The most important tourist sites include St. Nicholas' Church (1865), the Azzizie Mosque (1924), the Danube Delta History Museum, the Art Museum, and the History and Archeology Museum. Other sites well worth visiting are: Danube Delta Natural History Museum, Art Museum, Folk Art & Ethnographic Museum and History & Archeology Museum.
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