Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Danube Delta

The mighty Danube River flows 1,788 miles from its springs in Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea. Just before reaching the sea it forms the second largest and best preserved of Europe's deltas: 2,200 square miles of rivers, canals, marshes, tree-fringed lakes and reed islands. The Danube Delta is a wildlife enthusiast’s (especially a bird watcher’s) paradise.

Travelers can spend three or more days exploring its passages, teaming with the highest concentration of bird colonies in all of Europe. The maze of canals bordered by thatch, willows and oaks entangled in lianas, offers the perfect breeding ground for countless species of birds, some of them from as far away as China and Africa. Millions of Egyptian white pelicans arrive here every spring to raise their young, while equal numbers of Arctic geese come here to escape the harsh winters of Northern Europe.

Some 300 species of birds make Danube’s Delta their home, including cormorants, white tailed eagles and glossy ibises.  The bird watching season lasts from early spring to late summer. Birds are not the only inhabitants of the Delta. There is also a rich community of fish and animals; from wildcats, foxes and wolves, to even an occasional boar or deer. Altogether, 3,450 animal species can be seen here, as well as 1,700 plant species.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Constantin Brancusi – The Patriarch of Modern Sculpture

         The Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi was born in  Romania on February 21st, 1876. Constantin Brancusi made the earliest and sharpest break in the modern movement of abstraction. He defined new forms by carving in wood and stone. His simple, exquisite forms reflect attitudes of modern art. Although a pioneer of modern art, Brancusi was the least public and the most withdrawn artist.
Famous Brâncuşi works include the Sleeping Muse (1908), The Kiss (1908), Prometheus (1911), Mademoiselle Pogany (1913), The Newborn (1915), Bird in Space (1919) and The Column of the Infinite (Coloana infinitului), popularly known as The Endless Column (1938). Considered the pioneer of modernism Brâncuşi is called the Patriarch of Modern Sculpture.

          His life was simply and completely dedicated to his work. His way of work was a concentrated dialogue between himself and his material which gradually took forms. His passion for a direct and simple contact with life referred to his sculpture and everything he did. By his carving he felt that he got closer and more intimate with the material. All his work, both in wood and stone, reflects his love for life, the force and freshness of the images of the world around him. His work was presented and appreciated at different exhibitions around the world: France (Paris), USA (New York & Chicago), Switzerland (Zurich & Yverdon), India, and certainly Romania. He died in his studio in Paris on March 16th, 1957.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Peles Castle , the most beautiful castle in Romania

         Located on Peles brook valley, on the spot named Pietrele  Arse (The Burnt Stones) The Peles Castle , is the most famous royal residence in Romania, built between 1875 and 1883. It is said that sometime in august 1866 King Carol I arrived in the neighborhood and spent the night  at the monastery of Podul Neagului ( as Sinaia was known at that time). He liked so much the wild and picturesque landscapes that he decided to built here a castle. So he bought the land in 1872 and then hired the German architect Wilhelm Doderer to make the plans for the construction. That is why, in what concerns the exterior architecture, the main elements are specific to the German neo-renaissance style. 

          The Peles Castle was and is considered to be one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, and the first to be entirely electrified on the continent. Having its own power station, at that time the building had an interior elevator, vacuum cleaner and central- heating system. The castle has 170 rooms, out of which only 10 can be visited by tourists and shelters various valuable collections of paintings, sculptures, armors, carpets, furniture, tapestries, statues, potteries, gold, silver and china dishes, stained-glasses. 

          The Entrance Hall is magnificent, with walnut tree carvings, covered with bas-reliefs and statuettes. The movable glass ceiling, activated by an electric engine or by a manual system, was a surprise element for the king’s visitors, who could admire the sky on cloudless summer nights. 

           The Royal Library attracts especially those who are keen on rare books, with leather covers engraved with golden letters. There is an attraction point even for those who are not familiar with the universe of books, namely the secret door, a way of access behind a book shelf through which the king could becalm in various rooms of the Castle.

          The armories, arranger between 1903 and 1906, shelter more than 4000 European and Eastern prices from the 14th and 17 centuries. The most valuable are considered to be the German armors from the 16th and 17th  centuries and a complete amour for horse and knight, unique in Romania. 

       The Music Room became a musical soiree salon at  Queen Elisabeth’s wish. The furniture from this room was a gift from the Maharajah of Kapurthala. The Florentine Room, also called the Great Salon, impresses with  its ceiling sculptured out of linden trees, gilded, with two great chandeliers, and its ornaments in the Italian neo-renaissance style. Maura Salon is the work of architect Charles Lecompte de Nouy, having Spanish –Moorish elements and  an indoor Carrara marble fountain, replica of a similar piece in Cairo. The Playhouse has 60 seats and a royal box, being decorated in Louis XIV style. At first floor there is the Concert Room, arranged in 1906, where one can find a harpsichord made in 1621 at Antwerp, a Bluthner piano with vertical tail and Rieger organ with two keyboards. The Imperial Suite was also arranged in 1906, for the Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz Josef, invited at King’s Carol I celebration of 40 years of reign. Other rooms that offer the tourist various surprises are: The Council Room, which resembles one of the rooms of the mayoralty in Lucerne – Switzerland; The Work Cabinet where there is an imposing writing table and also an audience desk; The Dinning Room, where there are exhibited some very valuable silver pieces, is at the first floor and has a rustic, Briton furniture from the 18th century; The Turkish Parlor which shelters a collection of Turkish and Persians brass pots. Peles Castle is considered one of the most visited museum in Romania. Only in 2006 there were over 250.000 visitors  from Romania and also from USA, Australia, Japan and New Zeeland.  

So if you want to be impressed by the  beauty of the  architecture and the valuable collections of Peles Castle, just book  your vacation in Romania, through www.medestino.com.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Dracula's Castle....

           Bran Castle - Dracula’s Castle  Surrounded by an aura of mystery and legend and perched high atop a 200-foot-high rock, Bran Castle owes its fame to its imposing towers and turrets as well as to the myth created around Bram Stocker’s Dracula.    Built on the site of a Teutonic Knights stronghold dating from 1212, the castle was first documented in an act issued by Louis I of Hungary on November 19, 1377, giving the Saxons of Kronstadt (Brasov) the privilege to build the Citadel.  

         Although Stoker never visited Transylvania, the Irish author relied on research and his vivid imagination to create the dark and intimidating stomping ground of Count Dracula, leading to persistent myths that it was once the home of Vlad Tepes, ruler of Walachia. While the association with Dracula is sketchy at best, the castle continues to hold a strong attraction for all fans of the Count.  From 1920 to 1957 Bran served as royal residence, a gift of the people of Brasov to Queen Marie of Romania. The castle is now a museum open to tourists, displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie. 

     Narrow winding stairways lead through some 60 timbered rooms, many connected by underground passages, which house collections of furniture, weapons and armor dating from the 14th to the 19th centuries. The castle overlooks the picturesque village of Bran, which offers an open-air Ethnographic Museum consisting of old local-style village houses complete with furniture, household objects and costumes.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

All the world is a stage – National Theatre Iasi - Romania

It was natural for a city positioned at the intersection of large commercial routes connecting the country to Poland, to Russia and to the German lands, to host from time to time – together with merchants, carriers, foreign emissaries – the odd menagerie, circus, carnival or theatre troupe. 
At the end of the 18th century and in the early 19th century, the children of the aristocracy went to school in France, Germany or Italy. There they became acquainted with the much-appreciated “cultured theatre”. 
The trend caught on, and soon the first animator of art and culture in Moldavia, Gheorghe Asachi, staged, with the help of dilettantes from the Ghica and Sturza families, the first play in the Romanian language, "Mirtil şi Hloe", a one-act pastoral, adapted from the works of Gessner and Florian.

        The Main Auditorium, with 750 seats, organized in stalls, boxes and a balcony, impresses through the refinement, originality and lavishness of its Rococo- and Baroque-inspired painted and sculpted ornaments.
         The 1418 electric lights and the chandelier with 109 Venetian crystal lamps light up a playhouse with a unique architectural personality. 
      The main curtain, painted by the Viennese maestro Lenz and finished by one of his disciples, has in the middle an allegory of life with its three stages, and to the side a symbolic representation of the Union of Principalities; the left-hand side, painted by Lenz’s apprentice, differs from the rest of the curtain in style and colouring.

     The ceiling and the iron curtain were painted by Alexander Goltz. The iron curtain shows ornaments placed symmetrically, while the ceiling, a real work of art, has as a narrative basis the Archetypal Story, shown in paradisiacal allegories, with nymphs and cupids framed in rococo stucco.

          Above the orchestra pit, the ceiling displays the crest of the four reunited Romanian provinces, combining the heraldry of all four; from the royal coat-of-arms, located in a parallel plan, the most visible is the sceptre, the royal insignia being removed after the last king’s abdication.

So go to medestino.com and book a vacation to Iasi, Romania to visit this unique architectural building.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Sighisoara - singura cetate medievala inca locuita, din Europa

          Cetatea Sighisoara este, in acelasi timp, un fenomen, dar si o ciudatenie a timpurilor moderne. Mai batrana decat multe capitale europene, ea pare insensibila la trecerea vremii si la schimbarile din jurul sau, pastrandu-si aura de orasel medieval linistit care refuza sa accepte realitatile secolului XXI. Ramasa una dintre ultimele cetati locuite din lume, Sighisoara a fost declarata in 1999 monument protejat de UNESCO, intrand in elita oraselor care detin deja acest rang.
Cetatea este  este inconjurata de o serie de ziduri lungi de 930 de metrii, strajuita de 14 turnuri de aparare, fiecare turn fiind ridicat de catre una din breslele ce activau in oras - de unde le provin si denumirile.  

        Odata ce ajungi in acest loc esti invaluit de aerul medieval si de atmosfera relaxanta, iar localnicii sunt foarte primitori si deschisi sa iti povesteasca istoria cetatii.
     De asemenea cetatea gazduieste casa unde s-a nascut Vlad Dracul (Dracula), un loc foarte apreciat de turistii romani, germane, chinezi, englezi. Astazi, casa este locatia perfecta pentru cel mai rafinat restaurant din cetate, unde se pot servi atat bucate din bucataria romaneasca cat si din cea international.

Daca doriti sa alegeti o destinatie turistica internationala, atunci alegeti sa vizitati www.medestino.com , pentru a va rezerva o vacanta in Cetatea Sighioara!

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