Archives May 2016

The Clock Museum in Ploiesti reopens after restoration works

The Nicolae Simache Clock Museum in Ploiesti, a one-of-its-kind in Romania and southern Europe, reopened last week after undergoing restoration works lasting for more than two years.

The 1890 building hosting the museum went through an ample refurbishment process, supported with EU funding. The collection of the museum includes almost 4,000 pieces, ranging from solar quadrants and water clocks to clocks that need turning once every 365 days, clepsydras, tabletop clocks or pendulums.

Various historical pieces can be found in the Ploiesti museum, such two astronomical clocks manufactured in 1544 and 1562 by Jakob Acustodia (Holland) and Jeremias Metzker (Augsburg). Likewise, two golden clocks that belonged to King Carol I of Romania or tabletop clocks which belonged to local cultural personalities such as ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza and writers Mihail Sadoveanu or Vasile Alecsandri. Another historical piece in the museum collection is the water clock, designed by Charles Rayner in 1654 in London.

The most important category of pieces is that of pocket watches. The oldest piece of this kind in the museum was made by Philip Jakob Bickelman in Linz in 1652. Watches manufactured by famous French and English watchmakers in the 18th and 19th centuries – Julien Le Roy, Antoine Lepin, Abraham Louis Breguet, Benjamin Barber, George and Edward Prior -can be found here. The emergence of the serial watchmaker companies in the 19th centuries is also reflected in the collection with pieces done at Patek Philippe, Genève, Schaffhausen, Omega, Doxa, Longines, Hebdomas or Roskopf Patent.

A lot of other remarkable watches and clocks can be found here, making a visit worth a while. Ploiesti is at a 60-minute drive north of Bucharest, taking the DN1/ E60 or the Bucharest – Ploiesti highway A3.

The Nicolae Simache Clock Museum is located at 1 Radu Stanian St., close to the city’s Art Museum.

Village Museum in Bucharest turns 80, opens new section

A new wing was inaugurated at the Dimitrie Gusti Village Museum in Bucharest, at the same time with the institution’s 80-year anniversary.

Nhe new section includes 30 houses which have been moved from various villages across Romania to the capital. Visitors will be able to find here an inn, a dance area as well as a playground for children visiting the museum. Besides constructions from various areas of Romania visitors will be able to find here a Minorities Alley, featuring a Jewish house from Maramures or an 1896 Saxon house from Sibiu.

The Village Museum in Bucharest was one of the first open-air ethnographic museums in the country and in Europe. It was established in 1936 following sustained theoretical and field research undertaken by professor Dimitrie Gusti, the founder of the Bucharest Sociology School.When the Bucharest museum opened in the 1930s, only two other such museums existed in Europe: the Skansen Museum in Stockholm, opened in 1891 and the Bigdo Museum in Lillehamer, Norway. In Romania, professor Romulus Vuia had opened in 1929 the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania in Cluj.

The museum was designed to show visitors the reality of village life, as it was or is lived by the Romanian peasant. At the opening it stood on 6.5 hectares of land and featured 33 authentic complexes, transferred from the researched villages: houses with annexes, a church, technical installations and fountains.  One of the oldest constructions that can be admired here dates back to 1775. It is a household from Berbesti, Maramures county. Also among the oldest pieces are an 1800 Hunedoara household and a 1772 wooden church from Dragomiresti, Maramures county.

Besides visiting the patrimony of the museum, the public can sample the permanent exhibition selling items created by anonymous craftsmen: ceramics, textiles, wooden and glass icons, wooden objects, toys and furniture.

The Village Museum is taking part in the Night of the Museums event, when access to the New Village area of the place will be free between 19:00 and 22:00.

Photo: A. Anghel/ Photo source: Muzeul Satului Dimitrie Gusti Facebook page


Job offer: Research Intern, City Compass Media

City Compass Media is looking for an intern for an online research project over the summer for our English-language print guide City Compass Romania: Bucharest & Beyond, the 2017 edition; here is an excerpt of the 2016 edition.

The candidate should be a young Romanian native, highly efficient in finding information online, fast and thorough, and should enjoy and strive for clarity and accuracy.

This project – based internship can become a part-time or full-time job in our media organization for the right candidate. Please send an email to state your interest in this internship, as well as a CV, to Simona Fodor, [email protected].

Văcărești Nature Park officially established

The Romanian government adopted this week a decision by which the Văcărești Nature Park is officially established. Also known as the Văcărești Delta or the Delta of Bucharest, the area stands out with its biodiversity and formed naturally, over the past 25 years around the Văcărești lake, in the District 4 of the capital.

The 189 hectares site stands between Calea Văcărești, Olteniței Road, the Vitan-Bârzești Road and Splaiul Dâmboviței. It was brought to public attention after National Geographic Romania ran a story on it in 2012. The article was signed by Cristian Lascu and Helmut Ignat, and was titled ‘The Delta between Blocks.’

The Văcărești lake is an artificial lake, established as part of works alongside the Dambovita river, and it was meant to be part of hydrologic system of defense of Bucharest against flooding. Works on it started in 1986, when the Văcărești monastery was also demolished, but were stopped after 1989 and the site abandoned.

During this abandonment period, a diverse vegetation and fauna developed. Over 95 species of birds and water animals can be found in the area. Several otters, a protected species, were spotted on site in 2014. Specialists say the presence of this mammal at Văcărești is a sign of the health of the ecosystem.

Several species found here, protected by the local and European legislation, are subject to illegal hunting each year. With its new statute, the place will be protected by law and administered following ecological principles.

Photo: Helmut Ignat