Archives August 2016

New indoor adventure park in Bucharest

AFI Aventurier is the newest indoor adventure park in Bucharest. The park opened in AFI Palace Cotroceni, one of the biggest shopping malls in Bucharest. It is the biggest adventure park opened in a European mall, according to AFI representatives.

It features a suspended route for adults, with over 25 segments with various degrees of difficulty, and a course for children. The highest point of the park is at 26 meters, which is comparable to the height of a nine-storey building.

AFI Aventurier is open daily between 10:00 and 23:00.

Read more about the new indoor adventure park at

Pietrosu Rodnei, the biosphere reserve in Northern Romania

Pietrosu Rodnei is a biosphere reserve in the north of the country, part of the Pietrosu Mare reservation, spreading across 3300 hectares in the northern side of Rodnei Mountains. Located in Maramureş County near Borșa and Moisei localities, the natural reservation is bordered by Culmea Hotarului in the north, Piatra Albă in the east, Repedea Valley in the north-east, Gropi Mountains and Jneapănu Bătrânii-Râpi in the south and Izvoru Dragoș Valley in the west.

The Pietrosu Mare reservation has the most impressive glacial landscape in Rodnei Mountains: cirque glaciers Buhăescu, Zănoaga Iezerului, Zănoaga Mare, Zănoaga Mică, Rebra and Gropi. Among the most important peaks in the reservation are Buhăescu Mare (2221 m), Buhăescu Mic (2199 m), Gropi (2063 m), Piatra Albă (2061 m), Hotarului (1905 m) and Bătrâna (1770 m). The glacial lakes in the reservation are Iezerul Pietrosului (3450 sqm) located in the Iezer cirque at an altitude of 1825 m, Buhăescu I, Buhăesu II (1700 sqm and 5,20 m deep), Buhăescu III and Buhăescu IV.

How to get there

The most popular place where most tourists start their trip to Rodnei Mountains is Borșa resort in Maramureş County. Borșa can be reached by car on DN 18, coming from Baia Mare and Sighetul Marmației, or on DN 17, coming from Suceava, Câmpulung Moldovenesc, Vatra Dornei and Bistrița.

Where to stay

Victoria Hotel
Address: 9 Strâmtura St., Borşa, Maramureş County
Phone: +40 745 805 353/ +40 744 121 565/ +40 262 342 349
Web: http:

Nordica Guesthouse
Address: 10/B Brădet St., Borşa Resort, Maramureş County
Phone: +40 747 861 500
Web: http:

Charging station for electric cars opens in Bucharest mall

Two charging stations for electric cars opened in Promenada Mall in Bucharest. The stations were opened in partnership with Renovatio e-charge, and charging is free in the Renovatio network until the end of the year.

The two stations have a 22kW charging power and are located at the -3 level of the commercial center in Calea Floreasca.

Renovatio e-charge has twelve charging stations throughout the country in București, Ploiești, Pitești, Arad, Cluj, Timișoara, Constanța, Sibiu, Deva and Iași.

Retailers Cora and Kaufland also opened charging stations for electric cars this year.

ParkLake Shopping Center opens in Eastern Bucharest

ParkLake Shopping Center opened in Bucharest’s Titan neighborhood on September 1st. ParkLake is located next to the Alexandru Ioan Cuza park in Titan, one of Bucharest’s biggest residential areas.

The new, 70,000 sqm mall has seen a EUR 180 million investment from Irish group Caelum Development and Portuguese Sonae Sierra. The mall is expected to be one of Bucharest’s top five shopping destinations, alongside Baneasa Shopping City, AFI Palace Cotroceni, Sun Plaza, and Mega Mall.

ParkLake has more than 200 stores, restaurants and service vendors, a multiplex cinema operated by Cinema City, and a World Class fitness center.

Read more about ParkLake Shopping Center at

Photo: ParkLake Shopping Center Facebook page

Access to Unirea Shopping Center directly from subway station

Unirea Shopping Center in Bucharest can be accessed starting September directly from the Unirii subway station through an underground passage. It is the capital’s second shopping center benefiting from direct access from the subway after Sun Plaza, which is linked to Piata Sudului subway station.

The subway station corresponding to the downtown Bucharest shopping center was renovated and now includes a commercial gallery of 2,000 sqm and 15 stores, according to Digi 24. The gallery, which links to the shopping center, is set to open officially in September.

The refurbishment project was the result of a partnership between Unirea Shoping Center and Metrorex.

Photo source: Wikipedia

The multicultural legacy of Babadag

For the traveler looking to explore more of Romania’s Dobrogea region, the town of Babadag offers the opportunity to get acquainted to the history of the area. The town used to host the ancient Roman settlement called Vicus Novus. Roman era landmarks were found in the center of the city, proving the almost urban development level of the settlement as water pipes made of burnt ceramics were found here. Today, at almost 9,000 inhabitants, Babadag is a diverse city, with a significant Muslim and Turkish population.

Between 1677 and 1678 the town served as the residence of the Turkish pasha. In order to be able to better follow and coordinate the military troops in the confrontations with the Russian Empire, the residence of the Otoman pasha was moved from Silistra to Babadag, where the pasha Gazi Ali ordered a mosque to be built, in the 1610s. As such,  some of the most important tourist landmarks in the city speak of the almost 500 years long Ottoman dominance: the Gazi-Ali-Pasa mosque, the Kalaigi fountain sitting in front of it, the mausoleum of Sari Saltuk Dede and the Eastern Art Museum,  hosted in a 19th century, oriental-style building.

And at about eight kilometers away from the city, on the way to Tulcea, the tourist can find the ruins of the Enisala fortress. Raising on a hill next to the Enisala village, the fortress, locally named Heracleea, was built at the end of 13th century by the Byzantine and Genovese commercial powers. At the beginning of the 14th century it was included in the defensive system of the Romanian principality and was afterwards transformed into a garrison of the Ottoman Empire. The only medieval fortress in Dobrogea, the Enisala site stands proof of a time when the region was part of the Genovese colonies which also included the Chilia and Likostomion towns in the Danube Delta.

How to get there?

To get to Enisala you can take the European route 81 and then follow the national road 2A passing through Slobozia to get to the destination.

Where to stay?

Several lodging options are available to tourists looking to visit the place: Babadag Cabin or the La Parmac hotel.

Photo source:

The medieval charm of Râșnov

Râșnov is known for the fortress of the same name, and it awaits visitors with many other interesting spots and festivals that have started to build a tradition.

Since 2012, the city is the third resort with a ‘national interest’ status in Brașov county, after Poiana Braşov and Predeal. Besides the medieval fortress, visitors can see here the St. Nicolas Orthodox Church, the Evangelical Church, the Historical Center or take a walk in the Sissi Promenade park.

During the Middle Ages the rose was the symbol of the city, first documented in 1331, and a form of the word can be found in the German name of the place, Rosenau. The first Saxon colonists in the area were coming from a settlement called Rosenau, on one side of the Rhine, hence the name given to the place.

The place to visit in the area chosen by many is the fortress of Râșnov, built between 1211 and 1225 as part of a defense system for the Transylvanian villages. The fortress was conquered only once, in 1612 by Gabriel Báthory. In 2002, it hosted the shooting of several scenes from the film Cold Mountain.

In the city visitors can find the Sissi Promenade park, refurbished in 2012. The park was first designed under the name Elisabeta (Elisabethenpromenade) to honor Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

From here, one can stop by the old St. Nicolas Church, a historic monument considered the oldest orthodox church built with an elevation and remaining in the south east of Transylvania. A post-medieval graffiti with the year 1348 can be found in the old altar of the church and on the oldest part of the edifice, the eastern side. The medieval church was built from stone, with gothic elements. Equally old is the Evangelical Church, the place for the Saxon community in town. It is believed to have been constructed in the 13th century, with Roman and Gothic elements to which Renaissance elements were later added.

The Râșnoavei gorges is another attraction close to the city. Several mountain tracks originate here, the best known being Santinela Cheilor and Surplombele de Aur. The Valea Cetății cave is also worth a stop as it is part of a protected area, with unique fauna and flora elements.

If you’re not in town for one of the festivals that are traditionally organized here, among them the Historical Film Festival and the Rockstad rock music festival, you can plan a visit at the nearby Dino Park, the only such one in Romania. Opened in 2015, the park covers an area of 1.6 hectares and hosts 46 real-life dinosaur replicas. It also includes a museum opened in collaboration with Tara Hategului Dinosaur Geopark, where visitors can see an original skeleton of the Balaurul Bondoc dinosaur, a species of dinosaur found on Romanian territory.

Photo: Wikipedia

Ciocanesti: the keeper of traditions

Within approximately 100 kilometers range from Suceava, in Northern Romania, the Ciocanesti villages are a must-see for anyone interested in exploring some of the country’s oldest traditions and crafts.

The commune sits on both sides of the Bistrita Aurie river, along the national road DN18 with a mountain valley landscape as it is part of the Suhard and Obcina Mestecanisului mountains. Those interested in mountain walks have plenty to pick from in the surrounding area where one can find the Icoana peak (1,593 meters), the Faroane peak (1,715 meters), Botosu (1,473 meters), Orata (1,388 meters), Oita (1,294 meters) or Capraria (1,249 meters).

The site preserves rich traditions, habits, and architecture that led to the commune be declared a museum in 2004. The houses in the area stand out with their exterior painting and some of the best-preserved traditional Romanian dress can be found here. From animal breeding to forest keeping, the occupations of the village inhabitants remain connected to traditions.

One of the main attractions in the village is the Museum of the Painted Eggs, where craftily painted eggs can be admired. Ciocanesti also hosts the national festival of Painted Eggs, a unique event in Romania.

There is a peonies reservation in the area, which can be visited until end-July of each year. The National Trout Festival takes place here between August 14th and 16th and throughout summer you can try the whitewater rafting on the Bistrita river. Among the other sites to see in the area are the Ciocanarilor cave and the Sfintii Apostoli Petru si Pavel (St. Peter and Paul) hermitage.

Where to stay:

There are more than 15 guest houses in the area to choose from for accommodation, mostly in the 2 or 3-star category and promising an authentic experience. You can see a list of them here.

You can check the ride from Suceava to Ciocanesti here.

Photo source:

Mediaș: the lesser known medieval town

This town in the north of Sibiu county is home to many well-preserved historical sites. Monuments, churches, old walls and towers carrying a distinct historical significance are all part of the charm of Mediaș. Many of the town’s attractions are very well preserved, even to the smallest details, despite their age.

It stands 56 km away from Sibiu, in a hilly area, at the intersection of the Moșna and Târnava Mare rivers. The area was inhabited since ancient times, and several archeological discoveries attest to this. The city’s first documentary mention is from 1267 and, in time, it knew a multicultural population of Saxons and Székely.

The Ottoman incursion in Transylvania between 1437 and 1438 brought about a marked decay of the economy and demography of the seat of Medias. As many other villages and small towns, it too resorted to fortifying churches as it was unable to secure the defense of high-length walls. In a first stage, in the middle of the 14th century, the town erected walls on a limited surface, consolidated by two towers. After 1400 the existing walls are expanded in height and three more towers were equipped with water moats and guarded roads to protect the area surrounding the St. Margareta church. The ensemble made up of these fortifications carries the name of the Castle.

The St. Margareta Church (pictured) is one of the sites tourists can visit while in town. Set at the center of the entire fortifications complex, it was first mentioned in 1447 as “Die Evanghelische Pfarrkirche der Heiligen Margarethe aus dem Marktflecken Mediasch.” Some of the paintings inside the church represent the coat of arms of the Batoreşti family and of Matei Corvin. The gothic style construction accommodates works by P. Demosch and S. Möss (1679), while the 1678 organ was designed by Sibiu Saxon craftsman Johann West.

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The tower of the construction, known as the Trumpets Tower, is erected on the old structure and stands as a symbol of the town and of the Târnava Mari middle region. At 68.5 meters tall, the tower was among the first constructions in the world up until 1969. The bell dates back to 1488 and signals the hours with the help of a mechanically-actioned hammer.

The many towers of the medieval Mediaș are among the city’s top attractions. The Bells Tower, also called the Gates Tower, used to host the church bells, the oldest one being inscribed with the year 1449. It was initially built out of stone and brick and, at the 1695 repairing works, only bricks were used for the upper levels. The Tailors Tower, given to the care of the tailors’ guild, had dumping holes, highlighted by support consoles and arches surrounding them.

The Tower of Maria has battlements giving it a distinct personality and served as a chapel during pest epidemics. The Tower of Ropers stands on the west side of St. L. Roth house and became the ‘bacons’ tower during the 19th century because the entire Saxon community would store the smoked bacon here. The School Tower can be found at the west of the Ropers Tower, while the Parochial House, built on the outside of the first defense wall of the Castle is the oldest built housing in Medias. The House of the Chaplain was built perpendicular to the wide side of the parochial house, creating the sensation of an interior yard. The covered stairs, a way to access the castle, has a vault built in the late Gothic style and has on its levels access doors to the old prison and kinder garden.
The old city hall, firstly documented in 1583, was built above several vaulted rooms, at the level of the Ferdinand I square. It is here where several landmark houses are located. The Schuller House is remarkable partly because of the restoration works performed by Hermann Fabini. It was first documented in 1588 and served as a residence for the descendants of the Schuller family. A pub and inn functioned here for a long time. Today it hosts a range of cultural and artistic events. Another stop could be the Rosenauer House, built in 1621 in the style of the Transylvania Renaissance. During the renovation works between 1790 and 1793 the façade was improved with rich stuccos. Also to see is the Schuster Dutz House, which belonged to the Saxon poet, was built around 1690 and used to house a pharmacy between 1783 and 1900. In its turn, the Guggenberger House hosted until 1790 a school for a religious order of the Piarists. 

All in all, plenty of sites to see. And when they are exhausted plenty more await in the surroundings, where many fortified churches can be found.

Photos: Wikipedia,