Archives April 2016

Moldova museum ensemble reopens in Iasi

The Palace of Culture in Iasi, hosting the Moldova National Museum Ensemble, is reopening its doors this week. The event marks the end of the restoration works at the Palace of Culture.

The building is the work of architect Ion D. Berindey and blends several architectural styles: neo-gothic, romantic and neo-baroque. It was inaugurated in 1925, by King Ferdinand of Romania, as The Palace of Justice. Starting with 1995 the edifice hosts four museums, gathered as the Moldova National Museum Ensemble: Moldova History Museum, Stefan Procopiu Science and Technics Museum, Moldova Ethnographic Museum, The Art Museum and the Research and Conservation Center for Cultural Patrimony.

The monument has 298 rooms and stands on a 36,000 sqm surface. During the Second World War it served as headquarters for the German and, later, Soviet, troops.

The reopening of the four museums will offer the public the opportunity to visit a series of temporary exhibitions, featuring patrimony items belonging to the Iasi institution, as well as two travelling exhibitions. One comes from the National History Museum in Bucharest and it is titled ‘Ancient gold and silver of Romania’, and the other from the Peles Museum in Sinaia, called ‘Art and ceremony at royal dinners.’
The refurbishment works involved the architecture and historical structures, the conservation and restoration of mural and wood paintings, the restoration of the stained glass, of the stone decorations, ceramics, metal and glass items.

The financing of the works was undertaken in a partnership with Council of Europe Development Bank. The total value of the works performed on site stands at EUR 26 million.

Photo: Ionel Pomana/Wikipedia

Blooming peonies: the steppe reservation in Zau de Campie

The month of May is the time of the year when peonies bloom, and one area of Romania has a unique place where this flower can be seen. It is the steppe peony reservation at Zau de Campie in Mures county. The reservation is 65 kilometers away from the city of Targu Mures and is the highest-altitude place in the world where steppe peonies grow, at 450 meters. Because of the warmer winter this year they started blooming earlier. They usually stay in-bloom for about seven days.
The peonies in the reservation, which covers 3.5 hectares, are between 10 and 30 centimeters tall. There are about 50,000 of them, 40,000 more than in 1950 but the flower can now be found only in the reservation, established in 1932 by Alexandru Borza. He is often regarded as one of the founders of Romanian School of Botanic.
During the Second World War, the steppe peony was saved from extinction and the surface of the reservation was expanded to 3.5 hectares by Marcu Sancraianu, who was the custodian of the reservation for 60 years, until 2005.
Other reservations in Romania where peonies can be seen are the one in the Macini mountains, in Dobrogea and the one at Comana, close to Bucharest. To get to the Macini reservation, one needs to follow the Cozluk route starting in Greci village. The route is accessible by car or by bicycle and is about 16 kilometers long. The reservation in Comana was built to specifically protect the peonies in the area, carrying the name of Scientific Reservation of Peonies. It was designed alongside the thorn plant reservation, on a 231 hectares area.


Tara Luanei: the mysterious land in Buzau

Mysterious is the best word to describe the land in Buzau Mountains, known as Tara Luanei (The Land of Luana). The name of the area is related to a legend known by the elders who used to live in the villages around. Luana, supposed to be of Sumerian origin, was the name of an old wise man who used to reign the land and a fortress. According to the legend, he also knew the cure for death, a cure connected to the healing springs in the area.

Legends and superstitions are woven around this region with ancient rupestrian paintings, plateaus with rocks which actually grow, instead of decreasing their size from erosion and places where paranormal activity has been reported. Tara Luanei is a less accessible but magnetic place near Bucharest, the part of Geopark Buzau which defines the area around the Bozioru, Nucu, Alunis, Colti localities in Buzau county.

Rupestrian settlements in Nucu-Aluniș

In the area of Bozioru-Alunis-Nucu localities lies a rupestrian settlement with 29 dwellings. The most known piece of this complex is the 700 years old church in Alunis village, one of the few places dug in rock where religious ceremonies are still held. The settlement is classified as an A class historical monument, some of the dwellings dating from the sixth century BC, while others from the Christian or early Christian period. In one of the caves – Fundul Pesterii – researchers have identified iconographical documents of over four millenniums.

Babele in Ulmet

Despite common knowledge, the rocks in Ulmet grow and even multiply. In scientific terms, the trovants (by their geological name) are supposed to be a transition form between mineral and vegetal. But they never cease to amaze, some people believing they have supernatural origins or that they are the evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial life. Located on an isolated, sand plateau they have a strangely well burnished surface, with forms varying from perfectly oval to the shape of a mushroom or a flying saucer. The tallest rock in the formation has a height of two meters. They are called Babele due to their resemblance with a better-known rock formation of the same name in Bucegi plateau. You can get there taking the road from Bozioru village to Valea cu Teiu, going up towards the ridge of the rock formation.

Amber Museum in Colti

Six kilometers away from the rupestrian settlements lies Colti, locality famous for its yellow amber collection. Amber is an organic semiprecious stone resulted from the fossilization of several pine species dozens of years ago collection. The collection in Colti is unique in Romania and one of the few of this kind in the world. The most remarkable piece is an amber clod of almost 1.8 kg.

How to get there:

From Bucharest: Bucharest – Urziceni on Eurpean road E60, Urziceni – Buzau on European road E85, Buzau – Parscov on national road DN10, Parscov – Buzioru on county road DJ203L

From Brasov: Brasov – Parscov on national road DN10, Parscov – Buzioru on county road DJ203L


Accommodation nearby:

Check out hotels and guesthouses in Buzau on our dedicated section

Europe’s giants in Romania: bison reservations

Romania is one of the few places in Europe where the bison (bison bonasus) still lives. This amazing species dominating the deciduous forests in medieval Europe is almost extinct now, as there are only about 5.000 bisons in the world.

In Romania, they were re-introduced when the first two animals were brought from Poland and kept in the Haţeg – Slivuţ reservation. According to WWF, in the spring of 2015, a new group will be brought in Tarcu mountains in order to grow the bison population in Romania up to 500 individuals until 2022.

Dragoş Vodă reservation – Moldavia


Address: 2 Zimbrului St., Vânători Neamț locality, Neamț county

How to get there: Take the county road from Târgu Neamţ tothe Neamţ Monastery. At about 1,5 km, turn left.


Haţeg – Slivuţ reservation – Transylvania

This is the oldest bison reservation in Romania.

How to get there: Located in Hunedoara county. On the road from Haţeg to Strei turn left at an indicator. You will reach the location after approximately 3 km. Find here the location of the reservation on the map.


Neagra reservation –Bucşani

This reservation has the largest number of bisons in Romania.

How to get there: Located in Dâmbovița county. Take the DN72 roadfrom Târgovişte to Ploieşti, then the county road from Adânca to Bucşani. Pass Bucşani, enter Răţoaia and turn left at the church. Drive or walk forward until you reach the reservation.


Valea Zimbrilor (Bison Valley) – Brașov

Open in 2008, it has a family of 5 bisons, donated by three zoos in Europe.

How to get there: Located in Brașov county. Take the national road 10 from Brașov to Buzău and turn right when you reach Brădet, on the road 103A. Cross the Acriș locality and as you head for the other end of the locality, you will find Valea Zimbrilor on the left side of the street.

(photo credit: Michael Gäbler, Wikipedia)