Archives September 2016

Bucharest gets first automated bike rental service

The capital’s first automated bike rental service, I’Velo Urban, opened this week and is available 24/7.

The paid service is available in six locations in some of the city’s busiest central areas: Universitatii Square, Romana Square, Revolutiei Square, Victoriei Square, Charles de Gaulle Square, and Kaufland Barbu Vacarescu hypermarket.

At first, 210 bikes will be available for rent in these locations. Users can take a bike from one station and leave it at another station.

The service can be used only based on a card and a subscription. A one-day subscription costs RON 10 (EUR 2.25), a one-month subscription RON 35 (EUR 7.86), and a one-year subscription RON 100 (EUR 22.5). Discounts are available for teenagers and youth aged between 16 and 25.

Read more about the service at romania-insider.com.

Ancient Cioclovina

Home to an ancient Dacian defense wall and a lime cave, Cioclovina is found in the Hunedoara country, in western Romania. Part of the Gradistea Muncelului – Cioclovina national park, it is by many accounts part of a world that is filled with history and traditions.

Sitting close to the Dacian fortresses in the Orastie mountains, the village of Ciclovina hosts one of the most impressive Dacian defense walls. The main wall is made up of wood and unchiseled stones and is 2.5 kilometers long. It includes bastions with diameters of 40 to 80 meters. To this main wall, whose construction technique is known as murus dacicus, 33 perpendicular and slanting walls were added with the purpose of weakening the attack of potential enemies. Each of the additional walls is 50 to 100 meters long and 8 to 14 meters wide.

Also in the area is the Cioclovina cave, formed in the North-West part of the Sebes mountains by the waters of the Ponorici river. The cave has two sections: the dry Cioclovina, which sits above the Water Ciclovina. The dry part of the cave is accessible for exploration to the regular tourist although no special arrangements have been made to it but the Water Cioclovina is only accessible to speleology specialists because of its intricacy and difficult routes. This bottom section of the cave hosts the largest mono-crystal formation in the country. A skull capsule, displaying features attributed to Homo sapiens sapiens, and dating back to the Upper Paleolithic was also discovered here, as indicated by three flint objects peculiar to the Aurignacian culture discovered next to it.

Besides the spectacular view of the surrounding mountains, the area is often used for canoeing and climbing trips so if you find your way there these are some activities you can try.

Photo source: Panoramio.com

Naan opens additional location

Naan by Wellness recently opened in the former Wellness Cuisine location. The space is the second one run by the owners of Naan Food & Drink Studio and is open Monday to Friday.

The menu includes many international dishes, with a fixed – priced lunch offer available.

The venue can accommodate events for 120 people and has a playground for children, a conference hall and 40 parking places.

The sea of the Bucegi Mountains

Deemed by many one of the most spectacular sites in the area, the Bulboci lake is also known as the Sea of the Bucegi Mountains, in reference to the size of the lake’s surface. It can be found at the border between the Dambovita and Prahova counties, in the Bucegi Natural Park, between the Tatarului Gorges and Zanoagei Gorges.

Bulboci is an artificial lake, but one of the few with a natural dam, made of soil and rock. It is located at a 1,438 meters altitude, the highest altitude for a lake in the area. It is surrounded by majestic landscapes of forests of conifers, and, behind them, the 2000 meters tall peaks of the mountains. The dam is approximately 55 meters tall and has an accumulation of 18 million cubic meters of water. It captures the waters of the Ialomita river, and is located upstream of the Zanoagei Gorges, another important tourist attraction and a geological monument.

The lake makes a good starting point for exploring various mountain tracks in the area leading to such attractions as the Scropoasa lake, the Padina plateau, the Ialomicioarei cave, the Babele cabin or the Zanoagei Gorges.

For accommodation options in the area you can try the Bolboci cabin, on the shore of the lake. Built in the 1920s, the cabin can house around 60 people.

How to get there:

The lake is 8 kilometres away from Sinaia and 70 kilometres away from Targoviste. Take the DN 71 and the country road DJ 714 on the Moroieni– Bolboci route.

Photo: Sorin Toma/ bern.mae.ro

Multiplex cinema opens in Bucharest’s ParkLake Plaza

Cinema halls operator Cinema City recently opened its 24th multiplex in Romania, in ParkLake Plaza, following a EUR 6 million investment it shared with the mall’s developers Sonae Sierra and Caelum Development.

The multiplex has a total of 1,966 seats in 14 2D and 3D screening halls. Out of these, three halls are VIP ones.

Cinema City has in the country 24 multiplexes with 225 screens, making Romania the group’s third-biggest market, after UK and Poland. The cinema operator will open another multiplex in Piatra Neamt, in northern Romania, this year and reach 25 units.

Read more about Cinema City’s new opening at Romania-insider.com.

Photo: Cinema City

Bucharest Botanical Garden opens refurbished section

The Bucharest Botanical Garden opened the Garden of Remedies, a refurbished sector dedicated to medicinal plants.

The newly-opened section saw the revamping and extension of its species collection, with the long-term purpose of supporting the medicinal plants sector in the Bucharest Botanical Garden and increasing the available information on the health uses of plants.

As part of the refurbishing project the green labyrinth, made up of Buxus Sinensis and delimiting the plants areas, was cleaned and trimmed and all plants were labeled. Approximately 60 percent of the 1,800 sqm Garden of Remedies was landscaped this year, with works for the remaining surface set for the spring of 2017.

The medicinal plants sector has been part of the garden since 1886. It is designed as a labyrinth and includes over 300 species of plants, grouped in 26 categories, according to the therapy areas or domains in which they can be used.

The new section can be visited daily, according to the schedule of the Botanical Garden.

Photo: Secom Romania Facebook page

The Calendar Castle

With 365 windows, 52 rooms and 7 terraces this is a unique building in Romania. Located in Transylvania, the edifice’s architecture combines Gothic and Renaissance elements and stands out not just with its design but also with the story of its construction.

The castle sits on a hill close to the Zau de Campie locality. Besides the number of windows equal to the number of days in a year, the number of rooms to that of the weeks, it also has four towers, as the number of seasons. The castle was built by baron Istvan Ugron, then the ambassador of Austro-Hungarian empire to Russia, to prove his love to one of the daughters of tsar Nicolay II of Russia.  The princess however had great demands about how opulent and luxurious the castle should be and the baron couldn’t undertaken them financially. Their relationship came to an end as the tsar’s family was assassinated by the Bolsheviks and the baron donated the property in 1925 to Istvan Banffy.

During communism, the castle was taken over by the state and in time had various uses: a TBC sanatorium, a school, a grain deposit and, in recent years, an orphanage. The furniture of the castle was confiscated and transferred to Turda, the county capital.

The state of the construction, which is on the list of historical monuments and part of the Mures county council patrimony, is deteriorating each day. Attempts by the followers of baron Urgon have been made at recuperating ownership of the castle, together with lands in Zau de Campie.

How to get there:

If you plan to reach Zau de Campie, you can take the DN1/E60 and DN13/E60 as shown here.

Photo source: Tetcu Mircea Rares/ Wikipedia

Ancient history and nature meet at Macini park

The 300 million years old Macin Mountains in the south eastern region of Dobrogea are the oldest in Romania, offering tourists plenty of sites, flora and fauna to explore.

The mountains, with an altitude ranging between 7 and 475 meters, registered at Tutuianu Peak, are home to the Macin Mountains National Park. Oak, flowering ash, hornbeam and downy oak forests cover the area, which encompasses over 1,770 plant species standing for almost half of the Romanian flora on only one percent of its surface. It is testimony of the century-old woods that covered the area almost 200 years ago. Out of these, around 63,000 hectares were lost during the 19th century when they were turned into arable land and communal pastures. Between 1950 and 1990 ecological reconstruction works were performed on 1,380 hectares of land to upgrade the state of the fields.

The rich biodiversity of the park, is also visible in the plant species that can be identified here. From the species in the park, 72 are protected as rare or endangered. At the same time, the Macin Mountains are the only site in the world where the endangered plant association between Gymnospermio altaicae – Celtetum glabratae with Celtis glabrata is found.

The cultural-historic objectives of the Macin Mountains include the Paleo-Christian Basilica with a crypt in the Niculitel village, the Curing Fountain in the Pricopan Heights, the Dinogetia Roman-Byzantine fortress, the Noviodunum Roman fortress in the town of Isaccea, the Arrubium Roman fortress in the town of Macin, the Aegyssus Roman fortress in Tulcea, and the Thracian-Getic fortress in the village of Turcoaia. Several churches that are historical monuments can also be found in the area: the Celic Dere monastery, the Cocos monastery built around 1833, and the Saon monastery, built around the same time.

Several tourist trails have been established here, among which the Wine Valley one, which starts in Cerna, goes through Cerna Valley and reaches Hamcearca, and references the vineyards typical of the Dobrogea region.

How to get there:

The Macin Mountains are 235 kilometers away from Bucharest, on the way to Braila after crossing the Danube towards Smardan. The route on Google maps is available here.

Photo source: ecomuntiimacinului.wordpress.com