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Where to go in Romania

Corvinesti Castle

The Corvinesti Castle in Hunedoara is considered as the prime masterwork of Romanian Gothic architecture. The castle was constructed in 1409 as Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxembourg’s token of friendship to Romanian Prince Voicu.

The royal residence features towers with architectural designs as fancy as their own titles, such as the Maces’ Tower, the Capistrano Tower, and the intriguingly named Do Not Fear Tower. These towers manifest the castle’s architectural inspirations dating as far back to Medieval Europe.

At the heart of Corvinesti Castle is the majestic Knight’s Hall which is believed to have served as the reception and entertainment center of the complex. Another admirable enclosure inside the castle is the Council Hall where ancient portraits of Romanian rulers’ heraldic armors are on display.

The old castle also features a huge gallery, a 15th century chapel, and a safekeeping place for food items called the White Bulwark. The controversial indoor water spring, with an astonishing depth of 30 meters, is said to have been dug by three Turkish prisoners for 15 long years.

The Palace of Culture

The Palace of Culture in Iasi is Romania’s most prominent landmark, also serving as one of the largest bastions of history and knowledge in the country. Constructed in 1906, the complex is of European neo-Gothic architectural style, well embellished with fine aesthetic details.

At that time, the palace was the most modernized building in Romania, having electrical lighting, fireproof walls, compressed air heating, and a ventilation system.

The palace is comprised of The Art Museum, The Museum of Science and Technology, The History Museum of Moldavia, and The Ethnographical Museum of Moldavia – four of the most significant museums in Romania. An open-for-all municipal library is also established at the northern face of the complex.

Apart from the educational sections, the palace is also teeming with old chambers reflecting the culture and history of medieval Romania. The Gothic chamber features statues of Romanian mythical creatures, the Chamber of Voievozi displays portraits of Moldavian and Romanian rulers.

Different parts of the site are protected by stone figures such as a pair of archers guarding the interior walls and an eagle stationed at the palace’s entry.

Arcul de Triumf

A slightly smaller counterpart of Paris’ Triumphal Arch is Romania’s very own Arcul de Triumf, which towers over the busy streets of metropolitan Bucharest.

The existing arch along Kiseleff Road, however, is already the third version of the national pride maker. The original wooden arch was created hastily for the celebration of independence in 1878 and was replaced after World War I, only to be taken down once again 13 years later.

The current Triumphal Arch, launched in September 1936, is a stunning 27-meter monument of pure concrete and granite. It was designed by prime Romanian architect Petre Antonescu with a tastefully sculpted chief face collaborated on by some of the finest Romanian artists, including Dimitrie Paciurea, Costin Petrescu, Corneliu Medrea, Ion Jalea, and Constantin Baraschi.

Rodnei/Rodna Mountains

The Rodna Mountains, which runs as part of the Carpathian Mountains in the northern region, is the center for mountain sports and winter activities in Romania. The mountain ridges are laden with compact snow during most of the year, including part of the summer season.

Its ridges span approximately 50 km from end to end, making it one of the longest mountain ranges in the country. Additionally, its peaks are also some of the highest, particularly the Ineu peak at 2,279 meters and the Pietrosul Rodnei at 2,303 meters above sea level.

During winter, the Rodna Mountains turn into a tourist hotspot, as one of the best venues for snow skiing. On the other hand, summer also draws a considerable number of mountain activity enthusiasts who trek the mountain’s wild terrains.

Most hikers engage in a 3- to 5-day climb up the peaks, whereas some enjoy spelunking in the mountain’s plunging caves. Among the famous caves found in the Rodna range is Izvorul Tausoarelor, one of Romania’s deepest caves, with a depth of 479 meters.

The Sphinx of Bucegi Platform

Romania’s most fascinating and most perplexing attraction is the Sphinx, which is erected on the Bucegi Platform. The stone formation apparently resembling a human face is believed to be a figure of the god of the ancient Pelasgian tribes.

Some historical analysts suggest that the 2216-meter Sphinx is the inspiration for the world-renowned Great Sphinx in Giza, Egypt. Both formations are roughly of the same size and exhibit physical resemblances with an ancient sculpture of Zeus.

The Romanian Sphinx is guarded by three other mushroom-like stone figures dubbed as the Cyclopean Altars from the Caraiman. These rock formations standing at 3.5 meters are locally referred to as the Old Women, or Babele.

The origin of these stone figures on the Bucegi Platform is still under intense speculation. Although researchers have introduced scientific and geological explanations, some Romanians still believe the formations were caused by supernatural phenomena.

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