POLOVRAGI MONASTERY & CAVE
CALNIC PEASANT FORTRESS
RED RAVINE NATURE RESERVEThis 10-acre natural geological reserve is unique in Europe and second in the world after America.
Among 80 to 100 m height walls and rare plant species, birds dug in clay dozens and dozens of holes.
But what makes Red Ravine a monument of rare landscape beauty is the sculptured shapes richness.
Water has dug on pebbles, quartz sands and sandstones strange reddish columns, towers, pyramids…
Rainwater forms blood-red streams that swoop in deep abysses open to left and right.
And towards the bridge, the tunnels dug by rainwater over time cave in enormous ditches.
SINGIDAVA DACIAN FORTRESS
ALBA IULIA FORTRESS
7 pointed star shaped citadelItalian architect Giovano Morando Visconti made the plan of fortress erected between 1714 - 1738.
Marechal Vauban, engineer to King Louis XIV of France, invented its 7 pointed star shapped design.
With 7 bastions and 6 gates, the imposing citadel stretches over more than 100 ha.
It is the most representative Vauban fortification with bastions in Romania.
Its Gates Tour is a must as it includes the 5th gate erected at base of St Michael’s ravelin.
In the ’60s they closed access to it with a brick wall and filled gate’s arched passageway with dirt.
A major segment of original stone floor was preserved as well as the gate frame that allowed drawbridge to operate.
Many myths and legends relates to this citadel, some closer to reality than other.
They say it was a forbidden city until 2005 because it was a military unit.
They also say there is a Mathew bible from year 800 in the library.
Apulum Roman castrum was the largest fortress in Roman Dacia.
Its construction started under Emperor Hadrianus, probably about 125 AD.
For over one century without interruption Apulum was headquarters of Legio XIII Gemina.
Among artifacts uncovered here in 2011 there was an 1,800-year old inscription reminding a political episode from ancient Rome.
Emperor Septimius Severus had 2 sons: Publius Septimius Geta and Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Caracalla.
These started to rule together as joint emperors in 211 A.D.
During same year Emperor Caracalla killed Geta and ordered to cross out of history his brother’s name.
This is why Emperor Geta’s name is crossed out on the uncovered inscription.
Here archaeologists also discovered ruins of Aurelia Apulensis colony (around 3rd century).
You can see the hundreds of tiny pieces uncovered during excavations at Union National Museum.
Alba Iulia Unification Museum
During the First World War a part of Unification Museum’s collection – inaugurated in 1888 – was stolen or scattered.
After the Union of Transylvania with Romania in 1918, they moved the museum within the complex of Nation Reunification Cathedral.
And after the communists took the power, they moved it again, this time within Babylon building across Union Hall.
Built between 1851-53 with military destination, Babylon edifice has Romantic architecture.
Its more than 100 rooms spread on 2 floors.
These served as housing pavilion for officers before becoming a museum space in 1968.
Ever since the opening, this museum had important archaeological activities as well as of acquisition of ethnographic materials.
In 1983 they were distributing abroad the museum’s magazine in over 40 countries and 406 specialty institutions.
Unification Museum features:
– prehistoric Dacian, Roman and medieval archaeology exhibits,
– ethnography and folk art collections,
– numismatics, periodicals and a 55,000 volumes library.
Union Hall lies within the precincts of the former Army House built in 1900. This was the place of festivities and receptions of Austrian-Hungarian Army’s.
On December 1st, 1918, within this hall, delegates voted for the union of Transylvania, Banat and Maramures with Romania.
They chose it for Great National Assembly unfolding because it was the most spacious building in the city.
And the only one that could accommodate the 1228 delegates of Romanian nation.
Several years later, on the occasion of the coronation, they amazingly embellished it.
They added the vault and a monumental portal at the entrance, in the shape of an arch of triumph.
Under the arcade an inscription in Latin language thrones commemorating the event from December 1.
In 1968, on the occasion of Union’s bi-centenary celebration, they organized the building as exhibition space.
What to look for within the exhibition
The central hall hosts an exhibition dedicated to the 1918 moment, the items here being of great value. Among the most important there are:
– the personal objects and letters of the famous outlaw Avram Iancu,
– the 6 volumes in tricolor leather containing the Union Documents from December 1, 1918.
– the photo camera used to take the only 5 photos of the Union and the photos !
The unofficial photographer of that day was a war veteran.
This was the only possessor of a photo camera of all those 100,000 union attendees.
The city’s official photographer, who would have taken a set of photos on that day, was missing under suspicious circumstances.
The ethnographic exhibition within Union Hall reveals Romanian traditions in the area, especially from Western Mountains region.
And it even reconstitutes a traditional fair.
In 1968 communists restored both Unification Museum and Union Hall.
They plated the last one with Romanian white marble on the floors and red on the walls and columns.
They also removed all details reminding of Romanian Kingdom.
And replaced the canvas paintings made by a French painter with frescoes made by Romanian artists.
Most probably because the paintings were representing Romanian rulers and cultural personalities.
On re-inauguration day, nearby the museum, they unveiled Voivode Michael the Brave’s equestrian statue, made by sculptor Oscar Han.
During the ‘90s restoration of Union Hall they tried to give back to the interior its form from 1922 inauguration.
Have lunch at Pub 13
The restaurant lies in the old gunpowder storehouse of the fortress within the Southern wall.
Dinner and overnight at Medieval Hotel & Restaurant
This is really a great restaurant with panoramic views of the Vauban citadel. You can feel like royalty, listening discreet music while enjoying savoury dishes served by staff in epoque costumes. Highly recommended.
If you wish to also stay here overnight, kindly note that they get fully booked with 4 months in advance !
LIVING MUSEUM VILLAGEYou have the unique opportunity of living in a space recomposing these lands history, from origins to present.
First living museum in Romania opened in a secluded village with only 14 old inhabitants.
In the ‘50s about 350 people were living in this self-sufficient mountain shepherds village.
Those passionate about Romanian people’s origins, Dacian legends, ethnography, anthropology and folklore crowdfunded this project through Indiegogo platform.
Experience the life of our ancestors during a variety of cultural activities, camps and Nedeia Festival.
Farm, engage and nourish yourself like in the old times !
The village has a clay house with hay roof, a clay oven for bread and an ecological garden.
Neolitic sector features round and square huts with wood structure, string bonds, clay walls and hay or thatch roofs.
Casa Petric shepherd household, from the beginning of the 20th century, was restored together with its original furniture.
Along time, this was first school, then city hall, then residence.
See you all back here soon for more free tips, picked expressly for you.
Meanwhile feel free to address me any question you might have about Romania.
And to share this with anyone who might find it useful or interesting 😉
Happy tours !
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