Buzău (România)

The city of Buzău is the county seat of Buzău CountyRomania, in the historical region of Wallachia. It lies near the right bank of the Buzău River, between the south-eastern curvature of the Carpathian Mountains and the lowlands ofBărăgan Plain.

The city’s name dates back to 376 AD when the name appeared on a letter that spoke about the martyrdom of Sabbas the Goth. During the Middle Ages, Buzău was as an important Wallachian market town and Eastern Orthodox episcopal see. It faced a period of repeated destruction during the 17th and 18th century, nowadays symbolized on the city seal by the Phoenix bird. Those destructions are the main reason for which no building older than the 18th century exists in the city. After that, Buzău slowly recovered to become nowadays an important modern city in south-eastern Romania.

The city’s landmark building is the Communal Palace, located in the central Dacia Square. The Nicolae Bălcescu Boulevard links it to the Crâng park, Buzău’s main recreational area.

Buzău is a railway hub in south-estern Romania, where railways that link Bucharest to Moldavia and Transylvania to the Black Sea coast meet. DN2, a segment of European route E85 crosses the city. Buzău’s proximity to trade routes helped it develop its role as a commerce hub in older days, and as an industrial center during the 20th century. Most of the city’s industry was developed during Romania’s communist period, and was refactored through the 1990s to a capitalist economical framework.

The city’s most important landmark is the Communal Palace, built between 1899 and 1903, now serving as City Hall. Along with the Courthouse, the Communal Palace was designed by architects commissioned by mayor Nicu Constantinescu, at the end of the 19th century.

From the Communal Palace, Cuza Vodă Street leads to the Bazaar. The Cuza Vodă Street features late 19th century buildings

Crâng Park, carved in the corner of a larger forest, lies in the western outskirts of the town and is a remnant of the old Codrii VlăsieiCrâng was designed in the late 19th century. It has an obelisk, erected in 1976 to celebrate 1600 years since the town’s first recorded historical attestation.

The oldest building in Buzău is the Vergu-Mănăilă house, erected in the 17th or 18th century as a boyarsmansion. Renovated between 1971–1974, it now hosts the local Museum of ethnography and folk art.

The church of Banului, erected in the 16th century as a monastery, underwent renovation several times. In 1884, it was repainted by a team of painters including Gheorghe Tattarescu and his uncle Nicolae Teodorescu.

An old tradition of the city is the Drăgaica fair, a midsummer fair traced back to traditional shepherd’s fairs in the Buzău mountains, that moved to Buzău sometimes before the 18th century.

Source: Wikipedia

Reclame

Shumen (Bulgaria)

Shumen (Bulgarian: Шумен) is a city in the northeastern part of Bulgaria, capital of Shumen Province. From 1950–1965 it was called Kolarovgrad, after Vasil Kolarov. Other English variants include Shoumen and Šumen. The city has a population of 92 566 by current address (2010).

The city lies 80 km west of Varna and is built within a cluster of hills, northern outliers of the eastern Balkans, which curve round it on the west and north in the shape of a horse-shoe. A rugged ravine intersects the ground longitudinally within the horse-shoe ridge. From Shumen roads radiate northwards to the Danubian cities of Rousse and Silistra and to Dobruja, southwards to the passes of the Balkans, and eastwards to Varna and Balchik.

In 811 Shumen was burned by the emperor Nicephorus, and in 1087 it was besieged by Alexius I. During the golden age of Bulgarian culture under Simeon the Great (866-927), Shumen was a centre of cultural and religious activity, and may have born the name Simeonis. Until the 15th century, the city was located around the Shumen Fortress, a sophisticated complex of defensive installations, religious and civil buildings.

In 1388 the sultan Murad I forced it to surrender to the Ottoman Turks. After Władysław Warneńczyk‘s unsuccessful crusade in 1444, the city was destroyed by the Ottomans and moved to its present location. It was known by the Ottomans as Şumnu. In the 18th century it was enlarged and fortified. Three times, in 1774, 1810 and 1828, it was unsuccessfully attacked by Russian armies. The Turks consequently gave it the name of Gazi („Victorious”). In 1854 it was the headquarters of Omar Pasha and the point at which the Turkish army concentrated (See Crimean War).

During the 19th century Shumen was an important centre of the Bulgarian National Revival, with the first celebration of Cyril and Methodius in the Bulgarian lands taking place on 11 May 1813 and the first theatre performance. A girls’ religious school was established in 1828, a class school for girls and a chitalishte (community centre) followed in 1856. The first Bulgarian symphony orchestra was founded in the city in 1850. In the same year, influential Hungarian politician and revolutionary leader Lajos Kossuth spent a part of his exile in the then-Ottoman town of Shumen. The house he lived in is still preserved as a museum.

On the 22nd June 1878 Shumen finally capitulated to the Russians and became part of the newly-independent Principality of Bulgaria. In 1882 the Shumen Brewery, one of the first breweries in Bulgaria, was founded.

Shumen has 11 elementary and 5 common schools, as well as 2 high schools. The University of Shumen Episkop Konstantin Preslavski and the Artillery and Air Defense Faculty to the Vasil Levski National Military University are the only higher education establishments in the city. The former operates a small astronomical observatory.

Shumen boasts the Monument to 1300 Years of Bulgaria, regarded as the only monument in the world to depict the history of a whole country from its creation to the present day.

The Shumen Fortress, partially restored after being destroyed by the Ottomans in the past, is an important historical monument of the medieval Bulgarian Empire. It is located not far from the city on the Shumen Plateau.

The Madara Horseman, a World Heritage Site, is an ancient (710 AD) monument usually attributed to the Bulgar culture, and lies some 20 km from Shumen.

The religious buildings in the city include the Eastern Orthodox Holy Three Saints Cathedral and Holy Ascension Basilica, as well as the Tombul Mosque, the largest mosque in Bulgaria and one of the largest in the Balkans, serving Shumen and the region’s Muslim minority.

Twinned Towns

Source: Wikipedia

Travel journal

  • Day one ~12.30

Writing while the train was running from Bucharest to Rousse

In vain I try to make introductions because I guess you are already used with our crazy traveling style. We decided to leave almost without any plans before made.

It seemed to be a special day, too sunny for a November day. I think the gods were working together for us to have the last piece of summer. That sun that made us not to look with open eyes to the sky was making a strange contrast with that golden forests that were developed in our view throw the blotted glass of the wagon window.

The long autumnal night gifted us a fresh morning begun with a natural enthusiasm. Every of us had a very well delimited job- he the technical part and me the rest J and everything was ready as fast as you say “travel”.

Our iron-friend, I mean the train, leaves at 12.24 from the North station wearing us in one of that Bulgarian dusty wagons.

  • Day two ~6.30

Yesterday we arrived and we stayed some big hours in Rousse accommodated by a friend. It was good for us to catch some hours of sleeping because we had to leave to Shumen. Right now we are hand in hand with the Bulgarian iron-friend hardly trying to keep our sleepy eyes opened. There isn’t the time for making pompous descriptions because the train arrives at 9 and I don’t have to waste that two precious sleeping hours. Bulgarian train be our guard!

  • After the journey, rememorize the events

At 9 and a few minutes the train arrived to Kaspichan [Каспичан], a very little town from where we had a link-train to Shumen. From Rousse to Kaspichan we had two ways tickets bought for 13.70 leva for one. We stayed approximately 20 minutes in that town and then we get in the second train without ticket:D because the first stop was to Shumen. Although it was only 20 km we had to make a little business with the Bulgarian porter. To our surprise nothing stopped the porter to take even a 5 stotinki coin.

We arrived fast to Shumen. I can’t say that the town it’s special in any way, the most interesting places are up to Shumen, situated on the near hills. We went to the center trying in vain to find people able to speak English to explain us how to arrive at a tourist information center or at the fortress. We didn’t find and we had to manage our selves without map, without anyone speaking English, we had to roam those streets trying to find the right way to the fortress. Finally we succeedJ. It followed an hour of walking to the hill that kept the centennial walls. It was wonderful to feel the autumn from the forest’s heart, to rustle dried leafs under foots. The road was quite exhausting, but seeing sometimes the fortress’ walls between the trees made us to have power and to want more and more to arrive there.

As I said, in one hour we were climbing the walls seen from far. The place is organized like an open air museum for what you need to pay 3 leva [one if you are student]. It was amazing to see such a big fortress placed in such a good place… I can’t explain you the feeling, you really must see with our eyes and to feel it throw your own feeling…

After visiting this objective, as we had time enough we lay in our powers and started to walk again to the monument built to celebrate 1300 years from the Bulgarian state foundation. We had another hour to spend measuring the forest throw our steps. I resume all landscape like this: a picture with mountains and trees framed by drying leafs.

The monument is huge, bigger then we imagined. There is a museum, but the most interesting part it is outside: huge walls paved with big cubist statues. Even if it has the coldness of the communistic buildings, it is one of the most spectacular monuments I have ever seen. There are some steps that link the monument hill with Shumen’s center. We didn’t count them but we read after that there are 1300. We follow the steps [the damned steps that produced us a horrible muscle ache] and we arrived quickly down. We had enough time to arrive to the railway station, so without hurrying up we went there. To our bad surprise the ticket from Shumen to Kaspichan was extremely expensive comparing the price with the only 20 km distance.

The train went directly to Rousse, so we could sleep well from 18.33, when the train left Shumen, till 21.50 when it arrived. The train to Bucharest arrives in Rousse at 3 in the night, unfortunately for us we had to waste some hour there. The time passed slowly, we were too tirred, it was cold… The locomotive’s light seen in the farness made us to breathe relived because we knew that we have in our front three blessed hours of sleeping. We don’t have too many memories from the road. At six in the morning we were in Bucharest and half an hour later we were in bed absorbed by dreams.

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Sofia reloaded :)

Travel journal – Sofia

It is a long time since we were planning this escapade to Bulgarian capital, Sofia. Since we went in Ruse we had it on stand by list and now it came the time for it. As usually, it followed plans after plans, days and days browsing sites about Bulgarian trains, cities, places and so on.

After almost a week of day dreaming lately came the big day. As usually we went at our best friend called North station, we took the well known train going to Thessalonic that leaves at 12.24 Romanian capital, prepared to fly over the Danube. I remember we were so anxious looking at the platform clock that shown only 12.10.

The time was walking too slow comparing with our young boiling blood. Lately, after we blunted that clock hanged in our front, the porter whistled train’s departure to our happiness. Quaffing every landscape, every sound, every human face of Romanian, Bulgarians and I don’t know any other people that were traveling with that train, after tasting the last Romanian air on the Friendship Bridge that separates the two countries we saw somewhere afar the little Vienna, in free translation the Bulgarian city Ruse.

At 14.50 we should be there, but some technical problems made us to arrive with a couple of minutes later. But it wasn’t a problem because the train that had to get us to Sofia leaves from Ruse at 22.30. It was our choice because we wanted, on the one hand to make more interesting the travel seeing as many cities as it is possible, and on the other hand, to visit one friend that live there. We succeeded in both targets.

Our friend shown us other places that we hadn’t seen last time when we went there alone. We saw the ruins of the old roman fortress Sexaginta Prista situated on Danube’s shore and a mosque. Because it was almost dark we went in a little bar to have a Bulgarian bier before taking the train. After this we went again to the railway station. We bought tickets – from Ruse to Sofia costs 17 leva/person. Unfortunately we find out too late that if you buy a two way ticket you have a promotional price. We had in our front a night sleeping between the train noise and the uncomfortable train chairs.

We arrived to Sofia in the morning, around 6, being tired and sleepy. The train arrived a little bit later and our friend too and we had to wait for him in the railway hall. It was a huge communistic waiting room, wearing yet the soviet dusted stars. After some minutes that we don’t know how it passed because of the sleepy, all I remember it is that it was pretty cold J Lately our friend came and we followed one of that streets and we arrived at the blessed place: a warm house and a big bed. J After 2-3 sleeping hours we were as new. Our Bulgarian friend and his wife had the pleasure to guide as throw Sofia to show us the main objectives.

We took the bus to arrive in center and entered into the Borisova garden, a big and beautiful park. We cut the garden to arrive near Pancharevo (Панчарево). In our first day to Sofia we visited the surroundings including: Pancharevo Lake and Boyana church, letting the center for the next day.

The following day the Bulgarian hostess guides us through Sofia, this time in the city. We saw a lot of places: the ruins of Serdica fortress, the Banya Bashi Mosque, the Sofia’s synagogue, the Public mineral baths, Nevski cathedral, Vitosha Boulevard, the University, The Market Hall, the Saint George Church (Свети Георги).

We visited a lot in Sofia. This is that type of city that you can fill pages and pages about, but I don’t want to bore or to bust your happiness to discovery by your own.

If you are a Romanian that never visit Sofia you will ask me for sure: “Is it prettiest then Bucharest?”. I will answer “yes”, but the comparison is not just at all.

Sofia is an old city, with another history, another society, another evolution. On the cultural side it is better than Bucharest, but if you look at infrastructure, life style it is not the same think.

Summing up, you really must put Sofia on your travel list. 🙂

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Boyana (Bulgaria)

Boyana (Bulgarian: Бояна) is a neighbourhood of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, part of Vitosha municipality and situated 8 km south of the city centre, in the outskirts of Vitosha. Boyana is typically regarded as one of the best and most expensive neighborhoods of Sofia to live in. The residents are primary wealty business people, government officials and other important members of the Bulgarian social and political life. Formerly a village, it was incorporated into Sofia in 1961.

In connection to the uprising of Peter Delyan of 1040 and the Pecheneg invasion of 1048, an important stronghold under the name of Boyan(Боян, Βοιάνος) is mentioned in the area, where a garrison led by a voivod called Botko was disposed.

The famous Boyana Church, part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, is located in the neighborhood. Other landmarks include the Boyana Waterfall, the Kopitoto area and the National Historical Museum in the former Boyana Residence. The Boyana Film film centre and the Big Brother Bulgaria house are also part of Boyana.

Boyana’s name was first mentioned in the 11th-century Vision of Daniel in the excerpt РЄЧЄТЬ ОУ БОІАНѢ ѠСТАВИТЄ ТОУ ПЛѢНЬ. The name is most likely derived from the personal name Boyan. An etymology from Vulgar Latin or Balkan Latin *boiana („herdsman’s [river]), from Latinboviana („herdsman’s”) is considered less likely.

Other landmarks include the Boyana Waterfall, the Kopitoto area and the National Historical Museum in the former Boyana Residence. The Boyana Film film centre and the Big Brother Bulgaria house are also part of Boyana.

Source: Wikipedia


Plovdiv (Bulgaria)

Plovdiv (Bulgarian: Пловдив) is the second-largest city in Bulgaria with a population of 381,738. Known in the West for most of its history by the Greek name Philippopolis, it was originally a Thracian settlement before becoming a major Roman city. In the Middle Ages, it retained its strategic regional importance, changing hands between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. It came under Ottoman rule in the 14th century. In 1878, Plovdiv was made the capital of the autonomous Ottoman region of Eastern Rumelia; in 1885, it became part of Bulgaria with the unification of that region and the Principality of Bulgaria.

Plovdiv is situated in the southern part of the Plovdiv Plain on the two banks of the Maritsa River. The city has historically developed on seven hills, some of which are 250 m high. Because of these seven hills, Plovdiv is often referred to in Bulgaria as „The City of the Seven Hills”.

The Slavs had fully settled in the area by the middle of the 6th century and changed the ethnic proportions of the region. With the establishment of Bulgaria in 681 Philipopolis became an important border fortress of the Byzantine Empire. It was captured by Khan Krum in 812 but the region was fully incorporated into the Bulgarian Empire in 834 during the reign of Khan Malamir. It remained in Bulgarian hands for a relatively short time until it was reconquered by the Byzantine Empire in 855-856.

Under tsar Simeon the Great (893–927) the city and most of the Byzantine possessions in the Balkans were conquered by the Bulgarian Empire. The city remained in Bulgarian hands under Simeon’s son, Peter I (927–969).

In 970 the Asian army of the Byzantine Empire under the eunuch Peter was destroyed by the Bulgarians near Plovdiv. The city again came to be known as Philippopolis and became Byzantine in character.

Byzantine rule was succeeded by that of the Latin Empire in 1204, and there were two short interregnum periods as the city was twice occupied by Kaloyan of Bulgaria before his death in 1207. In 1208 Kaloyan’s successor Boril was defeated by the Latins in the Battle of Philippopolis.

Under Latin rule, Plovdiv was the capital of the Duchy of Philippopolis governed by Renier de Trit, and later on by Gerard de Strem. Bulgarian rule was reestablished during the reign of Ivan Asen II between 1225 and 1229. In 1263 Plovdiv was conquered by the restored Byzantine Empire and remained in Byzantine hands until it was re-conquered by George Terter II of Bulgaria in 1322. Byzantine rule was restored once again in 1323, but in 1344 the city and eight other cities were surrendered to Bulgaria by the regency for John V Palaiologos as the price for Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria‘s support in the Byzantine civil war.

In 1364 the Ottoman Turks under Lala Shakhin Pasha seized Plovdiv. The Turks called the city Filibe. It was the capital of Rumelia until 1382 when the Ottomans captured Sofia which became the main city of the province.

Plovdiv survived as one of the major cultural centers for Bulgarian culture and tradition. The name Plovdiv first appeared around that time and is derived from the city’s Thracian name Pulpudeva (assumed to be a translation of Philippopolis, from Pulpu = Philippou and deva = city), which was rendered by the Slavs first as Pəldin (Пълдин) or Pləvdin.

The city was liberated from the Ottomans during the Battle of Philippopolis in 1878.

The climate is temperate with mild influence from the Mediterranean Sea and a huge temperature range between summers and winters. Summers are generally extremely hot and dry. On average the city experiences 38 days of temperatures over 30c and 7 days of over 40c a year. Winters are cold, but can sometimes be accompanied by a Mediterranean influence, which can on occasions result in huge temperature jumps within just a few days.

Tourist attractions:

The Rennaissance town of Old Plovdiv was built during the 19th century. Today it has survived as a unique architectual ensemble on the three hills. Its houses reveal the remarkable urban culture of Bulgarian builders, as well as their sense of harmony and their creative power. The brilliant architecture with its noble, stylish simplicity could be called rightfully the Baroque of Plovdiv.

The Church of the Holy Mother of God (Bulgarian: Църква Света Богородица) is a Bulgarian National Revival church in Bulgaria‘s second largest city Plovdiv. The church is situated in the Old town of Plovdiv on one of the city’s seven hills, Nebet Tepe.

A small church existed on that place since the 9th century. The church was renovated in 1186 by the bishop of Plovdiv Constantine Pantehi and it became part of a monastery. Both the church and the monastery were destroyed when the Ottoman Turks conquered the city in 1371 during the course of the Bulgarian-Ottoman Wars. The current edifice was constructed in 1844 as the main church of the city.

The Plovdiv Roman Stadium is among the largest Roman structures in the Balkans. The massive edifice is 180 long and had a capacity of over 30,000. It is believed that it was built during the reign of Septimus Severus (193-211).

Today, the stadium is located in the centre of the city, under the main trade centres. Only part of the edifice can be observed from the Dzhumayata Square, the larger portion is still underground. Further excavation would be very difficult and costly.

The stadium is one of the many Roman remains in the city which include the best preserved Theatre in the Balkans; the ruins of the Agora; a second theatre; remains of an aqueduct, temples and villas with some magnificent frescoes.

The Plovdiv Antique theater is situated in the city center of Plovdiv. The Theater stands between the south-western slope of the Dzhambaz Tepe and the Taxim tepe hill within the old town, and is a major tourist attraction for travelers coming to the area.

The theatre was built in the 2nd century AD under the orders of Trajan the Roman Emperor at this time, and is one of the many surviving Roman constructions in Bulgaria today.

Built with around 7,000 seats, each section of seating had the names of the city quarters engraved on the benches so the citizens at the time knew where they were to sit. The theater was damaged in the 5th century AD by Atilla the Hun.

The theater was only found in the early 1970s due to a landslide, this caused a major archeological excavation, including the removal of 15 feet of earth covering what was left hidden by the landslide.

„Şahabettin İmaret” Mosque, built in XVth century.

The Cathedral of St Louis (Bulgarian: катедрала „Свети Лудвиг“, katedrala „Sveti Ludvig“) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The cathedral was constructed in the 1850s, during the time of vicar Andrea Canova. The first organ in Bulgaria was installed in the cathedral in 1861, later substituted with a newer and larger one. A fire severely damaged the cathedral in 1931 and destroyed the wood-carved ceiling. The cathedral was reconstructed, with Krastyo Stamatov creating the frescoes and Kamen Petkov being the main architect. The cathedral was once again inaugurated on 8 May 1932. Architecturally, it features an eclectic combination of Neoclassicism and Neo-Baroque.

The belfry was built in 1898 and was equipped with five bells cast in the German city of Bochum, a gift from Pope Leo XIII. A new 12-stop pipe organ was installed in 1991.

Armenian Apostolic Church St. George (Kevork) in the Old Town.

Northern district (Bulgarian: Район Северен) is a district of Plovdiv. The district is located on the northern bank of theMaritsa river.

The Archaeological Museum was established in 1882 as a People’s Museum of Eastern Rumelia. In 1928 the museum was moved to a 19th century edifice on Saedinenie Square built by the famous Plovdiv architect Josef Schnitter. The museum contains a rich collection of Thracian art. The three sections „Prehistory”, „Antiquity” and „Middle Ages” contain precious artifacts from the Paleolithic to the early Ottoman period (15th-16th centuries). The famous Panagyurishte treasure is part of the museum’s collection.(Thracian treasure. It is dated from the 4th-3rd centuries BC, and is thought to have been used as a royal ceremonial set by the Thracian king Seuthes III)

The museum is situated at the north-eastern side of „Saedinenie” square, which is located to the north of „6 Septemvri” avenue, which crosses the town West-East. You can get to the Museum by bus № 20 from the Central railway station in Plovdiv or by bus № 99 from „Philipovo” railway station.

Source: Wikipedia

Travel journal

 

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Pancharevo (Bulgaria)

 

 

For bigger size click on the map

 

Pancharevo (Bulgarian: Панчарево) is a suburban district located in the south-eastern parts of the Capital Municipality. As of 2006 it has 26,000 inhabitants. It is the largest region in Sofia with total area of 364,7 km². It includes the largest artificial lake in Bulgaria, the Iskar Dam as well as Lake Pancharevo and Pasarel Reservoir.

The districts offers excellent conditions for relax and tourism for the citizens of the capital. The three large dams have nice spots for fishing, camping and boat trips. There are many historical sights from the Middle Ages which include the ruins of the Urvich fortress which was a sight of a desperate and unsuccessful battle against the Turkish invaders in the late 14th century. There are many monasteries and chapels, some of which lie in ruins since the fall of the Second Bulgarian Empire.

Village of Pancharevo is located 12 km southeast of the city center of Sofia, along Samokovsko shosse Blvd. It lies at 700 m. above sea level between Vitosha and Lozen mountains, and at the end of Pancharevo gorge of the Iskar River. In PancharevoVitoshka Bistritsa River, sloping steeply from the highest parts of the mountain flows into Lake Pancharevo.

In Pancharevo and its environs have remained significant traces of the Roman Empire. Then it was built mineral bath which had seven pools. There is reason to believe that both the springs in Sofia and in Pancharevo has practiced the cult of the god-physician Asklepius and the nymphs, as both places were found fragments of bas-relief of three nymphs. Over bath Gradishteto in the area found the remains of Roman buildings and security fortress designed to keep the barbarian invasions of the access routes and Serdica Iskar Gorge, in the direction of Samokov, but unfortunately no more extensive archeological studies are performed later in area.

Pancharevo was first mentioned in the 16th-century Urvich Collection as ПАНЧАР, ПАНЧАРЄВѠ, ПАНИЧАРЬ. Those early references allow linguists to derive the name from the noun pan(i)char, „bowl maker”, itself from the noun panitsa („bowl”). Panitsa might be a geographical term referring to a concave place.

Source: Wikipedia

Travel journal

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Mogoșoaia (România)

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Mogoşoaia is a commune in the west of Ilfov County, Romania, composed of a single village, Mogoşoaia.

Population (2002)[1] 5,232

Mogoşoaia Palace is situated about 10 kilometres from Bucharest, Romania. It was built between 1698-1702 by Constantin Brâncoveanu in what is called the Romanian Renaissance style or Brâncovenesc style, a combination of Venetian and Ottoman elements. The palace bears the name of the widow of the Romanian boyar Mogoş, who owned the land it was built on. The Palace was to a large extent rebuilt in the 1920s by Marthe Bibesco.

The Palace had been given to Marthe by her husband, George Bibesco, who later also deeded the land to her. She spent all her wealth from the many books she wrote in its reconstruction and it became the meeting place for politicians and international high society, a quiet retreat during the growing turmoil of the 1930s. Prince George died in 1941 and was buried in the small, white 1688 church on the grounds of the Palace.

The Palace is now a popular tourist destination, but although the grounds and gardens are beautiful, the interior of the palace itself is under reconstruction and presently houses a museum and art gallery. (Muzeul de Artă Brâncovenească)

During the second world war, Prince Antoine Bibesco (a cousin of George Bibesco) and his wife Elizabeth Bibesco, refused to flee the country despite their outspoken anti-fascist opinions. Elizabeth spent considerable time during these years visiting Marthe Bibesco at Mogosoaia and when Elizabeth died of pneumonia on April 7, 1945 she was buried in the Bibesco family vault on the grounds of Mogoşoaia. It may surprise visitors to see her grave here with its poignant epitaph in English – „My soul has gained the freedom of the night.” Neither Elizabeth Bibesco’s husband, Antoine, nor George Bibesco’s wife, Marthe, could be buried beside them, as they both died during the Communist regime.

In 2008 the Romanian gothic rock band Inopia produced a video of their song „Epitaph”, filmed entirely at Mogosoaia. The long medievalist composition is based on Elizabeth Bibesco’s epitaph.

In 2010 the Balkan Go Championship took place at Mogosoaia, being broadcasted by EuroGoTV to hundreds of fans watching the stream and following the games on the KGS Go Server.

Source: Wikipedia

Travel journal

It was this type of spontan short trip. 🙂 We were planning to go home and we arrived at  almost 10 km of Bucharest. We went at the north station and firstlly I said to take any train in any direction, but after „family council” 🙂 we stand the verdict: destination Mogosoaia. The train ticket was pretty cheap, around 1.5 lei, 14 kilometres, time: almost half an our.

With smiles on our faces we went in the train. It was an old dirty personal train, we were hanged on the window making photos and films. It came the porter, a strange man that was kidding with everyone, I thought he was drunk :D. He told us that it’s not so easy to arrive by train at Brancoveanu’s castle, because it’s pretty far. And now the adventure it’s starting 🙂

At last we saw the writing on the table : MOGOSOAIA. It was almost free field beside the train station. We asked about the castle and we found out that we have to go by foot something like two kilometres. It was a dusted country road and, as a bonus, a hot autumn day. It was a little bit difficil to arrive because we didn’t know exactly the road and nobody was there. We found a house with a man that was drinking at the enter 🙂 He and his wife told us how to arrive and we recharged our water reserve. 🙂 After almost an hour of walk and ask people about the road, we finally arrived, of course being exhausted.

We enter the park, we passed after the fortificated walls, and here we are, in the front of the castle. It wasn’t as I was expecting… It’s a small and coquettish building with 18th century perfume :). The complex includes also a church and Martha Bibescu’s hot houses plus other buildings for guest.

After we explored carefully every corner, after we made a hundred photos, we went back searching a easier way to Bucharest. This time we choose a mini-bus. It was full of all types of people, but we had the big advantage to arrive fast, without dusted roads, hot sun and foot-walk. It was more expensive then the train was, we paid for one ticket 3.5 lei. It doesn’t matter, it matter that we were back exhausted and everything we wanted was a good sleep 🙂

You can find this building outside the Palace, just near to the entrance

The guide panel with the complex

The main alley

A small part from the garden yard in the front of the watch-tower

An old icon on the entrance wall of the St.George's Church

The painting from the upper part of the front verandah

Saint George depicted as the patron of the church

The main entrance through the watch-tower (Gate House)

The watch-tower, raised before 1702, when the palace was finish. The watch-tower was restored in 1930 and in 1980

Saint George Church, erected by Constantine Brâncoveanu in 1688 which was decorated with frescoes in 1705

Inscription

Cross with two-headed eagle symbol of the Cantacuzinos

The outside garden

The wall and the Brancovan kitchen (cuhnia)

The lake behind Palace

The Room of the Princely Council

The Conference Center (a former d'Elchingen villa) - (17th century, rebuilt 1927 - 1936), it currently hosts 2 conference rooms (having a capacity of 50 places, respectively 75 places) a restaurant - 120 places and 16 residence rooms - 25 places.

Cuhnia and the Gate House from the watch-tower

In the watch-tower

Watch-tower from The Court of Honor

The Conference Center again

Cuhnia - the former princely kitchen is now a place for exhibitions. It was built between 1681 and 1702. Its ventilation furnaces were restored in 1965

The N. Bibescu Hot Houses - a French studio - 1890. Currently, they are used for growing flowers and as an art studio for children. Restored in 2002

A Toyota jeep near the The Conference Center 🙂

The Palace - finished in September 1702 by Constantin Brancoveanu for his second son, Ştefan. Currently, the Palace is the host of the Aula Tradition Museum (Founded in 2000), namely the donation made by Liana and Dan Nasta, a compared art collection comprising approximately 300 items, its ground floor rooms and the annexes thus hosting annually approximately 10 temporary, thematic or contemporary art exhibitions.

The Stairs of Honour inside of Palace. The space is dedicated to Voivode Constantin Basarab Brancoveanu /Constantin Bessarab the Brancovan/ (1688-1714), the author of a synthesis, in a Romanian tradition spirit, of Eastern andWestern origin elements. The ruler is depicted in Varini Favorini's engraving, as Prince of the Holy (Western) Roman Empire and of theWallachians, and in that of Pietro Uberti's, made after the voivode and his four sons had been beheaded in Constantinople. The coats of arms of both the Basarabs /Bessarabs/ and Cantacuzinos /Cantacuzenes/, the Persian "shah-in-shah" carpet, decorated with royal symbols, complete the display.

The Room of Kilims. The kilims are hand-woven textiles used as wall hangings and floor or furniture coverings. These flat weaves are made in a very similar technique as the West-European tapestries - that is why they have often adorned Romanian Lands' palaces and manors. As for the kilims decorating small-town and country houses, they are woven by hostesses themselves. Martha Bibescu ordered that the two-room apartment having once belonged to Constantin Brancoveanu's wife be changed into what she called "The Throne Hall." It is here that the Wallachian (Oltenian included) and Moldavian kilims are displayed, each geographic area preserving its design and composition originality. Romanian kilims use for wool colouring vegetal dyes.

The main lobby from which you can exit in the balcony from the lake

The Room of the Princely Chancellery. This place, dedicated to inner and foreign affairs, to recording and keeping important documents, statal transactions and concluded treaties, a seat for envoys and interpreters, houses maps, official papers (deeds) and chancellery insignia. The two gospels, the tryodion and the coats of arms with Christian symbols are placed in the vicinity of engravings showing the main actors of the Ottoman Porte at the beginning of the 18th century. A velvet table covering embroidered with voivode's monogram in Cyrillic letters and, on the right wall, the portrait of Constantin Brancoveanu's family, Nora Steriadi's textile version made after the votive picture at Hurezi Monastery, try to render the atmosphere. In Martha Bibescu's time, this ceremonial space was used as concert hall and housed formal parties and fastuous balls.

The entrance into The Room of the Princely Chancellery

The inside stairs

Voivode's throne is replaced by an 1860 princely armchair taken from the church of Potlogi. Del Chiaro speaks about the three steps of the throne in his History of Wallachia. The back of the armchair, which is gilt-thread embroidered, shows the princely eagle framed by two laurel branches. Chair sovereignty is underlined by the scarlet hangings bearing country's Arms in a golded border.