Brasov – a “To do” on your wish list

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If you live in Bucharest or any other crowded city, you most certainly wish for a city break, somewhere in the heart of the mountains, climbing and exploring or at the sea shores where you can have a long cool bath in the salty waters of the sea, anything to be away from your office and all the sheets standing on your desk.

We took the chance to make our way to the mountains, to be more exact in Brasov, also named as Kronshtadt  (GermanKrone for “crown” and Stadt for “city”), a city  located in the central part of the country, Transylvania, about 166 kilometers (103 miles) north of Bucharest and 380 km (236 mi) from the Black Sea, surrounded by our mighty Southern Carpathians.

The train was our “ship” to Brasov, traveling with InterRegio for about 2 hours and 40 minutes, always a busy train having many tourists going every week to Sinaia, Busteni,Azuga, Predeal and Brasov.  A good book and the great view with the mountains that appears right after passing Campina will make the time pass easily. We arrived in the Train Station of Brasov with great enthusiast and ready to be inspired of this wonderful Saxon old town.

When you first step out of the train it’s like the mountains salute’s you and awaits for you to discover even more than they actually show. Seeing the almost slow way of living day by day that the Transylvanians have gives you the feeling that here the time is always in a “on going vacation” and is more indulgent.

We took the bus 4 from the train station and we stopped at the bus station Nicolae Titulesc Park. If you will literally turn your head to right after you step out of the bus, you will see the mount named “Tampa” which has written on it in a hollywood style “Brasov”.  The fact that the city is so clean makes you appreciate that there are still some people which really care of our rich cities in great history and tries to conservate it with proudness and joy.

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The old town is one of the best preserved old towns in Europe with splendid architecture  and old fortifications and is well worth taking a few days to explore. The city has an amazing history with influences from Germany, the Austria-Hungarian Empire and the old communist state.

The fact that our stomach was asking for food so badly didn’t stopped us from standing for five minute in one place admiring everything that was surrounding us. It’s really worthy every single Leu that you spend in this city. We made our way on Republicii Street to find a restaurant with traditional food.

“La Ceaun” is a fancy, non-smoking  small restaurant right on the entrance of the Michael Weiss Street. They have delicious traditional goodies which will make your sense of taste explode because of the great ingredients that they mix. We had two Zaganu beers, a plate with tomatoes and some burduf cheese. This was a fresh start after the train travel. The menu was offering beef soup and some “fasole frecata” (beans smashed and mixed with onion, garlic, salt pepper and sun-flower oil). We also have some home made apple pie. This meal made our day! I promise you that will probably won’t need to eat until next morning.

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After we finished eating we took our way to Piata Sfatului, the center of the old fortress Brasov. You can visit Casa Sfatului (“The mayor’s former office building”). The administration for Brașov was here for more than 500 years.

We really wanted to visit Biserica Neagră (“The Black Church”), a celebrated Gothic site – the building dates from 1477, when it replaced an older church (demolished around 1385). Its acquired the name after being blackened by smoke from the 1689 great fire.  This Church is an amazing mix of architecture, history and religion.

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We were lost in the greatness of this church. The inside was very well preserved and had paintings from the 15th century illustrates different action that took place in the church or in the name of the church. Its altar originally featured a single column, but its role in supporting the entire central structure — on the model of German cathedrals built by Hans Stettheimer (a view expressed by researchers such as Ernst Kühlbrandt and Antal Hekler) is under dispute. The naves took longer to complete, and construction was interrupted for various intervals: in 1423, Pope Martin V issued an indulgence for people involved in construction, as a means to reactivate the site; in 1474, a document issued by Sixtus IV acknowledged that work was still lagging. We promised ourselves  that we will come again and visit the church because every time there is something new to discover in its beauty.

We then head along back to Republicii Street and went to Mount Tampa, we wanted badly  to take the cable car and go up to the hill of the mount, right where it has written Brasov. It takes around 5 minute by cable car to actually be on top of the mount. Plus there is a cafe/restaurant at the top of the mountain which still has the communist look from 26 years ago.

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From there you can actually see the entire fortification. The walls of the fortress are showing the exact place on where was the fortress buit. It’s a magic place and it will promise you amazing views of Brasov. This is” must go” place.

After this amazing view, we took the cable cabin back and went on a walk along the walls of the Brasov Fortress. With the fresh air and the historical theme of this town, it can be considered also a romantic place to go. This place caught our attention for next few years.

We also visited:

  • The First Romanian School, a museum with the first Romanian printing press among many other firsts.
  • The Rope Street, the narrowest street in Romania.
  • Șchei, the historically Bulgarian but then Romanian neighborhood outside of the old walled city.
  • Catherine’s Gate, the only original city gate to have survived from medieval times.
  • Şchei Gate, next to Catherine’s Gate, built in 1827.
  • The Orthodox church of the Dormition of the Theotokos, built in 1896.
  • Muzeul Prima Carte Românească, a museum exhibiting the first book printed in the Romanian language.
  • Tâmpa, a small mountain in the middle of the city (900m above sea level), a sightseeing spot near the old city center.
  • The “Brașov Citadel Fortress” – Cetățuia Brașovului
  • The nearby Bran Castle, attracting many fans of Dracula and often (but incorrectly) said to have been the home of Vlad the Impaler.
  • Poiana Brașov, mainly a ski resort but also a sightseeing spot.
  • Râșnov Fortress, above the nearby town of Râșnov, is a restored peasant fortress
  • Prejmer Fortress, in the nearby commune of Prejmer

 

So if you are in a look for adventure, historical places and fresh air, Brasov promises to fulfill all your wishes. Even if it’s summer or winter, you will be amazed with the good food, great view and the architecture of the old city. Of course, do not forget your camera and your energy!

Access Romania

Graphic art exhibition at the Romanian Banking Institute in Bucharest

ExpozitieGraphic art exhibition, which took place at the Romanian Banking Institute, on May 15, 2013, was a great success for Romanian Ștefan Marcu, a self-taught visual artist from Bucharest.

The graphic art exhibition was made to celebrate 22 years of Special Unit of Gendarmerie 76 from Bucharest, where he also works. The art works are illustrating special activities of the Unit 76 in terms of hardness, high efficiency and reliability in humanitarian missions such as natural disasters or civil causes.

The main art works were two traditional portraits of Eugeniu Carada (1836-1910), Romanian political economist and writer, an upstanding person who founded the economy and Romanian media but also founded the National Bank of Romania (BNR) and Mugur Isărescu, current governor of BNR. The exhibition had a special guest, Ilie Roșianu, art critic who had nothing but great words for the artist Marcu Ștefan, highlighting his huge interest for learning and the great effort and time that he put in the art works.

At the exhibition, the guests had the possibility to choose one or more art works and make an offer. All the money raised were donated to an institute for children with disabilities from Bucharest.

Ștefan Marcu is a self-taught visual artist, born in the North Romania, which has been creating since he was five, starting forming different shapes out of any easy material he could get. During his life, he continued to develop his art skills and reached to a new level of art with drawing, sculpture, photo manipulation, graphics, painting, cartoons and digital art.

He studied at the military school in Drăgășani, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at Nicolae Titulescu Univeristy, and currently he is studying for Master in Speech Therapy in the Process of Communication, at the University of Bucharest. For more information or art work, visit his Facebook page here . 

-Access Romania Online-Ioana Toader

The true image of North Korea, something that many of us could not imagine!

ss-090618-kim-jong-il-04.ss_fullA reporter from the English newspaper called Mirror managed to film the true image and story about how North-Koreans are tortured and forced to work as slaves for the military. Children starving, people carrying rocks as in the stone age, people forced to eat tree bark or even corpses and use the food as punishment, are part of the image that Kim Jong-Un does not want the outside world to see! Everything is controled by the guards and people have no rights, no money and often no food!
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/inside-north-korea-video-photos-1826234

Secret “dirty treasures” of many rich and important people worldwide discovered during an investigation by ICIJ

Dollars funnel.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) registered in United States, managed to expose through information leaks, the secrets of 130,000 people like politicians, artists and rich people, and 120,000 offshore companies of over 170 countries, including Romania.

The research, probably being the largest ever cross-border journalistic collaboration, was made by a number of 86 journalists from 46 countries from ICIJ, part of  Center for Public Integrity in Washington.

The report by ICIJ and its partner networks around the world is the first from a series of reports to be submitted by 15 April, other information following to be made ​​public during the year, as the investigation progresses.

“This investigation rises the curtains above the offshore system and offers a transparent image of the tax havens and people and companies that benefit from them”, declared Gerard Ryle, director of ICIJ. The files identify the persons behind the trusts and private companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, Cook Islands, Singapore and other tax heavens.

Among these people are doctors and dentists in the U.S., Greek middle class, corporate executives from Russia, Eastern Europe and billionaires in Indonesia, Wall Street speculators, international arms dealers and their families and associates of dictators.

The documents present facts and data namely transfers of money and connections between companies and individuals, and shows the expansion worldwide of the offshore financial secrets that allowed the rich people with good connections to elude the tax authorities, fueling corruption in the developed and poor countries.

During the research were interviewed hundreds of experts, government officials, lawyers, clients offshore and other sources around the world. Among those mentioned in the report are the wife of Russian Deputy PM Igor Suvalov and two directors of Gazprom. Which according to the documents, they have interests in companies from British Virgin Islands. All three refused to comment.

Another important name in the U.S. is James R. Mellon, whose family founded the companies known as Gulf Oil and Mellon Bank. He used four companies in the British Virgin Islands and Liechtenstein for trading financial instruments and the transfer of tens of millions of dollars from the offshore accounts from his possession.

Many of the world’s largest banks, including UBS, Deutsche Bank and Clariden have worked aggressively to provide business customers hidden companies in the British Virgin Islands and other tax heavens.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is an international network of reporters who collaborate on investigative articles. The organization was founded in 1997 by the Center for Public Integrity in the United States to focus on issues that are beyond the national borders. With 160 members in over 60 countries, ICIJ focuses on cross-border crime, corruption and power.

Access Romania Online

Laura Codruta Kovesi proposed as chief prosecutor for DNA Romania

Laura KovesiRomanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta named as chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), Laura Codruta Kovesi, and Tiberiu Nitu was named as General Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, according to AFP.ro .

The proposals were advanced on Wednesday morning, April 3, 2013 through a letter to the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) by the PM Victor Ponta as Interim Minister of Justice.

Bogdan Licu was also proposed for the position of first deputy general prosecutor, Codrut Olaru as deputy general prosecutor, Alina Bica as chief prosecutor of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) and Elena Hosu as deputy chief prosecutor of DIICOT.

Kövesi Laura is the daughter of Ioan Lascu prosecutor who served from 1980 to January 15,  2010 as head of the Prosecutor’s Office of Court Medias. Her brother, Sergiu Lascu, in 2010 became deputy director of Information Technology and Communication Department Transgaz. Between 1991-1995 she studied  the Faculty of Law at Babes-Bolyai University.

Access Romania

photo source: http://www.viatalibera.ro