Biertan Transylvania, Rumania

Biertan is a commune in central Romania, in the north of the Sibiu County, 80 km north of Sibiu. It has a population of 2,519 inhabitants in the 2011. Biertan is one of the most important Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, having been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1993.

Scenery from Sibiu to Biertan Rumania

The Biertan fortified church was the see (Bishop province) of the Lutheran Evangelical Bishop in Transylvania between 1572 and 1867. The commune is composed of three villages: Biertan, Copșa Mare and Richiș, each of which has a fortified church.

I am going into the village of Richiş first.

Richiş is a tiny village with a population of 679 inhabitants, but  it’s famous for the fortified church.

Walking to the village cente . Calm and quiet village.

I’ve heard that the number of people from European countries migrating to this village is increasing.

The village center of Richiș.

Evangelical-Lutheran Church Richiș

Evangelical fortified church in Retterberg foothills was built between 1350 and 1451, the late Gothic style, two Annexes and cross-nave basilica, it is the model of the Episcopal Church. As I have no time, so I took some photos of the church from outside and headed to the next village, Biertan.

After the tiny village of Richiș, arrived at the neighboring village Biertan and I am walking the main street of Aurel Vlaicu to the village center, in front of the fortified church. Vietnam is also a small village, it has a population of 1872 inhabitants.

Scenery of Biertan village. It is quiet.

The Biertan fortified church comes into view.

Arrived in front of the fortification church in Biertan.

The Biertan fortified church is a Lutheran fortified church in Biertan, in the Transylvania region. It was built by the ethnic German Transylvanian Saxon community at a time when the area belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary. Briefly Roman Catholic, it became Lutheran following the Reformation.

Biertan Fortified Church Plan

Entrance of the fortification church of Biertan.

Gate Tower of Fortified Church

Entered the fortified church complex, access to the church is up a covered wooden staircase dating from 1795.

I’m walking up the covered staircase that is almost 100 m long.

Massive solid walls, the phot was taken from the staircase window.

Biertan Fortified Church had three defensive walls.

The King granted the town the right to bear arms when the Ottoman army was frightening the surroundings. The Transylvanian Saxons chose to build instead of fortresses around the towns, to fortify the churches.

Fortified Basilica Biertan

Walked up and got out the staircase, there is a Gospel Church. Let’s get into it.

Interior of Fortified Basilica

Very beautiful altarpiece of the Basilica

Got out of the fortified church, I was looking at the idyllic village.

Quiet village of Biertan, view from the fortified church.

The Fortified Church had three defensive walls with towers and gateways. Each of the towers had a different function. One was used by the villagers to store bacon in case of siege. Another was used for parish meetings.

Catholics Tower, clock tower and bell tower of the fortified church.

Catholics Tower ; When it was built, the church was Roman Catholic, but later it  became a Lutheran Church after the Reformation. The Roman Catholics were allowed to keep a small chapel in one of the towers for worship.

Mausoleum Tower

Headstones in Mausoleum Tower

Biertan Local Museum; House for divorcing couples.

This is a house like a jail. The house was used to confine a couple wanting to divorce, for one or two weeks.What is the result of it?

Inside of the house, just one single bed is in the room.

It’s time to leave the fortified church, I’m walking down to the outside of the church.

Got out the Fortified Church, there is a square called 1st December 1918. (Great Union Day, occurring on December 1 1918, is the national holiday of Romania. It commemorates the assembly of the delegates of ethnic Romanians held in Alba Iulia, which declared the Union of Transylvania with Romania.)

Square 1st December 1918 of Biertan

Leaving the Fortified Church of Biertan for the next village Copşa Mare.

Running to the village of Copşa Mare from Biertan, the landscape is pastoral and very beautiful.

Arrived at the edge of Copşa Mare. Most of the streets are not paved.

Copşa Mare is a village in the municipality of Biertan, Transylvania Rumania. It has a population of 444 inhabitants, it’s a really tiny village. The nearest major cities is Sighișoara, about 20 km north-east.

Walking to the village center. The houses are like Biertan.

The main industries of the village are wine production, stock raising and dairy farming. Beekeeping is also thriving. If you come to this village, you should better buy honey.

A wagon loaded with grass came over. The old man greeted me. . “De unde vă aflați?” (I think that he said where are you from?) And I replied “I’m from Tokyo.” “Enjoy!” He’s gone.

I’m approaching the village center.

Arrived at the village center of Copşa Mare. The fortified church rises above the hill.

Unfortunately, I do not have enough time, so I have to take pictures and return to the car hastily.

Fortified Basilica (Lutheran Church) Copșa Mare

Copşa Mare had few tourists becouse it is far from the national highway and railway station.

Leaving the village of Copşa Mare.

The villagers of Copşa Mare are simple, honest and kind to travelers. I wanted to send the rest of my life in this village, if possible. I am too old to be able to do so.

Young farmer is coming back home with hay.

I am in a hurry to the next destination, Sighișoara.

Sibiu Transylvania, Romania

On the way to Sighișoara, I dropped in at SibiuIt is a city in Transylvania, with a population of 147,245. Located some 140 km west of Brașov, the city straddles the Cibin River, a tributary of the river Olt.

Sibiu Old Town Map

Arrived at Union Square, I am going to walk along the Nicolae Bălcescu street to the old town center of Sibiu.

Piața Unirii Sibiu (Sibiu Union Square)

Piața Unirii (Union Square) is one of the most crowded areas of Sibiu, where you can go to the historic center through the Nicolae Balcescu Street.

Nicolae Balcescu Street, I am walking the street to the old town center of Sibiu.

Nicolae Balcescu Street is the main shopping artery to the historical center.

Arrived in a plaza called “Piața mare din Sibiu” (Large Square in Sibiu).

The Large Square is the central square of Sibiu, existing since 12th century, it was the city’s third fortification zone.

“Piața mare din Sibiu” (Large Square in Sibiu). Left is Sibiu City Hall with the tourist information office. Right is Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity.

Casa Lutsch, Falkenhayn Fountain, Romanian Art Gallery and Brukenthal National Museum in Large Square, Sibiu

Large Square Sibiu is very quiet and beautiful. I took a lot of pictures.

It is time to say goodbye to the Large Square.

I was walking to the Small Square from the Large Square, it took 3 minutes. On the way a high tower rises.

I was walking to the Small Square from the Large Square, it took 3 minutes. On the way a high tower rises.

The Council Tower was built in the 13th century, the gate on the ground floor is the entrance to the city’s second fortification zone.

Arrived in the Piața Mică (Small Square)

The Small Square was the centre of all craft and mercantile activity historically, furriers, pelt dealers, tanners and gold-workers traded from here.

Traditional houses surrounding Small Square

Arcaded houses give it a distinctive charm. You can have a seat at one of its many ground-floor café terraces and watch the world go by.

There is a museum in one corner of the Small Square. Let’s go into it.

Casa Artelor and Museum of Saxon Ethnography

The museum is a beautiful monumental building and has a collection of 8300 items.

Arcade of the museum

The Museum of Saxon Ethnography exhibits the most important collections of Saxon folk art in Romania.

The museum exhibition rooms

Left the Museum of Saxon Ethnography, I’m going to cross a bridge called “Podul Minciunilor” and walking to the Evangelical Cathedral St. Mary on Albert Huet Square.

Podul Minciunilor din Sibiu (The Bridge of Lies in Sibiu)

The Bridge of Lies is a metal bridge in the city of Sibiu, built in 1859 above the Ocnei Street which connects Lower Town and Upper Town.

Lower Town in Sibiu, view from the Bridge of Lies

The lower town is the traditional shopping, entertainment and residential districts of Sibiu. I would like to stay longer and visit the area.

Evangelical Cathedral St. Mary stands on Albert Huet Square Sibiu

The Sibiu Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary was built in the 14th century on the location of another 12th-century church. The Lutheran Cathedral is the most famous Gothic-style church in Sibiu, Transylvania. Its massive 73.34 m high steeple is a landmark of the city.

Statue of Bishop Georg Daniel Teutsch

Bishop Georg Daniel Teutsch (1817-1893) was a famous historian and bishop of Transylvania.

The Altar of the Evangelical Cathedral Cibiu

Sauer organ of the Evangelical Cathedral Sibiu

In 1671 a Slovakian craftsman built an organ to replace the previous one that was built in 1585. Today the newer organ is the largest in the southeastern region of Europe. Wilhelm Carl Friedrich Sauer (1831 – 1916) was a German pipe organ builder.

From the Albert Huet square I came back to the Large square again and entered Brukenthal National Museum. (The local guide was awkward.)

Muzeul Naţional Brukenthal (Brukenthal National Museum) Sibiu was founded in the 18th century.

Brukenthal National Museum housed in the palace of Samuel von Brukenthal, who was Habsburg governor of Transylvania and who established its first collections around 1790. 

The collections of Brukenthal Museum Sibiu

After the tour of the museum I went out of the house and met some young women in the Large Square.

Pretty high schoolers, one of them is learning Japanese.

We had a brief chat each other for minutes. Then I said “Good bye”. She replyed “Sayonara”. Then, left the Brukenthal Museum I’m going to the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Sibiu has three Cathedrals, Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity on the Large Square, Reformed Evangelical Cathedral St. Mary on Albert Huet Square and Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral on the Metropolitan Street.

The Cathedral, Orthodox Holy Trinity, came into view on Mitropoliei Street.

Holy Trinity Cathedral is the seat of the Romanian Orthodox Archbishop of Sibiu.

Romanian Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral Sibiu

The Cathedral was built in the style of a Byzantine basilica, inspired by Hagia Sophia Istanbul, with the main spires influenced by Transylvanian church architecture and Baroque elements.

The Altar of Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral Sibiu

The interior of the Cathedral is really gorgeous. (Would Jesus wanted such a luxurious church?)

Running out of time after the Holy Trinity Cathedral, I decided to return Union square hastily.

I’m walking the Nicolae Bălcescu street to the Union square Sibiu.

Strooling Old Town, Brașov

Brașov Town Map

Come back to Brașov from Sinaia, got the map at the tourist information office, I went to the St. Nicholas church first.

From Sinaia I arrived in front of the St. Nicholas Church Brașov.

Saint Nicholas is a Romanian Orthodox church in Braşov, dominating the historic district of Şchei. The church was established in 1292. It was mentioned in a Papal bull issued in 1399 by Pope Boniface IX.

Biserica Sfântul Nicolae (St. Nicholas Church) Brașov

The church was rebuilt starting in 1495 in stone by the locals, with help from Vlad family, Prince of Wallachia. 

Interior of St. Nicholas Church Brașov

Murals of St. Nicholas Church Brașov

Saint Nicholas Church was initially built in the Gothic style, it was later redecorated with Baroque style.

Museum “The First Romanian School” in the churchyard of St. Nicholas Brașov

 Left Saint Nicholas Church I’m going to the Black Tower (Turnul Negru). Got off the car and I was walking a path in a woods a bit. 

Arrived at the Black Tower (Turnul Negru) in a park called Belvedere, Brașov.

The Black Tower is one of the four observation towers of the City of Brașov, built as an independent fortification, located outside the city walls and has over 11 meters high. It occupies an area of 5o square meters and its walls measure 2 m thick. 

Turnul Negru (Black Tower) Brașov and narrow mountain path to the White Tower (Turnul Alb)

From the front of the Black Tower  I was walking to the White Tower through the narrow mountain path. White Tower is located 150-200 meters from the Black Tower (Turnul Negru).

From the Black Tower (Turnul Negru) I arrived at a tower called “Turnul Alb” (White Tower) Brașov.

Built in the 15th century, the White Tower (Turnul Alb) was part of the city’s defensive system. It is on the Warthe hill and some 20 meters high.

Views from the hill. I am going down this narrow trail to Old Town of Brașov on foot.

Located just on the outskirts of the old town, the white tower is a great viewing point of the old town, currently closed however worth a visit, awesome photos to be had.

Walking along the stream, the Graft Bastion appears.

The Graft Bastion is the most spectacular bastion of the medieval town of Brasov. It was built in the 16th century on the south-east side of the Warthe hill to facilitate the connection between the castle and the White Tower.

Blacksmiths Bastion; I have walked from the Graft Bastion to the Blacksmiths Bastion.

The Blacksmiths’ Bastion, erected in 1521 and situated in the north-western part of Braşov’s citadel, is an imposing medieval building. The pentagonal, 3-leveled building was first mentioned in a document dating from 1529.

Casa Mureșenilor (House Muresenilor)

Muresenilor House was founded in 1968 as a result of a donation made by the descendants of Mureşianu family. 

Inside of the museum

The museum has a very valuable collection of furniture, paintings, sculptures and the cultural testament of Jacob Mureşianu.

Next, I got to Schei Gate

 Şchei Gate (Poarta Schei) in Brașov was built in between 1827 and 1828 in order to let through heightened traffic.

Weaver’s Bastion Brașov

The Weaver Bastion is the work and toil of the craftsmen belonging to the weaver guild, being built during 1421-1436. The area this fortification had to protect was meadow below Mount Tampa situated on the south-west corner of the fortress.

Ropemaker’s Bastion Brașov

Built with stone and brick, the Rope maker’s Bastion has the shape of a hexagon with a height of 10-12 meters, 2 meters thick walls. The Bastion aimed to defend the southern side of the Brasov fortress wall.

I was very tired, so after Ropemaker’s Bastion I decided to return to Braşov Council Square. I will go through a very narrow street on the way.

String Street Brașov

Strada Sforii (String Street) is the narrowest street in the city of Brașov. It is believed to be one of the narrowest streets in Europe. 

Finally I arrived in front of the Biserica Neagră (Black Church).

Didn’t enter the Black Church, I just took some phots outside of the church.

Statue of Johannes Honterus and Entrance of the Black Church

I arrived in Council Square at 5:40 pm. Many tourists and locals are enjoying in the square.

Piața Sfatului (Council Square) at dusk

As I woke up early in this morning, and I have walked all the day, I am very tired. I am going to return to the hotel, take a shower, have dinner and go to bed soon. I will go to Sighișoara tomorrow. Sayonara. See you.

Sinaia Rumania

From the village of Bran, I am going to the small town of Peleș. The scenery on the way is interesting.

Sinaia is situated in a breathtaking mountain scenery, it is located at 50 km distance from Bran, on the Prahova Valley.

I’m going into the town center of Sinaia.

Sinaia is a town and a mountain resort in Romania. The town was named after Sinaia Monastery of 1695, around which it was built. It has a population of 10,410 inhabitants.

Arrived at the gate of ‘Peles Castle’Castle Peleș

Peleș Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle in the Carpathian Mountains, in Prahova County, Romania, on an existing medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia, built between 1873 and 1914. Its inauguration was held in 1883.

The front of the castle, central part.

The left and right wings of the castle.

Taking tour of the inside of the castle.

The inside of the castle is really gorgeous.

Got out of the castle, I am strolling around the front yard. The statues are superb.

Very beautifle Peles Castle Sinaia.

Peles Castle has a very beautiful figure. I am leaving here for the Sinaia Monastery.

From the Peles Castle I am walking to the Sinaia Monastery.

After walking for about 15 minutes, I arrived in front of Sinaia Monastery.

The Sinaia Monastery was founded by Prince Mihail Cantacuzino (1650-1716), second in command of Walachian troops. He had made a pilgrimage to Mount Sinai in Egypt with his family in 1695, and named after the great Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai.

In the center of the courtyard there is an old church built in the 17th century.

“Biserica Veche” (The Old Church) Sinaia Monastery. The Old Church was built in 1695.

Iconostasis of the Old Church Sinaia Monastery

Two icons on the iconostasis

The left is the monk’s residence and the right is the bell tower.

The Great Church (Royal Chapel) Sinaia Monastery, Photography is prohibited in the church.

The construction of Great Church began in 1842 and was completed in 1846. 

After this I will come back Brasov soon and take a tour the city inside.

Small Village of Bran, Rumania

Going into the village center of Bran.

Bran is the village of the commune with the same name in Brasov County, Transylvania, Romania It lies at 30 km from the city of Brașov. It has a population of 1,492 inhabitants in 2011.

Arrived at the entrance of Bran Castle (ticket office).

I’m walking up this slope and the open air museum is Visible below.

Bran Castle comes into view.

The medieval Bran Castle, which was once besieged by Vlad the Impaler, is a popular tourist destination, partly because it resembles the home of Dracula in Bram Stoker’s novel.

I got to Bran Castle, then let’s get inside the castle.

The Teutonic Order began construction of a wooden fort known as Dietrichstein in the early 13th century. After the fort’s destruction in 1242 by Mongols, King Sigismund of Hungary ordered the construction of a stone castle in 1377, while the settlement of Bran began to develop nearby.

The entrance of the Bran Castle. I am going to stroll inside of a castle.

Each rooms of the Bran Castle ; Bedroom, Office of the lord, Relaxing room and Hunting room.

Portrait of Vlad III of Wallachia, who became a model of Drăculea.

Views from the Bran Castle

The Chapel of Heart of Queen Mary, the view from Bran Castle. I am walking down to the lower world.

Arrived in front of the Barn Village Museum.

In the countryside of Romania you can see such a horse and cart.

Bran Village Museum was opened four decades ago in the park in the vicinity of Bran castle. The museum shows the evolution of traditional folk architecture of villages from the Bran area.

Traditional rooms and furniture.

Traditional houses

Established as an open museum, Bran Village Museum illustrates the main types of households and residences, household annexes, economic construction and installation of wood and wool, hydraulic ones.

Leaving the Bran Village Museum for the next destination.

Souvenir shops around the Bran village museum.

After the village of Bran I’m going to a town of Sinaia.

Brașov Rumania

From the triumphal arch of Bucharest I arrived at the booked hotel in the city of Brasov at 6:30 pm.

Brașov is located in the central part of the country, about 166 kilometres north of Bucharest. 

Hotel Coroana, located on 62 Republicii Street Brasov. View from my Hotel Room.

Tired, I took a quick shower and drank two glasses of whiskey in my room, then had the dinner with a half bottle of red wine at the hotel restaurant. Come back to the room, and I drank whiskey again and entered the bed soon. The local wine and Irish whiskey were delicious. Cuisine? I forgot what I ate.

Hotel Coroana ; Reception, restaurant, staircase (stained glasses are beautiful) and my room.

I waked up early morning and couldn’t stay asleep. So I’m going to take a walk with the camera around the hotel 6:40 am.

As I am walking on Republicii Street, some kind of square comes into view.

Piața Sfatului (The Council Square) Brasov

Brașov is a city in Romania and the administrative centre of Brașov County. It has a population of 253,200 residents (2011 census), the 7th most populous city in Romania.

Casa Sfatului (House of Counsel)

Biserica Neagră (The Black Church)

Brașov is surrounded by the Southern Carpathians and is part of the Transylvania region.

Got back to the hotel from a walk.

After breakfast, I will go to a village which is famous for Dracula legend. Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker (1847 – 1912). I watched the movie of Dracula in a childhood. Now I remember, that night I was unable to go to the toilet alone, my mother took me to it.

I am running to the small village of Bran. The scenery on the way is very beautiful.

I live in Tokyo now but I grew up in a small village in the mountains. So I dislike big cities, love these idyllic countryside.

I am looking forward to the village of Bram. See you in the village.

Bucharest Romania

I flew to Bucharest Romania via Frankfurt from the Narita International Airport. It is a beginning of trip to Romania.

Frankfurt Airport, From Frankfurt flight to Bucharest and Arrived at Bucharest International Airport.

Henri Coandă International Airport Bucharest

Henri Coandă International Airport is the busiest international airport, located in Otopeni, 16.5 km north of Bucharest’s city centre. The airport is named after Romanian flight pioneer Henri Coandă, builder of Coandă-1910 (Motor jet engine) aircraft.

I took a taxi going to the booked hotel on the street of Vitan-Bârzeşti Bucharest.

RIN Grand Hotel Bucharest and its Lobby

Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial centre. It has a population 1,883,425 in 2011.

The next day, I will take a tour in the city of Bucharest and head for Brasov.

Hotel Grand Rin and State Park (Delta Vacaresti) Bucharest

I did not notice last night, but the next day there was a state park (Delta Vacaresti) spreading in front of the hotel. It was really beautiful. After this I am going to the famous big house, Parliament House Bucharest.

From the hotel Rin Grand, going to Palace of Parliamen. Former Central Committee of the Communist Party. Revolution Square. Kretzulescu Orthodox Church. National Museum of Art in Bucharest.

The Palace of the Parliament also known the People’s House is the seat of the Parliament of Romania. Located on Dealul Arsenalului (Spirii Hill) in central Bucharest, it is the largest administrative building in the world.

We arrived in front of the Parliament House.

 In the 1980’s, Nicolae Ceauşescu, then president, was created as “Palace”. The colossal parliament building known for its ornate interior composed of 23 sections, it houses the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, three museums and an international conference center.

The inside of the most luxurious Palace of the Parliament Rumania

Decorated luxuriously halls and some of the buildings such as corridors are open to the public for a fee. The reason why only a limited number of rooms can be opened is because the number of rooms currently exceeds 3,000, which is too large to manage.

The interior of the palace is all made of marble, up to the floor, ceiling, pillars and stairs.

Ceausescu was executed on January 7, 1990 in Romania before the palace was completed.

Constitution Square and Unirii Boulevard, view from the balcony of Parliament House.

 Left the Parliament Palace, we are walking to the Metropolitan Church. It will take about 20 minutes.

On the way to the Metropolitan Church; Antim Monastery. Money transfer, Smith & Smith. Area Military Center. College of Legal Advisers Bucharest

The approach to Metropolitan Church.

We arrived at the Patriarchal Cathedral (Metropolitan Church) in Bucharest.

The Metropolitan Church, also known as the Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral is a functioning religious and civic landmark, located on the hill called Dealul Mitropoliei, in Bucharest, Romania. The structure was begun in 1654 and completed in 1658 under the orders of the Wallachian prince, Serban Basarb.

Main alter of the Cathedral

Frescoes and mosaics, interior of the Cathedral.

Left the cathedral, took pictures, we are going to the Triumphal Arch (Arcul de Triumfin Romanian). It will take about ten minutes by car.

Bell Tower of the Cathedral

Arrived at the Arc de Triomphe.

The triumphal arch is located on the Kiseleff Street in the northern part of the city of Bucharest. The first wooden triumphal arch was built after Romania gained its independence (1878). Another temporary arch was built on the same site, in 1922, after World War I, which was demolished in 1935 to make way for the current triumphal arch, which was inaugurated in September 1936.

Arcul de Triumf; After taking this picture, I will leave Bucharest.

I have heard that Bucharest is dangerous, so I am not going to stay long in this town. I will go to Brasov from now on.