28 best sights in Romania
Romania is a country in Southeastern Europe, famous for its architectural sights and nature. On its territory there are high mountains, picturesque hills, dense forests and plains.
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Who to come here and why
Romania, which appeared on the map of Europe as a result of the merger of the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, is proud of its turbulent history. The architecture of its cities mixed Greek, Turkish, and Saxon styles, giving the streets a special charm. Tourists come here to see the ancient Gothic castles, beautiful palaces, defense fortresses.
In Romania live hospitable people who honor the national holidays and traditions. Guests who come to Christmas take part in mass festivities, accompanied by dances, games and singing of carols. Folk songs, authentic dances and theme festivals are generally popular in the country:
- In February, Sfintu-Georg hosts a festival dedicated to winter fun and national rituals.
- In September the carp fishing competition starts.
- In October, there is a festival of winemaking.
And Romania invites to the International Art Festival in Brasov, musical festival “Sibinium” in Sibiu and flower fairs.
Carpathian Mountains, which run through the entire territory of the country, attract fans of outdoor activities. In winter people go skiing, mountain climbing, bobsleighing. In summer, popular is biking.
The routes along the Danube valley offer beautiful natural landscapes. For extreme tourists, there is a mountain serpentine stretching next to the gorge Bikaz.
In Romania, there are many museums, parks and other attractions, suitable for family holidays. Adults and children enjoy visiting Dracula’s Castle, Cismigiu Garden and the village museum in Sibiu.
At the beginning of the last century a magnificent palace was erected in the center of Bucharest by order of Prime Minister Cantacuzino. The facade of the mansion is decorated with arched windows, stucco and iron balconies. On its porch there are big stone lions.
The front residence of the prime minister in 1955 passed into the hands of the state. Now there is a museum of the famous Romanian musician George Enescu in the palace. During a tour you can see the rich interior and the permanent exhibition, including personal belongings and manuscripts of the musician.
In the locality of Bran on the top of a cliff rises a castle from the 14th century. The defense structure has an unusual trapezoidal shape and four tiers connected to each other by a steep staircase. Legend has it that the castle was often visited by the famous Vlad Tepesh-Drakula, whom rumor has dubbed a vampire.
At the Bran Gate is a stone cross with carved symbols of the Order of the Dragon, and in the courtyard has an ancient well. Now the castle belongs to Dominic the Habsburg, a descendant of the Romanian kings. Tourists are shown the interiors of the rooms, a collection of weapons and medieval torture instruments.
The 19th-century palace built on the Cotroceni Hill in Bucharest is the former residence of Princess Maria and Prince Ferdinand. After the abolition of the monarchy, it was taken over by the Ministry of the Interior. Art objects and valuables were taken out to museums.
After the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu, the palace housed the Romanian president. Now part of the building belongs to the museum and is open to tourists.
The famous architectural monument was built in Bucharest at the end of the last century by order of Ceausescu. It was supposed to be the headquarters of state institutions of the republic. The largest administrative building in Europe stretches 86 meters high.
The palace has 12 floors and 1100 rooms. The inner walls are decorated with marble, bronze and wood. The rooms are decorated with crystal chandeliers, lamps, mirrors, statues, huge carpets and tapestries. In the west wing there is a museum of modern art and a museum of totalitarianism.
The main concert hall of Bucharest was built by the French architect Albert Galleron and inaugurated in 1888. The magnificent building with a wide dome is decorated with columns, moldings, openwork windows.
On the first floor there is a conference hall, above – the auditorium and the parterre. The walls are painted with frescos by Costin Petrescu, depicting various historical events. The Ateneum is a cultural symbol of the Romanian people. It regularly hosts classical music concerts and festivals.
On a hill on the outskirts of the town of Deva are the picturesque ruins of an ancient castle. Once it was a mighty Transylvanian stronghold that housed a large garrison of soldiers. The castle’s territory is considered a nature reserve – now restoration works are being carried out here.
Travelers can explore the surviving defensive walls, fragments of towers and take beautiful pictures.
In the outskirts of Sinai there is a beautiful castle built in the late 19th century in the neo-Renaissance style. During its construction the advanced technology of the time was used: the building is fully electrified, has central heating and even an elevator. The inner rooms are decorated with tapestries, statues, and luxurious paintings on the walls.
The castle has a museum with a large collection of weapons, antique furniture, gold jewelry, porcelain and paintings. The architectural ensemble is surrounded by a park with fountains and sculptures.
The fortress of Alba Iulia
The ancient city of Alba Iulia is easy to find on the Mures River near Bucharest. There are three fortresses of different eras and the ruins of the Roman castrum, in which the archaeological excavations are now underway.
The restored fortress of Alba-Carolina is a huge complex with several streets. Visitors explore the fort walls, towers, monastery, St. Michael’s Church, the Princes’ Palace and the Unification Museum.
Above the Tarnava Mare River there is the town of Sighisoara, founded in the 13th century by German colonists. Its historical center is a World Heritage Site, which is protected by UNESCO.
When you come here, you can see a medieval fortress, ancient temples and the Clock Tower, which is 64 meters high. The city is the birthplace of “Count Dracula” – in the central square there is his ancestral home with a restaurant of Romanian cuisine and museum.
The ancestral home of Hungarian feudal lords in southern Transylvania, built in the 14th century, was damaged by fire in 1854, but was quickly rebuilt. The architectural complex consists of round and triangular towers, strong walls, a chapel, and an artillery platform. According to legend, the deposed warlord Vlad Tepes languished in the castle cellars for 7 years.
Guests of the castle are led inside by a giant bridge, shown the defensive towers, torture chamber, hall, where in ancient times the knights had a feast, and the White Bastion.
The city of Fagarash in Transylvania was founded back in the 13th century. Soon a fortress was erected on its territory to protect against the raids of the Tatars and Turks – a white medieval castle now rises on a hill.
There is a historical museum in the restored rooms, which tells about the owners of the fortress, a library with old printed books and a restaurant. On the lower level there are wine cellars and a tasting room.
Temples and monasteries
The oldest monastery on the banks of the Danube was founded in the 16th century. Unfortunately, it had a sad fate: it was raided by the Turks several times, destroyed in wars, and in the middle of the last century was completely flooded because of an accident at a hydroelectric power plant. In the summer, the river shallows and the ruins of the monastery emerge from the water. Thousands of tourists and pilgrims come to see this spectacle.
The Orthodox monastery in Bukovina was built over 400 years ago by the rulers of Wallachia and Moldavia. There is also the Church of the Ascension, built in Gothic style. The ancient walls on the inside and outside are covered with paintings of high artistic value. Paintings depicting the events of the Old and New Testament have retained their intensity and brightness.
The monastic complex is surrounded by high thick walls. There are defensive towers at each corner. There is a museum of art and history on the territory.
The construction of the monastery in Horezu began in 1690 under the leadership of the ruler of Wallachia. It was built in the national Brynkovian architectural style, combining Byzantine, Eastern and European motifs.
The monastery church has two heads and is decorated with decorative paintings, columns, arches. In the yard there are trees, houses of monks and outbuildings. Near the entrance there is a small museum where church utensils and archaeological exhibits found during excavations in Horezu are on display.
Black Church in Brasov
The largest Gothic church in Romania is located in Brasov. The 14th-century church, made of loose sandstone, suffered a fire during the Turkish War and was called the Black Church because of it.
It is 65 metres high and has a six-ton bell on its bell tower. The facade and interior rooms are decorated with stone patterns, portals, arches and marble sculptures. Inside there are statues of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, Saint Nicholas and John the Baptist.
The church is also a museum, where Gothic frescoes, an ancient font, a cast-iron ark and brocade clothes of the XV century are kept.
Church of the Archangel in Rogoza
The wooden church in Rogoza is a bright example of the architecture of the Southern Carpathians of the 17th century. The polygonal structure is made of logs and has a rectangular nave with a high bell tower on the west side. The interior walls are painted in bright colors. Church of the Archangel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is protected by the state.
National Art Museum in Bucharest
In the building of the former royal palace is the largest museum of fine arts in Romania. The exposition includes the ancient icons, paintings and sculptures of the Romanian masters. Collections of ancient weapons, coins and decorations are kept in separate halls. Foreign art is represented by the canvases by Rembrandt, El Greco, Monet and Aivazovsky.
In the center of the capital, the Postal Palace houses a history museum. It contains numerous exhibits and archaeological finds covering thousands of years of Romanian history. Thematic exhibitions tell about the events of past eras.
Tourists can see the works of arts and crafts, weapons, national costumes, medieval manuscripts, archival documents and paintings by local artists.
The Ethnographic Museum in Sibiu is located in a beautiful park. On the vast territory is equipped with a real Romanian village of the end of the last century. There are national small houses with thatched roofs, a working church, a mill, a forge and a pottery workshop. Guests are greeted by people dressed in national costumes. Here adults and children can learn ancient crafts, see the local pond and visit the restaurant of national cuisine.
Museum of Count Dracula
In the city of Sigishoara, in the ancestral home of the Tepes, there is a museum of Count Dracula. It tells the real story of the Wallachian voivode and highlights the stages of his reign. There are stored personal belongings of Vlad Tepes and archival documents. The tour takes place interactively with the use of visual layouts and audio descriptions.
Museum of Mineralogy
There is a small but interesting mineralogy museum in Baja Mare. It features minerals found in the region over the past centuries.
Visitors can see gold nuggets, silver, uncut gems, and rocks. There is a gift store next to the museum that sells mineralogy books, posters, and rock samples.
Natural Attractions, Parks and Recreation
Botanical Garden in Bucharest
On the hill of Cotroceni there is a beautiful botanical garden. On the territory of 17 hectares are planted trees and shrubs from different countries. The park is divided into several sectors. At the entrance there are ornamental plants and flowers. A little further is the flora, listed in the Red Book. In the sector of medicinal plants – specimens actively used in folk medicine.
In the botanical garden are made ponds, fountains and artificial waterfalls. Guests can see a tropical greenhouse, rose garden, blooming irises, orchids and rhododendrons.
Near the town of Cluj-Napoca, the forest is a good place to relax. Some years ago it was equipped with paintball and volleyball courts, an archery range, bicycle trails and hiking trails.
Among the greenery, you can easily find an oak grove, a small lake and drinking water sources. The legends of paranormal phenomena and spirits living there contribute to the popularity of the forest.
In the center of Bucharest there is a magnificent urban garden, planted at the end of the 18th century. It attracts tourists with smooth shady alleys, bright flowerbeds, fountains and lakes with bridges. In summer you can rent a catamaran or a boat here.
In winter, a large ice rink opens in the garden. An important attraction of this place is considered a platform, on which statues of Romanian writers and poets are placed.
Park of Dinosaurs in Rysznov
In the forest, not far from the 14th century fortress, there is a park of dinosaurs. Large animal figures are set up in the clearing, and different sounds are heard from hidden speakers. All the dinosaurs can be touched and photographed. Within the park there are also carousels, a playground, and a suspended trail that winds through the tree crowns. Those who want to go to a small cafe and buy souvenirs in the store.
In the west of Romania, near the town of Bozovici, there is the Beusnita National Park, where you can see the Bigar Waterfall. The natural landmark originates high in the mountains.
The water flows down the slope until it collides with a limestone rock. Jets from all sides envelop the barrier and fall from a seven-meter height downwards. Near the waterfall there is a bridge over the Minis River and an observation deck.
The ice cave in the Apuseni mountains was discovered by scientists in 1863. Its length is 705 meters and its age is 3500 thousand years. Inside, the temperature is always below zero degrees – the walls and ceiling are covered with blocks of ice and stalagmites.
For the convenience of visitors to the cave paved metal stairs with handrails. Before the tour, travelers are instructed and given carbide lamps.
In the town of Turda there is a large salt cave used for recreation by tourists and locals. People go down stairs to the first tier and from there take an elevator down. In the central hall of the cave is a Ferris wheel, tennis tables and even a soccer field.
In the next room spreads an underground lake with an island and a boat dock – a wooden bridge leads to a piece of land. People come here for the whole day to breathe in the salty healing air and chat with friends.