Exploring Tourism in Romania
icon Worldwideicon

Romania Popular Places to Visit

The Big Square In Sibiu

This is the historic center of Sibiu, first mentioned in documents in 1411 as a cereal market, the square existing since 1366 when the third fortification belt of the city was finalized. Staring with the 16th century, the large square became the center of the old city. For hundreds of years the square was named Der Grosse Ring or Grosser Platz, between the two world wars it was called King Ferdinand Square, the communists named it the Republic Square and starting with 1990 it returned to its original name.

The northern side was formed initially by the construction of the Tailors' Guild building in 1466 as well as other medieval buildings, and later on, between 1726 and 1733 the edifice of the Jesuit Church and the adjoining seminar (today a parish house) was erected. On the west side, the Brukenthal Palace was built on the location of two houses, one of them having loggia. Finally, during the first years of the 20th century, the Land Credit Bank building was erected, forming through its construction the present-day Samuel von Brukenthal Street.

During the middle ages, numerous important events in the everyday life of the city took place here, such as public gatherings and executions. The existence of a fountain in this location is mentioned in 1538, the pole of infamy is placed here in 1550 in the eastern side of the square, culminating with the statue of Roland and the scaffold which was placed in front of the house at no. 15 and which would be removed in 1783. County administrator Johann Zabanius Sachs von Harteneck was beheaded here in 1703.

The house of the guards used to stand in front of the Haller House (no. 10). All the houses built in this square had a roof with ridges parallel to the façades. A "lunatic cage" was placed here between 1724 and 1757, in which the persons who disturbed public silence during the night were exposed here during the day. Starting with 1734 the Large Square was dominated by Nepomuk’s statue, built by the city’s commander, general Wallis. After the war, Nepomuk’s statue was moved in a courtyard and the fountain with metallic grates was demolished in 1948. After 1948, the central part of the square was transformed in a flowerbed, all the pieces that furnished the square being disassembled. It was only in 1984 that the park which was unfortunately placed in the central square of a city with a medieval characteristic ceased to exist, in 1986 the statue of scholar

Gheorghe Lazăr made by sculptor Radu Aftenie being placed here instead.

"The eyes of the city", as the roof windows are known, must also be mentioned here because they are most visible from this location.

The wind flags were unmistakably present on every roof house and they indicated either the year the house was built or the emblem of the guild. At present, they only exist on the Council Tower and on the building across it.

Sibiu, Romania

Viscri Fortified Church

Viscri Fortified Church is one of the 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Romania

One of the most interesting Saxon fortified churches is located in the village of Viscri (Weisskirch in German). The name comes from the German Weisse Khirche, meaning white church.

Unlike other Transylvanian fortified churches, Viscri was built around 1100 by the Szekler population and taken over by Saxon colonists in 1185. This explains why this unique gothic church displays a plain straight ceiling rather than a traditional vaulted one. In the 14th century, the eastern section was rebuilt and around 1525, the first fortification walls with towers were added. In the 18th century, the church was endowed with a second defensive wall. Inside, you can admire a classic 19th-century altar featuring a Blessing of the Children centerpiece by the painter J. Paukratz from Rupea. During 1970-1971, the fortified church underwent major renovations. 

Viscri Village, Romania

Râmeţ Monastery

Râmeț Monastery is one of the oldest and most renowned worship places in Romania. It is located in Alba County, Transylvania, in Trascău Mountains (Western Carpathians).

It seems that the monastery was founded by two monks, father Ghenadie and father Romulus, in 1214. The great scholar Nicolae Iorga showed that the name "Râmeț" is derived from "eremite" (lonely monk). The painting of the old church is a real chronicle of its history: the first layer is from 1300, and the second layer from 1310. The third layer, on which a text that dates back to 1377 can be deciphered, was laid on the surface of the arch that is situated between the nave and the pronaos; the fourth layer dates from 1450, the fifth layer from 1600, the sixth layer from 1741, and the seventh layer from 1809. The church was painted again by Grigore Popescu between 1987 and 1988.

Since 1506, the monastery was protected by the ruling prince of Wallachia, Radu the Great. During the reign of Michael the Brave, it was restored by princely craftsmen an painters, as Petre the Armenian, Mina, and Nicolae from Crete. The holy establishment was abandoned for one hundred years. On 20th August 1762, the monastery was destroyed by cannons on the orders of General Bukow, because it was one of the most celebrated Orthodox places of worship, as well as one of the most powerful centers of Orthodox spirituality in Transylvania. The monastery ran a school that was also devasted in 1762. During the following years, Râmeţ Monastery underwent extensive repairs and restoration works. Nevertheless, it was again destroyed by the Austrian imperial army on December 23, 1785.

In 1826, the monastery was transformed into a parish church and in 1932 it became a monastery all over again. The newly acquired monastic status was owed to the persevering efforts of a monk, father Evloghie Ota. In 1955, it was transformed into a female monastic community, but in 1960, it was closed down and turned into a touring chalet. In 1982, the monastery received once again official approval from the local state authorities to resume the religious activities that are regularly carried out in a monastic establishment; yet, the outbuildings designed for monastic domestic uses were still occupied by lay lodgers. In order to regain possession of these outbuildings, father confessor Dometie Manolache, Mother Superior Ierusalima Ghibu and the dedicated monastic residents set about constructing a touring chalet outside the monastery grounds. In 1969 the monastery set up a museum to exhibit icons on wood, icons on glass, old books, and an important numismatic collection. The personalities relating to the existence of the museum include Nicolae Iorga, Vasile Drăguț, and Virgil Vătășianu.

The need for the believers required the building of a new and larger church. The architecture of this church represents a synthesis of the Moldavian and Wallachian architectural styles. Its construction began in 1982 and was finished ten years later, when the church was consecrated on June 29, 1992, and dedicated to the Holy Apostles Peter and PaulSaint Ghelasie of Râmeţ was father superior of the monastery and the archbishop of Transylvania in the second half of the 14th century and was canonized the same day. The monastery houses some 95 nuns and sisters who pray and work according to the holy canons of the Orthodox monasteries.

Râmeţ, Romania

Carol I Mosque

Carol I Mosque, located in the Ovid Square area, is the main religious Muslim edifice and one of the most beautiful architectural monuments of our land. The building started in 1910 at the initiative of King Carol I (which is why the building is named so) and was completed in 1913. The inauguration took place on the 31st of May in the presence of the royal family and Muslim representatives of Romania.
The project was conducted by Victor Stefanescu, one of the senior architects of the early twentieth century, and the building was raised by Gogu Constantinescu
Sharing a beautiful and unique mixture of Egyptian, Byzantine and Romanian architecture, Carol I Mosque is the first building in our country for whose construction reinforced concrete was used. A distinctive feature of the building is a huge dome made of innovative materials listed above. Although many specific Muslim places of worship, is an architectural dome by Christian inspiration, more exactly, Byzantine.

After the inclusion of Constantinople to the Ottoman authorities in 1453, many Muslim religious buildings within the Empire had the prototype of great cathedrals and Christian churches, especially the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul, converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. Another element that draws attention is a 47 meters high minaret that dominates the area, which can be observed even from the sea. Inside the tower, 140 steps guide visitors in a seemingly endless spiral to the terrace on top of the minaret, a great location from which you can admire the city panorama. Both on the top of the minaret and the dome stands proudly the crescent moon symbol of the Muslim world.

The access to Carol I Mosque will be made through two massive doors of black marble with bronze ornaments, handcrafted after those found in the palaces of sultans. Once you enter the room you will find a squared area of 14 meters sides length and simple decor. Unlike Orthodox churches or Catholic cathedrals, the interior is sober, so you immediately notice lacking ornaments, statues and religious images. The only objects that embellish the walls of the mosque are some small paintings and octagonal in Arabic letters that are submitted with the name of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad. Rising to the ceiling of the room, you will see it in the middle of a high dome surrounded by windows, in the center of which hangs a beautiful chandelier perfect balance of Arabic inspiration. The room ceiling is painted in blue shades and simple floral design, taking us to think of the sky. The main element of worship that will capture your attention is the mihrab. It is a kind of altar where the Muslim priest called imam, is officiating religious services every day. To be able to form a picture of the mihrab, you should know that it has a niche as "carved" in the wall, facing Mecca.

All around you will see a dark band that is written with Arabic letters the 99 attributes of Allah. Looking to the right of the mihrab, you will see Minbar, the place where the imam preaches on Fridays and holidays. The holy place where everyone has access, Minbar is the way of Allah and appears as a wooden balcony with steps. The number of stairs is always odd and varies depending on the size of the mosque.
The Imam keeps preaching always sat with two steps down from the top step of the Minbar. Some hearing tile that covers the walls of the room was donated by the Turkish state in 1910 and is a very special place of worship. All the ceramic tiles are colored in shades close to those of the ceiling and decorated with floral patterns.

The mosque has many heritage objects among which the Abdul Hamid carpet, one of the oldest oriental rugs in Europe. The carpet, which has an area of 144 square meters and weighs about 500 kilograms, and it was donated by the sultan of the island of Ada Kaleh (a piece of land located in the middle of the Danube, 3 kilometers downstream from Orsova).
The island sank in 1970 (following the Iron Gates I dam arrangement), and the carpet was donated to the mosque of Constanta. Another attraction of Carol I Mosque is the thermal center of the building - it is the same since 1910 and still working.
Over time, Carol I Mosque was an attraction for all the lovers of Constanta and the old town area.

Like most buildings of interest, Carol I Mosque had periods of decline. In 1936, the journalist and playwright T. Soimaru reported that "nobody cares about the Central Mosque. The king made it and the sea will eat it. The salt and moisture infiltrated it and the doors were chattering from the cold. [...] the feet in the carpets that are used and the famous carpet of Abdul Hamid is history. "

The passage of time did not allow the forgetfulness but as a shadow to fall over the beautiful Muslim place of worship, so the Mosque has undergone several repair processes. Currently, it attracts thousands of visitors, revealing the secrets of their lesser-known religions in our country.
When you first step into a Muslim place of worship must know that the observance of rules of conduct is imperative. There are not many rules and not unmanageable! First, it requires to be a decent outfit (if you can not comply with this rule, you can reschedule your visit). Before stepping inside the mosque should really take off your shoes, and if a job is in progress make sure to give mobile phones to silent, and do not go in front of people praying.

Constanţa, Romania

Saints Peter And Paul Orthodox Cathedral

The cathedral is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul and it is the largest and most important Orthodox church in Dobrogea, being known as the Cathedral of the Archbishop of Tomis. The church is situated in the historical area of the city, close to the seafront boulevard Elizabeth and the Casino.
Built between 1883 and 1885 was the first Orthodox settlement built in Dobrogea after the release from Ottoman domination. The church was built of brick and concrete, after the plans of the famous architect Ioan Mincu. The Interior furniture, consisting of veil, pews, chandeliers, and candlesticks is genuine and was executed in Paris, from oak, according to the architect's drawings. Part of the furniture, with extraordinary elegance, is covered with gold leaf and inlaid with semiprecious stones.

In terms of the interior original painting, Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral has an interesting story. Work on the painting of the church was started in 1888, three years after completion of construction. The task was given to Demetrescu Mirea, a famous painter of the time.
The painter's mastery changed not only the appearance of the shrine, but also its history. Instead of traditional Byzantine painting, Mirea, a painter with an innovative vision, preferred realistic style, assigning them personalities faces of saints in the everyday life of Constanta. This has triggered a scandal. The Orthodox Church was shocked by the artwork. They refused to hold the consecration of the cathedral and requested an emergency change of the painting.

After nearly a decade in which the church did not work, the Ministry of Cults approved the consecration of the shrine in 1895 with all existing paintings. Currently, there are no controversial painting as Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral was destroyed during the Second World War. The church was rebuilt in 1951 and consecrated again. The new painting was done in the fresco technique by Gheorghe Popescu and Dona Niculina Delavrancea.
The painting, done in Byzantine style with Romanian decorations, has great beauty and offers the cathedral the monument of art status, besides the architectural monument. Note frescoes are the two "thrones" at the entrance to the Cathedral and in detail depicting Heaven and Hell.
Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral Heritage include ancient icons, including a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, gospel, epitaphs, religious objects made of precious materials, and the relics of three saints.
In December 2001, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul church was declared archbishop monastic character. Since then, the services are celebrated twice a day, morning and evening, by the monks who live in the Archbishop's Palace located near the cathedral

Constanţa, Romania

Genoese Lighthouse

The Genoese Lighthouse (Romanian: Farul Genovez) is a lighthouse and historic monument situated on the waterfront of the city of Constanța, Romania behind a group of statues which has in its center the bust of Mihai Eminescu, sculpted by Oscar Han. It is located near Constanța Casino.

The lighthouse stands approximately eight meters high and is rectangular at its base to a height of about three and a half meters, and is octagonal above that. The interior of the lighthouse is cylindrical, with a spiral staircase in stone. The structure itself stands upon a pedestal base consisting of two steps and is finished at the top with brackets supporting the eaves, upon which the metal housing of the lantern room also forms the roof.

The original lighthouse was built around 1300 by the Genoese who traded at the port, to guide ships at sea from a range of about two nautical miles out to the small port of Constanța. It was rebuilt between 1858-1860 by French-Armenian engineer Artin Aslan, by order of the British-owned Danube and Black Sea Railway Company, to honor the Genoese merchants who established a flourishing sea trade community.

Constanţa, Romania

The Statue Of Ovidiu

It was designed in 1887 by the Italian sculptor Ettore Ferrari. An identical replica exists since 1925 in Sulmona (Italy).

It is located in the old part of the city, in Ovidiu Square, in front of the first building of Constanţa City Hall, today the National Museum of History and Archaeology, near Tomis port.

The first amongst the statuary monuments erected in Constanţa after reentering under Romanian administration is the one that depicts the great Latin poet Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BCE – 17 C.E.). The bronze statue depicts Ovidiu into a deep meditative attitude. The statue unveiling from August 1887 occasioned a real celebration attended by all people from Constanţa, headed by the prefect Remus Opreanu, the initiator of the “Committee for the statue of Ovidiu.”

The statue stands on a pedestal of white marble, on which is encrusted a plate with a text of “Tristia”.

“Under this stone lies Ovidiu, the singer of gentle loving

succumbed by his talent.

O, you who pass on and if you ever loved

Pray for him to sleep smoothly.”

Originally, the statue was placed facing north, the construction of the City Hall Palace imposing in 1921, moving it on the actual place. During the German-Bulgarian occupation during the years 1916-1918, the statue was taken down from the pedestal by the Bulgarian army, to be taken as plunder of war, but the intervention of certain German officers have stopped the original “cultural initiative”; until the return of the Romanian authorities, during November 1918, the statue was housed in the basement of the City Hall. During 1925, a faithful replica of this work was unveiled in the hometown of the poet – Sulmona.

Constanţa, Romania

The National Museum Of History And Archaeology

The National History and Archaeology Museum of Constanta is one of the richest museums in Romania and the second-largest institution in the country, after the National History Museum of Romania from Bucharest.

The cornerstone of the museum was laid in 1879 by Remus Opreanu the first prefect of the Romanian administration of Dobrogea, in an attempt to counter the smuggling of antiquities discovered in archaeological sites of Constanta. For nearly a century, the Historical Museum of Constanta has experienced periods of decline and prosperity, being disorganized, reorganized and moved to different locations in the city. In 1977, the museum exhibits are permanently moved to its current headquarters in Ovidiu Square. The imposing building of the museum was built in the Romanian architectural style in the early twentieth century and served as the town hall until 1921.

The National History and Archaeology Museum hosts an impressive heritage, consisting of over 430,000 objects dating from the Paleolithic to modern times. The museum apart from similar institutions in other counties in that, although the focus is on the history of Dobrogea, has also a national thematic area.

The institution houses Greek, Romanian, Byzantine and medieval objects (stone, bronze and iron tools and weapons), ceramics, antique architectural elements (columns, capitals, pediments, scenery, etc..), ancient sculptures, glass vases, bronze statues, jewelry, coins (the collection includes silver, bronze and gold coins, some of them unique), icons, documents, maps, models, photographs, telegrams, magazines, objects of some personalities of the early twentieth century, furniture and other objects of great historical significance.

The ground floor of the Museum of National History and Archaeology consists of two rooms where archaeological monuments of outstanding value, rare and unique pieces are exposed. In this section noted are: the Glykon Snake - a unique piece in the world, representing a deity of the Romanian mythology (II century BC), the statuary group of Fortuna with Pontos - protective deities of  Tomis city and harbor (II-III century BC), the dual aediculae representation of Nemesis - one of the most remarkable parts of the Museum (II century BC) collections of gold jewelry, gems and cameos, silver vessels from Sucidava fortress  sources etc..
On the other floors of the museum, the exhibits are arranged chronologically, beginning with the first evidence of habitation of Dobrogea and ending with the modern era. Among these pieces is remarkable the "Thinker" and its pair emblematic pieces from the Hamagia culture (Neolithic).
The History and archeology museum complex is completed by a large outdoor set of engraved and carved stones and by The Roman  Edifice of Mosaic, a unique monument in Eastern Europe by its size.

Constanţa, Romania

Old Casino In Constanta

Once an opulent Art Nouveau hotspot, the Constanța Casino is one of Romania's most beautiful abandoned buildings. 

Originally commissioned by King Carol I around 1900, the Casino first opened to the public in 1910.

Commanding a dramatic location right on the waterfront of the Black Sea overlooking the ancient port at Constanța, the Casino was a triumph of the Art Nouveau movement, and quickly became the symbol of the city. Worsening circumstances in Romania over the 20th century saw it gradually fall into disrepair, briefly used as a hospital during World War II and eventually repurposed by the communist regime as a restaurant. Maintaining the elaborate structure quickly became prohibitively expensive, and the building was closed in 1990.

Despite occasional efforts at restoration, it’s remained abandoned ever since. While it’s nominally owned by the municipality and technically closed to the public, Romanian authorities have never shown much interest in enforcing the closure.

There are a lot of legends and secrets about how the casino was built. One such legend claims that Constanța Casino was built by a navigator whose daughter died young, at 17 years old. Her father, the story goes, decided to build the Casino for young people to share moments that his daughter couldn’t. If you look from the top, the casino supposed to look like a hearse and the windows like graves.

Constanţa, Romania

Densus Church

The church of Densus, a village in Tara Hategului (Hateg County), located few kilometers far from Ulpia Traiana Sarmisegetusa is still keeping its secrets so that no one can certainly say when it was built. Historians have different opinions. Some of them say that it was built on the ruins of a pre – Christian edifice in Dacia, others believe that it was built on the foundation of a temple dedicated to god Mars, many say that the church was initially a mausoleum dedicated to general Longinus Maximus that was killed by the Dacians, Nicolae Iorga places it in the 16th century, while art historian Vataseanu believes that it dates from the last quarter of the 13th century.
What is certain is this: at this point, it is the oldest church in Romania in which services are still officiated.

The church is 30 meters long, 8 meters wide, 18 meters high and it has an interior space of 15 square meters. The walls were built of bricks with Roman inscriptions, capitals, tombstones, sewerage pipes, blocks, marble, columns, and sculptures taken from Ulpia Traiana. The pronaos, under the form of an “L”, is uncovered, and guarded by four thick pillars covered with tombstones. The altar table is also made of a tombstone whose letters were deleted. Above, there are two lions that stay back on the back. The naos is pierced by a tower around which there is a narrow space covered by a prop vault, and at East, there is a semicircular niche.

The roof is made of stone plates. The mural paintings inside the church, on an ultramarine background, dates from the 15th century, and the painter who made it put a simple signature: Stefan. Baby Jesus, dressed in a Romanian popular outfit, and held by Virgin Mary is represented on one of the pillars. Unfortunately, many paintings were destroyed by Reformists during the Middle Ages.

Specialists say that the church of Densus could be a copy of San Nicoara Church from Curtea de Arges, of which only some ruins are to be found nowadays. The coincidence is that it has the same dedication day as the church from Arges, namely Saint Nicholas’ day.

A turning point in the history of this church is placed in the middle of the 19th century. At some point, the inhabitants of the village wanted to put it down so that they can build a larger one. Finally, it was saved by the authorities in Budapest, who considered it a monument and forbade its destruction. Before 1989, the image of the Church of Densus was on one of the most popular postal stamps, one of 40 bani.
A few years ago, with the help of the American ambassador in Bucharest, Michael Guest, the church received a 20 000 dollars donation from the United States of America, money that was used to renovate a great part of its mural paintings.

Densuș, Romania