Why does the one-of-a-kind Viscri village appeal so much to tourists, especially the Prince Charles?

Due to Prince Charles and Mihai Eminescu Trust, hidden gems such as Viscri village are increasingly sought by tourists, charmed by the beauty of the area, the simplicity of life, the Saxon traditional well preserved architecture and customs of a community which is almost exctint (27 Saxons out of 500 inhabitants). It seems that here, all  stand still and that medieval times come alive in a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. This Romanian top destination, known world-wide helps every modern tourist to get away from it all ,to escape from the hussle and bussle of a city and come back to traditions, to bygone eras when aproximately one millenium ago  the first Saxon settled down here coming from Luxembourg and built a strong community who resisted to all obstacles. The impressive heritage  is perfectly preserved and shows  the typicall quaint colourful  Saxon houses with painted blinds, which line up on each side of the road and the simple white romanesque fortified church which stands out in the centre of the village.

the fortified church

But what’s the connection with Prince Charles? Well, it’s this royal member who, under the patronage of Mihai Eminescu Trust, refurbished all the houses in the specific of Saxon comunnity without spoiling the traditional elements saying: “Do not change anything, keep and love this place as it is”.  All the villagers’ houses were declared historical monuments. The property bought by Prince Charles is located at number 163 – an ordinary house, built in 1758, painted in blue, with a large yard and a specific fountain area. He comes here every summer and uses to go riding in the surrounding hills, until Rupea and Homorod.Overmore, the village and the fortified church are included on the UNESCO Heritage List since 1993.

Saxon house

Location– The village is situated in the centre of Romania, close to Sighisoara (40 km). So as to reach Viscri, you have to quit the main road (E60) in Bunesti,turn right and you have 8 km to drive till you get to the remote village which succedded in keeping up its exact local atmosphere. You’ll be amazed seeing an isolated place tucked away under Transylvanian oak and beech forests and sheltered from the busy life of a city.

Mihai Eminescu Trust

What you should first do is to scroll down the streets and gaze in front of each Saxon house, analyse its design, mix up with the locals, take some unforgettable photos of unique properties marked with MET inscriptions (Mihai Eminescu Trust) and the year of renovation and decorated with traditional elements. When I visited Viscri, there where many British, Spanish, German, French tourists that enjoyed their visit and that were astonished by the charming Saxon culture  represented by houses and by the landmark of the village, the white fortified church. Get into souvenir shops and buy homemade products: marmadelades, syrups, traditionally painted items-furniture, pots, clothes and what are very popular here are the warmy handmade feltshoes made of wool which take 3 hours to skillful women to make, puting layer  over layerof wool (in total 7 layers). Difficult and meticulously work! At a table, in a Saxon yard, take a meal and why not spend a night there like Prince Charles. Who knows if you aren’t lucky and bump into the royalty.

souvenirs

And here we are, in front of the most iconic place in the village- the fortified church, considered one of the most picturesque churches in Transylvania. Climb the path towards the chuch and stay for a while admiring the massiveness of the semicircular white defense walls which are completed by the donjons. Like a real peasant fortress resisting to the enemies! If you contemplate the fortified church from the outside, it is the towers and the height of the massive walls which stand out and the small church almost totally disappears behind them. Today, this impressive fortification houses a traditional Saxon museum. For a fee (4 lei adult and 2 lei child/student) payed to a friendly German,you can discover its heritage and how the Saxons have lived. The central church surrounded by the defesive walls seems so small but  inside, you’ll gaze at the simplicity of the  motifs (faded a bit by the patina of times) inspired from the Transylvanian Saxon popular art. The interior of the church recalls the atmosphere of a traditional Saxon house, rich in folklore art. Sit on the old wooden benches and indulge your ears with a pure, relaxing and divine concert of the organ pipe.

inside the fortress

inside the church

 

Then, entirely fullfilled, head to the rear of the church and climb the narrow and steep staircase to the tower of the chuch (not indicated to the claustrophobics). It worths the effort.Tired,with your feet trembling due to the difficult climb, you’ll be prized with a fantastic view of the meadows (so appreciated by the Prince Charles grace to their various types of plants) of the green forests and especially of the wonderful village. The panoramic view from the tower is a highlight in Viscri. Downside, surround the church and see the traces of history, the inscriptions dating back to 12th century. And the beautiful flowers of the right side corner.

view from the tower

Your last thing to do here is to visit the Saxon Museum, several rooms displaying the Saxon culture-furnitures, papers, items, clothes, an exhibition of an interesting community who left their landmark in many parts of Transylvania. Again, you have to ascend some stairs so as to arrive in the towers of the defensive walls from where you’ll delight yourself with an amazing view and from where you can distinguish the extraordinary circular shape of this fortress. Wowww! And now, your visit to the church has ended.

Saxon museum

All in all, subject of many reportages and stories throughout the British and international mass-media, including the hit series of travel movies Wild Carpathia, the village of Viscri has come to the spotlight of Romanian tourism, thousands of foreign visitors arriving in the private guesthouses each year, some of them thanks to the publicity from Prince Charles. So if travelers from the four corners of the world want to evade and meet an authentic place where people still live in perfect communion with  nature, then they should give Viscri a chance. Hope you’ve enjoyed my article! Thanks for stopping by and go to Viscri!

A region full of everything in Romania…that’s definitely Maramures!

Probably you haven’t heard of this idyllic place but it’s a must when it comes to tourism in Romania because it provides what everybody needs- remarkable ski slopes, amazing wooden churches listed as UNESCO’s monuments and many other wonderful places to see. Interesting, isn’t it? Let’s go,dear traveler…

      1. Are you a lover of winter sports? Maramures will meet your requirements due to its nice ski resort Cavnic where you’ll be impressed of traditions which are passed down from generation to generation. Here I’m refering to Christmas time or New Year’s period when I’ve had the pleasure of learning their customs-they tend to go from door to door wishing locals and tourists either a happy new year or good luck depending on that Holy Day. (and the fact that children sing beautiful carols-it’s so lovely!)

Cavnic

                 Apart from their traditions, Maramures offers everybody the possibilty to practise winter sports on ski slopes such as Icoana or Roata.(both well-equipped) But I suggest you to get to Icoana if you are upper-intermediate like me or if you are  a beginner-(I’ll give you a tip- take up skiing from here- so friendly professional trainers). Regarding the other slope,Roata I’d say you that it’s a bit too steep even for ski lovers but you can get adrenaline buzz there, so it’s up to you if you take it into account or not. Take a break at Icoana’s Chalet situated just in the middle of the slope and sip a hot chocolate or tea so as to get warmer and to rest a bit! Another worthy ski slope but a bit risky is Suior (it’s close to Cavnic 5 km ).You’ll get the ropeway and you’ll spend enjoyable moments till you reach the destination because there are such stunning views of snow capped mountains and snowy trees. Breathtaking! After you arrive at the final station you get started with skiing! See you down the slope!

     2. It’s time for visiting! Yes,it is! Your next destination might be Barsana Monastery whose complex consists of some wooden churches at which you’ll marvel.(plus the fact that it’s on the UNESCO list). Not only Norway and Russia have impressive wooden churches but also Romania. Have a stroll in the courtyard where, especially at summer, it’s a pleasure to indulge your eyes with colourful flowers embellishing all the complex. Just like you are in the Heaven! Overwhelmed by  peace and a feeling of detachment from the world! The interior frescoes are made by Alexandru Ponehalski, one of the most active church painters in Maramures. The painting in the pronaos depicts the Last Judgement, where the blaze of hell is about to engulf the sinners.

All in all, Maramures is worth visiting if you are interested in architecture,winter sports, and above all in the traditions which in  many countries have steadily begun to vanish. I’m looking forward to hearing your impressions. Keep in touch and thanks for stopping by!

The magnificent Bigar waterfall welcomes its visitors!

“The miracle from the Minis Gorges” called by the locals. The Bigar  Fall, from Caras-Severin County, was ranked by  the World Geography publication as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.Why is it possible?  Because you have the privilege of a  spectacular show of water  spread in thousands of threads on the green moss covered cliff, creating a graceful water veil. Overmore, it gives all people the impression of an out of this world sight.  Where? This hidden place can be reached somewhere between Oravita and the village of Bozovici, in the Anina mountains, in Romania.  So come to Romania and explore it by yourself!

Amazing church sanctuary that you’ve never seen!

image

Such wonderful example of Greek-Catholic Church, the Holy Trinity Church from Blaj, Alba County( Romania) stands out through its beautifully adorned sanctuary which is full with icons. Besides there’s a wooden carved pulpet which is used by priests. Admire its stunning decorations while praying. Worth visiting! For more info, contact me.

Rupea fortress waits for you!

Wandering across Romania, in a search of impressive historic places ? Rupea fortress is the right answer! At 65 km from Brasov, you have the opportunity to visit a stunning example of a refuge for the inhabitants of the surrounding villages. Dominating the town from  the Cohalm Hill, this  14th – 17th century reminder of history  welcomes travelers who catching the glimpse of it, decide to have a look, take a break and why not visit 3 parts of the fortress: the upper one,the middle one and the lower one. Concerning the parking lot,you’ll be pleased with a huge one. Getting out of your car, you’ll have to pay 10 Ron to visit it, but it’s worth seeing it.

After a tiring climb, rest a bit on the benches placed in the inner yards. Moreover, greatly restored ( 3 years), the fortress attracts many people due to its amazing view. So it’s time for photos! Get in the towers and imagine yourself to be a knight ready for battle. Thanks for stopping by!

Poienari fortress- one of the residences of Vlad III the Impaler (Tepes)

  Curios about it, aren’t you? Let’s find out about it! As you drive on the Transfagarasan road from Curtea de Arges, you’ll suddenly bump into the Poienari fortress and you’ll wander how on earth could the construction of this defence fortress have  been possible thinking that it is perched high on a  cliff.  Face a steep climb, on a 1480 step staircase, to reach the top and don’t forget your camera.(such amazing views of the Arges Valley and of the surroundings). Rest yourself upstairs and pay a tribute (2 Ron/0,5 Euro) to the fortress “guardian” who’ll be your tour guide. Why have I mentioned the name of the forceful ruler? Because, on his times, he restored this fortress so as to fight with the Otomans and made it one of his main fortresses. Overmore, expect yourself to see his famous places where he impaled his opponents and those who didn’t respect the rules.

Poienari Fortress has inspired great stories and played its part in Romania’s history. So, it’s worth being conquered by you, traveler. Go to Poienari!