Albești & Sighișoara.
Day starts early again today. Bucharest is quite far and in the middle there is still a bunch of sights to visit. Albești, the place next to Sighișoara wasn’t on the list but it hosts a very peculiar church with an incredible roof with written on it the date of foundation: 1265. To be honest the church doesn’t seem so old but I may be wrong if I check the German name of this town (in this area all towns have German and Hungarian name). In German town is called Weisskirch (white church) and actually the church is white. This is a very short stop. Much more time we are going to spend in Sighișoara. As I’ve said already in my yesterday’s post, this is really a beautiful town. The most interesting part is the citadel on the hill. The sights not to be missed are the clock tower with a mechanical figure that reminds me a bit of that one in Munich, the church on the hill and the beautiful wooden covered stairs dating from 1642 and leading to the church. From the hill you have nice view of the town. This is the birthplace of count Vlad, better known as Dracula in the West. Epithet of Dracula was mainly referred to Vlad’s father and it means that he belonged to the order of the Dragons but actually the Romanian word “Dracul” means not only dragon but also devil. Sighișoara would probably deserve a much longer visit but our time is limited and therefore after a walk around little streets of the old town, dotted with the towers whose names are the ones of the guild who had in charge the relevant maintenance, we take back our car and we move towards next place.
A region full of fortified churches.
This area of Romania is full of fortified churches. I’ve explained what they are yesterday. Seven of them are included in the Unesco heritage list but I think I’m not wrong estimating a total amount of 100 in the all region. Basically in any little town or village there you can see a road sign with directions to “biserica fortificată” (fortified church in Romanian). Sometimes on the way to our destinations we stop to quickly take a look at one of them if it is by the road. Next destination is Biertan that hosts probably one of the biggest and most significant medieval strongholds in Transylvania. One curiosity about this place is that the door has 15 bolts all managed by a single key. There is a group of tourist visiting the walled town. It is said that here there is a small house where they were used to keep for two weeks and against their will, all couples aiming to split. Legend says that after this treatment most of then changed their mind. After the visit we take our road again. It is a beautiful day with only few innocent clouds in the sky. Green meadows along the road are spotted by cows. Sometime we see other church but we can’t stop for long, maybe just for a photo. However we find the time to stop for having a quick pic-nic eating some very peculiar sheep cheese bought in Bran and some more ordinary but tasty sausages.
Sâmbăta de Sus monastery.
Big Romanian style monastery in Sâmbăta de Sus is going to be probably the second last sight of this day. Bucharest is still quite far. But let’s talk about the monastery. It was founded in 1701 but it is kept so well that it looks like it is only few years old. I don’t know if I like this “new”. There is however a pleasant atmosphere. It is clearly very important for Romanian orthodox people and there are many worshipers all around. There is a source of water with allegedly beneficial effects on health and people arrives here to take it but not exaggerating in size and amount of bottles. Everything is exactly how it should be, white, clean, flowers at their place. But for some reason I’m not impressed. This place reminds me a bit of Fruška Gora monasteries in Serbia, maybe one in Rakovac but in that case I was emotionally involved and I don’t feel same here. However, it is good place to take some nice picture trying not to disturb the faithfuls. The time is running so, once again we need to go.
Făgăraș, Șinca Veche and a little surprise in the middle.
We don’t have time enough to visit one more citadel in Făgăraș but at least we stop to take some great pictures from outside with spectacular reflections of the walls into the ditch like the cover of this post. I would call it a perfect postcard and actually, if you search for Făgăraș on Internet, you will find very similar images. Town is a bit chaotic with a big church in the centre with the shiniest domes I ever seen. From Făgăraș we move on to Șinca Veche, a place where there is a cave monastery. On the way to this place, when we are in a village called Ohaba, my friend C. notices a sign for a watermill. What do we do? Let’s go! And crossing a scary small bridge we found this interesting place with a very nice miller that explain us that this place belongs to the same family by four generations and that they were able to save it by expropriation at Ceaušescu time. The nice thing is that this is not a museum. We arrived while the miller was doing flour as you can see from his whiten dress 🙂
Șinca Veche is very close, 10 minutes and we are there. Here there is also a newer church but what is really impressing is the old cave church. They say that this was a place of worship already 7.000 years ago. One of the mystery of this place is the symbol that can be found in the innermost cave made of a star of David with a circle inside. Someone sees in this circle the Yin and Yang symbol. To be honest, I see just a circle but for sure, if true, it would be a mystery. Judge your own, looking at the pic in the gallery.
Thanks to my friend I had the chance to see the many faces of Romania, a beautiful country that now I will finish to visit on my own. Before of that I have to bring her and the car home, in Bucharest and you have to take a look at the below gallery.