Queen Mary is known as “The Soldier Queen” or the “Mother of wounded”, because of her massive implication in helping injured person in the First World War. Maria Alexandra Victoria by Saxa-Coburg and Gotha (aka Queen Mary) is born in Great Britain, on October 29, 1875.

The Queen is the first daughter of Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia and Prince Alfred of Great Britain. At the age of 17, young Mary marries Prince Ferdinand I and becomes the Queen of Romania. Ferdinand I of Romania was King of the Romanians from 10 October 1914 until his death in 1927, after he became his uncle`s heir – Carol I.

In 30 years of marriage, Queen Mary gives birth to Carol II, Princess Elisabeth, Princess Maria, Prince Nicolae and little Mircea.

She is considered one of the most beautiful women from Europe with a big heart. People loved Queen Mary because she became a nurse in the First World War and courageously coped with this role. She crosses the Danube Delta just to see how Romanian soldiers feel, as in the year of 1913, erupts a cholera epidemic. When she came back home she obtains her husband permission to develop a help camp there.

Furthermore, Queen Mary of Romania influences all the decision that her husband, Ferdinand I, takes. Also, she gets involved in social and political actions even if in those times, women had an insignificant role in politics.

From 1930 to her death, Queen Mary lives isolated most of the time in Bran Castle or in the city of Balchik. At Bran Castle she has an active factor in the building of “Queen Heart” Hospital, built at the base of the Bran Castle. This is the place where were she is taking care of all harmed soldiers from war.

In 1938 Queen Mary is diagnosed with an “incurable disease”: liver cancer, and her family hospitalizes her in sanatoriums from Italy and Germany. Because she wants to die in Romania, she asks her son, Carol II – the king of Romania – to send her home by a plane. The relationships between the queen and her son Carol II were not cordials, and he didn’t accept her request. Hitler offers his own private plane for her, but she refuses his offer. Queen Mary took the train, returns home and dies at Pelisor Castle at the age of 63.

Queen Mary deceases on July 18, 1938 at Sinaia, the date being announced by King Carol II. She is buried with splendor and dress in a simple white dress, as she desired. Those who take part to her funeral dress in violet clothes – her favorite color, and brought red flower as a final tribute.  She is the grandmother of the last King of Romanians – Michael I.

In her testament, Queen Mary writes her desire to place her heart in a cassette and deposit it in the Stella Maris Church, near her villa from Balchik city. Because Romania lost this territory in 1940, the cassette is brought to Bran Castle.

From 1971 to 2015 the cassette with Queen’s heart is placed in the National Museum of History from Bucharest. At the end of 2015, the cassette was moved to Pelisor Castle. The event celebrates 140 years since the birth of Queen Mary.

 

Today’s fast-changing, and travelers have amazing travel opportunities. Romania is one of the most beautiful country located in Southeastern Europe, and charms millions of travelers year by year with its picturesque landscapes, unique culture and historically noteworthy landmarks. Whether you’re looking for climbing mountains, balneary resorts or Black Sea coast to relax, Danube Delta Biosphere Reservation to taste the best fish recipes,  forests and waterfalls to discover, Romania offers each person the opportunity to enjoy life.

Danube Delta

Romania’s history is very rich. Over the years, the country was part of the Sovietic Bloc, a group of communist states. In Romania, the Revolution from 1989 marked the end of the Communist regime of president Nicolae Ceausescu.

Transylvania is the most known region, together with vampire Dracula, a fictional character from this area. From myths, legends and fairy tales to folklore, these ancient tales reappear in our modern world, and travelers are looking for them. Romania is the perfect place for this kind of adventure, offering some of the most astonishing castles, fortresses and palaces built hundreds of years ago.

And because it’s not enough to figure out how to start your vacation in Romania, we will try helping you decide what to visit during your trip or holiday.

  1. Palace of the Parliament – Bucharest

The Palace of the Parliament, also known as the People’s House, is the world’s second largest administrative building, after the Pentagon from situated in Washington D.C. The Palace has around 330,000 m2 and is one of Romania’s biggest attraction. Also, according to the specialists, the building is 2% larger related to the Pyramid of Keops from Egypt and can be seen from the moon.

After the earthquake from 1977, Romania’s dictator – Nicolae Ceausescu was devastated by the effects and started to demolish the fading capital and rebuild it in his own revelation. Therefore, this building Nicolae Ceausescu’s effort to reshape Bucharest by building a series of extraordinary constructions meant to evidence to the world how rich and influential was the Socialist Republic of Romania. The construction of the building started around six years after the earthquake, and by the time of the Romanian Revolution from 1989, the edifice wasn’t yet finished. The building development involved 400 architects and, coordinated by a young woman called Anca Petrescu.

Palace of Parliament - Peoples House1

After 1989, no one had the wish to finish this enormous building, a symbol of president Ceausescu’s autocracy and of the excessive lives lead by the former communist leaders.

Travelers are able to visit the Palace daily between 10 am and 4 pm (from November to February) and 9 am to 5 pm (from March to October) and the fees depend on the tour’s type.

Nearby attractions: Sinaia (123 km), Brasov (170 km), Bran Castle (180 km),  Black Sea Coast (around 230 km), Danube Delta Biosphere Reservation (around 300 km).

  1. Turda Salt Mine

Turda Salt Mine is a real museum of salt mining in Transylvania. The growing number of visitors arriving from each corner of the world to visit the mine are a validation of interest and historical importance.

The improvement of the salt mine was made between years 2008-2010. Thus, some criteria of modern visiting, were built-in. The developers installed an elevator, boats, recreation spaces, mini golf ground, billiard and tennis tables, bowling runway and one unique amphitheater.

Turda Salt Mine is one of Romania’s treasure, and probably is one of the most irreplaceable place to see.

Tourists can visit Turda Salt Mine individually, or in organized groups, with a dedicated guide.

Nearby attractions: Cluj-Napoca (35 km), Alba-Iulia (70 km), Sighisoara (120 km), Sibiu (140 km), Maramures County (200 km), Oradea and Baile Felix Spa Resorts (200 km).

  1. Dracula’s Castle

Dracula is probably the most known character from Romania, together with dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, condemned to death by a military court on several charges against Romanian people, like genocide.

Dracula’s Castle, also known as Bran Castle is an exquisite, 13th-century palace near Brasov in Transylvania. Every year, many tourists come to Transylvania on October 31, the night of Halloween, to taste an inimitable experience at Dracula’s Castle, which inspired the myth of this blood-thirsty vampire. Dracula is a fictional character created by Bram Stocker based on a real person, known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Tepes. Vlad was a ruler of Transylvania and a dictator with an incredible hunger for cruelty. His blood-thirst acted a muse for Bram Stoker’s vampire called Dracula, in the novel engraved 450 years later.

One of his most common punishment was hanging, which was doubtless an horrible and cruel habit. In Romania, travelers can find a collection of castles known as places where “real Dracula” lived, but Bran Castle is the most famous one, with a frightening profile, suspended on a cliff-near the Bran Pass.

Don’t lose the opportunity to have fun and discover all the dark sides of Count Dracula. Tourists can visit the castle daily between 9 am/12 pm and 4 pm (from October to March) and 9 am/12 pm and 6 pm (from April to September).

Nearby attractions: Rasnov Fortress (11 km), ski resorts in Poiana Brasov (22 km) and Predeal (33 km), Brasov (30 km); Peles Castle (52 km); the medieval cities of Sighisoara (140 km) and Sibiu (170 km); Bucharest, the capital of Romania (190 km), Cluj-Napoca (315 km).

  1. Peles Castle

Peles Castle is the most royal residence from Romania, being located in Sinaia, on Peles brook valley. The former Romanian royal family, a branch of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty, lead Romania until 1947, when the last king, Michael I of Romania, was determined to abdicate. In 2007, Crown Princess Margareta, the eldest daughter of Michael I of Romania was named heir plausible to the throne, but their power is not so strong as it used to be a century ago.

Peles Castle

Built between 1873 and 1914, the edifice was made by King Carol I, under whose reign Romania gained its freedom. He fell in love with glorious Carpathian Mountains decor. As an interesting fact, we mention that Pele Castle became the world’s first castle fully powered by locally created electricity. The beautiful castle served as the summer house of the royal family until 1947. All 160 rooms are decorated with fine and deluxe samples of European art, Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows and Cordoba leather-covered walls.

King Ferdinand, succeeded Carol I build Pelisor Castle, an art nouveau-style edifice. Pelisor has 70 rooms and contains a unique collection of turn-of-the-century Viennese furniture and Tiffany and Lalique glassware.

If you are interested to find more about the Romanian royal family, this is the perfect place for you.

Nearby attractions: Rasnov Fortress (40 km); Bran Castle (52 km); Brasov (50 km); the ski resorts in Predeal (23 km) and Poiana Brasov (50 km); Bucharest (130 km); the medieval cities of Sighisoara (165 km) and Sibiu (200 km).

  

  1. Wooden Churches of Maramures

The Wooden Churches of Maramures can be discovered in the Maramures region, located in the northern part of Transylvania, Romania. This churches are amazing examples of well-preserved religious style that appeared from the Orthodox traditions and Gothic grace influences. Romania is one of the most religious states from the European Union, and most citizens are Christian. According to the 2011 census, around 80% of the country’s population is Eastern Orthodox.

Barsana Monastery

Maramures region is one of the most known from Romania, and has independent traditions since Middle Ages, with beautiful churches, colorful and unique costumes, traditional dances and lifestyle.

The Wooden Churches of Maramures have a beautiful history, and they are a response to the exclusion against the creation of stone Orthodox churches by the Catholic authorities. The churches from Maramures are generally painted by local artistes, showing a high level of creative maturity and dexterity skills. Since 1999, eight out of the almost 100 ancient wooden churches are registred as UNESCO World Heritage Site: Barsana, Budesti, Desesti, Ieud, Plopis, Poienile Izei, Rogo and Surdesti. Today, Romania has seven sites recognized by UNESCO World Heritage.

Nearby attractions: Cluj-Napoca, Painted Monasteries of Bucovina.

  1. Painted Monasteries of Bucovina

The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina are well-known because of their exceptionality and creative value. The notable number of churches and monateries found in Bucovina, have been well-preserved and passed down from ancient times. All of them were painted in the exterior and each artist interpreted the biblical scenes in a different way, making them unique and inimitable.

Eight of the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina are parte of UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993:  Arbore, Humor, Moldovita, Patrauti, Probota, St. John the New Suceava, Sucevita and Voronet. Most of the monsteries were created as family funeral places of leaders and nobilities. Today, the monasteries are occupied by Orthodox nuns and/ or monks who follow the Christian traditions.

Visiting the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina is an unique experience.

Nearby attractions: Wooden Churches of Maramures.

  1. Merry Cemetery from Sapanta

The Merry Cemetery Sapanta is a unique travel destination. Located in the beautiful village of Sapanta, Maramures County, Romania, has colorful tombstones with exclusive pictures describing the people who are buried there, as well as passages from their lives, told in an ingeniously humorous manner. Presented in bright, joyful pictures and marked with rhymes are the stories of nearly everyone who has died of the village Sapanta, from Maramures County. Exemplified crosses portray militarists being executed and a towns person being hit several disease. Some of the epigraphs expose a shocking level of dirty reality with dark humor, like the following one:

“Underneath this heavy cross; Lies my poor mother-in-law; Three more days she would have live; I would lay, and she would read; You, who here are passing by; Not to wake her up please try; For if she comes home; She’ll bite my head off; But I shall behave so; As not to bring her forth; Those of you who read this; Do not do as I did; And find yourselves a good mother-in-law; To live with her in peace. Lived 82 years. Died in 1969”.

In spite of the dark comedy and humor, no one has ever criticized about the work of the artists and the Merry Cemetery is visited everyday by people from all over the world, curious to find the secrets of the locals.

Nearby attractions: Mara (45 km), Cluj-Napoca (around 200 km), Wooden Churches of Maramures, Painted Monasteries of Bucovina.

  1. Danube Delta 

The Danube Delta is comprised of a complex network of waterways and lakes separated between the three main estuary channels of the Danube: Chilia Arm, Sulina Arm, Sfantu Gheoghe Arm.

This area of floating reed islands, forests, meadows and sand dunes covers 3,000 square miles and is home to a captivating combination of cultures and individuals as well as a massive collection of wildlife. Situated at the tip of the three channels, Tulcea makes a great preliminary point for discovering the Danube Delta.

Danube Delta

This is the perfect place for fishing and bird watching. Also, if you love fish this is the perfect place to try different types, prepared different from one place to another.

Tourists need travel permits to enter the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. Permits are included in most of the tours developed by the Romanian travel agencies.

Nearby attractions: Black Sea Coast (around 130 km), Bucharest (around 300 km).

Situated in the Rucar – Bran Pass, 30 km far from Brasov city, Bran Castle is one of the most famous castle from Romania.

A document issued by the Hungarian king Ludovic I, in November 1377 gives the right to the Saxons from the area to build another stone fortress. So the Saxons from Brasov area on their own expenses and with their own workers decide to build the Bran Castle, this is why the ownership of the castle will be theirs until 1427.

In 1395, Sigismund from Luxemburg , German Emperor and King of Hungary, used Bran Castle as a strategic base for a foray into the Romanian Country, after which it was removed prince Vlad usurper, the main rival of Mircea the Elder.

In 1407 Sigismund, gives the authority of the castle to Mircea the Elder. Bran remains under the authority of the Romanian Country until 1419.

In 1427 the Hungarian Crown, who made the fortification and extension of the castle, took over the ownership of the castle.

In 1920, Brasov City Council donated the castle to Queen Maria of Romania, as a sign of gratitude for his contribution to the Great Union. In 1938 when the Queen died, the castle was inherited by his favorite daughter, Princess Ileana, who was married to a member of the former Habsburg family.

After 1948, Bran Castle was nationalized and became the property of the Romanian state. The castle was opened to public visits, since 1956 is arranged as a museum of history and feudal art. In 1987, he entered the restoration and the work was completed in 1993. The castle was reopened as a museum.

On 18 May 2006, following a period of legal proceedings, the castle was returned to the legal heirs of the Habsburg family. However, the Romanian state through the Ministry of Culture, will manage the castle over the transitional period and the next three years.

On 1 June 2009, the castle is in full possession of the heirs of Princess Ileana: Archduke Dominic Habsburg, Archduchess Maria Magdalena Holzhausen and Elisabeth Sandhofer Archduchess.

Before the restitution, the Ministry of Culture has ordered the relocation of the collections from Bran belonging to the Romanian state , to Medieval Customs (Vama Medievala ).

To reopen the museum, the Habsburg family refurbished the castle with items from its personal collection.The official reopening of the museum was on 1 June 2009.
Bran Castle is commonly known as Dracula’s Castle. The legend of Dracula was born close to the legendary figure of the Romanian ruler Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impeller 1456 – 1462).

More than anything, the mythical character Dracula is known for his boundless cruelty. Impalement, one of the most horrible way to die, was the preferred method of torture and execution of Vlad the Impaler named Dracula. The cruelty of his punishment for disloyalty and honesty coincide with the name.