Nicolae Ceausescu was the president of the Socialist Republic of Romania. He is still alive in people’s minds, being loved and hated in the same time. Twenty-seven years ago, the Communist leaders of Romania were sinking like rocks. In 1989, on Christmas Day, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his beloved wife, Elena Ceausescu, were executed by firing squad. The deaths of the couple finished a quarter-century of Communism Romanian Era. The both of them were found guilty of genocide and sentenced to death.

Nicolae Ceausescu (Ceausescu pronunciation : /tʃaʊˈʃɛskuː/) was born in the village of Scornicesti, Olt County, on January 26, 1918. Andruta and Alexandrina Ceausescu were his parents, and his family numbered ten persons. He was the third child. Because his family lived a life of poverty, Ceausescu finished primary school in Scornicesti, and at the age of 11 he moved to Bucharest.

As an adult, Ceausescu was incarcerated in 1936 and again in 1940 for his Communist Party actions. In 1939, he married Elena Petrescu, a Communist activist. While he was imprisoned, he became the pupil of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, who became the Communist leader of Romania in 1952.

Evading prison in 1944 just before the Soviet occupation of Romania, Ceausescu worked as secretary of the Union of Communist Youth, from 1944 – 1945. Two years later, after King Michael of Romania, abdicated his throne, and Romanian Communism was establishing, Ceausescu had more positions, such as the job from the Ministery of Agriculture, from 1948 to 1950 and Major general, serving as Deputy Minister of the armed forces. Being under the protection of Gheorghe Gherghiu-Dej, he eventually occupied the second highest position in the party hierarchy. In 1965, his master, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej died, and he succeeded to the governance of the Romania’s Communist Party as first/ general secretary.

A curious event happened two years later, in 1967, when with his assumption of the presidency of the Stated Council, he became president of Romania as well. Hoping to increase Romania’s population, in 1966, Ceausescu approved “Decree 770”, a measure that effectively forbidden contraception and abortion. In love with his own image, the Communist leader offers him the “Presidential scepter”, at his inauguration.

In the following years he won support for his political purposes, following an autonomous policy in external relations. In 1982, he took the decision to export most of the Romania’s agricultural and industrial production, to pay off the big external debt that his people gathered in the 1970s. Unfortunately, the risky lack of food, energy, fuel, medications and other basic needs severely lowered living criteria and strengthened a potential conflict. Even nowadays, people remember how they had to stand in front of the shop in line, for hours, for a piece of bread or a liter or milk or other elementary necessities.

Nicolae Ceausescu also introduced an extensive personality cult and selected his wife, Elena, and many members of his extended family to high positions in the government and Communism party. Among his magnificent and unreasonable orders was a plan to demolish thousands of Romania’s villages and move their populations into so-called agro technical centers.

After the big earthquake occurred on 4 March 1977, the Communist leader demolished a huge urban area of Bucharest, to accommodate homogeneous apartment blocks and administration buildings, including the splendid Civic Center and the Palace of the Parliament (also known as Nicolae Ceausescu palace made by Anca Petrescu) , known as the second-largest administrative building in the world.

Ceaușescu’s regime collapsed in December 1989, after he ordered his security forces to fire on revolutionary protesters in the city of Timișoara, on December 17, and five days later, the protests extent to Bucharest. After Nicolae Ceausescu last speech, in the same day, Nicolae Ceausescu and Elena escaped the capital in a helicopter but were caught and taken into custody by the armed militaries. On December 25, the couple were quickly tried and sentenced by an exceptional military tribunal on charges of Nicolae Ceausescu genocide and other delinquencies. After that, the presidential couple Ceausescu was shot by a firing team. In 1990, after romanian revolution finished with Ceausescu execution, the country started a new era, which promised safety and independence to all people – democracy.

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).

The Peles Castle was built between 1873 and 1914, on the initiative of the first king of Romania, Carol I, by the architects: Johannes Schultz, Carol Benesch and Karel Liman, and it was decorated by famous decorators J. D. Heymann from Hamburg, August Bembé from Mainz and Bernhard Ludwig from Vienna.

The Peles Castle has a unique character, and by its historical and artistic value it’s one of the most important monuments in Europe, built on the second part of the XIX century.

Prince Carol elected as prince of Romania in 1866, visited Sinaia at that time a small mountain village called Neagului Bridge, the Peles castle’s home, first time in the same year, and he was enchanted by the beauty of this place and he decided to build here a castle. A few years later in 1872 the prince buys a land here and in 1873 around 3000 workers are preparing the land and area for the castle to be, under the close supervision of the prince himself.

In 1875 starts the construction of the castle. Under the first stones the put dozens of gold coins of 20 lei, the first Romanian coins with the image of Carol I.

1883 is the year of the official inauguration of the Castle, and in the eyes of Carol I the Peles is the “headquarter “ of the new dynasty. The castle location was not accidental, not far from here at Predeal was the border of Romania with the Austro-Hungarian, but later after the unification of The Old Kingdom with Transylvania, the castle was placed in the very heart of the country.

Peles gained a growing importance, became the summer residence of the royal family of Romania, who spent considerable time here usually from May to November. Also here were held important political meetings such as the Crown Council from 1914, when Romania decided neutrality in the World War I.

Many important personalities of the time: musicians, painters, poets, king and queens were guest of the Peles Castle.

The most important visit was the one of the Old Austro – Hungarian emperor Franz Joseph in 1896, who was very impressed by the beauty ad richness of the castle.

A simple calculation shows the between 1875 and 1914 with the construction of the castle they spent over 16 million gold-lei.

Even after his inauguration in 1883, Peles was expending constantly. On current form it was reached only in 1914, the year when Carol I died.

The castle has 160 rooms and several staircases and entrances. The central tower measures 66 meters tall. The castle has a theatre hall with a small stage and 60 places plus the royal lodge. All the facilities in the castle was very modern for the time of its construction. For example, the glass ceiling of the hall of honor is mobile and can be driven by an electric motor.

Since 1883, the castle has central heating.Besides the Castle it was also builded Pelisor, The Body Guards, House of Hunting, Stables, Power Plant and Sipot Villa. By the time they finished the construction of the castle in 1883, the King Carol I and Queen Elisabeth lived in the Hunting House.

Due to the Electric Plant built in this area the Peles Castle was the first completely electrified castle in Europe.

Te Castle has a special importance for the history of hour country. Here was born in 1893 the future king Carol II, the first king of the dynasty born on Romanian land and baptized in Orthodox religion. Also, in 1921 was born here his son, King Michael I.

In 1921 at Peles was the wedding of Princess Ileana, sister of Carol II, and are invited here a few of the VIPs of the moment such as Nicolae Iorga also called Voltaire of Romania.

The Peles Castle remain the summer royal residence until 1948, when it was confiscated by the communist regime. In 1953 became a museum. Since 1990 the Peles castle and Pelisor are opend to the public for visits.

It is interesting that Nicolae Ceausescu visited rarely the castle . There were some information that the communist leader Ceausescu wanted to establish here a protocol residence in 1980. Knowing that they had mania to order all kinds of demolition and changes curators have scared them that inside the castle is a fungus that attacks wood elements and is very dangers for the people’s health. In fact the true was that the wooden part of the castle was attacked by a fungus due to moisture. For this reason restoration works have started and it was replaced the structural frame and the hall of honor, and the living room located downstairs. Cautious, the Ceausescu spent one night in the castle.

After the Revolution from 1989 the Peles Castle and Pelisor were reintegrated in the tourist circuits. In 2006 the Romanian government has returned the castle to the former King Michael I.

Although it is privately owned by the Royal House of Romania, King Michael decided to keep it as a museum.

The Peles Castle was and it will be the most important royal edifice from Romania, and one of the most beautiful castle in Europe.

Transfagarasan road – The best road in the world

The Transfăgărășan road was showcased in a section of the British TELEVISION program Top Gear (November 2009 – Transfagarasan top gear edition). Host Jeremy Clarkson declared that the Transfăgărășan was “the best road on the world,” a title the speaker had actually formerly provided to the Stelvio Pass in Italy.

The Transfăgărășan was built between 1970 and 1974 under the guideline of Nicolae Ceaușescu, and as an action to the 1968 intrusion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. Ceaușescu intended to guarantee fast army accessibility through the mountains in case of a Soviet intrusion.

The Transfagarasan road starts Bascov Village, Arges County near Pitesti and it ends at the intersection with DN1 road between Sibiu and Brasov, near Cartisoara, with a total length of 151 km, crossing the Fagaras Mountains.

The most spectacular part of the road is 91 km long, and it is situated between Vidraru dam and Cartisoara .

The national road named Transfagarasan connects the historical region Transylvania with Wallachia, crossing the Fagaras Mountains the highest mountains from Carpathian mountains in Romania, reaching an altitude of 2042 m high near Balea lake.

The roadway was formally opened on 20 September 1974, although some development works continued until 1980.

It is both a destination as well as a challenge for walkers, bikers and also motorbike fanatics.
The roadway also offers accessibility to Balea Lake and Balea Waterfall.

The Transfăgărășan roadway is generally close from late October till late June as a result of snow. Depending upon the Transfagarasan weather condition, Transfagarasan opening times – it could stay open till late November, or could be close also in the summer season.

The Transfagarasan has much more passages (a total amount of 5) and also viaducts compared to any other roadway in Romania. Near the acme, at Balea Lake, the roadway goes through Balea Tunnel, the lengthiest roadway passage in Romania:884 m (2,900 feet).

With Tour Travel by Odas Global Consulting you can visit top romanian roads: Transfagarasan road (described above) and Transalpina Road .