THE GARDEN OF THE MAGNIFICENT CARPATHIANS
Trip Cost: 5860.00 USD
Single supplement: 560.00 USD
OCTOBER 5th to 18th, 2017
Romania offers outstanding landscapes, a huge diversity of wildlife, mountainous regions, unique local culture, rural communities and traditions so full of the past, that at times, it seems, little changed since the middle Ages. Romania is steeped in age-old history, offering some of the most beautiful scenery plus very friendly people of uniquely multi-ethnic Eastern European character.
02 October: Arrive into Bucharest (OPT) international airport, private transfers to hotel.
03 – 04 October: Walking tour and photographing the old city of Bucharest, the Outdoor Museum, the Parliament building, Village Museum, and other photographic stops.
Photo tour starts:
05 October/ Day 1: Regular tour begins. Arrive into OTP Bucharest international airport by 1:30 pm for group transfer to Brasov. (Drive takes 3 hours).If you are cannot arrive by this time, you have two options (extra charge: hotel and private transfers may apply) 1. Arrive day before, extra night hotel+ transfer to Brasov). 2. Late date private transfer to Brasov. Those who have arrived early for the Extension, have free-time until 12:30 to photograph the city on own. Then you join the group transfer to Brasov. Meals on own. O/N Brasov
06 October/ Day 2 – The Medieval City of Brasov
Fringed by the peaks of the Southern Carpathian Mountains and resplendent with gothic, baroque and renaissance architecture, as well as a wealth of historical attractions, Brasov is one of the most visited places in Romania.
Founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211 on an ancient Dacian site and settled by the Saxons as one of the seven walled citadels*, Brasov exudes a distinct medieval ambiance and has been used as backdrop in many recent period films.
The location of the city at the intersection of trade routes linking the Ottoman Empire and western Europe, together with certain tax exemptions, allowed Saxon merchants to obtain considerable wealth and exert a strong political influence in the region. This was reflected in the city’s German name, Kronstadt, as well as in its Latin name, Corona, meaning Crown City (hence, the coat of arms of the city which is a crown with oak roots). Fortifications were erected around the city and continually expanded, with several towers maintained by different craft guilds, according to medieval custom.
Following breakfast, morning photography and visit the historical Brasov, Black Church, St. Nicholas Church. In the afternoon visit the premier Fortified Church UNESCO Heritage site, nearby Brasov. Sunset photo session on a hilltop above Brasov surroundings. B,L,D. O/N Brasov
07 October/ Day 3 – After breakfast photographing landscape around Brasov, (forest, cityscapes). Lunch in Rasnov, visiting the Rasnov Fortress, transfer to Magura Village. B,L,D. O/N Magura Pension.
08 October/ Day 4 – Early a.m. rise. Sunrise photo session, then breakfast. Following breakfast, morning landscape photography in Magura, mountain village, in the afternoon visiting Bran Castle (i.e. Dracula Castle) and evening sunset photo session at the Castle. B,L,D. O/N Magura Pension.
09 October/ Day 5 – After breakfast, depart for Sibiu. Sibiu (Hermannstadt in German) was the largest and wealthiest of the seven walled citadels* built in the 12th century by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons. The riches amassed by its guilds paid for the construction of both impressive buildings and the fortifications required to protect them.
Sibiu’s Old Town retains the grandeur of its earlier days when rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade. Like Sighisoara and Brasov, it has a distinctly Germanic feeling. Sections of the medieval wall still guard the historic area, where narrow streets pass steep-roofed 17th century buildings with gable overhangs before opening into vast, church-dominated squares such as Great Square and Little Square.
Enroute, photographing mountain landscapes and traditional villages. Following lunch, afternoon photo session in the old Sibiu (dependent upon the arrival time). B,L,D. O/N Sibiu
10 October/ Day 6 – After breakfast, visit and photograph Sibiu Asrta Museum of traditional architecture. In the afternoon, we drive toward Hunedoara for sunset photo session. B,L,D. O/N Hunedoara Area.
The gentle climate and the richness of the soil made the area around Alba Iulia – Apuseni inhabitable since ancient times and established Alba as a leading wine growing region since 1st century AD. Northwest of Alba Iulia are the Apuseni Mountains and in the east the Transylvanian Plateau with its rolling hills and deep, wide valleys.
One of the oldest settlements in Romania, known in ancient time as Apulum, Alba Iulia served as the largest military and economic center during the Roman occupation. Temples, mosaics, thermae and statues, amphitheaters, the governor’s palace “Daciarum Trium” – all rendered the original Dacian Apulul as the miniature copy of the mother Rome.
An Episcopal citadel and an important political, military and cultural center, Alba Iulia reached its peak between 1542-1690, serving as the capital of the independent Principality of Transylvania and the residence of the Transylvanian princes. In 1599, Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave) achieved here for a brief period of time the union of the three main provinces of Romania: Walachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia
11 October/ Day 7 – Hunedoara, Transylvania
A.M. Visit and photo session at the Corvin Castle. The greatest Gothic-style castle in Romania, Corvin was built by the Anjou family on the site of a former Roman camp. The castle served as a fortress until the mid-14th century when it became the residence of Transylvania’s ruler, Iancu de Hunedoara. Iancu upgraded the fortress transforming it into the most stunning castle in Transylvania.
The beautifully preserved structure features a sumptuous Knights’ Hall, an impressive drawbridge, high buttresses, inner courtyards, a chapel and some 50 rooms resplendent with medieval art. After lunch, drive to Apuseni. Sunset photo session in Rimetea village. B,L,D. O/N Coltesti village Pension.
12 October/ Day 8 – Early a.m. Photo shoot around Costesti and at the Coltesti Castle ruins. Following breakfast photo session in Rimetea village. We drive after lunch towards Salciua for landscape photography. Sunset photo session on top of a mountain. B,L,D.Overnight in Coltesti village Pension.
13 October/ Day 9 – Following breakfast, we set out to la Baia Sprie Following arrival and check-in, we are given a private pottery presentation at Casa Olarului. As time allows, we will photograph the surrounding area. B,L,D. O/N Casa Olarului, Baia Sprie.
14 October/ Day 10 – Sunrise photo session on Firiza Lake; following breakfast, we drive to the top of the hills of Maramures, photographing the village life. Lunch at a traditional house. In the afternoon photography landscape, culture and village lifestyle. B,L,D. O/N Casa Olarului, Baia Sprie .
15 October/ Day 11 – Departing after breakfast, we travel towards Joy Cemetery in Sapanta. The artist Dumitru Pop,for about 30 years, has been taking away some of the sting and adding a little zing to the dreaded inevitable. Behind the Church of the Assumption in this small town of 5,000 (living) souls in northern Romania there’s a unique cemetery, known as the Cimitirul Vesel – the Merry Cemetery. It’s called that with good reason, each grave is marked, not with an austere, cold stone, but with a lively, beautifully carved wooden crosses, painted in the radiant blue color of the skies and decorated with a painting plus an original poem, which discloses a little something about the life and character of the plot’s eternal inhabitant. Some of the verses are wickedly funny, others are more whimsical; moreso,some are heartbreaking, telling of lives tragically cut short by accidents or illnesses. Lunch in Sighetul Marmatiei, driving towards Moldovita in Bucovina. B,L,D. O/N Moldovita Pension house.
16 October/ Day 12 – Bucovina is a world of rolling farmland and steep forested hills, where antique villages and peasant culture coexist with new industry and modern construction. Horses and carts (and the occasional herd of cows) share the roads with SUVs, and intricately carved wood and other ornamentation still decorate many village homes and farmsteads.Exceptional examples of a rich religious heritage form an important part of the mix. Here are Romania’s famous painted monasteries, built in the 15th and 16th centuries when the region, a stronghold of Orthodox Christianity, was threatened by Ottoman invaders.
The vividly colored frescoes on their exterior walls, masterpieces of Byzantine painting, tell the tales of saints and heroes, and portray in epic imagery the cataclysmic struggle between good and evil at the end of days. The monasteries are among Romania’s most celebrated cultural treasures. Listed on UNESCO’s roster of world heritage sites, they draw large numbers of visitors throughout the year. Here, too, however, are religious sites far less known and rarely visited that also form important components of the region’s deeply rooted spiritual patrimony. These are the centuries-old Jewish cemeteries, whose weathered tombstones bear extraordinary carvings that meld folk motifs and religious iconography into evocative examples of faith expressed through art.
In the morning photography tradition and craftsmanship of the Bucovina District. In the afternoon landscape photography in Bucovina area. B,L,D. O/N Moldovita Pension house.
17 October/ Day 13 – After breakfast photography at the Moldovita Monastery, lunch and then driving towards Sucevita Monastery. As time allows , a potential visit to the Jewish tombstone art, and time spent photographing the richly sculpted tombstones of cemeteries in Radauti. B,L, and Departure dinner. O/N Moldovita Pension House.
18 October/ Day 14 – Transfer to Suceava/Iasi Airport for domestic flight to Bucharest to connect with your international flight. You should plan your departure flight, from Bucharest International airport (OTP) no earlier than 9 p.m. Option (for additional charge) overnight Bucharest airport hotel, and depart/fly to your home or onward destination, the next day in the morning. B,L.
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