Romania and Moldavia
ROMANIA – REPUBLIC OF MOLDAVIA
Day 1 / Otopeni airport – BucharestArrival in Otopeni airport. Panoramic city tour of the city on the way to the hotel.Initially built of wood in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I, Bucharest’s very own Arc de Triomphe was finished in Deva granite in 1936. Designed by the architect, Petre Antonescu, the Arc stands 85 feet high. An interior staircase allows visitors to climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city.In the way to visit all this they will cross Victoriei Street, Revolution Square, Kisseleff street, Herastrau Park.Other places that you must see when you arrive in Bucharest:Calea Victoriei is Bucharest’s oldest and arguably, most charming street. Built in 1692 to link the Old Princely Court to Mogosoaia Palace, it was initially paved with oak beams. The street became Calea Victoriei in 1878, after the Romanian victory in the War of Independence. Between the two world wars, Calea Victoriei developed into one of the most fashionable streets in the city. Stroll along this street from Piata Victoriei to Piata Natiunilor Unite to discover some of the most stunning buildings in the city, including the Cantacuzino Palace, the historical Revolution Square, the Military Club, the CEC Headquarters and the National History Museum.Revolution Square. gained worldwide notoriety when TV stations around the globe broadcasted Nicolae Ceausescu’s final moments in power on December 21, 1989. It was here, at the balcony of the former Communist Party Headquarters, that Ceausescu stared in disbelief as the people gathered in the square below turned on him. He fled the angry crowd in his white helicopter, only to be captured outside of the city a few hours later.The square’s importance stretches back long before the dramatic events of the 1989 Revolution. On the far side of the square stands the former Royal Palace, now home to the National Art Museum, the stunning Romanian Athenaeum and the historic Athenee Palace Hotel. At the south end of the square, you can visit the small, but beautiful, Kretzulescu Church. The Royal Palace, erected between 1927 and 1937 in neoclassical style, the palace was home to King Carol II and to his son, King Mihai I, until 1947, when the monarchy was abolished in Romania. It was inside the halls of this palace that King Mihai, aged 18, led a coup that displaced the pro-Nazi government during the World War II and put Romania on the Allies’ side. Today, the former Royal palace houses the Romanian National Art Museum. The Romanian Athenaeum, the work of French architect Albert Galleron, who also designed the National Bank of Romania, was completed in 1888, financed almost entirely with money donated by the general public. One of the preeminent public fundraising campaigns ever in Romania, the „Give a penny for the Athenaeum” campaign saved the project after the original patrons ran out of funds. With its high dome and Doric columns, the Athenaeum resembles an ancient temple. The lobby has a beautifully painted ceiling decorated in gold leaf, while curved balconies cascade in ringlets off a spiral staircase. A ring of pink marble columns is linked by flowing arches where elaborate brass lanterns hang like gems from a necklace. Inside the concert hall, voluptuous frescoes cover the ceiling and walls. Renowned worldwide for its outstanding acoustics, it is Bucharest’s most prestigious concert hall and home of the Romanian George Enescu Philharmonic.Lipscani District. Perhaps the city’s unique charm can be best observed in the area known as Lipscani, which consists of a jumble of streets between Calea Victoriei, Blvd. Bratianu, Blvd. Regina Elisabeta and the Dambovita River. A once-glamorous residential area, the old city centre is now slowly being refashioned into an upscale neighborhood.At the beginning of 1400s, most merchants and craftsmen – Romanian, Austrian, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, Armenian and Jewish – established their stores and shops in this section of the city. Soon, the area became known as Lipscani, named for the many German traders from Lipsca or Leiptzig. Other streets took on the names of various old craft communities and guilds, such as Blanari (furriers), Covaci (blacksmiths), Gabroveni (knife makers) and Cavafii Vechii (shoe-makers). The mix of nationalities and cultures is reflected in the mishmash of architectural styles, from baroque to neoclassical to art nouveau.Today, the area is home to many art galleries, antique shops and coffeehouses. On a beautiful day, you can stroll down the narrow cobblestone streets and imagine the shopkeepers outside near their stores, encouraging people to buy their merchandise and negotiating prices with them. Don’t forget to stop by Hanul cu Tei, which is a rectangular courtyard between Strada Lipscani and Strada Blanari, home to an array of art and antiques shops.University Square. Buzzing with crowds and traffic from early morning until late at night, this area is one of the most popular meeting places in Bucharest. The square brings together some remarkable architectural masterpieces on each of its four corners, starting with the University of Bucharest’s School of Architecture, the Bucharest National Theatre, the neoclassical Coltea Hospital and its lovely church (1702-1794) and the Sutu Palace, now home to the Bucharest History Museum.University of Bucharest. Bucharest remains first and foremost a hub of higher education. The University of Bucharest was founded in 1864 by Alexandru Ioan Cuza, ruler of the newly united principalities of Walachia and Moldova. Work on the neoclassical building began in 1857 and finished in 1859.Overnight in Bucharest
Day 2 / Bucharest – Iasi
Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Visit of the Parliament Palace and Village Museum in Bucharest. Departure to Iasi. On the way stop to visit the mud volcanoes near Buzau. Arriving in the evening in Iasi. Panoramic city tour of th city in the evening. Accommodation in Iasi· Visit the Parliament PalaceThe Parliament Palace. Built by Communist Party leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, the colossal Parliament Palace (formerly known as the People’s Palace) is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon. It took 20,000 workers and 700 architects to build. The palace boasts 12 stories, 1,100 rooms, a 328-ft-long lobby and four underground levels, including an enormous nuclear bunker.Interesting facts:- It is the world’s second-largest office building in surface (after the Pentagon) and the third largest in volume (after Cape Canaveral in the U.S. and the Great Pyramid in Egypt)- The crystal chandelier in the Human Rights Hall (Sala Drepturilor Omului) weighs 2.5 tons- Some of the chandeliers have as many as 7,000 light bulbs· Departure to visit The Village Museum.The Village Museum vas founded by royal decree in 1936, this fascinating outdoor museum, the largest in Europe, covers some 30 acres on the shores of Lake Herastrau in Herestrau Park. It features a collection of 50 buildings representing the history and design of Romania’s rural architecture. Steep-roofed peasant homes, thatched barns, log cabins, churches and watermills from all regions of the country were carefully taken apart, shipped to the museum and rebuilt in order to recreate the village setting. Throughout the year, the Village Museum hosts special events where you will have a chance to witness folk artisans demonstrating traditional skills in weaving, pottery and other crafts. Folk arts and crafts are available at the museum gift shop. The Berca Mud Volcanoes are a geological and botanical reservation located in Scorțoasa commune close to Berca in Buzău County in Romania. Its most spectacular feature is the mud volcanoes, small volcano-shaped structures typically a few metres high caused by the eruption of mud and natural gases.The phenomenon can be observed on two separate locations near the Berca commune, dubbed the Little Mud Volcanoes and The Big Mud Volcanoes. The volcanoes themselves are surrounded by ‘badlands’ of water-cut ravines.
Overnight in Iasi.
Day 3 / Iasi – Capriana Monastery – Chisinau City Tour
In the first day you will be picked-up from Iasi heading to Chisinau. On the way, you will spend the first part of the day in the courtyard of Capriana Monastery – the oldest Moldovan monastery. In the seventeenth century, it was submitted to Zograf monastery of Mount Athos and subsequently, for several centuries, the monastery was the archbishop’s residence. Being closed during the post-war period, it was one of the first monasteries reopened in 1989 and soon became a symbol of national rebirth.After Capriana Monastery, you will discover the capital of Moldova – Chisinau. You can hardly find a more greenish, attractive and welcoming city. This can be easily proved during the panoramic tour where you will see in brief the main cultural, historical and commercial places of interest.
Day 4 / Curchi Monastery – Orheiul Vechi – Butuceni – Chateau Vartely Winery
In the second day you will start your journey with the visit at Curchi Monastery. It is surrounded by a high stone wall, with towers at each corner, creating the impression of a fortress. The church, built in 1810, has monumental forms, with baroque elements, similar to those of „St. Andrew” cathedral from Kiev, but at the same time, preserving the traditional Moldovan style.Following Curchi Monastery, you will set off on a time travel to Orheiul Vechi, to see a 40,000 years old natural amphitheatre. Caves, ancient fortifications, stone monasteries, monks and hermits – here you can follow the history of this region. You will have lunch at a guest house from Butuceni village. Do not hesitate to taste something from the local peasant cuisine.After a copious meal, you will visit the Chateau Vartely winery. Within the winery, particularly inside the tasting rooms, you will be acquainted with the uniqueness of collection wines. You will also discover the best-known wine brands in the world, how they are produced, stored and served.
Day 5 / Casa Olarului Pottery House – Casa Parinteasca Crafts Centre – Cricova Winery
After breakfast, you will visit Casa Olarului, the oldest pottery house in Moldova. Located in Hoginesti village, it is famous for creating high quality ceramics. The potter offers visitors the chance to transform a piece of clay into a piece of art. You will also step back in time while visiting the local museum hosting the biggest amphora in MoldovaJust before noon, continue the trip to „Casa Parinteasca” crafts centre from Palanca village, where you will get to know Moldovan traditional costumes and our ethnographic customs. You will have the chance to taste some dishes from the local traditional peasant cuisine. The meals will be served with special homemade wine and with a cup of herbal tea.In the evening, you will discover Cricova underground galleries. You will see over seventy streets covering an area of nearly 53 hectares, each bearing Bacchic names: Sauvignon, Cabernet, Cahor. There is one story always told in this place about the Russian pilot Yuri Gagarin, who during a visit in 1966, after getting tipsy, got lost and missed the exit. He went out the next day, having spent the night in the tasting room, currently named after him. Here you can also admire the oldest bottle of wine, dating from 1902.
Day 6 / Milestii Mici Winery – Valeni village – Galati
In the morning, you will begin exploring another city, this time an underground city. Riding a bus or driving your car you will descend to 80 m depth. Measuring about 200 km, all underground streets make up the largest network of caves ever dug by man. Due to the impressive collection of 2 million bottles, Milestii Mici was introduced in 2006 in the Guinness Book.After Milestii Mici Winery, you will enjoy a traditional Moldovan cuisine at La Gura Cuptorului Guest House. Following lunch, you will take part in a cultural performance with the Granny that has participated in Eurovision Contest in 2005. Her stage name is “Boonika bate doba”, that translated into English means “Grandmamma is beating da drum-a”.In the evening, you will cross the Romanian borders to Galati city. Accommodation in Galati.
Day 7 / Galati – Braila– Bucharest
Breakfast at the hotel and check out. City tour of Galati (Cathedral, History Museum). Departure to Bucharest. Optional stop in Braila to visit the city (Old city, National Theatre). Arriving in the evening in Bucharest for overnight.
Day 8 / Bucharest – Otopeni AirportBreakfast at the hotel and check out. Free time for shopping if the time permits. Transfer to the airport for your flight back.