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Schitul Darvari

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Right in the center of Bucharest, where you can hear the city beating there is a small oasis of quietness. Here you can feel serenity, faith and get a bit closer to God. The name of the place is Darvari Hermitage. This is a place that has nothing to do with the hectic urban set. It is actually very similar to the remote monasteries where you usually go to hear the call of your spirituality. The locals are very familiar with this sanctuary and more and more tourists discover its uniqueness every year.

Between old houses, embassies and beautiful architecture there is the Darvari Hermitage. To be more exact, next to “Gradina Icoanei”. As soon as you walk inside, you step into another world. Here, time stays still, belief takes over and you experience another pace of life. It is a monastery in the center of the busiest city in Romania, a calm area surrounded by rush and noise.

The hermitage was built in 1834 by Mihail Darvari and his wife, Elena, born in the Buzesti family. The worship place was made of wood, it didn’t have a tower and its patrons were Saint Lazarus, the Saints Constantine and Helen and the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel. The small church was constructed as a praying place for the family and their friends. The founders have also built the stone walls, sanctums, and in 1835, 12 nuns were brought to the hermitage to form its first monastic community.

Between 1989 and 2002 the hermitage was the subject of intensive restoration works. Its beautiful paintings were deteriorated due to the abundance of smoke used during the communist period, the sanctums were also in a poor shape and the bell tower was unusable. Following the original architectural plans, Darvari Hermitage has been restored to its original conditions. Now the worship place is opened to visitors and it is a wonderful monastic setttlement where you can admire church architecture, mural paintings, enjoy tranquility and discover a little bit of history.

This sanctuary is the work of art of the renowned architect Nicolae Vladescu. It is a complex construction which includes 9 sanctums, the refectory, the bell tower, a shop and a small prayer chapel. Since 2007, the abbot of the Darvari monastic settlement is the archimandrite father Teofil Anastasoaie.

On 8 November 2011, at the celebration of the second patrons of the church, the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel, Patriarch Daniel has held a special ceremony for blessing the church’s paintings, iconostasis and the new silver reliquary where there are kept small parts of holly relics. The silver reliquary was made in the Romanian Patriarchate’s workshops.

If you want to discover a unique place in Bucharest’s modern setting then you should consider visiting Darvari Hermitage, a holly destination with a rich history. Here every step unveils amazing architecture, religious art and a return to spirituality.

The Old Princely Court

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The Old Princely Court was the first Royal Court built in Bucharest. Initially, it included a Palace, a church, spaces meant for servants and the royal gardens. We know only a few details about the Court’s founder, but according to historical researchers who have studied the history of Bucharest, it was built by Mircea cel Batran. Today, the Old Princely Court is an outdoor museum which hosts quite often cultural events, festivals and medieval art fairs.

The first Royal building in Bucharest, the Old Princely Court was constructed by Mircea cel Batran between the end of the XIV century and the beginning of the XV century. It is one of the most important historical sites from the Capital’s Old Town. In 1972 it was turned into a museum that has the same name and which is an original representation of the vestiges of the royal residences from the XVI-XIX centuries. Even now you can still see the foundations of the XIV century city and the stone walls of Bucurestilor city.

The Old Princely Court was the place where for a couple hundred years the nobles used to gather, where the history of a country that was mostly under the Ottoman’s threat was written. The Old Court was also the place where the first Romanian literature was born, where the national spirit regained its originality through art and culture.

According to historians, the Old Princely Court was located on a very tall hill and it was surrounded to the South by the very high bank of the Dambovita River and to the other cardinal points by very strong walls. The access into the Old Court was possible through two opposite gates.

The first gate which was located at the intersection of Smardan and Halelor Street had several names like the Upper Gate, The German Tower, the Royal Bell, and much later after the stone tower was ruined, the Red Tower. The second gate, the Lower Gate, was located in the place where Mosilor Street begins.

In the XV century, Vlad Tepes, the ruller of the Romanian Country, consolidated the city and turned it into his royal residence, an alternative to the one he already had in Targoviste.

The old Princely Court suffered over the years numerous restorations works, starting with second half of the XIV century, from Basarab cel Tanar and until Mircea Ciobanul, Matei Basarab and Constantin Brancoveanu.

After the fire from 1718 which destroyed almost the entire Bucharest and after the earthquake in 1738, the Old Princely Court was closed.

Nowadays, the Old Court is just a cluster of ruins – a few ancient Turkish baths and old walls that mark the limits of the former royal palace. The ruins of the Old Princely Court become a protected archaeological site, turned into a museum named “Old Princely Court Museum”. It is a very interesting and fascinating tourist attraction in Bucharest that offers a rich and unique cultural experience.

Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History

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Among the numerous cultural institutions and tourist attractions that are available in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, the Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History stands out as one of the most interesting, modern and eye-catching museums in the city and perhaps in the entire South Eastern European region.

Located in the northern part of Bucharest, a stone’s throw from the culturally diverse city center and a host of other interesting tourist attractions, the Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History boasts one of the richest collections of historic artifacts in the country.

The museum has a rich history being founded in the early decades of the 19th century, in 1834 to be more precise. The museum started with a substantial donation of exhibits from Alexandru Ghica, the brother of Mihalache Ghica, one of the rulers of Walachia during the 19th century.

The collection included old byzantine and roman coins, an extensive mineral rock collection, numerous fossils as well as mollusks, fish, birds and mammals all beautifully preserved for posterity. The collection also included a number of sculptures and paintings which can still be seen today.

After having its headquarters moved several times throughout Bucharest, the museum settled in its current location on Kiseleff Boulevard. The beautiful historic building which houses the museum is well preserved, boasting several 19th century neo-Classical and Beaux Arts details.

The permanent exhibition has been modernly arranged after a thorough renovation of the entire museum and now showcases some of the most beautiful dioramas of natural life in this part of Europe.

Amongst the ones that truly stand out are: the Black Sea Diorama which showcases the entire fauna of Romania’s only bordering sea; a Carpathian Deer being attacked by wolves in a stunning portrayal of day-to-day life in the Carpathian ecosystem; the monah seal diorama, the only seal known to have existed on the Romanian shores of the Black Sea; an Alpine region diorama boasting all the particularities of the fauna and flora found there; a diorama of the Arctic Waters which includes several species of birds as well as fish, sea lions, seals and polar bears; an Atlantic diorama which boasts the rich wildlife found in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

There are several more dioramas as well as a host of other artifacts which include fossils as well as complete skeletal remains of whales and dinosaurs. The museum is a great way to spend an afternoon in one of Bucharest most beautiful areas while also learning a lot about the natural history of Romania.

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