Tag Archives: car and driver in Romania

Astra open air traditional museum in Sibiu

The “ASTRA” Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization (Romanian: Muzeul Civilizaţiei Populare Tradiţionale “ASTRA”) is located in the Dumbrava Forest, 3 km south of Sibiu, on the road towards Răşinari, and is easily accessible by car, bus or tramway. Occupying an area of 0.96 square kilometres, it is the largest open-air museum in Romania and one of the largest in Central and Eastern Europe. It contains houses and workshops of the traditional Romanian folk culture from the pre-industrial era. Over 300 houses and other buildings are situated in the forest around two artificial lakes with over 10 km of walkways between them.

The exhibits are organised into six thematic groups:

food production and animal husbandry.production of raw materials.means of transportation.manufacture of household objects.public buildings.an exposition of monumental sculpture.

Some of the most spectacular buildings are a group of windmills from the Dobrudja area, a playing area for popice (skittles, an early form of bowling) from the Păltiniş monastery, a small mine from the Apuseni Mountains, a few water-mills, a wooden ferry, and a fishery from the Danube Delta. Also there are houses of shepherds, pottery workshops, iron workshops and others. There is also a working inn, a small pub and a dance pavilion. In the museum there is a wooden church from northern Transylvania brought in 1990-1992 from the village of Bezded in Sălaj County.


The wooden church with live worship service

A series of festivals and fairs take place in the museum annually, the most popular one being The Folk Craftsmen’s Fair which takes place each summer around the Saint Mary’s Dormition, an Orthodox holiday in the middle of August. Also, permanent and temporary exhibitions can be seen in a special pavilion inside the museum




A house from the Astra museum on the Romanian 10 lei bill


The Danube’s Canyon and the Iron Gates Natural Park

Even though the Romanian part of the Danube is most known for the bewitching Delta and its variety of birds, there is also another part of great interest and beauty:  the Iron Gate natural park. There we have a great variety of natural and manmade attractions.

View of Romanian and Serbian banks from Great Kazan

At the Iron Gates, the Danube forms a canyon that is 134 km long – considered the longest canyon in Europe – its most important parts being the Great Kazan and the Small Kazan.

At the Great Kazan, the Danube flows through a narrow gorge, only 150 meters wide and it has a depth of 53 meters. There the first bridge over the Danube was constructed by Apollodorus of Damascus for Emperor Trajan’s Dacia campaign, almost 2000 years ago. Now, only the Serbian bank’s commemorative plaque – Tabula Traiana – remains from those times.

Tabula Traiana

On the Romanian bank, in the Small Kazan, we have a 40 meters high carved in stone statue of Decebalus, who was the opponent of Trajan. The construction of the statue took ten years – from 1994 to 2004 – the monument being considered the tallest rock sculpture in Europe.

Decebalus statue

At the Iron Gates, you can also visit the Iron Gates Museum, where you can see a variety of things, from natural sciences, to history, archeology, numismatics, ethnography and art – paintings of famous Romanian artists are exhibited there, such as Pallady, Tonitza, Petrascu, Luchian.

You can see the Great and the Small Kazan by taking some local boats. On these 2 hours cruises you will be able to stop and visit 2 caves, and hear their legends. If you go there during spring you can see the Tulipa hungarica (ro.: Laleaua de Cazane) and other rare flowers.

Close to this area is Baile Herculane – a thermal spring spa area, considered to be built by Trajan Emperor himself. As a primary interest are the natural healing properties because of the hot springs with sulfur, chlorine, sodium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals, as well as negatively ionized air. There you can also find the multiple layered Cave of the thieves (ro.: Pestera Hotilor/Grota Haiducilor), the bigger replica of one of the six stone statues of Hercules lie in the middle of the town, and you can also visit the ruins of the roman baths, that dates, along with other historical sites, from 2000 years.

Bahna Paleontological Reservation is among the richest area in fossils in Romania and in Eastern Europe, being at the same time a natural area with more than 100 species of plants.

Other places to see in the area would be Cerna Mountains, Cheile Nerei – Beusnita National Park.

Where to stay while being in the area? I would recommend the bank area from Great Kazan, near Eselnita village. There you find a lot of boarding houses that are situated near the water with magnificent scenery, the view including the Serbian bank of the river and the Tabula Traiana.


View from the boarding house


Iron Gates National Park – Take a deep breath of fresh Danube air


Iron Gates Natural Park is situated in south-western part of Romania, at the border with Republic of Serbia, covering about 115.655 ha within Caras-Severin and Mehedinti counties in southern part of Locvei and Almajului Mountains and south west of Mehedinti Plateau.

The limits of the Iron Gates Natural Park are represented by the Danube’s course to the South, the river Nera to the West, the Danube’s tributaries watershed limits to the North and a winding line from downstream Gura Vaii to the Motarat Peak to the East.

Iron Gates Natural Park reaches within 21º 21′ and 22º 36′ longitude E and 44º 51′ si 44º 28′ 30” latitude N. The main access points are nearby Drobeta Turnu Severin and Orsova Town in Mehedinti County and also through Socol and Naidas village from Caras Severin.

  • The Danube defile – Europe’s longest defile (134 km);
  • Romania’s largest Hydropower Plant and Reservoir (Iron Gates I Hydropower and Navigation System);
  • The highest ethnic diversity in a Romanian protected area;
  • High geological diversity that might grant the statute of open-air geological museum statute;
  • High biological diversity – over 1600 vegetal taxa (superior plants) and over 5200 fauna taxa;
  • High vegetation associations diversity – in the Natural Park area 171 vegetation associations were identified, of which 26 are endemic for Romania and 21 of communitarian interest;
  • The presence of wetlands that constitute important habitats for protected aquatic  bird species;
  • Marks of Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic human settlements – historical evidences of human habitation: fortresses, monasteries, churches;

  • Buildings with high historical and architectural value, water mills with a unique grinding mechanism.


The Danube’s Defile is the main corridor between the Panonic Plain and the Romanian Plain, and as a consequence the Iron Gates Natural Park represents the convergence of the flora and fauna of the two distinct regions.

The climate with Mediterranean influences (hot dry summers and warm rainy winters) favored the appearance of many heat loving plant and animal species that adapted to this geographical space.

The diversity of the relief and other natural elements determined the maintenance of a large number of flora and fauna species, so the Iron Gates Natural Park is one of the Romania’s richest biodiversity regions.

It is not the number of species giving the importance of the area, but the fact that there are many scientifically important.

In the Iron Gate Natural Park’s area have been identified 1668 vegetal taxa (only green plants), 171 vegetation associations of each 28 are endemic in Romania and 21 of communitarian interest.


Iron Gates Natural Park was a favourable area for the establishment of human settlements, the holms and depressions formed at the junction between the Danube River and its tributaries providing excellent conditions for the settlements foundation.

The eldest traces of the human presence date from Upper Palaeolithic and Epi-Palaeolithic; the most representative archaeological records are found at Sichevita, Gornea, Dubova and Ada-Kaleh Island (submerged today). Thus, in the Climente Cave and at Cuina Turcului, Ciucaru Mare Massif, ashlars tools from the Middle Palaeolithic were discovered. These places are considered the most ancient archaeological records on the Iron Gates Natural Park territory, their age being evaluated at about 40 000 years.

Close to Schela Cladova Township, East of the Iron Gates Natural Park, the archaeological research recently discovered records of what it is considered to be the oldest permanent settlement in Europe, dating from Epi-Palaeolithic, 7600-7800 yrs. B. Ch.

The first document mentioning a settlement in the Iron Gates Natural Park lasts from 106 B. Ch. and refers to the Dacian city of Dierna, located on the former foundation of Orsova city.

Subsequently, the Roman militaries established several fortresses across the Danube River, at Dierna, but also on the territory of the localities that exist today, such as Moldova Veche, Coronini and Pojejena. Together with the fortresses, they have established several developments, such as roads, ores mines etc.

The continuity of the human presence in the Iron Gates Natural Park was proved out by the discovery of some objects lasting from 10th to 13th Centuries that were proving the existence of some contacts with the Byzantine Empire.

From the 11th Century till the beginning of the 20th Century, the Turkish Empire and Austrian-Hungarian Empire successively controlled the Banat region.

Due to the strategic role of the Danube Gorges, several fortresses were established in addition to the existing ones, with the aim of protection and control of the naval transportation (Orsova established between 1371-1372, Ada-Kaleh, established between 1691-1737 and kept until the island was submerged by the Iron Gates I reservoir lock). Other existing citadels in the Iron Gates Natural Park area are Pojejena, Trikule, Ladislau (in the neighbourhood of Coronini Township), Peci and Lylka (between Dubova and Plavisevita).

After an interruption of several centuries, in the first half of the 18th Century, the Austrian Empire reopens the complex ores exploitations in the Moldova Noua region.

In 1833 starts the building of a road between Orsova and Moldova Veche, and in 1854 is opened the first railway with normal gauge from Romania, between Bazias and Oravita, also entitled “coal way”, due to its initial aim, as industrial railway.

The development of mining activities, of forestry exploitation and of the Danube navigation led to the increasing in the number of settlements and inhabitants in the region.

If you want to get here, just Contact Us !

WARNING – in case of snakebite, please DO NOT:


  • The more calm the victim, the slower the body’s fluids are moving. This allowes for more time prior to hospitalization and treatment.


  • It will cut off the blood supply and concentrate the venom in one small area without restricting its movement within that area. Tourniquets left in place for extended periods can result in infections such as gangrene. Digit and even limb loss have been result of this type of treatment.


  • This is going to ope the wound up to possible infection, and the amount of venom one might remove in this manner will be negligible in comparison to the damage caused.


  • The less aggravation around the bite site, the better.


  • These may interfere with your metabolism and heart rate.


  • Running is going to increase the heart rate, which, in turn will allow the venom in the body to spread to vital organs at a faster rate. If the bite victim is a long way from help, then walking for 10 min, and rasting for five is a better option. If the victim can be transported directly by vehicle, then so much better.


  • Snakes are aften tricky to catch. Doing this is not only wasting time, but also often putting another person at risk of being bitten.

WARNING – in case of snakebite, please DO:


  • This cane be done by pressing the heel of the palm over the area of the bite. Do not waste time with this if you are on your own, as you need a spare hand for bandaging.


  • A 10 cm or wider, crepe bandage should be wrapped around the entire bitten limb. If the limb or digits swell up, turn blue, or lose sensation, the bandage should be removed and the whole procedure repeated.
  • If a bandage is not available, a shirt, or a similar item can be torn into strips and used instead.


  • If possible, get an ambulance to come to you.


  • If the victim stops breathing, or experiences heart failure, then cardio-pulmonary massage as well as mouth to mouth resuscitation can be applied.


  • Remove all rings, bracelets and other tight fitting jewellery or clothing. These items can cause major constriction in the case of swelling.

Driving for Ms. Cindy Brymer Rieck – a sheer pleasure once again

Our story began some years ago, when we first met. We have worked together in the past as well, but this year the time has come for her to visit Romania once again on one of her work trips. As soon as she arrived in Romania, she needed a car and a driver to wait for her at the airport and then transfer her to Craiova, Dolj County where her work was taking place. Also in Craiova, she nedded a local car and driver on several occasions to travel in the country-side for personal interest. On the way there we have found sheep and goats on the road and a lot of other unusual things for a foreigner, but common for Romania.

Hope to see soon Ms. Cindy Brymer Rieck and all the best to you and your family. Regards from Romania…