Crina Popescu (again)

The 16 years old Romanian alpinist Crina "Coco" Popescu is the first climber to complete the "Seven Volcanoes" circuit. The circuit includes the highest volcanoes on the seven continents:
  • Elbrus (5.642 m) – Russia, Europe
  • Kilimanjaro (5.895 m) – Tanzania, Africa
  • Damavand (5.671 m) – Iran, Asia
  • Giluwe (4,368 m) – Papua New Guinea, Australia and Oceania
  • Ojos del Salado (6,891 m) – Chile / Argentina.  South America
  • Pico de Orizaba (5,636 m) – Mexico, North America
  • Mount Sidley (4,285 m) – Antarctica

Photo from here

She is also the first woman who conquered Mt. Sidley and the youngest woman who climbed Mt. Vinson. Crina Coco Popescu climbed already six of the Seven Summits and wants to complete the circuit before 18yo.

Bohodei Waterfall

The Bohodei Waterfall (Romanian: Săritoarea Bohodei, En. approx. Bohodei Jump) is the highest waterfall in Apuseni Mountains (Western Carpathians).

The waterfall is located at 15 km from Stâna de Vale Resort; the access is difficult, 8-9 hours with adequate equipment. The water falls from over 80 m on a very inclined slope, a nearly vertical wall. At its base there is a cave-like niche hanged between suspended rocks above the Bohodei Valley.

Photos from here.

Harry Tavitian

Harry Tavitian, considered by International Herald Tribune "the most interesting contemporary Romanian jazz-man", was born in 1952 in Constanţa in an Armenian family.

Tavitian started classical piano at the age of 6 and graduated the Academy of Music in Bucharest. In 1970 he saw bluesman Memphis Slim live in Braşov and this was a major influence in his future career. After this event, he started singing and playing the blues and soon he made his first steps in jazz, and in 1976 he gave up classical music completely for jazz. He came to prominence in 1978-1987, when he set up a jazz club, organizing recordings and listening sessions where he presented albums by some of the world's most prominent jazz-men. The club was hosted by Constanţa Library, where he was working at that time.

Harry Tavitian is jazz pianist and singer, whose style covers free-jazz, blues, ethno-jazz and avant-garde. He has a style of his own, well defined in East European new jazz, through his incessant artistic experiences. His sound is a melting pot of American jazz, folklore of the Balkans, contemporary chamber music, blues, old music. Also, his Armenian roots are obvious. His music has a strong ethnic character. The Romanian spiritual area, where he has developed is a synthesis between the cultural traditions of Orient and Occident. In this area archaic convictions are still preserved and Tavitian's music is full of myth. Harry Tavitian is also concerned about the syncretism of the arts. In his performances he uses elements of instrumental theatre and costumes.

Harry Tavitian performed concerts and attended important jazz festivals in Romania, Russia, Lithuania, France, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Yugoslavia, Poland, Scotland, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Netherlands, USA, Armenia (as a personal guest of the president of Armenia), Slovakia, Switzerland, Slovenia, Austria.

Harry Tavitian - Old Balkan Ballad

Harry Tavitian - At Levant's Gates

Harry Tavitian - Tanarica

Sir Blues

Valerian "Sir Blues" Răcilă is a Romanian actor, psychologist, and musician. After a career of 22 years as actor at "Mihai Eminescu" Theater in Botoşani, Vali Răcilă worked as psychologist for children with special needs in Răcăciuni, Bacău County. Now, he lives in Sighişoara.

Vali Răcilă is not a star, but he is a legend among music connoisseurs. The non-conformist singer plays almost all forms of Blues, has an amazing technique and a special feeling for this kind of music.

Sport News

The President of the International Handball Federation, Hassan Moustafa, announced the results of the survey among experts, journalists and supporters, for the nomination of the best handball player in 2010. The Romanian Cristina Neagu (22) was declared the Top Player 2010.

Emanuel "Mani" Gyenes, the best enduro and rally-raid Romanian motobike pilot, won the Marathon class at the 2011 Paris-Dakar Rally. With a KTM 690 Rally Factory Replica, he won also the 3rd place at the "over 450cc engines" class.

The renowned Romanian football player Gheorghe Hagi, according to FIFA official site, accomplished the most beautiful move in the history of the World Football Championship, during the match against Colombia (3-1), June 18 1994.

The Romanian Peasant Museum

In 1906 the first autonomous museum for peasant art was established. Lucky circumstances brought the art historian Alexandru Tzigara-Samurcaş as its first director. He renamed the institution the Ethnography and National Art Museum and from 1912 on, the National Art Museum. During the 40 years of Tzigara Samurcaş’ leadership the museum was in the avant-garde of European museology.

After the WWII, the Communist regime moved the museum in the Ştirbei Palace on Calea Victoriei, for 25 years and under a new name: the Popular Art Museum of the Romanian Popular/Socialist Republic. During this period, the museographers were forced to not exhibiting some valuable collection pieces, especially the religious ones. However, they succeeded in increasing the heritage of the museum with three times as much objects of peasant art.

In 1978, the Popular Art Museum and the Village Museum were united in one institution. The unification mainly meant that most of collections of the Popular Art museum remained hidden in a long and unhealthy sleep until 1990 when the museum was reestablished and brought back to its home on 3, Kiseleff Blvd.

The Romanian Peasant Museum’s building is placed in Victoriei Square in Bucharest, next to the Natural Science Museum “Grigore Antipa” and the Geology Museum. The construction of the building, including its design was assigned to architect N. Ghika-Budeşti, leading member of the Romanian school of architecture. In 1941, after 29 years and many interruptions, the building, in its current shape was ready. Representative for the neo-Romanian style, inspired by traditional architecture, especially the Brâncovenesc style, the building is remarkable by its composition using mainly floral and zoomorphic decorations. The visible red bricklayer, the big windows under arches, the columns of the loggia, the elegant silhouette of the main tower reminding of the bell towers in old monasteries make the building a true palace of art. (Slightly adapted from the museum's site).

You can visit the Romanian Peasant Museum here, - an interesting commented virtual tour.

Valea Rea Cave

Peştera Valea Rea (Eng. approx. Bad Valley Cave) is located in Apuseni Mountains (Western Carpathians), in the North-West of Padiş karstic plateau, near Pietroasele village, Bihor County, at 1300 m altitude.

The karst from the area of Cârligate – Valea Rea is special because of the first poli-genetic endokarst of Romania. Valea Rea cave (21 km long) began its evolution due to post-magmatic hydrothermal substances, associated to the eruptive area of Vlădeasa. These created a mineral hydrothermal paleokarst and a relict hydrothermal karst. As a consequence of the end of post-magmatic activities and of the lifting of the northern Bihor Mountains block during the Pliocen age, the pre-conditions for the formation of a classic endokarst of cold water, which partially re-organised the previous spaces, appear.

The Valea Rea Cave, besides the fact that it is one of the most complex caves of the world, is also Romania's greatest underground mineralogical "museum". Over 37 different minerals described as components of some speleological formations - speleothemes (cave pearls, gyps, quartz, celestit, malachite, rhodochrosite, metatyuyamunit etc.), a lot of these being described for the first time in speleologic environment - place this cave among the World's top 10 caves. It is also the most complex cave system in Romania (developed on about 20 km) including mineralized hydrothermal paleo-karst (including native gold veins), relict hydrothermal but also cold water endokarst. The cave has the greatest vertical underground waterfall of Romania (the Ventilator Fall): 82 m high, 10 m diameter. It is the largest Romanian cave entirely developed in dolomite.

The Valea Rea Cave measures 21 km in length, and after the entrance (only 1 sqm) follows a system of deep ravines up to 120 m, and then continue with the galleries, shafts, vertical chimneys and spacious rooms. Unfortunately, the cave can't be visited since it was declared a scientific reserve. (Infos from Apuseni Natural Park site).

The Minorite Church, Tîrgu-Mureş

The Minorite monks settled in Tîrgu-Mureş at the beginning of the 18th century, hosted by count Keresztes Márton József in his home inside the fortress. As soon as the fortress was turned into an Austrian military headquarters, the houses were destroyed; therefore the Minorites had to move to Curteni, a village a few kilometers away from the city.

It is unknown when the works on the church and monastery dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua began. The inscription on its façade indicates the year 1725, in contradiction with the documents that certify the arrival of the Minorites in Tîrgu Mureş in 1726. Most sources indicate that the works were initiated sometime between 1735 and 1740. The building complex was conceived initially as the most sumptuous religious edifice in town, but was not finalized due to lack of funding.

The first stage of construction was finalized in 1767, in a very sober Baroque style as far as decorations are concerned, but at its best in terms of structural solutions. The complex included the church with a wooden tower and a long, two-storey building attached to the church. In 1892, the entrance and the wooden tower were re-built out of bricks, and at the beginning of the 20th century the monastery was built, turning the complex into an U-shaped ensemble.

The plan of the church is simple. It is made up of a tower, a small pentagonal pro-nave, a nave with a single trave and an altar of roughly the same size as the nave. On the right side of the altar there are two doors that connect it to the monastery. The first room of the monastery is the sacristy, followed by other rooms connected to a long corridor ending with the staircase that leads to the first floor. The roof for both the church and the monastery is made up of bohemian caps reinforced with arcs supported by pilasters. The pilasters of the altar are also decorative thanks to their composite caps. The facades are sober, with no decorative elements. The windows are simple, semicircular, and do not have profiled framings.In time, the monastery building changed its destination several times.

It hosted the Institute of Theology between 1895 and 1914 and the Primary School Teachers’ College between 1945 and 1948, and later was turned into a boarding house for Medical School female students.

Via. Images from here.

Isverna Cave

The Isverna Cave (Romanian: Peştera Isverna or Izverna; 600 m altitude) is located in Mehedinţi County, South-Western Romania. As famous as the flooded caves in Mexico, Florida or the Alps, Isverna is passed by the largest karstic spring in Romaniaa, and still retains the charm that made famous the natural wilderness of the Romanian Carpathians. That is why, from a desire to maintain it, the cave was declared a speleological reserve. Here is an ideal place for speo-scuba diving, visited every year by hundreds of divers all over the world.

The cave was first explored by the bio-speleologist C.N. Ionescu, on a length of 200 meters. In 1914 he published a description of this section, and in 1951 P.A. Chappuis and A. Winkler made a more detailed description. Between 1964-1967 V. Decou made a bio-speleological research, and in 1973, C. Goran made a cave plan published in 1976. The "Living Fire" speleological team led by S. Roată, re-mapped the cave November 1979, discovering new galleries, so that the current length was 1,500 m. The same year began the diving exploration, with promising results, and continued in 1980 when Florin Paroiu and Costel Vanau hunted, cave diving pioneers from Romania, were first that passed the Green Siphon (50 meters long), then the shorter Yellow Siphon.

It followed the exploration of a gallery with water 1.5 m deep and strong currents, ended by the Black Siphon - the longest in Romania (over 400 m and a negative bump of 40 m). In the early '90, Jacques Yves Cousteau came here with a team of cavers and divers. In January 2005, Gabor Mogyorosy and Mihai Baciu passed the Black Siphon and found hundreds of meters of galleries, of which 300 m of active galleries. So far have been explored since the beginning of Black Siphon over 1800 m of galleries. Exploration continues today due to high potential of the cave and to the discovery of new siphons at the end of the flooded gallery.

It is said that in the cave is hidden a silver treasure of the Empress Maria Theresa. In March 2010, speleologists made an amazing discovery in the cave: in an completely isolated room, they found a unique species of little birds, resembling to the bats. Those birds hadn't ever a contact with the exterior (the access gallery is flooded), but they reacted to the light and hid in the cavities of the wall. In this room the researchers found also some circular objects with a diameter of around 1 m, with strange signs, much heavier than the lead. The area of the objects is much colder.

Images from Drobeta Turnu-Severin

Hans Eckart Schlandt

Hans Eckart Schlandt has been Cantor and Organist at the “Black Church” in Braşov (Kronstadt), Romania, since 1965. His early organ instruction was with Viktor Bickerich, who served as organist at the Black
Church from 1922 to 1962. Later studies were with Helmuth Plattner at the Musikhochschule in Bucharest.

Since 1965 Hans Eckart Schlandt took over the "Bach" choir of the Black Church. During the period of Communism, adverse to the religious music, he managed to provide continuity and quality with the amazing great oratorios and passions of Bach, Mozart, Brahms, etc., to protect the Black Church by the totalitarian regime of the time, turning it into a musical haven of inner freedom. In addition to his duties as organist and choir director, Hans Eckart Schlandt directs the summer concert series at the Black Church. He is also on the faculty of the Musikhochschule in Braşov, where he teaches organ and chamber music.

For several decades, Hans Eckart Schlandt has pursued an active career as a performer and teacher, including concerts, radio and television broadcasts, CD recordings, and master classes. He has presented numerous recitals throughout Eastern and Western Europe, and an American tour.