Bucharest Parliament Palace
The pearl of Bucharest – the Parliament Palace
The Parliament Palace in the Romanian capital Bucharest is one of the largest buildings in the world and is always worth a visit. The fascinating structure counts as a monumental legacy of the executed dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and was built in the 80s. It is located at the western end of Boulevard Unirii in central Bucharest. The Parliament Palace is a tourist magnet that attracts countless visitors every year.
A magnificent building in a class of its own
In addition to exploring the most beautiful regions of Romania, a visit to the Parliament Palace is definitely part of the study trips. During a German-speaking tour, you can experience the gigantic size of this impressive building up close and learn everything important about its history.
The huge building has an area of 365,000 square meters. Over 1000 rooms are distributed over 12 floors. Only local materials such as marble from Transylvania, gold and silver, bronze, crystal and cherry and walnut wood were used in the construction of the parliament building. Precious heavy carpets, stairs and columns made of marble, fascinating crystal chandeliers and brocade and velvet curtains embroidered with gold and silver bear witness to the immense building project and the megalomania of Ceausescu.
Since 2004, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have had their meeting rooms in the Parliament Palace.
Count Dracula’s Castle
Approximately in the middle of Romania, north of Bucharest and east of Sibiu (Hermannstadt) lies the city of Brasov (Kronstadt). The region around Brasov is known as Transylvania or Transylvania. Hikers and nature lovers would definitely appreciate the area with its small villages and large forests. But the region also has for lovers of literature – more precisely: fans of horror novels! – to offer a great attraction: Here in this hidden corner of Central Europe is Bran Castle, also known as “Dracula’s Castle”.
Bran Castle and the novel “Dracula”
Bran Castle sits enthroned on a hill above the municipality of Bran near Brasov. The castle with its thick walls and high towers could really serve as a film set for a scary movie! It was built in the Middle Ages. Construction was completed towards the end of the 14th century. The castle survived several sieges. From 1920 it was owned by the Romanian royal family, fell to the Romanian state after the Second World War and has belonged to the von Habsburg family, who are related to the Romanian royal family, since 2006. Bran Castle served Abraham (“Bram”) Stoker (1847 – 1912), the author of the horror novel “Dracula”, as a model for the residence of the vampire he had invented. The figure Dracula is based on the medieval Romanian ruler Vlad III. Draculea who lived in the 15th century. In reality, Bran Castle was never the residence of Vlad III, but he may have stayed there once. But the mysterious castle is pretty much the description that Stoker gives in his novel. It even has a secret passage…
So it’s no wonder that tourists who go on a trip to Romania (maybe a city tour to Bucharest or Sibiu) like to plan a trip to Bran. If you want, you can even spend the night at Bran Castle: There are several comfortable apartments in the large tower. But most of the visitors just look around the castle, admire the courtyard with the fountain, the winding corridors and of course the view over the community of Bran. The Habsburg family has set up a small museum in the castle. The museum shows original furniture and other memorabilia from the Romanian royal family, including a crown and a scepter!
Bran Castle is open to visitors every day:
During the high season (April 1 to September 30): every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mondays only from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.).
During the low season (October 1st to March 31st): daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Mondays only from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.).
Cheile Nerei-Beușnița National Park
Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Romania and the perfect destination for vacationers looking for easy hikes in the wilderness. Further away from the Romanian capital Bucharest than many other popular Carpathian routes, this national park uses its remoteness to its advantage. The area is known for its biodiversity and natural wonders, including its unique blue lakes and waterfalls. This protected area in the southern part of the Aninei Mountains covers almost 37,000 hectares and consists of a limestone karst landscape.
Vipers instead of bears
Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park is a rare sight in the Carpathian Range when it comes to plant and animal species. In contrast to most Romanian national parks, where extensive coniferous forests and high mountain habitats offer enough space for large carnivores, this is where amphibians, bats, birds and vipers are most common. Feared by many, however, the poisonous species of vipers in the park are protected and difficult to spot, and the chance of attack is slim. As long as holidaymakers pay attention to the marked trails and avoid sunny cliffs and rocks, the snakes will avoid any unwanted encounter.
Blue lakes and wild canyons
The dazzling landscape of the nature park with gorges, lakes, hills, valleys and waterfalls offers tourists spectacular moments on their hikes. The 12 meter deep Teufelssee is the only lake in Romania that was created after a cave ceiling collapsed. The turquoise water, which is difficult to reach, was named after the legend of a devil who drowned in the dark depths of the lake. However, another lake is the most popular attraction. Ochiul Beiului, a lake so blue that you forget everything around you for a moment. The lake, just three meters deep, is only a 30-minute walk from Podu Beiului and is an attraction all year round. Supplied by a karst spring, Ochiul Beiului never changes its tropical blue color and never freezes. Like the Lake of the Devil, Ochiul Beiului takes its name from a local legend, this time from a tragic love story.