vineri, 16 noiembrie 2012

The hidden secrets of Craiova history

Visiting the picturesque Craiova you are not aware of the rich long history of the city. It starts with the Dacian fortress of Pelendava, followed by a fort of the winning Romans, used probably as  a base for further attacks.

The origin of the name is subject of disputes: a theory says, it would come from Slavian word cral= king, and another one sustains the name coming from the wealthy powerful family Craiovescu. The name appeared in documents in the XVth century, and a century latter the city experiences its golden age, under the ruler Mihai Viteazu, Romanian hero, who was first governor here in Craiova. Afterwards he was awarded ruller of Wallachia, and managed to unify all the three Romanian states of the time (Wallachia, Transilvania, and Moldavia). But the bigger powers, first Austria, did not agree the idea of such a big and strong Romanian state, and this Union showed to be artificially and did not last. The Oltenia Capital owed its wealth to the fairs, cow trade and crafts.

Towntown Craiova with Piata Unirii is a good place for a walk

The Turks are going to transform Craiova in ruins in 1774. The following plague from 1795, a fire and a earthquake caused a certain decay of Craiova, which started again to prosper in the XIXth century. Craioca took part together with Bucharest, Iasi, Sibiu and Cluj to the many events of the XIXth century leading to the Romanian Independence. In the XIXth century Craiova manages to prosper again, due to the oil reserves from the vicinity, which brought many other industries in the city. This industrialization of Craiova was further promoted by the communist regime, and the well known communists blocks of flats emerged by hundreds in the city (I can reveal you another secret, Ceausescu was born in Oltenia!).
The Art Museum in Craiova is a must see for any tourist, even wine afficionado

Much later, in the 70's appeared an University in Craiova, as the Culture life was not so intense here. Nowadays all the factories experience bad time, and the city is no more so wealthy and prosperous. Nevertheless, you can't miss Craiova, is the crossroads and Capital of the all region. You have many things to do in Craiova, but one day shall be enough, before going further to Bulgaria, Portile de Fier, or Transilvania.

Observe and admire the wise positioning of Craiova, between hills and plains. Go in the downtown, take a walk in the wonderful Romanescu park, very similar to an English park, which is the locals' main option for relaxing. Observe the Architecture styles of the buildings in the center, from Brancovan to neoclassic. Don't miss the spectacular Art Museum, on the main promenade of Piata Unirii. The cute building was erected 1905 for a wealthy local. In 1939 it served as a refuge for the Polish President escaping from the invading  German troops. Nowadays it hosts some interesting collections, making the locals so proud. First of all, prepare to rediscover Brancusi, which started his activity in Craiova. Again, his masterpieces are special totally, going to the quitessence of substance and life. Brancusi simply managed to carve ideas! The next rooms host Romanian classical painters like Amman, Petrascu, Tuculescu, Pallady.

Not far from Craiova you can discover the vineyards from Sadova and Vanju Mare. Thus you will combine mind and spirit, body and soul.

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