Monday, April 20, 2009
Scenes from Romania
The last European country I lived in was Romania. It is what you might call an unspoilt country, relatively off the beaten path as far as tourism is concerned, but there are some wonderful places to visit. The top photo is a street scene from the small Transylvanian town of Sighişoara, which was the birth place of Vlad Ţepeş, the historical figure on whom Dracula was based. The house where he was born is now a restaurant, which serves such typical Romanian delicacies as pan-fried brains. There is a plaque on the wall stating that Vlad Ţepeş's father, Vlad Dracul lived here and that his son was born here in 1431 and spent the first four years of his life in this house. Drăculea means son of Dracul. After suffering abuse as a prisoner of the Turks, Drăculea went on to exact his revenge by impaling Turkish prisoners on stakes, where they took up to 48 hours to die an agonizing death. Ţepeş means Impaler.
The second photo is of Piaţa Unirii in downtown Bucharest, which is where I lived. You can see that capitalism is beginning to transform this once grim communist bloc city.
The third photo is of the fortified Saxon church of Biertan. You find fortified churches like this dotted across Transylvania. The villagers took refuge in them during the periodic invasions by the Ottoman Turks.
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