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luni, 21 ianuarie 2013

Constantin Brâncuși

 

Constantin Brâncuși - surname sometimes spelled Brâncuș; February 19, 1876 – March 16, 1957,was a Romanian-born sculptor who made his career in France. As a child he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest, then to Munich, then to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His abstract style emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art. Famous Brâncuși works include the Sleeping Muse (1908), The Kiss (1908), Prometheus (1911), Mademoiselle Pogany (1913), The Newborn (1915), Bird in Space (1919) and The Column of the Infinite (Coloana infinitului), popularly known as The Endless Column (1938). Considered the pioneer of modernism, Brâncuși is called the patriarch of modern sculpture.

Brâncuși grew up in the village of Hobiţa, Gorj, near Târgu Jiu, close to Romania's Carpathian Mountains, an area known for its rich tradition of folk crafts, particularly woodcarving. Geometric patterns of the region are seen in his later works.
His parents Nicolae and Maria Brâncuși were poor peasants who earned a meager living through back-breaking labor; from the age of seven, Constantin herded the family's flock of sheep. He showed talent for carving objects out of wood, and often ran away from home to escape the bullying of his father and older brothers.
At the age of nine, Brâncuși left the village to work in the nearest large town. At 11 he went into the service of a grocer in Slatina; and then he became a domestic in a public house in Craiova where he remained for several years. When he was 18, Brâncuși created a violin by hand with materials he found around his workplace. Impressed by Brâncuși's talent for carving, an industrialist entered him in the Craiova School of Arts and Crafts (școala de arte și meserii), where he pursued his love for woodworking, graduating with honors in 1898.
He then enrolled in the Bucharest School of Fine Arts, where he received academic training in sculpture. He worked hard, and quickly distinguished himself as talented. One of his earliest surviving works, under the guidance of his anatomy teacher, Dimitrie Gerota, is a masterfully rendered écorché (statue of a man with skin removed to reveal the muscles underneath) which was exhibited at the Romanian Athenaeum in 1903. Though just an anatomical study, it foreshadowed the sculptor's later efforts to reveal essence rather than merely copy outward appearance.

Working in Paris

In 1903, Brâncuși traveled to Munich, and from there to Paris. In Paris, he was welcomed by the community of artists and intellectuals brimming with new ideas. He worked for two years in the workshop of Antonin Mercié of the École des Beaux-Arts, and was invited to enter the workshop of Auguste Rodin. Even though he admired the eminent Rodin he left the Rodin studio after only two months, saying, "Nothing can grow under big trees."
After leaving Rodin's workshop, Brâncuși began developing the revolutionary style for which he is known. His first commissioned work, "The Prayer", was part of a gravestone memorial. It depicts a young woman crossing herself as she kneels, and marks the first step toward abstracted, non-literal representation, and shows his drive to depict "not the outer form but the idea, the essence of things." He also began doing more carving, rather than the method popular with his contemporaries, that of modeling in clay or plaster which would be cast in metal, and by 1908 he worked almost exclusively by carving.
In the following few years he made many versions of "Sleeping Muse" and "The Kiss", further simplifying forms to geometrical and sparse objects.
His works became popular in France, Romania and the United States. Collectors, notably John Quinn, bought his pieces, and reviewers praised his works. In 1913 Brâncuși's work was displayed at both the Salon des Indépendants and the first exhibition in the U.S. of modern art, the Armory Show.
Brancusi's Paris studio, 1920, photograph by Edward Steichen
In 1920, he developed a notorious reputation with the entry of "Princess X"  in the Salon. The phallic shape of the piece scandalized the Salon, and despite Brâncuși's explanation that it was an anonymous portrait, removed it from the exhibition. "Princess X" was revealed to be Princess Marie Bonaparte, direct descendant of the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. Brâncuși represented or caricatured her life as a large gleaming bronze phallus. This phallus symbolizes the model's obsession with the penis and her lifelong quest to achieve vaginal orgasm, with the help of Sigmund Freud.
Around this time he began crafting the bases for his sculptures with much care and originality because he considered them important to the works themselves.
He began working on the group of sculptures that are known as "Bird in Space" — simple shapes representing a bird in flight. The works are based on his earlier "Măiastra"  series. In Romanian folklore the Măiastra is a beautiful golden bird who foretells the future and cures the blind. Over the following 20 years, Brâncuși would make 20-some versions of "Bird in Space" out of marble or bronze. Photographer Edward Steichen purchased one of the "birds" in 1926 and shipped it to the United States. However, the customs officers did not accept the "bird" as a work of art and placed a duty upon its import as an industrial item. They charged the high tax placed upon raw metals instead of the no tax on art. A trial the next year overturned the assessment. Athena Tacha Spear's book, Brâncuși's Birds, (CAA monographs XXI, NYU Press, New York, 1969), first sorted out the 36 versions and their development, from the early Măiastra, to the Golden Bird of the late teens, to the Bird in Space, which emerged in the early '20s and which Brâncuși perfected throughout his life.
His work became popular in the U.S., however, and he visited several times during his life. Worldwide fame in 1933 brought him the commission of building a meditation temple in India for Maharajah of Indore, but when Brâncuși went to India in 1937 to complete the plans and begin construction, the Mahrajah was away and lost interest in the project when he returned.
In 1938, he finished the World War I monument in Târgu-Jiu where he had spent much of his childhood. "Table of Silence", "The Gate of the Kiss", and "Endless Column" commemorate the courage and sacrifice of Romanian civilians who in 1916 fought off a German invasion. The restoration of this ensemble was spearheaded by the World Monuments Fund and was completed in 2004.
The Târgu Jiu ensemble marks the apex of his artistic career. In his remaining 19 years he created less than 15 pieces, mostly reworking earlier themes, and while his fame grew he withdrew. In 1956 Life magazine reported, "Wearing white pajamas and a yellow gnomelike cap, Brâncuși today hobbles about his studio tenderly caring for and communing with the silent host of fish birds, heads, and endless columns which he created."
Brâncuși was cared for in his later years by a Romanian refugee couple. He became a French citizen in 1952 in order to make the caregivers his heirs, and to bequeath his studio and its contents to the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris

Personal life

Sleeping Muse, 1910, bronze, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Brâncuși always dressed in the simple ways the Romanian peasants did. His studio was reminiscent of the houses of the peasants from his native region: there was a big slab of rock as a table and a primitive fireplace, similar to those found in traditional houses in his native Oltenia, while the rest of the furniture was made by him out of wood. Brâncuși would cook his own food, traditional Romanian dishes, with which he would treat his guests.
Brâncuși held a large spectrum of interests, from science to music. He was a good violinist and he would sing old Romanian folk songs, often expressing by them his feelings of homesickness. Nevertheless, he never considered moving back to his native Romania, but he did visit it eight times,
His circle of friends included artists and intellectuals in Paris such as Amedeo Modigliani, Ezra Pound, Henri Pierre Roché, Guillaume Apollinaire, Louise Bourgeois, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Rousseau, and Fernand Léger. He was an old friend of Romany Marie,who was also Romanian, and referred Isamu Noguchi to her café in Greenwich Village.Although surrounded by the Parisian avant-garde, Brâncuși never lost the contact with Romania and had friends from the community of Romanian artists and intellectuals living in Paris, including Benjamin Fondane, George Enescu, Theodor Pallady, Camil Ressu, Nicolae Dărăscu, Panait Istrati, Traian Vuia, Eugène Ionesco, Emil Cioran and Paul Celan.
Brâncuși held a particular interest in mythology, especially Romanian mythology, folk tales, and traditional art (which also had a strong influence on his works), but he became interested in African and Mediterranean art as well.
A talented handyman, he built his own phonograph, and made most of his furniture, utensils, and doorways. His worldview valued "differentiating the essential from the ephemeral," with Plato, Lao-Tzu, and Milarepa as influences. He was a saint-like idealist and near ascetic, turning his workshop into a place where visitors noted the deep spiritual atmosphere. However, particularly through the 10s and 20s, he was known as a pleasure seeker and merrymaker in his bohemian circle. He enjoyed cigarettes, good wine, and the company of women. He had one child, John Moore, whom he never acknowledged.

Death and legacy

Constantin Brâncuși on the 500 leu Romanian banknote (1991–1992 issue)
He died on March 16, 1957 at the age of 81 leaving 1200 photographs and 215 sculptures. He was buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris. Also located in that cemetery are statues carved by Brâncuși for several fellow artists who died; the best-known of these is "Le Baiser" ("The Kiss").
His works are housed in the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the National Museum of Art of Romania (Bucharest), and the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), as well as in other major museums around the world. The Philadelphia Museum of Art currently has the largest collection of Brâncuși sculptures in the United States.
A reconstruction of Brâncuși's onetime studio in Paris is open to the public. It is close to the Pompidou Centre, in the rue Rambuteau. After being refused by the Romanian Communist government, he bequeathed part of his collection to the French state on condition that his workshop be rebuilt as it was on the day he died.
Architect Klas Anshelm designed the Malmö Konsthall, which opened in 1975 and is one of Europe’s largest exhibition halls for contemporary art, taking inspiration for the construction from Brâncuși's studio, after visiting the sculptor in Paris.
Brâncuși was elected posthumously to the Romanian Academy in 1990.
In 2002, a sculpture by Brâncuși named "Danaide" was sold for $18.1 million, the highest that a sculpture piece had ever sold for at auction. In May 2005, a piece from the "Bird in Space" series broke that record, selling for $27.5 million in a Christie's auction. In the Yves Saint Laurent/Pierre Bergé sale on February 23, 2009, another sculpture of Brâncuși, "Madame L.R.", was sold for €29.185 million ($37.2 million), setting a new historical record.

 

duminică, 9 decembrie 2012

Romanian cuisine

Romanian cuisine is a diverse blend of different dishes from several traditions with which it has come into contact, but it also maintains its own character. It has been greatly influenced by Ottoman cuisine, while it also includes influences from the cuisines of other neighbours, such as Germans, Serbs, Bulgarians and Hungarians.
Quite different types of dishes are sometimes included under a generic term; for example, the category ciorbă includes a wide range of soups with a characteristic sour taste. These may be meat and vegetable soups, tripe (ciorbă de burtă), and calf foot soups, or fish soups, all of which are soured by lemon juice, sauerkraut juice, vinegar, or traditionally borş. The category ţuică (plum brandy) is a generic name for a strong alcoholic spirit in Romania, while in other countries, every flavour has a different name.
In history of Romanian culinary literature, Costache Negruzzi and Mihail Kogălniceanu are the compilers of a cookbook ″200 reţete cercate de bucate, prăjituri şi alte treburi gospodăreşti″ (200 tried recipes, pastries and other household things) printed in 1841. Also, Negruzzi writes in "Alexandru Lăpuşneanu": "In Moldavia at this time, fine food wasn't fashioned. Greater feast could have included few courses. After Polish borş, Greek dishes follow, boiled with herbs floating in butter, after that, Turkish pilaf, and finally cosmopolitan steaks".

Dacian cuisine

Cheese was known since Ancient history. Brânză is the generic word for cheese in Romanian. This word is from Dacian, the language of the pre-Roman population of present-day Romania.
The Dacians produced wine in massive quantities. Once Burebista, a Dacian king, angered by the wine abuse of his warriors, cut the vines; his people gave up drinking wine.Legend says that the Dacian people created their own beer.

Roman influence

With Romans, came a certain taste, rooted in the centuries for the pastry made with cheese, like alivenci, pasca, or brânzoaice. Introduction of porridge by the Romans, who eat millet porridge called polenta.

Ottoman influence

For 276 years, Romania was under the rules of the Ottoman Empire. Turkish cuisine changed the Romanian table with appetizers made of eggplant, peppers or other vegetables, various meat preparations like spicy chiftele. And a unique procession of sweets, pastries combining honey and nuts, such as baklava, halva, and rahat, which is used in cakes.
Romanian recipes bear the same influences as the rest of Romanian culture. The Turks have brought meatballs (perişoare in a meatball soup), from the Greeks there is musaca, from the Austrians there is the şniţel, and the list could continue. The Romanians share many foods with the Balkan area (in which Turkey was the cultural vehicle), with Central Europe (mostly in the form of German-Austrian dishes introduced through Hungary or by the Saxons in Transylvania) and Eastern Europe. Some others are original or can be traced to the Roman or other ancient civilizations. The lack of written sources in Eastern Europe makes impossible to determine today the punctual origin for most of them.
One of the most common meals is the mămăliga, a type of polenta, served on its own or as an accompaniment. Pork is the main meat used in Romanian cuisine, but also beef is consumed and a good lamb or fish dish is never to be refused.
Before Christmas, on December 20 (Ignat's Day or Ignatul in Romanian), a pig is traditionally sacrificed by every rural family. A variety of foods for Christmas prepared from the slaughtered pig consist of the following:
  • Cărnaţi — sausages
  • Caltaboş — sausages made with liver
  • Tobă and piftie — dishes using pig's feet, head and ears suspended in aspic
  • Tochitură — pan-fried pork served with mămăligă and wine ("so that the pork can swim").
  • Piftie - inferior parts of the pig, mainly the tail, feet and ears, are cooked refinely and served in a form of gelatin
  • Jumari - small pieces of pig meat are fried and tumbled through various spices
The Christmas meal is sweetened with the traditional cozonac, a sweet bread with nuts and rahat for dessert.
At Easter, lamb is served: the main dishes are roast lamb and drob de miel – a Romanian-style lamb haggis made of minced organs (heart, liver, lungs) wrapped and roasted in a caul. The traditional Easter cake is pască, a pie made of yeast dough with a sweet cottage cheese filling at the center.
Romanian pancakes, called clătită, are thin (like the French crêpe) and can be prepared with savory or sweet fillings: ground meat, white cheese, or jam. Different recipes are prepared depending on the season or the occasion.
Wine is the preferred drink, and Romanian wine has a tradition of over three millennia.Romania is currently the world's 9th largest wine producer, and recently the export market has started to grow. Romania produces a wide selection of domestic varieties (Fetească, Grasă, Tamâioasă, and Busuioacă), as well as varieties from across the world (Italian Riesling, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Muscat Ottonel). Beer is also highly regarded, generally blonde pilsener beer, made with German influences. There are also Romanian breweries with a long tradition.
According to the 2009 data of FAOSTAT, Romania is the world's second largest plum producer (after the United States), and as much as 75% of Romania's plum production is processed into the famous ţuică, a plum brandy obtained through one or more distillation steps.

List of dishes

Soups

Ciorbă de cartofi
Ciorbă de burtă
Fish

Vegetables

Ardei umpluţi

List of cheese types

The generic name for cheese in Romania is brânză, and it is considered to be of Dacian origin. Most of the cheeses are made of cow's or sheep's milk. Goat's milk is rarely used. Sheep cheese is considered "the real cheese", although in modern times some people refrain from consuming it due to its higher fat content and specific smell.
  • Brânză de burduf a kneaded cheese prepared from sheep's milk and traditionally stuffed into a sheep's stomach; it has a strong taste and semi-soft texture
  • Brânză topită is a melted cheese and a generic name for processed cheese, industrial product
  • Brânză de coşuleţ is a sheep's milk, kneaded cheese with a strong taste and semi-soft texture, stuffed into bellows of fir tree bark instead of pig bladder, very lightly smoked, traditional product
  • Caş is a semi-soft fresh white cheese, unsalted, sometimes lightly salted, stored in brine, which is eaten fresh (cannot be preserved), traditional, seasonal product
  • Caşcaval is a semi-hard cheese made with sheep's or cow's milk, traditional product
  • Năsal, traditional product
  • Penteleu, traditional product
  • Șvaițer, industrial product
  • Telemea is similar to feta, traditional product
  • Urdă - made by boiling the whey drained from cow's or ewe's milk until the remaining proteins precipitate and can be collected, traditional product

List of desserts

Amandine, Romanian chocolate sponge cake.
Papanași, Romanian doughnuts.
  • Mucenici - sweet cookies (shaped like "8", made of boiled or baked dough, garnished with walnuts, sugar or honey, eaten on a single day of the year, on 9 March)[18]

List of drinks

Bottle of ţuică purchased in Timişoara, Romania.

 



 

luni, 3 decembrie 2012

Carpathian Mountains

 

 

The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly 1,500 km (932 mi) long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe (after the Scandinavian Mountains, 1,700 km (1,056 mi)). They provide the habitat for the largest European populations of brown bears, wolves, chamois and lynxes, with the highest concentration in Romania,as well as over one third of all European plant species.The Carpathians and their piedmont also concentrate many thermal and mineral waters, with Romania home to over one-third of the European total.] Romania is likewise home to the largest surface of virgin forests in Europe (excluding Russia), totaling 250,000 hectares (65%), most of them in the Carpathians, with the Southern Carpathians constituting Europe’s largest unfragmented forested area.
The Carpathians consist of a chain of mountain ranges that stretch in an arc from the Czech Republic (3%) in the northwest through Slovakia (17%), Poland (10%), Hungary (4%) and Ukraine (11%) to Romania (53%) in the east and on to the Iron Gates on the River Danube between Romania and Serbia (2%) in the south. The highest range within the Carpathians is the Tatras, on the border of Poland and Slovakia, where the highest peaks exceed 2,600 m (8,530 ft). The second-highest range is the Eastern Carpathians in Romania, where the highest peaks exceed 2,500 m (8,202 ft).
The Carpathians are usually divided into three major parts: the Western Carpathians (Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia), the Central Carpathians (southeastern Poland, eastern Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania), and the Eastern Carpathians (Romania, Serbia).[1]
The most important cities in or near the Carpathians are: Bratislava and Košice in Slovakia; Kraków in Poland; Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu and Braşov in Romania; and Miskolc in Hungary.

joi, 22 noiembrie 2012

  

                                Voroneț Monastery




Voroneț is a monastery in Romania, located
 in the town of Gura Humorului, Moldavia.
File:Voronet church.jpgIt is one of the famous painted monasteries from
southern Bukovina, in Suceava County.
Between May and September 1488, Stephen III of Moldavia
(known as "Stephen the Great",
 in Romanian Ștefan cel Mare) built
 the Voroneț Monastery
 (in Romanian Mănăstirea Voroneț) to
commemorate the victory at Battle of Vaslui.
Often known as the "Sistine Chapel of the East",
the frescoes at Voroneț feature an intense shade
 of blue known in Romania as "Voroneț blue".
"The exterior walls — including a representation of
 the Last Judgment on the
 west wall — were painted in 1547 with a
 background of vivid cerulean blue.
This blue is so vibrant that art historians refer
to Voroneț blue the same way they do Titian red."

joi, 15 noiembrie 2012

Dacians - Unsettling truths 

 





The province of Dacia


- The province of Dacia existed from 106-2771 AD. It didn't include all the territories inhabited by the Dacians. Crisana, Maramures, Northern and Central Moldova are still inhabited by the free Dacians.
- Trajan stayed in Dacia until 107, to orgaanize the new territory.
- In 108 is founded the capital of the provvince, Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica Sarmizegetusa.
- Other important cities in Dacia were: Apuulum, Napoca, Potaissa, Drobeta, Dierna, Tibiscum.

The continuity of the Dacians


- Some ancient writers affirmed that the Daacian people had been completely destroyed after the two wars. This is not true.
- These are the proofs that in Dacia continnued to exist a numerous local population:
- Most of the ancient historians didn't afffirm that all the Dacians died. For example, Dio Cassius says that a lot of Dacians submitted to the Romans during the wars. Scenes from Trajan's Column show how the Dacians returned to their homes, after the war.
- Inscriptions and written documents mentioon units formed with Dacian soldiers, which are placed all over the empire. 12 such military units are known.
- The Dacian names of the cities are kept dduring the Roman administration (Apulum, Napoca, Drobeta, Dierna, Potaissa). Because of the presence of the local population in the province, at the the new capital is added the name Sarmizegetusa.
- Also, the Dacian names of the rivers are used by the Romans (Maris, Alutus, Samus, Pyretus).
- The archaeological discoveries are the moost important proves for the continuity of the Dacians: settlements and houses, burial places, objects of home use, pottery, tools, all of them of Dacian provenance.

 The free Dacians


- The free Dacians are the inhabitants of MMaramures, Crisana, Moldova, territories that weren't included in the province of Dacia.
- They had kept a permanent contact with thhe Dacians from the province.
- The most important among the free Dacianss were:
a. the Costoboci
b. the Carpi
c. the Great Dacians.
- The free Dacians had a number of raids inn the territories occupied by the Romans. The most significant was that of the Carpi in 245.

luni, 12 noiembrie 2012

 ROMANIAN ARCHITECTURE



During the middle ages in Romania there were two types of construction that developed in parallel and different in point of both materials and technique. The first is the popular architecture, whose most spectacular achievements were the wooden churches, especially those in the villages of Maramureş, Banat and Apuseni Mountains, where the tradition is still carried out today. In Maramureş, in Surdeşti village, the 54 m high church tower built during 1721–1724 is among the highest of this kind in Europe. The second consists mainly of monasteries, as well as princely seats or boyar mansions. Unfortunatelly, most of the old lay edifices were destroyed by time, wars, earthquakes and fires.
In mediaeval architecture, influences of Western trends can be traced, to a greater or lesser extent, in all the three lands inhabited by Romanians. Such influences are stronger in Transylvania, and weaker in Moldavia, in forms absorbed by local and Byzantine tradition. In Wallachia, Western elements in architecture were even fewer; there, from the 14th century architecture was based on the local adaptation of the Byzantine model (the Princely Church in Curtea de Arges and the Cozia Monastery).
There are monuments significant for the Transylvanian Gothic style preserved to this day, in spite of all alterations, such as the Black Church in Braşov (14th–15th c.) and a number of other cathedrals, as well as the Bran Castle in Braşov County (14th c.), the Hunyad Castle in Hunedoara (15th c.).
Transylvania also developed fortified towns extensively during the Middle Ages; their urban growth respected principles of functionality (the usual pattern is a central market place with a church, narrow streets with sides linked here and there by archways): the cities of Sighişoara, Sibiu and Braşov are remarkable examples in that sense. Building greatly developed in Moldavia, too. A great number of fortresses were built or rebuilt during the reign of Moldavia's greatest prince, Stephen the Great (1457–1504). Suceava, Neamţ, Hotin, Soroca and others were raised and successfully withstood the sieges laid in the course of time by Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of Constantinople, by the kings of Poland and Hungary.
It was during his time that the Moldavian style, of great originality and stylistic unity, developed, by blending Gothic elements with the Byzantine structure specific to the churches. Among such constructions, the monumental church of the Neamţ Monastery served, for more than a century, as a model for Moldavian churches and monasteries. The style was continued in the 16th c., during the rule of Stephen the Great's son, Petru Rareş (1527–1538, 1541–1546). The main innovation was the porch and the outwall paintings (the churches of Voroneţ, Suceviţa, Moldoviţa monasteries). These churches of Northern Moldavia have become famous worldwide, due to the beauty of their painted elegant shapes that can be seen from afar.
The 17th century, the zenith of the pre-modern Romanian civilisation, brought about a more significant development of outstanding lay constructions (elegant boyard mansions or sumptuous princely palaces in Moldavia and Wallachia, Renaissance-style lordly castles in Transylvania), as well as the expansion of great monasteries. The latter were endowed with schools, art workshops, printing presses, and they were significant cultural centres. To this period belongs the church of the Trei Ierarhi Monastery in Iaşi, raised in 1635–1639, a unique monument due to its lavish decoration with carved geometric motifs, coloured in lapis lazuli and golden foil, all over the facades. The architectural style developed in Wallachia, especially under the reigns of Matei Basarab (1632–1654) and Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688–1714), is of a remarkable stylistic unity. The Brancovan style is characterized by integration of Baroque and Oriental features into the local tradition. Some examples are the Hurezi Monastery in Oltenia or the princely palace of Mogoşoaia, both of which are lavishly decorated, with beautiful stone carvings, stucco work and paintings.
The 18th century (the Phanariot rule) brought to Wallachia and Moldavia elements of Oriental influence in urban civil architecture, where the number of religious constructions decreased relatively. In Transylvania, the Baroque dominated both religious (the Roman Catholic churches in Timisoara and Oradea) and lay architecture (Banffy Palace in Cluj and Brukenthal Palace in Sibiu).

Mediaş, historic city centre

Modern styles

In the first half of the 19th century, urban life grew considerably and there was a Western-oriented modernisation policy, due to which the architecture of the Romanian lands became a combination of Romantic and Neo-Classical elements. In the second half of the century a national tendency developed, to use to a great extent elements and forms of the traditional local architecture. Ion Mincu (1852–1912) was founder of both trends and of the Romanian school of architecture. His works, the Lahovary House or the Central Girls School in Bucharest, are among the most prominent achievements of this movement. It is due to an opposite trend that they designed houses and administrative buildings in the spirit of French eclecticism (the Justice Palace, the Central Post Office) or by adapting classicism (the buildings that now hosts the House of the Men of Science, or the Cantacuzino Palace in Bucharest).
That was the time when the Romanian Athaeneum, one of the capitals most famous buildings, was erected in the same style (1886–1888). All those French-looking buildings raised around 1900 were a reason to nickname Bucharest "Little Paris". Other important architects, like Petre Antonescu (1873–1965), Horia Creanga (1893–1943) and Duiliu Marcu (1885–1966) stood out by their commitment to simple and functional forms.
In the first decades of the 20th century, Romanian towns and cities still had a contrasting aspect, exhibiting a sharp difference between the downtown sumptuous buildings and the almost rural outskirts, while the villages remained, architecturally speaking, mainly unchanged. Nevertheless, the first signs of town planning appeared in some urban districts (the first two- or three-storied blocks of flats or one-family houses on two levels).
Industrialization brought some engineering feats such as the King Carol I Bridge (later renamed Anghel Saligny Bridge). Built between 1890 and 1895 in over the Danube, when it was completed it then became the longest bridge in Europe and the third in the world.
Industrialisation and fast urban growth, forced especially in the last two decades of the communist epoch, introduced in architecture long-series typified projects and pre-fab technology in the construction of 8–10 storeyed blocks of flats, which resulted in huge living quarters, levelling up the Romanian townscape. Unfortunately, nationalism, characterizing the last Nicolae Ceauşescu stage of Romanian communism, did not reflect in Romanian architecture. Traditional urban central areas and rural towns were destroyed, and replaced by conglomerates of blocks of flats, while the same ruler imposed the erection of monumental public buildings of a dull eclectic solemnity. Proof of this intrusion of politics in the life of the city stands the huge palace built on Ceauşescu's order in Bucharest, now the Parliament House, whose construction necessitated the demolition of several quarters downtown. As in so many other domains, the post-revolutionary Romanian world will be bound to find again in architecture the way that best answers its needs for functionality and outlook.

miercuri, 24 noiembrie 2010

Dear Romanian,
I know Romanian is a Romance language like French and Italian but are Romanian people more similiar to the West or the mostly Slavic East?

God Smith,



Dear  God Smith,


Romanian language is similar to other romanic languages  because of the  influence of the Roman Empire that conquered  all lands from Europe and around the  Mediterranean sea between 27b.c.- 476 a.c.Romanian people are more similar to West and South-West countries because we have similar history and ancestors. Also, nowadays romanians  are the result of latins merging with dacs and tracs(our oldest ancestors).Until that time our language was slave but after that both our language and traditions have started to develop a romantic, latin side.
After the merging with the latins, there is no way back as we started to live by their rules and traditions for thousands of years to go.When the roman empire finally set us free,we were already accustomed with our new lives and continued living that way.It was a good experience for us because it made us what we are today.A stranger hearing our language will be confused and even think it's russian,but if you study it you will find out that it's a latin language that still has an under layer of slavic words.It's all because of our history and the nations that have dominated us in the past.
The people have traits from both slavic and western countries.We drink like russians(not as much tho) and we enjoy life as italians and french. 

miercuri, 17 noiembrie 2010

Being a romanian-positive and negative

"What is the best thing about a Romanian?  And what is the worst thing about being a Romanian?"
Thanks,
Filipino.


 Dear Filipino,


Okay,first of all,i think this question sucks.No one should be put in the situation to talk dirt about his own country.Of course i could write all the good stuff but then i wouldn't be honest.I'm not saying my country is all bad but as many others,it has its faults.
At first i thought this question is gonna be a easy one,it turned out it isn't.I've asked my friends what do they think about it and i still couldn't get a straight answer.The conclusion? Romania is not an easy country to live in.
We have high unemployment rate,stray dogs,traffic jams,pimps and minorities who managed to create a faster and worse image for us than we would've got if we wouldn't have been admitted to the European Union.
But we're working on it,and we're trying to create a better place for our kids to live in.It's been 20 years since we have become a democratic state but some of us still have the comunist mentality.That's hard too.
But the people are kind,they are warm and welcoming.We have real traditions that were perpetuated from ancient times and in rural areas,people sill lead they're lives by abiding old morals.
We have unique landscapes, meaning Romania is one of the few countries in the world that has it all,both sea and mountain.Fascinating history that served as inspirational research for many famous books.Romania was once considered The Gate of Christianity because during the ottoman invasion it played an important role because of it's geographical position and deffended the rest of the europe by not letting the ottoman imperium win.
Going back to modern days,the educational system in Romania is very good,the quantity of information romanian kids get in school is far more bigger compared with other countries. Other than that we also have very beautiful women.  
 You asked what is good about being a romanian,not what is good about the country.I've found many  reasons,not all were good but if you would ask me if i ever wanted to be born somewhere else,i'd say no.I'd still choose Romania.Proof is me writting this blog ,if i wouldn't have loved my country i wouldn't have done this.
I live in Romania and this takes all my time.

sâmbătă, 13 noiembrie 2010

Romanian motocycling

The carpathian mountains cover some of Romania and the Ukraine. Where is it possible to have some mountain motorbike riding as in this video? www.youtube.com/watch?v=joyzuOI07OQ

Regards, the chinese guy. 




Dear Chinese Guy,

It's nice finally getting to answer interesting questions, and i sure enjoy this one.
Romania has a lot of places for motorcycling but unfortunately the season has officially ended for this year.
The reason is because winter is coming. Nonetheless, the weather is still okay so people
are having fun on their own.
Some of the places that are organizing real competitions are the circuits at Zarnesti, Prund-Dunare,Comanesti and the most well-known: the one at Gorgota- Ciolpani.
This one is near Bucharest, our capital, and is the only one in Romania that is recognized by  FIM ( The International Federation of Motocycling).
Festivals that are organized annually in Romania are The Red Bull Romaniacs, that took place at Sibiu this year, X-cape Cup Enduro that took place in Comanesti and many others.
Basically, every circuit has one per year. You can participate next year if you want, because there are a lot of foreigners competing and usually winning this competitions.
Beginning next year The Comision of Enduro and Cross Country of FIM has decided to add another step to the original 8-steps  Maxxis World  Enduro Championship .It's going to take place in Romania on 9-10  july  in Buzau and it is going to be guested by Extreme Adventure Buzau Club.
I hope that these informations are useful to you and if you have something more to ask,feel free to contact me.