Visit Romania and Moldova, two countries who shares the same language and traditions, preserved and unattended trough the history!
Explore medieval fortifications and cities, religious settlements resembling the long Christian faith, marvelous and scenic landscapes of the Carpathian Mountains, as well as urban testimonies of the Soviet communist time!
Arrival to Chisinau airport. Meet the guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation for 2 nights in Chisinau at 4* star hotel.
Breakfast. Short drive outside of Chisinau to Castel Mimi, an impressive chateau built at the beginning of the XXth Century by an emblematic politician and wine maker of Moldova, Constantin Mimi, the last governor of Bessarabia during Russian Empire. The tour includes a captivating walk through the castle’s cellars, gardens, courtyard and the production area of the winery. Castel Mimi’s underground galleries are more than a century old. There are several wine collections produced here (Reserve, Classic, Animaliens, Select, Ice Wine), one could choose for an interesting tasting experience. Wine tasting and lunch.
Return to Chisinau and walking tour in the afternoon.
Cricova cellar represents biggest and one of the most impressive wine cellars from Europe with a history back from 1952, boasting 120km of labyrinth roadways. As of 2008, the collection consists of over 70 silver, gold and Grand Prix awards. Among the large variety of wines, Cricova makes a unique sparkling red wine, kodrinskoie-sparkling, made from Cabernet Sauvignon stocks and marketed as having a 'rich velvet texture and a blackcurrant and cherry taste'. The method used is in accordance with the classical French method, purportedly invented centuries ago by the monk Dom Pierre Perignon - 'methode Champenoise". Visit including wine-tasting.
Orheiul Vechi. Overlooking the Raut River, this open-air complex features fortifications, baths, caves, ruins, and monasteries – all which date back as late as the Dacian tribes of 2000 years ago. The ancient monuments date from various periods including the Tatar and Mongol invasions, the 10th century BC, and more recently the occupation of the Golden Horde in the 14th century. Traditional lunch in the village.
Overnight in Soroca.
Soroca. Build in wood in 1499 by the great ruler of Moldova, Stephen the Great and transformed into the actual stone and brick structure by his son, Petru Rares, this fort has an unusual round shape, an unique monument of the military architecture of Europe. Soroca represents the only citadel in republic of Moldova, that is preserved until today.
Leave for Romania and reach Suceava city, the former capital of the historical medieval region of Moldova
Visit Suceava citadel, the unconquered fortress of Moldova, with a history since the XIV century; royal residence of several leaders, including Stephen the Great, the citadel represents a symbol of resistance against the Ottoman rule.
Accommodation in Suceava.
The vineyard culture at Cotnari is dated back since the 1st century BC. The accounts become important during the reign of the most important rulers of Moldova from the XV-XVI centuries. Today, Cotnari wines have exceptional qualities obtained by limiting average grape production in the attempt to choose quality at the expense of quantity. Spread over 1,700 hectares of vineyards through high-performance agricultural work, the company produces unique (mostly) white varieties as the medium-sweet "Grasa de Cotnari" who won a large number of distinctions in international and national wine competitions, as well as "Tamaioasa Romaneasca", "Francusa", or the famous roze "Busuioaca de Bohotin". Wine-tasting and lunch.
Afternoon we will discover the beautiful Agapia Monastery. It is the only monastic settlement in the country that bears the name of “Christian love”, which comes from the Greek “agapis”. The monastery is famous around the world due to its interior frescoes painted in 1858 by the great Romanian painter Nicolae Grigorescu (one of the founders of modern Romanian painting).
In the evening, we will reach our final day stop – Gura Humorului, where we will be accommodated.
Breakfast in the morning, then we will visit three of the most famous and beautiful Painted Monasteries of Bucovina (UNESCO protected cultural sites):
Sucevita (founded in 1581 by Gheorghe Movila, Bishop of Radauti, Sucevita was the last of the 22 painted churches of Bucovina and has the largest number of painted images; it was a princely residence as well as a fortified monastery),
Moldovita (built by Petru Rares in 1532, the predominantly gold and deep blue paintings on the exterior walls were completed in 1537; the large and vivid Siege of Constantinople highlights the frescoes, while another stunning representation depicts the Tree of Jesse, representing Christ’s genealogy, a wide-spread iconographical theme in Europe during the Middle Ages)
Voronet (1547, surnamed “The Sixtin Chapel of the East", this "jewel of Bucovina" was built by Romanian great ruler Stefan the Great in 1488, and it is well known for its frescoes with predominant blue color - Voronet blue, that depict a fairy-tale world, painted on a "piece of heaven").
Today, a special visit is dedicated also to the Museum of Painted Eggs “Lucia Condrea” in Moldovita. The Easter, the most important and the greatest Christian holiday of the year has always been worshiped by the Romanians as a day of holly joy. Among all Romanian customs, the one of painting eggs for Easter is by for the finest and mildest and maybe nowhere else like in Bukovina the egg isn’t looked upon and considered with so much love the custom of painting it is raised at a high artistic level. In Moldovita (Bukovina) this tradition is at home. Member of the Artistic Union of Romania and having a lot of prize within the most important exhibitions of art in the world, Lucia Condrea is an unique artist and the eggs painted by her are the reflection of a gift with which she is endowed by God to make the other people happy.
Another interesting site we will enjoy today is Marginea village, famous for its black pottery. Visit to the workshop included.
In the evening, return back to Gura Humor and overnight in the same hotel.
Breakfast in the morning. Today we leave Bukovina and move further to Maramures County.
Continue our way via Campulung Moldovenesc, Iacobeni, Vatra Dornei, Tihuța Pass and Bistrita Nasaud. On the way a stop will be made in Tureac for a visit to Bacea family to discover the mastery of one of the few furriers specialized in fine embroidery on sheepskin.
Reaching Maramures region, we can visit also Barsana Monastery, one of the highest wooden churches in the world with splendid gardens, and Toader Barsan’s house, a local wood carver who took part at the Smithsonian World Festival in Washington, famous for the wonderfully carved wooden gates.
In the afternoon we reach Sapanta Village, famous in the whole world for "The Merry Cemetery". Ancient beliefs viewed death as a beginning, not as an end, and this faith is reflected in the carvings in the town’s unique Merry Cemetery. Blue wooden crosses feature a carved scene and humorous epitaphs that endeavor to capture essential elements - both the good and the imperfections - of the deceased’s life.
In the evening arrival and accommodation in Sighetu Marmatiei.
After breakfast, we discover the small town of Sighetu Marmatiei, where we stop at the “Memorial to the victims of Communism”, located in the building of the former Sighet Prison used by the communist regime to silence its opponents, in the 50’s. We will continue your walking tour on the streets of the village admiring the wooden gates, the wooden houses, the local architecture and the locals.
Another visit will be to The Elie Wiesel Memorial House - The Museum of the Jewish Culture in Maramures in Romania. Sited in the house where famous Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel was born, the museum uses devotional objects, documents and photos to evoke the memory of the Jews of Maramures killed in concentration camps: 90% died in Auschwitz; the survivors, including Elie Wiesel, emigrated to Israel. The Elie Wiesel House is today a place of pilgrimage for thousands of visitors interested in its famous namesake.
Then we drive from Maramures Region towards Cluj-Napoca, the largest city of Transylvania. On the way we will also have a stop in Barsana village which hosts one of the 7 UNESCO wooden churches from Maramures. Built in 1770 on the site of an older church, it has preserved its original form. The painting, with post-Byzantine influences, made in 1780, was very well preserved. On all the interior walls classical scenes from the Bible are represented. In the patrimony of the church there are also 14 wooden icons made during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Overnight in Cluj Napoca for the following 2 days.