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A panel from inside Patrauti church. Look at the detail the painter put into it? Do you happen to know who they are? The Spectacular Painted Churches of Moldavia

The spectacular painted churches of Moldavia

Last week I posted about the fortified churches in Transylvania, eight of which make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another collection of churches in Romania, this time in the northeastern part of the country, Moldavia, are also UNESCO sites, just listed as “Churches of Moldavia.” The Painted Churches of Moldavia What makes these churches…

Viscri fortified church

Fortified Churches of Transylvania

Once upon a time, the King of Hungary, called Geza II (1141-1162), had a problem. His kingdom needed defending, especially in the south and east, in what is now Romania. It was the Middle Ages, and everybody was fighting over territory. So he sent ethnic Germans to settle in Transylvania, and they continued to move…

Bran Castle: Should you visit Dracula's castle?

Should you visit Dracula’s castle?

As the crowds shuffled through the castle, some tourists tried to stake out spots where they could take pictures of each room without people in the photo. Others posed for selfies, their backs to the beautifully restored spaces. One man, reaching high in an attempt to snap a picture above our heads, leaned casually on…

a careful arrangement of skulls inside the ossuary: Macabre sightseeing in Brno

What to see in Brno: 3 macabre sights

What to see in Brno? An ossuary, a crypt full of mummies, and a nuclear bomb shelter. Somehow the one day I spent sightseeing with my husband in Brno, Czech Republic, turned out distinctly macabre. (Disclosure: This article contains one or more affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will…

a bookcase full of chotchkes at the Communist Consumers Museum in Timişoara, Romania

The Communist Consumers Museum

A Communist Consumers Museum? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? I mean, in the Cold War, we in the West were the consumer society. We still are. They were, well, communist. So what could a Communist Consumers Museum even show? When we passed through Timişoara, Romania, this summer, we didn’t really have any plans. Picking…

The contrast between these two buildings is remarkable. The one on the left is down to the underlying brickwork in places while the one on the right is pristine. What is not clear is how much the restoration on the right involved removing decorative elements. I suspect some plasterwork was removed, since the originals of this type generally have different window frames for each row, as you can see on the building on the left. Visiting Timisoara: faded glory

Timişoara photo essay: Faded glory

Majestic buildings boast imposing, ornate facades, even on the side streets. Edged with statues, often figurative, each row of windows differs from those above and below, yet they all display detailed workmanship. Grand doorways framed with artwork, topped with glass, span several centuries of architectural styles. But the paint is flaking away. Underneath, exposed to…

Deva Castle, as seen from where Albert stood under the shelter. It's the closest we got to it.

Not visiting Deva Castle

We weren’t even planning to go to Deva Castle. My husband and I were just driving along, minding our own business, on a road trip in the western Carpathian mountains of Romania. The GPS was guiding us from Timişoara (beautiful buildings, much in need of renovation) to Alba Iulia (18th century fortress with seven bastions),…

The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague

Five Synagogues in Prague (and One Cemetery)

Five synagogues in Prague and a cemetery are what remains of Prague’s once-thriving Jewish neighborhood. Under the umbrella of the Prague Jewish Museum, they are open to the public, each serving a different function. Tourists can buy a ticket to all or part of a route through all the Prague synagogues. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate…

Coron, Palawan, the Philippines

Trip of a Lifetime: Bloggers Pick their Must-See Destinations

For this collaborative post, I asked fellow travel bloggers about their idea of a trip of a lifetime: If a person who’s never traveled far from home asked you to name the one place they should visit on their one-and-only trip ever, what would you say? I got so many different answers! I’ll start with the…

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