11 July 2012

Two tours = twice the fun (Part 2)

Continuing on with the tours.... Not everything had to do with Communism. Here are a few stories from my tour that were non-communism related.

Vlad Teles has many names. One of them is the Father of Bucharest (see other post for why), another is Vlad the Impaler. This came about because his favorite method for killing his enemies was to impale them with a stake. His absolute favorite method of impaling involved putting the stake through them so that it did NOT hit any vital organs. This would leave them in agony for about 2 days before they finally died. It is estimated he impaled over 20,000 people in a period of about 6 years!
Vlad was also known as Dracula. He was a member of, and wore the necklace of, the order of the dragon (Dracu). It was not until Bram Stoker's novel that Dracula became associated with vampires. In fact, Vlad never ruled Transylvania although he lived there and was also eventually imprisoned there.

Hanul Manuc was built with the intention of being used as a government seat for the region. It never was. Eventually it was taken over by a Turk, who turned it into an inn. It was at one point considered the safest inn in Bucharest, and everyone wanted to park their wagons there. It was so safe because it had only one entrance. Today it houses restaurants and is being redeveloped into a hotel.

The city crest of Bucharest features the patron saint of the city (sorry I forgot to write down his name). The crest is not seen often - in fact it can most readily be seen on manhole covers. You may also notice that on the cover one sees a F and an E, the joke is that you can use those to contact the saint via email or Facebook. However, lately the churches are rallying to have the saint removed from the crest. Why? Because they don't like the fact that people walk, spit and drop trash on the saint without thinking about it.

This hotel, Capsa, is the only five-star hotel in Bucharest. When celebrities come to Bucharest, they often stay here. When Madonna came, she stayed in the. Enter room with the balcony.

Okay, so i lied when I said I was through with the communism stories. See the statue of the man on horseback? This is the statue of King Carol I. It was taken down and melted during the communist reign. The melted metal was used to make a statue of Lenin to put in front of the Press building. After 1989, the city decided to melt the Lenin statue and rebuild King Carol I statue. BUT the family of the sculptor refused to give up the copyright to the city, unless the city paid €5 million. So the city simply hired a new sculptor and changed the design.

What about the press building you may ask... Well they have had an ever changing set of statues - many of which represent Lenin or communism, such as red shark fins, Lenin melting or the current one, which is a multi-headed Lenin.

Here it may look as if I have pulled a photo from the wrong collection, but no - Bucharest also has its own Arc d' Triomphe. The Arc is in the middle of a traffic circle near Herastrau park and is not reachable.

I have no idea what this is, but I liked it.

These are the fountains in Piata Unirii (Unity Plaza) which is across from the Parliament building. They were simply spectacular.

This is part of a monument to the founding of the European Union. All of the heads represent the men of various nations who laid down the ground work for the EU. None of them are Romanian. Although Romania is a part of the EU, they do not use Euros.

This memorial stands in a park (Parcul Carol I) and is to the fallen soldiers. In front of it is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The memorial is made of red and black marble. There is a religious group that currently wants to pull it down and build a cathedral on the hill. As of now, the city is (smartly) not allowing it to be built. Oh and look - that's me on a bike!

Well for now, that ends our tour of Bucharest. I hope you have enjoyed it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Bucharest, Romania

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