Bucharest unknown: the secret exhibit hidden in the floor of a subway station

Bucharest subway (Bucharest metro – Romania)  was built mainly in the communist era. The communist architectural touch can easily be noticed in all the subway stations. Even the dim light is a reminiscence of that regime, as the authorities of that time did not want to use too much energy.

Politehnica subway station

However, one of the 51 subway stations is truly special. Curiously, not even the people living in Bucharest and traveling underground don’t know why the station named Politehnica is a special one.

Thousands of people pass through this station every day not knowing that they are stepping on 80-million-year-old fossils. So, if you look closely on the marble floor you can see fossils dating from the Upper Cretaceous period. You can observe the fossils of creatures that lived millions of years ago in the oceans.

SAMSUNGSAMSUNGSAMSUNG The area where the marble was extracted is located in the Apuseni mountains (western part of Romania). In the Upper Cretaceous period, this area was covered with water. This is why all the fossils in the station’s floor are marine creatures like seashells, mollusks and algae.

SAMSUNGSAMSUNGSAMSUNGThe story of this marble is peculiar. This subway station was built in 1983 and because of the tight deadlines that Nicolae Ceausescu (the communist leader) gave, the workers hurried the construction as much as they could. At that time, the punishment for not keeping a deadline was rather harsh so no one dared to delay a project. This is why this marble was carved in a most brutal way and put into this station without even noticing the value of the fossils.

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Politehnica station is not far from the center of the Bucharest. If you are in Piata Unirii station (Bucharest center), you must take the subway that is going into “Preciziei” direction. After three stations (Piata Unirii – Izvor – Eroilor), you can step down, at Politehnica Station and admire the Upper Cretaceous encrusted into the floor.

Bucharest subway map

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The Legend behind the Bridge of God or how was the Devil banished from his hide-out

The Bridge of God is a natural formation in the south-western part of Romania, near Ponoarele village, in Mehedinti county. It is one of the three natural bridges in the world (there are two more – one in France and one in USA) and it is the only one that can be crossed by car. The bridge is actually a 4 meters thick rock arch, with an opening of 25 m and a length of 50 m. The bridge lies between two karstic lakes.
The Bridge of god Continue reading

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Dracula’s Castle. The truth behind the eerie legend

Dracula, the main character of Bram Stoker’s book, has become one of the main tourist attractions from Transylvania region in Romania. Many movies were made, books were written, legends  were told but what about the truth? Has Dracula ever existed? Was he truly a vampire? Was the Bran Castle the home of a unmerciful dark prince?

Dracula Romania

I am not here do deny myths but only to set some facts straight so you know where to look for the great legends. One of the most visited castles in Romania is the Bran Castle (photo below), also known as the home of Dracula. Well, even though Bran is a very impressive construction dating from the 13th century, it was only briefly inhabited by Vlad the Impaler, the Wallachian ruler, as he was visiting the area. Continue reading

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The complicated journey of Queen Marie’s embalmed heart. The place where you can find the heart of the most beloved Queen of Romania, the grand-daughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain

If you plan to visit Romania this summer then you must put this on the visiting list. The embalmed heart of Queen Marie, the most beloved queen of Romania, will be on display from May to September at The Peles Castle. For the past years the Queen’s heart has been stored in a shoebox in the basement of a museum in Bucharest after the communists decided to take it from the Bran Castle.

The Peles Castle, unlike other sightseeing spots in Romania, has a very interesting webpage with photos and useful information. You can see it here in English

Peles Castle RomaniaPhoto Source: despreromania.com

Along with the Palace of the Parliament and the Bran Castle, The Peles Castle is a must see if you are traveling to Romania.

Queen Marie, the grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, was married to King Ferdinand  of Romania and had a controversial family life but, according to historians, she was a very important diplomat for Romania during and after the First World War. Continue reading

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Marie of Romania, beloved and controversial Queen of Romania: hated her husband, committed adultery repeatedly but loved her country with all her heart

Queen Mary, also known as Mary of Romania, was one of the most beloved royals in this country. She was the was Queen consort of Romania from 1914 to 1927, as the wife of Ferdinand I of Romania.

Queen Marie of Romania

Grand-daughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain

She was born on 29 October 1875 at Eastwell Park in Kent, the eldest daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia.

Her father was the second-eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her mother was the only surviving daughter of Alexander II of Russia and Maria Alexandrovna of Hesse. Continue reading

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Vlad the Impaler sealed with a curse the first written document about Bucharest, the capital of Romania

The first written document about Bucharest, the capital of Romania, was written by none other than Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, on 20th September 1459.

The document represents a contract for purchase and sale regarding some lands in Wallachia (now a part of Romania). He signed that document with the following words: “This document was written on 20th September 6968 (year 1459) in Bucharest citadel. I, Vlad the King, with the mercy of our Great Lord”. And this is the first time, the city of Bucharest, now the capital of Romania, was mentioned officially in a document that lasted to our day.

document Vlad the Impaler

Many see it as an intriguing fact that the first document that proves the existence of Bucharest in the 15th century also includes a curse.

“And he and his flesh shall be destroyed by the word of the good Lord and in the afterlife his soul shall be with Judas and Arius and with others that said: his blood over them and over their children, what it is and it will always be forever, amen”

(THE CURSE IN ROMANIAN: “(…) Pe acela Domnul Dumnezeu să-l nimicească şi să-l ucidă aici cu trupul, iar în veacul viitor sufletul lui, să fie părtaş lui Iuda şi lui Arie şi cu ceilalti care au spus: sângele lui asupra lor şi asupra copiilor lor, ceea ce este şi va fi in veci, amin(…)”)

This document also states that Vlad the Impaler received a horse as a tax payment for writing this document.

vlad-tepes-gabriel-toraDrawing artist: Gabriel Tora

Historians say that ending a contract with a curse was pretty common in those days. We could almost call it a trend. People were fascinated with curses and the spell books trade was flourishing.

Ending a document with a curse was a way to compel people to honor the terms of the contract.

Many also say that this curse at the end of the first document mentioning Bucharest is an inauspicious omen for the Capital of Romania and it has brought only bad luck to the city and its people.

Unfortunately, the document cannot be seen (at the moment) as it is in the archives of the National Museum of History but not on display.

Bucharest 1789Bucharest, 1789

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The Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest: a huge construction built with great sacrifices. The hauntings in the most impressive building of Romania and the secret passages

The Palace of the Parliament, also known as the House of the People, is the world’s largest and heaviest civilian building with an administrative function and it can be seen in Bucharest, the Capital of Romania. Being so large, it is not hard to spot from the center of Bucharest (The Union Square).

House of the People Continue reading

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