"Sinaia" Top 5 Page for this destination Sinaia by mvtouring

Sinaia Travel Guide: 169 reviews and 565 photos

Sinaia

SINAIA, 122km from Bucharest, has been dubbed the "Pearl of the Carpathians" for its magnificent mountain scenery and royal castle. Though technically in the province of Wallachia, it has much in common with the neighbouring Transylvanian towns and has been included for convenience. Originally the preserve of a few hermits and shepherds, and later an exclusive aristocratic resort, it's nowadays full of holiday-makers here to walk or ski in the Bucegi mountains.

The town's train station is a historical site in itself; here the Iron Guard murdered the Liberal leader Ion Duca in 1933, only three weeks after he had taken office as prime minister. Steps lead up from the station to a small park containing a casino, a museum dedicated to the natural history of the Bucegi mountains, and two turn-of-the-twentieth-century hotels, the Palace and the Caraiman – both fine neo-Brâncovenesc buildings. Beyond the park, Strada Manastirii leads up to Sinaia Monastery (open during daylight hours), built by the boyar Michael Cantacuzino in 1690–95 on the site of an earlier hermitage, and so called because it contained a stone he had brought from Mount Sinai. The original church is not the one before you as you enter (which was built in 1842–46), but hides through a passageway to the left.

Just behind the monastery, a road leads up to one of the most popular destinations in Romania, Peles Castle (Wed–Sun 9am–5pm; $5). Set in a large park, which is landscaped in the English fashion, the castle outwardly resembles a Bavarian Schloss. It was built between 1875 and 1883 for Romania's imported Hohenzollern monarch, Carol I, and largely decorated by his eccentric wife Elisabeta (better known as the popular novelist Carmen Sylva, the "Romanian Sappho"), who once decreed that court life at Sinaia be conducted in folk costume. Peles contains 106 rooms, richly decorated in ebony, mother of pearl, walnut and leather – all totally alien to the traditional styles of Romanian art. There are almost eight hundred stained-glass windows in the building, whose rooms are stuffed solid with Persian carpets, Renaissance weapons, Murano chandeliers, and copies of the Rembrandts and other paintings now housed in Bucharest's National Art Museum. One Louis XIV room (with pre-Raphaelite paintings) houses Romania's first cinema. How a man of such reputedly austere tastes as Carol managed to live here is something of a mystery.

Following the monarchy's demise in 1947, Peles was opened to the public, with a temporary interruption when the Ceausescus appropriated it as a "state palace". The Ceausescus actually preferred to stay in the Pelisor Palace (Little Peles; Wed–Sun 9.30am–5pm; $5), a few hundred metres up the hill, built in 1899–1903 for Ferdinand and Marie, Carol I's heirs. Although its exterior is also in the German Renaissance style, the interior is Art Nouveau, with Viennese furniture and Tiffany and Lalique vases, and is much more to the taste of Western visitors. Foisor Lodge, a little above Pelisor, was the home of Prince Carol (later crowned Carol II) and Princess Helen from 1921; here Carol met the Jewish Magda Lupescu, who remained his mistress for thirty years and became the power behind the throne, outraging Romanian society, which tended towards anti-Semitism. Foisor park is open to the public (Wed–Sun 9am–4pm), but the lodge, another former summer residence of the Ceausescus, is still reserved for government entertaining

  • Last visit to Sinaia: Dec 2006
  • Intro Written Jan 31, 2007
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Reviews (23)

Comments (9)

  • dobbelking's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2009 at 12:01 AM

    Fantastic page with lovely photo's. Looks like you had a great time

  • Vanity666's Profile Photo
    Dec 1, 2008 at 11:57 PM

    Your Sinaia tips and photos are just great. I'll be visiting it around New Year, hope there will be some snow :)

  • timada's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2008 at 3:50 AM

    I like my mountains and Sinaia is on of my favorite destinations in wintertime ! Wonderful photos !

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Feb 22, 2008 at 9:49 AM

    Enjoyed your page. Nice pics and good tips. Sinaia looks like a pretty location to visit.

  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2008 at 7:16 AM

    We enjoyed your Sinaia pages. Romania is on our to-do list. We just have to find the time to go.

  • Jan 27, 2008 at 9:21 AM

    unfortunately i will not be seeing the snow like you did, your tips are of great assistance to me in planning my holiday in May

  • Delia_Madalina's Profile Photo
    Oct 19, 2007 at 1:32 AM

    Wonderful intro picture! You chose the perfect time to be in Sinaia. I'm sure your friends here miss you too so it's time to plan another trip here. ;)

  • adema29's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2007 at 3:29 AM

    Thanks for visiting my pages! I liked your Sinaia photos and comments! Instead of crab you should have tried traditional Romanian food :)

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2007 at 3:32 AM

    Thank you for visiting my Flores page. Your Sinaia page is very beautiful - great photos - Romania is always at the top of my wish list...

mvtouring

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