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Peștera Ialomiței din masivul Bucegi a fost inaugurată, sâmbătă, după reabilitarea cu fonduri europene de 6,4 milioane de lei.

Peștera Ialomiței are o lungime de circa 1.100 de metri, dintre care 450 sunt accesibili și amenajați pentru vizitare.

”Inaugurarea noastră are un sens foarte aplicat și determinant pentru ceea ce ne dorim și ne închipuim că trebuie să însemne un habitat turistic adecvat publicului, atât celui pasionat și prizonier frumuseții muntelui, cât și turiștilor de ocazie”, a declarat președintele Consiliului Județean Dâmbovița, Adrian Țuțuianu.

Intrarea peșterii este orientată spre est, iar gura peșterii, sub formă de semielipsă, are o înălțime de 20 metri și o lățime de 16 metri. Temperatura în peșteră oscilează între 4 și 6 grade Celsius. Umiditatea este destul de mare, între 85 și 100%.

Fondurile necesare reabilitării au fost accesate de Consiliul Județean Dâmbovița prin programul Operațional Regional 2007-2013. Valoarea proiectului a fost de 6,4 milioane de lei, din care nerambursabili 4,6 milioane de lei. Contractul de finanțare a fost semnat în 2012, iar lucrările de execuție au demarat doi ani mai târziu.

În cadrul proiectului a fost modernizată aleea de acces la peșteră, căile de acces în interiorul peșterii, au fost refăcute instalațiile electrice și a fost amenajat un punct de informare turistică. La intrarea în peșteră a fost instalată o scenă pentru oficierea de slujbe sau pentru susținerea unor concerte.

Și la inaugurare a avut loc un concert de muzică clasică susținut de Filarmonica Muntenia din subordinea Consiliului Județean Dâmbovița.

Au fost prezenți la inaugurare miniștrii Eugen Teodorovici, Sevil Shhaideh, Sorin Cîmpeanu, Grațiela Gavrilescu, precum și europarlamentarul Viorica Dăncilă, dar și fostul premier Adrian Năstase.

În această perioadă, pe platoul Padina Peștera are loc festivalul Padinafest, în cele patru zile ale manifestării organizatorii așteptând circa 10.000 de participanți.

AGERPRES/(A—autor: Cornelia Dumitru, editor: Adrian Drăguț)

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Parada medievală deschisă de domnitorul Vlad Țepeș și din care au făcut parte oșteni cu torțe și făclii, domni și domnițe a avut loc, vineri seara, la Târgoviște, în cadrul Festivalului Dracula.

Parada a avut ca traseu Gara Târgoviște — Bulevardul Carol I — Bulevardul Mircea cel Bătrân — Calea Domnească — Parcul Chindia.

Garda cetății, ateliere medievale, spectacol medieval ”Dracula”, târg al meșterilor, concerte la Curtea Domnească fac parte din Festivalul Dracula de la Târgoviște, ce are loc în perioada 16-21 iunie.

Este a doua ediție a festivalului, iar administrația locală vrea ca evenimentul să devină un brand al Târgoviștei.

Joi a avut loc, chiar lângă Turnul Chindiei, un concert al trupei ”Pasărea Rock”, iar vineri seara concertează formația târgovișteană de heavy metal Trooper.

Sâmbătă, la Curtea Domnească Târgoviște va avea loc spectacolul medieval ”Dracula”, susținut de trupa de cascadori ”Lupii Albi”.

Organizatorii Festivalului Dracula sunt Primăria Târgoviște și Consiliul Județean Dâmbovița.

AGERPRES / (AS — autor: Cornelia Dumitru, editor: Marius Frățilă)

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Un spectacol de sunet și lumină, intitulat Calea Luminii, a avut loc, în noaptea de joi spre vineri, la Târgoviște, 2016 lumânări fiind aprinse pe traseul din fața Mitropoliei, pe Bulevardul Carol I, până la gara municipiului, pe o distanță de un kilometru.

Foto: (c) Cornelia DUMITRU / AGERPRES FOTO

Lumânările au fost aprinse începând din fața Mitropoliei Târgoviște, unde arhiepiscopul și mitropolitul Târgoviștei, Nifon, a ținut o scurtă cuvântare.

”Să fiți cu toții binecuvântați pentru că sunteți prezenți aici, în viața Catedralei Mitropolitane, unde s-au strâns moșii și strămoșii noștri de peste 600 de ani, aici în acest loc (…). Ce frumoasă tradiție, ce binecuvântată, Calea Luminii are loc aici, la Târgoviște, de câțiva ani de zile.


Foto: (c) Cornelia DUMITRU / AGERPRES FOTO

Vreau să-l menționez și să-l felicit pe maestrul profesor Șerbănescu pentru toate aceste lucruri minunate. Ceva trebuie să rețineți toți cei care sunteți aici: lumina dă perspectivă, care are sens, și nu orice lumină (…), vorbesc de lumina care strălucește și care transformă omul.

Acum în Săptămâna Patimilor este cu o încărcătură religioasă de o noblețe și o frumusețe extraordinară, pentru că noi ne gândim la lumina care este adusă în lume de Mântuitorul Hristos”, a spus arhiepiscopul și mitropolitul Târgoviștei, Nifon.

Artistul plastic Mihai Șerbănescu, organizatorul acestui eveniment, spune că manifestarea a devenit o tradiție, în fiecare an se aprinde un număr de lumânări egal cu al anului respectiv plus încă una, ca simbol al speranței.

”Manifestarea reprezintă o picătură de pace în suflet și lumină care înseamnă, până la urmă, lumina pe care o purtăm în suflet. Decât că ea poate fi într-un fel materializată și în lumina candelei și a lumânării. În urmă cu 16 ani cei cărora le-am propus evenimentul nu prea aveau încredere, iată că lucrurile probabil plăcute de Dumnezeu au viață lungă, iată că s-a derulat a 16-a întâmplare de acest gen”, a declarat inițiatorul manifestării, artistul plastic Mihai Șerbănescu.

Foto: (c) Cornelia DUMITRU / AGERPRES FOTO

La eveniment au participat și președintele Consiliului Județean Dâmbovița — Adrian Țuțuianu, primarul interimar al Târgoviștei — Cristian Stan, precum și alte oficialități locale.

În fiecare an, în Joia Mare, sute de persoane sunt prezente la această manifestare din municipiul Târgoviște.

AGERPRES/(A—autor: Cornelia Dumitru, editor: Adrian Drăguț)

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Fragrant, colorful and famous, the “Frumosul de Voinesti” (Beautiful of Voinesti) is a Romanian apple variety developed 50 years ago at the Voinesti Fruit Tree Growing Station in Dambovita county.

Photo credit: (c) Ioan ROSCA / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

The Voinesti inhabitants boast of this variety and of the fact there are foreigners, especially Hungarian and Polish people, expressing interest in this variety.

Although the “Frumosul de Voinesti” is appreciated and famous, the locals often complain that it’s a difficult apple to grow, which is why many of them have opted for disease-resistant varieties.

”It is a medium to large fruit, bearing red stripes over a yellow background. It’s a tasty and fragrant fruit. It ripens in early September. Unfortunately it is very sensitive, especially to scab, which is the biggest problem in apple plantations that is why this variety became less popular. For the same reason, the locals gave up growing this variety. It is a scab-sensitive variety, it is necessary to apply a large number of treatments, which are expensive, financially speaking, it’s no longer cost effective,” Director of the Voinesti Fruit Tree Growing Research and Development Station, Daniel Comanescu said.

Neither the station cultivates the Frumosul de Voinesti anymore, it can be found only in the variety collection. The Voinesti tree growing unit includes a collection of over 70 apple varieties, being Romania’s most important genetic base for fruit varieties.

”Frumosul de Voinesti is no longer used either in our plantations, because there is no interest, it’s not cost—effective. And because of climate change, the scab spreads widely due to humidity. Given the high rainfall amounts this year, believe me, tress are very affected. There are a few who remained nostalgic, me included, I still have about 100 apple trees of this variety, I like them a lot, these apples are really flavoured and tasty. I don’t believe the name Frumosul de Voinesti was registered with the Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks. The station deals with big financial problems, so we cannot do much about it. We were not able either to register the apple varieties developed by the tree growing station after 2000,” Comanescu also said.

He argues that many fruit growers have replaced the Frumosul de Voinesti with new disease-resistant varieties.

”It was replaced by the locals with new varieties, such as Florina, Golden, Real, which are developed at the same station, Remar, other Golden varieties. The Ionatan variety is also near extinction, because it’s a difficult to grow variety,” says Comanescu.

To promote the Frumosul de Voinesti and their organic apple juices, each year the locals organize the Apple Fair in the autumn. They put up for sale fruit varieties, cars and agricultural equipment, organic apple juices and traditional products.

The local producers tried to promote the Frumosul de Voinesti in partnership with a retail chain interested in selling the apple varieties grown in the region. Talks have so far concluded with no clear outcome.

The Voinesti fruit growers are known for their products in the big agri-food markets across the country. They sell their apples especially in markets from Targoviste, Bucharest and Brasov.

Photo credit: (c) Ioan ROSCA / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Fruit growing made Voinesti stand out for decades, especially apple cultivation. Almost every household in Voinesti includes an apple orchard.

Last year, the Voinesti fruit tree growing station got an ownership title for a 91 ha area. When founded, the area stretched over 580 ha, but a large part of the land was returned to its rightful owners.

More than 60 years ago, when it was founded, the Voinesti fruit tree growing station covered an area of about 580 hectares, but in 2000 a large part of the land was given back to the former landowners. Last year, the property title of the Station was drawn up for an area of 91 ha. AGERPRES

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The Chindiei (Sunset) Tower is since many centuries the emblem of the town of Targoviste, seat of Dambovita County northwest of Bucharest. The tower is the most important milestone of the town, a historical symbol associated to legendary figures of Romanian history, ruling princes Mircea the Elder, Vlad Dracul (the Dragon) and the latter’s son Vlad Tepes, the prototype of mythical Dracula.

Chindiei Tower
Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE




Under Voivode Mircea the Elder, the first buildings of the Princely Court were erected — a residence and a church with a chapel.

A controversy persists over the Chindiei Tower. One version says it was built by Tepes’s father Vlad Dracul (1436-1448) around 1440. Another one dates it from Vlad Tepes second reign (he had three, in 1448, 1456-1462, and 1476).

Princely Court in Targoviste
Photo credit: (c) Mihai ALEXE / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

It evolved from a bell tower during the first half of 15th century to a sentry tower, refuge, and defence over the 15th and 16th century, then to clock tower in the 17th century; the later use gave its name.

Architect J. Schlatter of Vienna changed the tower’s features in the 19th century, when he restored it on a commission of ruling prince Gheorghe Bibescu (1840 — 1848).

It is a cylindrical brick building supported by a truncated pyramid based finished with wrought stone. It is 27 meters high, with an 8.5-meter diameter. Three wooden floors divide it inside; climbing is possible on a spiral stair to the top terrace bordered by crenels.

The tower is located inside the princely court of Targoviste, a complex of buildings and medieval fortifications used as residence by 33 Voivodes of Wallachia.

The tower now hosts an exhibition dedicated to the two Voivodes of the Draculesti family, Vlad ‘the Dragon’ and his son Tepes (the Impaler). ‘The Chindiei Tower of the Princely Court of Targoviste monumental complex is an emblem for Dambovita County locals; it’s the most visited tourist attraction in Targoviste. The number of visiting tourists was higher this year, more than 71,000, allowing us to hope for 140,000 by the end of the year,’ museum director Ovidiu Carstina told AGERPRES.

Several promotional items were created for the branding operation, including the Chindiei Tower chocolate and a ‘Voivodes’ wine’ marketed as Princeps Valachiae.

The first edition of the Dracula Medieval Festival was held at the Princely Court of Targoviste in 2014. It featured the re-enactment of the nighttime attack of Vlad Tepes on a Turks’ camp by 100 volunteers, stuntmen and actors, performing among the ruins.

Dracula Medieval Festival — 2014
Photo credit: (c) Cornelia DUMITRU / AGERPRES PHOTO

Local authorities voiced their satisfaction about the event held between June 13 and 16 and announced a second edition in 2015, to attract tourists to the town and the county. Several thousands of visitors attended over the four days of the festival, both in the court and in the Chindia Park. They could visit medieval craft shops, see a parade, shop at the Merchants at Citadel Gate fair, go to theatre and concerts, and witness the re-enactment of Tepes’s exploit.

The organizers want to turn the event into a hallmark of Targoviste.

‘I am happy about the first edition. (…) I want it to become a traditional festival to lead us where we want, that is to promoting tourism in Targoviste and Dambovita,’ said County Council Chairman Adrian Tutuianu.

Local authorities want as many events as possible organized at Chindiei Tower to attract tourists; in August and September, Kemal Basar will direct a performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet there — the same already seen during the medieval festival.

A sound sculpture show premiered at the tower in June; a Swedish artist created it using a multichannel audio system installed inside the tower to play sounds recorded at the polar circle, including snowdrops falling, rain, bells, and reindeer herds.

Last year, the Targoviste Municipal Council discussed the need for a town’s brand, and the Chindiei Tower was considered the best symbol for the purpose. AGERPRES

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Mountaineering enthusiasts from the world over can find in Dambovita County’s mountainous region a series of touristic attractions, first amongst them the Sphinx and the Babele (the Old Women).

The Sphinx on plateau of Bucegi Mountains 
Photo credit: (c) Paul BUCIUTA / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Monuments of nature, the Babele and the Sphinx in the Bucegi mountain range have been for long a source of legends and myths, sparking various explanations in the minds of people.

One legend regarding the Babele’s origin is the legend of Baba Dochia that says that Dochia was an old woman, who spiting her daughter-in-law sent her to the river to wash black wool until it turned white. With her hands bleeding, the young woman saw a magic flower falling in the river and turning the wool white. Seeing the flower, Baba Dochia mistakenly drove her sheep to the mountain believing spring had come and shed her numerous coats along the way, eventually freezing and turning to stone. Other explanations for the formations are that they are in fact the resting place of Dacian god Zamolxe, an energy field or earthly proof of an alien civilization.

It is said that the Bucegi Mountains are host to “areas of universal energy”, or more specifically areas of 1 square kilometer in which the body does not tire and is suddenly reinvigorated. Believers of this theory often wander in search of these areas in order to assimilate said energies. Dambovita County Mountain Rescue personnel, in June, were alerted by a group of 20 tourists that visited the Bucegi Mountains in search of these areas, but were surprised by thick fog and snowfall.

In reality, the Babele and the Sphinx are witnesses to a centuries-long process of erosion, powerful winds being responsible for their forming.

The Sphinx in Bucegi, which, according to unofficial sources, was first photographed in 1900 from the front, and not from the side, as the famous photographs now depict it, is situated at 2,216 meters altitude and resembles a human face. It earned its current name in 1936 when the rock, now 8 meters tall and 12 meters wide, was viewed from a specific angle.

“The rock, resembling a human face, looks toward the precession of equinoxes. Just as interesting is the fact that the Sphinx is contoured perfectly at dusk on December 21 [the Winter Solstice]. Some researchers believed it was carved by human hand and it represents a supreme divine figure of olden Indo-European tribes (N. Densusianu). Another curious thing is the observation made that the Sphinx in Bucegi is the same height as the Sphinx in Giza, Egypt (also resembling a human face), and is similar in appearance to a statue of Zeus found in Italy”, states hellodambovita.ro, a tourism website maintained by the Dambovita County Council.

The Babele, Bucegi Mountains 
Photo credit: (c) Paul BUCIUTA / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Close to the Sphinx are the rock formations known as the Babele.

In keeping with the legends surrounding the Sphinx, they were also named the Caraiman Cyclopean Altars, dedicated to the Earth and the Sky, the Sun and the Moon, as well as to Mars, Roman god of war and agriculture. The legends regarding these rock formations are in constant development, bringing together reality with the supernatural. As such, several theories regarding their appearance have been developed, some researchers believing that water and wind were the main factors in their formation, while others do not exclude the possibility that they were shaped by human hand.

The two monuments at the moment are a matter of dispute due to their proximity to the County demarcation line between Prahova and Dambovita County. AGERPRES

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Few tourists visiting Dambovita County know that this is home to the largest wisent reserve in Romania.

Photographs by Angelo BREZOIANU / AGERPRES PHOTO

At the wisent reserve of Bucsani there are 48 wisents living in a pen that covers 162 hectares. The reserve is located less than 80 kilometers from Bucharest City.

The animals were given names starting with RO, the indicative of Romania: Rosia, the red-haired female; Rotunda, the round female; Rococo, Robokap, Romario, Romela, Rocarita, the rocker female, and Rosactu, the red-haired male. Born in June 1986, Rociu is the oldest one. At the end of last year, the reserve got bigger as five more wisents were born.

‘This is an oasis 8-10 km away from the commune of Bucsani, inside the Neagra Forest, hence the name of the reserve. It was established in 1978, and it is currently the largest breeding ground for wisents in Romania. There are 48 individuals in a pan in a reserve that covers 162 hectares. There is a visitor centre, a cottage and a landscaped area where guests can sit and drink water. I can tell you that on May 1 hundreds of hikers came to the reserve. Mornings and afternoons are the best times of the day to watch the wisents. In summertime, there are 20 to 30 hectares of pasture and the wisents seek food and shelter from the sun in the forest. October to March we bring them to the mill, where we place their food and they come and eat. Travellers here can see the wisents. Older individuals — their lifespan is 25-30 years — isolate themselves from the herd. Wisents are generally gregarious animals that gather in herds. The area of our reserve can accommodate about 30 individuals, but there are some orders for wisents from Vanator Neamt and we hope to deliver to other parks as well. In conclusion, I urge everyone to come to the wisent reserve for an unforgettable experience,’ head of the Dambovita Forestry Directorate Costel Preda told Agerpres.

At maturity, seven, eight years of age, a wisent male can weigh about a tonne, and a female around 600 kilograms. A wisent can live up to 28 years in captivity, with its lifespan reduced in the wild. Wisents feed in the early morning, after which they seek shelter in the upper third part of the slopes to ruminate. The best time to visit is in the morning, at 10:00hrs, when the wisents come for food supplements. In wintertime, the wisents can no longer fully feed by themselves, and here is where the reserve carers step in to help.

Wisents are gregarious animals, seemingly peaceful around humans and tolerant of other animals. However, they may be surprisingly aggressive with unpredictable outbursts, displaying great agility and nimbleness despite their bodily massiveness.

‘In the ancient forests of Romania, aurochs and wisents seemed to have coexisted. In those days, no one would mistake them, as any of them would be admired for their own skills. Then, in the 16th century, the aurochs vanished from Romania. In Western Europe, the wisents disappeared from the local fauna as back as the 11th century. They survived until later in Eastern Europe, with the last killed wisent being reported in 1927 in the Caucasus. Back then, there were only 50 wisents in captivity. The species was in great danger. Aurochs had disappeared as a distinct species 400 years previously and history seemed to have reserved the same fate to the wisents. Some say the confusion between aurochs and wisents has been going on for hundreds of years. Others, however, consider that on the contrary, aurochs and wisents are one and the same,’ reads a post on the official website of the Bucsani wisent reserve zimbrarianeagra.ro.

For 169 years, there were no wisents left in Romania. The last wisent of Moldavia was killed in 1762, and Transylvania’s last in 1970. The wisents reappeared in Romania in the autumn of 1958, when a male and a female were imported from Poland to a game park near the town of Hateg, Hunedoara County.

Tickets for the reserve cost 4 lei for adults and 2 lei for children. Tours are unlimited. Visitors who want to spend more than a day at the reserve have a nearby cabin to stay. AGERPRES

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The International Ecumenical Centre at Vulcana Bai, Dambovita County, unique in Europe, has three houses of worship: a synagogue, a mosque and an Orthodox church, where tourists come from all over the world.

Photo credit: (c) Cornelia DUMITRU/ AGERPRES ARCHIVE

The centre was built in 1991, and two years later, it started operating under the auspices of the UNESCO — the National Commission of Romania. Located 20 kilometers from the city of Targoviste, the interfaith settlement of Vulcana Bai is a place of pilgrimage for Christians, Jews and Muslims. Access is from the national road DN 71 Targoviste — Sinaia, continuing west on County Road DJ 712 B.

The synagogue, mosque and church are built on three hills in an area called Braneasca of Vulcana Bai to stand for the world’s three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

Photo credit: (c) Cornelia DUMITRU / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

‘Church services are currently held at the Orthodox church only. The synagogue and mosque have remained only symbolic, but church services may be held if there are believers who want to come to pray here. The Orthodox church was declared monastery in 2000. It was founded on the highest hill and is larger than the other two churches, built in a traditional style in the form of a cross, with an open porch in the Brancovenesc style. The fresco paintings are by painter Emil Stoica of Sotanga, while the interior sculptures are made of linden wood by the Dobra family of Vulcana Bai. Some small relics of St. John the Baptist are kept inside the church that were donated by Patriarch Diodorus I of Jerusalem,’ says spokesman for the Targoviste Archbishopric Marian Puiescu.

Judaism at the International Ecumenical Centre is represented by a Hebrew synagogue. The building is a simple one fitted with 12 windows representing the 12 tribes of Israel. There is also the Star of David and a seven-arm menorah.

The mosque at the International Ecumenical Centre is different from the other buildings in that it faces towards Mecca, instead of the East.

Helping with the construction of these houses of worship were a Christian called Ion Popescu, two Hebrews, brothers Rubi and Michael Zimmerman, and a Muslim family, Leila and Omar Akill.

‘The International Ecumenical Centre is not intended to be a parliament of religious denominations, or some religious authority, and it has not set to create a fusion between the denominations or to practice religious syncretism. It is simply designed to impart knowledge, to achieve rapprochement and understanding that ultimately determine vivid, dynamic and harmonious collaboration between ethnicities and religions,’ reads a description posted on the website of the Vulcana Bai’s Mayor’s Office vulcanabai.ro.

Photo credit: (c) Cornelia DUMITRU / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

At the Ecumenical Centre in Vulcana Bai, tourists come from all over the world, especially on weekends. They may pause for prayer and relax watching the unspoiled beauty of the place. Entrance to the centre is free. AGERPRES

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The Ialomitei Cave, dubbed the Kings’ Cave, also known as the Ialomitei Hermitage Cave, is situated in the town of Moroieni, Dambovita County, between the Padina Cabin and the Pestera Hotel, on the right side of the Ialomitei Gorges, at an altitude of 1,660 metres.

Photo credit: www.crestinortodox.ro

It was dug by the Horoaba Stream, a tributary of the Ialomita River, in Late Jurassic, in the limestone of the southeastern ridge of Mt. Batrana. It is still one of the tourist landmarks of Mt. Bucegi and even Romania.

Photo credit:ontheroad.ro

The cave has always been a tourist attraction. The first bibliographic record of it dates back to 1793, in a book on Transylvanian caves by I. Kleinlauf. In 1897, it was considered the largest underground cave in the Romanian Principalities. In 1953, a detailed plan of it was drawn up by a team led by Mihai Serban and Iosif Viehman and published in 1974 in the bulletin of the Emil Racovita Speleology Club.

The Ialomitei Cave has both galleries and halls, and its unfoldment is mixed going on for about 480 m on a single level, of which 400 m are accessible to tourists to the point called Altar, followed upstream by a portion of another 80 m, galleries and halls. Among the halls, there are the Mihnea Voda, Decebal, St. Mary, At Crossroads, At the Altar halls, the Hidden Grotto and the Bear Grotto, where skeletons of cave bears were found.

Photo credit: www.crestinortodox.ro

Upon entering the Ialomitei Cave, visitors are greeted by the Ialomitei Monastery, dedicated to Saint Apostles Peter and Paul, built in the sixteenth century, by ruler of Wallachia Mihnea Voda the Evil. Legend has it that the ruler took shelter here for a while, on his way to exile in Transylvania (1510) and founded this place of worship to thank God for having escaped the Ottomans. The monastery burned down several times (four times in four hundred years), but it was rebuilt each time and a wing of monk cells was added, which cornerstone was laid by Archbishop Vasile Costin of Targoviste in 1993. The story of the monastery goes back in time to ancient times, with legend having it that St. Andrew himself, the founder of the Romanian Orthodox faith, took shelter here for a time.

Entrance to the cave is above an old cemetery of the local monks that lived here centuries ago. The gravestone on one of the tombs is always hot. Dowsers have found the place imbued with energy, but they cannot tell the nature of the energy or what generates the vibrations detected inside the cave.

The semi-elliptical mouth of the cave opens to a horizontal terrace 18 m above the valley floor. The first hall of the cave called Mihnea Voda is 115 meters long, 15 metres wide and 10-25 meters high. Before 1924, the Pesterii River would flow through the cave. Today, the river goes underground before reaching the grotto and flows far below into the Ialomita.

Photo credit: magiamuntelui.blogspot.ro

Next is the Passage Gallery, 20 meters long and 1-8m wide. At the entrance to this gallery there is a metal gate, beyond which unguided access is forbidden. It is a wide corridor 1-2 m wide and 1.5 — 2 m high that leads to the dome-shaped Decebal Halls, which open to several galleries, including the St. Mary Grotto thus named because of the likeness of its stalagmites with a statute of the Virgin Mary.

St. Mary Grotto
Photo credit: magiamuntelui.blogspot.ro

The largest and most spectacular part of the cave is the Bears’ Hall, devoid of water and having a rocky soil. When it was discovered, bones were found in the soil proving that about 10,000 years before, this was probably the last refuge of Ursus Spelacus Blum cave bear. From the Bears’ Hall, a 2-m high gallery opens up to the Bottom of the Cave, which once contained columns joining the roof to the soil. Next is the Water Gallery that runs to the Altar.

Grotă în Peștera Ialomiței
Foto: magiamuntelui.blogspot.ro

Legend has it that the Altar was used by monks in ancient times for religious services. The positioning of the stalactites creates the illusion of a church altar. A cave stream called the ‘fountain of living water’ that is said to be Dacian holy water without bacteria or nitrates flows here. It is assumed that the underground spring flows over massive silver deposits that give the water maximum purity, while scientists argue purity is due to geo-magnetic anomalies. Also here there is a wish-fulfilling rock about which legend has it that it was given by god Zamolxe to humans.

As far as the local fauna is concerned, there are representatives of almost all groups of fauna living in Romania’s caves, notably a species of troglomorphic coleopterans, Duvalius (Duvaliotes) procerus, which spreads outside to the mountains around Brasov.

Air temperature in galleries ranges between 9 to 12 ° C, and humidity is 85 — 100%.

The cave has wooden walkways and stairs, and it is partially electrified. It is open to visitors all year long in guided tours. AGERPRES

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