Vladimir Cosma

Vladimir Cosma (born April 13, 1940 in Bucharest), renowned composer, conductor and violinist.

He was born in a family of musicians - his father Teodor (Theodor) Cosma was a pianist and conductor, mother was a composer and his uncle Edgar Cosma was a composer and conductor. Cosma studied music from his early years onward, eventually attending the National Conservatory in Bucharest (from which he graduated with two first prizes, for violin and composition). In 1963 he went to Paris to advance his studies at the French Conservatory (École Normale de Musique de Paris, under Nadia Boulanger's guidance), where, in addition to his classical background, he developed an interest in jazz, folk music, and film music. Between 1964 and 1967 he toured the world as a concert violinist, visiting the USA, Latin America, and South East Asia. A meeting with popular film composer Michel Legrand became the first step towards his future career. Cosma always mentions Legrand's importance, though he also admits the influence of such composers as Burt Bacharach and Henri Mancini.

In 1967 he began his long-running partnership with film director Yves Robert, for whom he scored the international hits Alexandre le Bienheureux (1967), Le Grand Blond Avec Une Chaussure Noire (1972), and Le Retour du Grand Blond (1974) as well as the critically acclaimed dramas La Gloire de Mon Père and Le Chateau de ma Mère (both in 1990). He also wrote the music for several comedies directed by Francis Veber and Gerard Oury, starring such hit French comedians as Pierre Richard and Louis de Funès. One of his biggest international hits was the Eric Satie-inspired soundtrack for Diva (1981), for which he was awarded his first Cesar (the French equivalent of the Oscar). He received another Cesar for Le Bal (1983) and the main instrumental theme from it became a substantial hit worldwide. Among the other awards given to Vladimir Cosma are the Sept d'Or, the French TV award, for L' été '36 (1986) and a Gran Prix at Cannes Film Festival for the entire body of his work.

According IMDB, he has composed the music for more than 200 movies and TV series. Also, it is highly unusual for a film composer to have many of his scores compiled in a massive 23-CD anthology released by a major label, but that is precisely what happened in France where Sony Music put together 63 scores by Vladimir Cosma in a series appropriately titled Cosma Cinema Collection.

The Skylarks (Part 4)

Hariclea Darclée (born Hariclea Haricli; June 10, 1860–January 12, 1939) was a celebrated Romanian operatic soprano. She possessed an agile, powerful, and beautiful voice that was wielded with a fine technique. An extremely handsome woman, Darclée's stage presence was as elegant and refined as her singing. Although universally admired, she displayed a coldness of temperament that at times diminished her conviction in the more passionate verismo repertory. A singer of prodigous talent, her repertoire ranged from coloratura soprano roles to heavier Verdi roles, including many in the Franco-Italian lyric repertory.

She was born in Brăila to a family with Greek roots. Her father, Ion Haricli, was a landlord in the Teleorman district. Her mother, born Aslan, was a relative of the noble Mavrocordatos family. She began her studies in Iaşi, making her professional appearances as a concert performer in 1884. She continued her studies in Paris under Jean-Baptiste Fauré. She married a young officer, Iorgu Hartulari, and became known for a while as Hariclea Hartulari-Darclée, Darclée being the nom de théâtre she adopted when she made her debut at the Paris Opéra in 1888 as Marguerite in Charles Gounod's Faust. In 1889, she replaced Adelina Patti as Juliette in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, to increasing acclaim.

In 1890 Darclée scored a great success in her La Scala debut as Chimène in Massenet’s Le Cid, and was immediately engaged by all the leading Italian theatres. Between 1893 and 1910 she appeared frequently in Moscow, St Petersburg, Lisbon, Barcelona, Madrid and Buenos Aires. She embarked on a world tour, that lasted a full 30 years, until her last performance in 1918. In between she created Glinka's La vie pour le Tsar outside Russia (1890), the Italian premiere of Massenet's Le Cid (1891), the world premiere of Gomes's Condor (1891), the second ever perfomance of Mascagni's L'Amico Fritz (1891), the world premiere of Mascagni's I Rantzau (1892), the world premiere of Catalani's La Wally (1892), the first performances in Spain of Massenet's Manon (1894) and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci (1895), the Argentine and Uruguayan premieres of Puccini's La Bohème (1896), the world premiere of De Lara's Amy Robsart (1897), the world premiere of the opera version of Mancinelli's Ero e Leandro (1897), the world premiere of Mascagni's Iris (1898), the world premiere of Puccini's Tosca (1900), the Argentine and Uruguayan premieres of Leoncavallo's Zaza (1902), the Spanish premiere of Massenet's Thaïs (1906), the world premiere of Catargi's Enoch Arden (1906), the important revival of Pacini's Saffo in Italy (1911), a historic Italian performance of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier (1911), and the Portugese premiere of Saint–Saëns's Prosperine (1914). Her final performance in 1918 was in the second act of the opera that should have marked her debut, almost 30 years earlier, in 1888: Gounod's Roméo et Juliette.

Darclée was the mother of composer Ion Hartulary Darclée (1886-1969) who was known particularly as a writer of operettas. Started in 1997, the Hariclea Darclée National Voice Competition is held every two years in Brăila.

The Skylarks (Part 3)

Angela Gheorghiu (born September 7, 1965 - Adjud), is one of the most famous contemporary sopranos. Her magnificent voice and dazzling stage presence revealed her to the world as unique opera star. A fiery and intense stage actress, she has a particular affinity for the operas of Verdi. A lyric dramatic soprano with a large range and a dark colored voice, she is also able to sing spinto roles. On the other hand, having an impeccable musicianship and a gorgeous voice, she's also a great interpreter of French roles. She also performs and records the music of her native Romania, whether operatic, lieder, popular or Orthodox church music.

Along with her sister Elena, she sang opera music from a very early age. At age 13, she went to study singing at the Bucharest Music Academy. Her graduation in 1989 (or 1990) coincided with the overthrow of Ceauşescu, enabling her to seek out an international career immediately. Her profesional debut took place at the Cluj Opera as Mimì (La Bohème) in 1990.

Angela Gheorghiu made her international debut in 1992 at Covent Garden in London as Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She was offered Mimì in La Bohème, an important and difficult role, but she declined, preferring something less ambitious. Nevertheless, she made an excellent impression and in the same year went on to debut at the Staatsoper Vienna as Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore and at the Metropolitan Opera as Mimi in La Bohème. In 1994, she was auditioned by the great conductor Sir Georg Solti for a new production of La Traviata. When he heard her, he said: "I was in tears. I had to go out. The girl is wonderful. She can do anything!". It was in Covent Garden that she first sang her much acclaimed La Traviata in 1994, when BBC cleared out their schedule in order to broadcast the opera. That particular performance was also filmed and recorded by Decca. Really, her debut as Violetta led her to international stardom. Since then she has been in constant demand in opera houses and concert halls around the world: New York, London, Paris, Salzburg, Berlin, Tokyo, Rome, Seoul, Venice, Athens, Monte-Carlo, Chicago, Sao Paolo, Los Angeles, Lisbon, Palermo, Beirut, Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur, Zürich, Vienna, Madrid, Montreal.

All her CD’s have enjoyed widespread critical acclaim ever since her debut and have been awarded many prizes such as Gramophone Awards, Diapason d’Or Awards, Choc du Monde de la Musique (France), Cecilia Prize (Belgium), Deutsche Schallplattenkritik-Preis (Germany), the Italian Musica e dischi - in the category Foreign Lyric Production Award, the USA Critics’ Award, Premio Zenatello (Verona), Echo Klassik (Singer of the Year, Frankfurt, 2002), etc. At the Classical Brit Award in 2001 she won the title Female Artist of the Year. Angela Gheorghiu was honoured with “La Medaille Vermeille de la Ville de Paris” and appointed “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” by the French Ministry of Culture and by her native country Romania.

Angela Gheorghiu is married with the tenor Roberto Alani; she is also famous for her beauty and was recently chosen the 74th most beautiful women in the world by the FHM Magazine. But, above all, the Romanian soprano is noted for her creamy and flexible voice, her rare musicianship and the deep and intense portrays of her characters.

The potters from Corund

The name of Corund (Hungarian: Korond) is inseparable from ceramics: the village is one of the most important ceramic centers in Europe. There is a saying in Corund: "since the world exists they always produced pottery". Corund is situated at 11 km from Praid, 18 km from Sovata, 29 km from Odorheiu Secuiesc and 80 km from Miercurea-Ciuc, in Harghita County.

This is a Middle Age tradition that became industry. The first written source dates back to the year 1613, when the pottery guild from Udvarhely accused the people of Corund with bungling. Later a decree defends the ceramists from Udvarhely, valid in one-mile distance, so the situation of Corund, Atid, Cusmed and Solocma became difficult. In 1750 count Gyulaffy László (1699-1754), the chancellor of Transylvania assures the ceramists of Corund that they can annually hold four fairs in Corund where they can sell their products. The clay industry of Sóvidék (Salt's Land) produced chiefly storing and cooking vessels without glaze, which were necessary in everyday life. This production had lasted until the end of the last century.

The Szekler women say "the best corn porridge can be made in vessels made in Corund" (Szeklers are Hungarian ethnics living in Eastern Transylvania). The potters remained competitive during the centuries in making thin and copper vessels that were unreachable for the villagers. In 1820 there were 50, in 1893 145, in 1900 367 potters who produced vessels without glaze (1,2-1,5 million a year). After the end of the 19th century they started to produce glazed vessels: Filep Dezsõ and Katona József established the first glazed vessel workshop near the Arcio (Árcsó) bath. Later they moved to Praid to the place of the match factory. Beginning with the 18th century the tiles occupied a very important place in the Corund pottery. Around 1930 there were established two vessel factories: the Bertalan-Kacsó and the Katona Sándor (with 80-120 workers).

Since 1962 they also produced black pottery. In 1974 a new ceramic factory was built (350 m2). In 1972, pottery was produced on 375 discs, the number of workers reached 190, in 1992 around 872 potters worked in the village. The main products are: pots, pans, butter squeezers, jars, filters, cups, candle supports, salt-cellars, ornamental plates (with wedge, peafowl eye, chessboard, pine-branch, edelweiss, spinning-case, life-tree, grid, doorpost, tulip, half-sun, peafowl, chrysanthemum, oak-leaf, string). The Korond pottery is exported in many countries. Incze Lajos's statement is adequate (1939): "There is no fair in the country without potters from Corund, they took over the legacy of the mineral water selling Szekler: the roads".

The Skylarks (Part 2)

Mariana Nicolesco (born November 28, 1948 in Guajani) is a Romanian operatic soprano, particularly associated with Mozart and the bel canto repertory.

Born Mariana Niculescu in Guajani, she trained first as violinist at the Cluj-Napoca Conservatory, she then went on a scholarship to the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where she studied voice with Jolanda Magnoni, and later had lessons from Rodolfo Celletti and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in Milan. Upon graduation, she won the Rossini International Voice Competition organized by RAI. She came in contact with conductor Thomas Schippers, who did much to further her career, and invited her to Cincinnati, where she made her operatic debut as Mimi in 1972. She returned to Italy, and appeared at the opera houses of Trieste, Venice, Florence, and Rome. She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1978, as Violetta (a role she has sung over 200 times around the world). She also appeared in Chicago and San Francisco.

Nicolesco went on to perform in a multitude of opera houses; notably La Scala in Milan, Opéra de Paris, Vienna State Opera, Munich State Opera, Liceo in Barcelona, Semperoper in Dresden, Berlin State Opera, Monte Carlo Opera, as well as numerous concert halls (Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Concertgebouw Musikverein, Moscow Conservatory), and classical music festivals (Salzburg Festival, Rossini Opera Festival, Casals Festival).

Nicolesco defended a wide repertoire from baroque to verismo, with a special affinity for Mozart and the Italian bel canto, notable roles included; Donna Elvira, Celia, Elettra, Anna Bolena, Beatrice di Tenda, Maria Stuarda, Elisabetta, Amalia, Desdemona, etc. A soprano drammatica d'agilità, she has a rich and vibrant voice and a strong stage presence. She can be heard in a few recordings, notably: Beatrice di Tenda and Maria di Rohan. She had a rather surprisingly short career - the voice had top quality. One of many great Romanian Violettas: Zeani, Gheorghiu...

Mariana Nicolesco lent support to Romanian orphanages and to the promotion of young artists of exceptional talent. In New York, she created The Romanian Atheneum International Foundation Inc. which helped restore the Atheneum's organ and the magnificent 1888 Romanian Atheneum Concert Hall in Bucharest. The Foundation and Mariana Nicolesco have donated a Steinway grand concert piano. In Brasov she organized in 1993 the first National Festival and Romanian Song Competition and in Venice, she organized the first National Festival, the Romanian Song Competition and, in Venice, The Gran Gala UNESCO-UNICEF Romania.

Mariana Nicolesco is an Honorary Member of the Romanian National Council for the Protection of the Child and of the Romanian National Committee for UNICEF, an Honorary Citizen of Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Brasov and Braila, President of the Darclée Foundation and Honorary President of the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition which was held in 2005 from July 19 to 31, celebrating 10 years of great music, style and art since its creation by the great soprano. It is the most important music event in Romania and one of the most important worldwide. Mariana Nicolesco offered the Romanian young artists and public a great and fantastic school of art and magnificent opportunities to the young artists.

Mariana Nicolesco is a Ph.D. in Arts from the Cluj-Napoca Academy of Music, Doctor Honoris Causa of the same Academy, Honorary Professor and Doctor Honoris Causa of the Transilvania University in Brasov, Honorary Member of the Romanian Academy and a member of the Honorary Committee of the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation.

She was made a Grand Officer of the National Order the Star of Romania and Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. She received the UNESCO Medal for Artistic Achievements and was awarded the title of UNESCO Artist for Peace. She is a Commander for the Order of the Star of Italian Republic. She was proclaimed The Most Successful Woman in Romania. In Berlin, she was proclaimed Musician of the Year for "her extraordinary performances and for everything she does for the young generation. A great voice for the Renaissance of Culture".

A recent study shows that, in the long history of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Mariana Nicolesco is the soprano who appeared in the most prime assolute. In 2005, commemorating 50 years since the great Romanian composer passed away, Mariana Nicolesco presented in world premiere concert George Enescu's Complete Songs. As a result of the great success of the evening, Mariana Nicolesco and her young friends were invited for a Gala Concert dedicated to Enescu's Songs at the World Exhibition in Japan.

The rise and fall of a dictator

Nicolae Ceauşescu (January 26, 1918 - December 25, 1989) was the latest dictator of Romania. In Romania, we say "despre morţi, numai bine", meaning "say only good things about the death ones"; but I can't do that when I'm speaking about Ceauşescu. Here is a chronology of this dark era in the history of Romania, made for the old and the young, as a reminder and a warning...

1920s - Ceauşescu was born in the village of Scorniceşti, in Southern Romania. His father is a peasant. When he is 11 Ceauşescu moves to Bucharest, to work as a shoemaker's apprentice.

1930s - Ceauşescu becomes prominent in the Romanian communist youth movement and the fight against fascism and the Iron Guard. During this period he also meets Elena Petrescu, the daughter of a sharefarmer. Like Ceauşescu, Elena has moved from the countryside to Bucharest and become involved in the communist youth movement. The couple will eventually marry (1946) and have three children, two sons, Valentin and Nicu, and a daughter, Zoe.

1933 - On 23 November he is arrested for the first time, for inciting a strike and distributing communist pamphlets. Ceauşescu is arrested three more times in 1934 and comes to be classified by the police as a "dangerous communist agitator" and an "active distributor of communist and antifascist propaganda".

1935 - Ceausescu is confined to Scorniceşti. He goes underground, returning to Bucharest to continue his political agitation.

1936 - He is a captured and tried for antifascist activities. On 6 June he receives a two-year sentence. Following his release in 1938 he resumes his political work, which leads to his final arrest.

1940 - In July Ceauşescu is imprisoned at Jilava, near Bucharest. In August 1943 he is transferred to a concentration camp at Tirgu Jiu, where he becomes a protégé of his cellmate, the communist leader Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej. During these years in prison Ceauşescu studies for a degree from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest.

1944 - Ceauşescu escapes from prison shortly before the Soviets occupy Romania at the end of August. He serves as secretary of the Union of Communist Youth until 1945, the year he is appointed as a brigadier-general in the Romanian Army.

1946 - Ceauşescu is made Communist Party regional secretary of Oltenia, his home province. At what is considered to be a rigged general election held on 19 November he is voted into the Grand National Assembly, the Romanian parliament.

1948 - The Communist Party and one wing of the Social Democratic Party merge early in the year to form the Romanian Workers' Party (Partidul Muncitoresc Roman - PMR). PMR takes complete control of the government at a general election held in March. It introduces a Stalinist constitution and proclaims the Romanian People's Republic on 13 April. Ceauşescu is returned to the Assembly at the elections. He is a deputy at the Ministry of Agriculture from 1948-50, then serves as deputy minister of the armed forces with the rank of major-general from 1950-54. Within the party he becomes a nominee member of the Central Committee. He will continue to climb the ranks, eventually securing the second highest position in the party hierarchy.

1952 - Gheorghiu-Dej becomes party leader and head of state in 1952. Ceauşescu is promoted to full membership of the Central Committee.

1954 - Ceauşescu is made secretary of the Central Committee and nominated to the party's supreme decision-making body, the Politburo, becoming a full member in 1955.

1965 - When Gheorghiu-Dej dies of pneumonia in March Ceausescu manoeuvres to become party leader. On attaining the post, he appropriates various other party and government roles and begins to surround himself with loyal subordinates. PMR is renamed the Romanian Communist Party. A new constitution is proclaimed on 21 August and the country renamed to the Socialist Republic of Romania. Ceauşescu will continue to steer Romania on the independent course set by Gheorghiu-Dej, challenging the dominance of the Soviet Union, restricting Romania's active participation in the Warsaw Pact military alliance and condemning the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Shortly after taking power, Ceauşescu prohibits direct contacts between Soviet and Romanian officials. In 1967 Ceausescu further defies the Soviets by establishing diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and by continuing relations with Israel following the 'Six-Day War'. Soviet forces will mass on Romania's borders in June 1971 but there is no invasion. Ceauşescu's stance towards the Soviet Union wins him considerable support from the West, with then United States President Richard M. Nixon visiting Romania in August 1969. In 1975 the US grants Romania most-favoured-nation trading status. Romania is also admitted into such international organisations as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the Nonaligned Movement. At the same time, Ceauşescu builds closer ties between Romania and the communist states of China and North Korea. At home, Ceauşescu initially adopts a relatively liberal approach to freedom of speech. But this period of relaxation is short-lived as he begins to cash in on his promotion of Romanian nationalism to fuel a Ceausescu personality cult.

1966 - New laws are introduced to engineer an increase in the size of Romania's population. "The foetus is the property of the entire society," Ceausescu states, "Anyone who avoids having children is a deserter who abandons the laws of national continuity." Abortion and contraception are outlawed, childless couples face higher taxes, divorce is discouraged, and sex education prohibited. The birth-rate almost doubles, but is accompanied by a leap in infant mortality and unwanted pregnancies, with the rising numbers of handicapped, orphaned and abandoned children being placed in decrepit institutions under state care. After the fall of Ceauşescu in 1989 over 100,000 handicapped and orphaned children are discovered living in horrific conditions.

1967 - In June Ceauşescu purges the Ministry of Internal Affairs of pro-Soviet officers and creates a new Department of State Security (Securitate). With its sweeping powers and extensive resources, the Securitate becomes the arbiter and the enforcer of Ceausescu's will, growing to become the largest agency of its type in Europe, relative to the size of Romania's population. Securitate agents will be allowed to conduct surveillance on private citizens with impunity. Contacts with foreigners are monitored, mail is screened, telephones tapped, and homes and offices broken into. Those suspected of disloyalty to the regime are arrested and interrogated. Prominent dissidents suffer more severe forms of harassment, including physical violence and imprisonment. Meanwhile, further manoeuvring by Ceausescu sees him elected president of the State Council in December. By the end of the year he has emerged as the undisputed leader of both the party and the state.

1968 - In April Ceauşescu cautions intellectuals and artists not to overstep the mark of permissible free expression. By 1971 he has completely reasserted neo-Stalinist policies on economic and social control. Freedom of speech is limited and the media is controlled. It is even illegal to own a typewriter without an official licence. The Securitate suppress all political opposition.

1969 - Ceauşescu assumes the role of chairman of the newly formed Defence Council. Already directly in control of about 20,000 special security troops, the new post increases his influence over the regular armed forces.

1970s - Ceauşescu continues to concentrate power at the top of the party structure. The military and security forces are overhauled, thousands of managers and officials are removed and replaced with his protégés, party and state structures are blended, and the media is manipulated with "patriotic commercials" to promote his personality cult. In the early 1970s Ceauşescu begins to travel widely abroad. He visits China and North Korea in June 1971, meeting with the leaders Mao Tse-Tung and Kim Il Sung. In April 1972 year he travels to Egypt, where he meets with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Palestine Liberation Organisation head Yasir 'Arafat. The following month Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir journeys to Romania for talks with Ceauşescu. By 1976 Ceauşescu has visited more than 30 less-developed countries to promote trade. In 1978 Ceausescu he travels to the US.

1972 - In July Ceauşescu's wife, Elena, is elected to full membership of Communist Party Central Committee. In 1973 she becomes a member of the Politburo and is made head of the personnel section, giving her the final say on party promotions at all levels throughout the country. Many observers believe that Elena becomes the real power behind Ceauşescu's dictatorship, particularly in it's later years, as Ceauşescu becomes weak and ill.

1974 - Voters "elect" Ceauşescu president of the republic in March. He further tightens his control of government by placing trusted allies and members of his immediate family, including his wife, three brothers, a son, and a brother-in-law, in strategic party and government posts - a policy that comes to be known in the West as "dynastic socialism". Meanwhile, Ceausescu's personality cult is increasingly boosted by the state-controlled media, which lionises him as the greatest genius of the age, the 'Genius of the Carpathians', the 'Danube of Thought', the "guarantor of the nation's progress and independence", the "visionary architect of the nation's future". His presidency is described as the "golden era of Ceauşescu". However, while the first years of Ceausescu's reign do see a continuation of the spectacular levels of industrial development achieved under the Stalinist programs adopted by Gheorghiu-Dej, overcapitalisation and economic mismanagement leave the country with excess production capacity and a mounting foreign debt at a time when world market prices for industrial products are experiencing a downturn. Growth falls from highs of 10% per annum in the early 1970s to 3% in 1980 as spending far outpaces income. By the end of the 1970s Romania's international debt is approaching US$10 billion.

1979 - As head of the National Council of Science and Technology, Elena Ceauşescu is given a seat in the Cabinet. In 1980 she is appointed first deputy prime minister, the number two position in the government behind her husband.

1981 - Agricultural production falls, requiring the reintroduction of food rationing. Domestic energy is also in short supply as the bulk of electrical power is diverted to industrial development projects. Ceauşescu proposes a 'New Agrarian Revolution' under which farmers will be forced to supply the state with set quotas for which they will only be paid a third of the market price.

1982 - With the country now firmly in the grip of a balance-of-payments crisis Ceauşescu introduces a rigorous austerity program to pay off the accumulated foreign debt within a decade. Most of the country's produce is exported, causing further shortages of food, fuel and other essentials at home. The standard of living plunges. But while most Romanians are needlessly starving, cold and living in the dark, Ceauşescu and his family continue to be surrounded by comfort and privilege. One dissident estimates that at least 15,000 Romanians die per year as a result of the austerity program.

1983 - Following an alleged military coup attempt, Ceauşescu's brother, Ilie, is made deputy minister of national defence and chief of the Higher Political Council of the Army.

1987 - In May students stage a large demonstration in Iaşi, in the northeast of Romania, near the border with Moldova. Massive antigovernment protests and riots break out in Braşov, on 15 November. Ceauşescu uses force to suppress the uprisings. Thousands of children are also recruited to spy on their families, friends and teachers and report to the Securitate.

1988 - The urban and rural systematisation program first proposed in the 1960s is revived. Ceauşescu, meanwhile, becomes even more interventionist in the economy, visiting factories himself and personally setting their production targets.

1989 - Ceauşescu is now the head of state, the head of the Communist Party, the head of the armed forces, chairman of the Supreme Council for Economic and Social Development, president of the National Council of Working People, and chairman of the Socialist Democracy and Unity Front. To strengthen his control and keep any potential rivals off-balance party members are constantly rotated through the government's key ministries. At the same time, at least 27 of Ceauşescu's close relatives now hold top party and state posts, acting as his trusted eyes and ears. While communist regimes elsewhere in Eastern Europe are falling, Ceauşescu refuses to loosen his grip. His goal of clearing the country's foreign debt is achieved during the year but the high social cost will precipitate his downfall. In March, six prominent members of the Communist Party write an open letter to Ceauşescu that criticises his abuses of power and his economic policies. The so-called "letter of the six" is circulated in the Western media and read on Radio Free Europe, where it is described as the manifesto of an underground organisation called the National Salvation Front. Nevertheless, Ceauşescu is reelected for another five-year term as head of the Romanian Communist Party in November, only weeks before his downfall.

On 16 December, antigovernment demonstrations begin to break out in Timişoara in the west of Romania. The next day, as large numbers of protesters march on the Communist Party headquarters in the city, Ceauşescu orders his security forces to fire on the crowd. Up to 4,000 die during the days of conflict that follow. The 'Revolution of Timişoara' ends on 20 December when the demonstrators take control of the city, aided by army defectors. The demonstrations spread to Bucharest. On 21 December 80,000 to 100,000 people gather outside the headquarters of the Communist Party in Republican Square in a mass rally organised by the party in support of Ceauşescu and broadcast on national television. However, as Ceauşescu speaks to the crowd from the balcony of the building, he is shouted down by chants such as "Timişoara", "Down with the murderers", "Down with the dictatorship", "Romanians awake", and "We are ready to die". The television broadcast is stopped, but not before images of a visibly shaken Ceauşescu are aired. Ceauşescu retreats inside the party headquarters. Outside the number of demonstrators converging on the square grows throughout the night. It is reported that the minister for defence, General Vasile Milea, is summarily executed after he refuses to obey Ceauşescu's directive and order his troops to fire on the crowd. The army sides with the demonstrators on 22 December. Ceauşescu makes a final attempt to address the crowd, but seeing that situation is now out of his control he flees the capital with his wife, boarding his personal helicopter from the roof of the party headquarters building. Several hours later, the Ceauşescus are captured at Cîmpulung, about 100 km northwest of Bucharest, and returned to a secret location in Bucharest. Meanwhile, battles between Ceauşescu loyalists in the Securitate and the military break out on the streets of the capital, claiming about 1,000 lives. The loyalists are assisted by terrorists from the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Syria and Libya, who are in Romania to receive training.

On 25 December 1089, the Ceauşescus are tried by a special military tribunal and convicted on charges of mass murder and other crimes. The sentence is death. Ceauşescu and his wife are executed by firing squad shortly after the sentence is handed down. They are buried at an undisclosed location. After footage of their dead bodies is broadcast on national television, the remaining resistance to the regime change quickly falls away.


Ilie Năstase (born July 19, 1946, in Bucharest), former great Romanian professional lawn tennis player, the first World No. 1 ATP (1972-1973), known for his on-court histrionics and outstanding play. He was the first European to surpass $1 million in career prize money.

No player in history has been more gifted or mystifying than the Bucharest Buffoon, Ilie Năstase, noted both for his sorcery with the racket and his bizarre, even objectionable behavior. He was an entertainer second to none, amusing spectators with his antics and mimicry, also infuriating them with gaucheries and walkouts. Despite a fragile nervous system and erratic temperament, Năstase - a slender 6-footer quick, leggy and athletic - could do everything, and when his concentration held together he was an artist creating with great originality and panache. He was the first Romanian of international prominence, and largely through his play that small country rose to the Davis Cup final on three occasions, 1969, 1971, and 1972, losing each time to the U.S. At the end of 1985 after playing Davis Cup since 1966, 18 years, Năstase ranked second among the most active players in Cup history, having won 109 of 146 singles and doubles engagements in 52 ties. Though he provoked controversy and his career was marred by fines, disqualifications and suspensions, Năstase was good-natured and friendly off-court. He had a sense of humor in his on-court shenanigans, but frequently did not know when to stop and lost control of himself. "I am a little crazy, but I try to be a good boy", he said.

In terms of public popularity, Năstase was famous both for his technical and physical genius and for his good humour on court. But among referees and other players, his reputation for gamesmanship resulted in the nickname "Nasty" after several incidents where his temperament got the better of him.

In his career, Ilie Năstase won 7 Grand Slam finals (2 singles, 3 doubles, 2 mixed), 4 Masters Cup titles, 59 major tournaments, 28 minor tournaments, 51 double titles. In a career begun in the amateur era and continued in the open era, he is one of five players to win more than 100 pro titles in singles (59) and doubles (5l). After his retirement, in 1985, he became a businessman, but he still plays in demonstrative tournaments. He was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1991. Maxim Magazine has placed Năstase at number 6 on its top ten "Living Sex Legends" list.

The Skylarks (Part 1)

Ileana Cotrubaş (born June 9, 1939, Galaţi), is among the world's most beloved opera singers.

Although she grew up in a fairly musical family - her father and mother both sang - she aspired, when a child, to an acting career in Hollywood. Before adolescence, however, she had joined a children chorus that occasionally performed on Romanian radio and in local opera presentations. Within a few years she had reached solo status in the chorus, and when her family moved from Galaţi to Bucharest in the early 1950s, she entered a music school. She devoted her first two years there to a variety of studies, including conducting, playing piano and violin, and acting. In her mid-teens, she finally began concentrating on singing. Her voice, however, was considered too modest, and she was initially rejected for further study by the Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory Bucharest. After an additional year of music theory and practice Cotrubaş reapplied to the conservatory in 1958 and gained acceptance.

Under the guidance of her teachers, Ileana shaped her singing voice into one featuring a more adult range. This work occupied much of her time at the conservatory, though she was also able to continue her piano studies and indulge in athletics. She also studied several languages, including those in which most operas are written - Italian, German, and French. Her most impressive feat during this period, though, was as triple winner at an important Dutch vocal competition. Scoring victories in the key categories of opera, oratorio, and lieder, Cotrubaş consequently appeared on the Dutch stage in Mozart's Magic Flute and The Abduction From the Seraglio. The following year Cotrubaş scored another triumph at a West German competition, and her career was assured.

Throughout the remainder of the 1960s Cotrubaş continued to sing in Europe. Among her greatest successes at this time was at a Glyndebourne Festival production in 1969 under conductor John Pritchard. The next year she again thrilled British audiences when she appeared at London's Covent Garden, and in the ensuing years the British public came to hold her in unusual affection. She returned to the continent and sang for three years with the Vienna State Opera. Cotrubaş's first triumph in America, had come in 1973 when she appeared as Mimi in the Chicago Lyric Opera's presentation of Puccini's La Boheme. Puccini's opera has also proved a key work for Cotrubaş, as it was the opera with which she made her debuts at two of the world's greatest opera houses - La Scala and the Metropolitan. At La Scala, she was a last-minute replacement in 1975 opposite the great Luciano Pavarotti who, upon learning that scheduled soprano Mirella Freni was ill, reportedly cried, "Get Cotrubaş!" Recalling the event, she told the New York Times, "In the end they shouted and shouted, and Pavarotti... left me alone for the applause. And I thanked God". She was similarly successful at the Metropolitan. She sang on the most famous world stages and she is much in demand, worldwide, as a teacher. Cotrubaş retired from public singing in 1990, but she continues to teach, giving master classes and coaching promising young singers.

Though diminuitive and endearing, Cotrubaş has also developed a reputation as an exacting, demanding performer, one who is adamant in her refusal to compromise her work. "I'm demanding a lot from other people because I'm giving. I have to give, because I have some special qualities; like any artist, I have to transmit these feelings, and I can't do this without a good conductor, understanding colleagues, and a serious director".

World's Most Successful Coaches

Octavian Bellu (born February 17, 1951, Ploieşti), took over a program that most experts considered would falter after the loss of Bela Karolyi, and not only continued its outstanding success, but improved upon it. He has been the coach of the Romanian Women Gymnastics Team since 1981 and its head between 1988 and 2005. His dedication and commitment to excellence have been the key to success for Romanian gymnastics. He also served as an adviser on the staff of Romanian president, president of the Romanian National Agency for Sports, and this month was appointed secretary of state within the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Octavian Bellu has set the world record as the Most Successful Coach: 16 Olympics Gold Medals and a total of over 300 medals at World and European Championships and Olympic Games. Highly successful, Octavian Bellu led the Romanian gymnastics team to five world and two Olympic titles, as well as coaching numerous individual gold medalists (Lavinia Miloşovici, Andreea Răducan, Simona Amânar, Gina Gogean, and Cătălina Ponor) - since the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union, Romania has been the most successful women's gymnastics power.

They say behind every successful man, there is a woman. Maria Bitang (born August 3, 1962), Romanian gymnastics coach (1992-2005), joined the team in early 90's. She has set the world record for the Most Successful Woman Coach: 19 Olympics Medals and a total of 152 medals at World and European Championships and Olympic Games.

Along with the team, Bellu and Bitang have obtained more than 250 international medals. The outstanding results they achieved made them the world's most successful coaching duo. They received many awards, were decorated by the Romanian presidents and received the highest honors from the Romanian Olympic Committee and International Gymnastics Federation.

Mircea Eliade

Mircea Eliade (March 13 1907 – April 22, 1986), Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, and professor at the University of Chicago. He was a leading interpreter of religious experience, who established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day. His theory that hierophanies form the basis of religion, splitting the human experience of reality into sacred and profane space and time, has proved influential. One of his most influential contributions to religious studies was his theory of Eternal Return, which holds that myths and rituals do not simply commemorate hierophanies, but, at least to the minds of the religious, actually participate in them. In academia, the Eternal Return has become one of the most widely accepted ways of understanding the purpose of myth and ritual.

Mircea Eliade began his life in Bucharest. While still studying in the lycée he wrote numerous articles in a popular vein on entomology, the history of alchemy, Orientalism, the history of religions, impressions of his travels, stories, and literary criticism. In 1925 he entered the University of Bucharest, where he pursued the study of Renaissance philosophy. Thus began a life-long preoccupation with the great creative epochs in Western history and with the puzzle of human, especially literary, creativity itself. Eliade had seen, for example, how the Rumanian poets, writers, and historians he admired had drawn material and inspiration from folk sources, and he was fascinated to see an analogous process at work in the Italian Renaissance.

In 1928, while in Rome to research his degree thesis on Italian Philosophy, from Marsilio Ficino to Giordano Bruno, Eliade wrote to Professor Surendranath Dasgupta expressing a desire to study under his direction at the University of Calcutta - which he did, thanks to a scholarship offered him by the Maharajah Manindra Chandra Mandy of Kassimbazar. Eliade's stay in India lasted three years. In 1933 he received his doctorate with a dissertation on yoga, later published in French under the title Yoga: Essai sur les origines de le mystique indienne (1936), and began teaching at the University of Bucharest that same year.

Eliade by Marcel Janco

Shortly after his return from India, in the midst of a busy schedule that included university teaching and many commitments to write and lecture, Eliade's novel, Maitreyi, was released to great critical and popular acclaim. Born into a tradition which saw no incompatibility between scientific and literary occupations, Eliade, the historian of religions, continued to produce novels, stories, essays, and a travel book. Today, especially in Romania and Germany, he is known primarily as a writer of fiction; and his popularity continues to grow as more and more of his works appear in translation.

During World War II Eliade served as cultural attaché to the Romanian legations in London and Lisbon. After the war he elected to remain in exile in Paris where he could complete work on a number of manuscripts which had taken shape during the war years, notably Patterns in Comparative Religion and The Myth of the Eternal Return, both of which came to print in 1949. The years 1951 to 1955 saw the publication of several more volumes for which Eliade is well known: Shamanism, Images and Symbols, Yoga, The Forge and the Crucible, and The Forbidden Forest. Many regard the last title as his most important work of fiction.

Eliade travelled to the United States to deliver the 1956 Haskell Lectures at the University of Chicago, and a year later he was offered the post of professor and chairman of the History of Religions Department and professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the university. Almost 30 years later, he was professor emeritus at this same institution with the title Sewell Avery Distinguished Service Professor.

Eliade's scholarly output continued unabated. Volume I of A History of Religious Ideas appeared in 1974, and three of its four projected volumes had been published by 1985. A History of Religious Ideas marked something of a departure from his previous theoretical work. As in his sourcebook, From Primitives to Zen, Eliade presented the "creative moments" of the world's religious traditions in more or less chronological order, treating them in a way one might call more historical and less thematic. In addition to his scholarly writing, Eliade served as editor-in-chief of a massive encyclopedia of religion until his death in 1986.

His literary works belong to the fantasy and autobiographical genre; the best known are the novels Maitreyi (La Nuit Bengali or Bengal Nights), Noaptea de Sânziene (The Forbidden Forest) and his Novel of the Nearsighted Adolescent, the novellas Domnişoara Christina (Miss Christina) and Tinereţe fără tinereţe (Youth Without Youth), and the short stories Secretul doctorului Honigberger (The Secret of Dr. Honigberger) and La Ţigănci (With the Gypsy Girls). Remarkable for his vast erudition, Eliade had fluent command of five languages (Romanian, French, German, Italian, and English) and a reading knowledge of three others (Hebrew, Persian, and Sanskrit). He was elected postmortem member of the Romanian Academy.

The Roars

Situated at 1000 m altitude, the six villages of the Bucium commune, Alba County, are laying on the Nord-West slope of the Meridional Carpathians, in the South of Apuseni Mountains (in the Metaliferi Mountains). The distances between Bucium and the important towns in the area are: 70 km to Alba Iulia, 40 km to Brad, 3 km to Abrud and 8 km to Câmpeni.

At Bucium we find an amazing geological park in an exotic, full of legends landscape: Detunatele (English: The Roars). These are 200 m high basalt columns with an amazing regularity, resembling a huge natural organ; due to disintegration, blocks of the rock are rolling down accompanied by a powerful noise which explains their names.

Like the folklorist Ion Pop-Reteganul said, Detunata is "...a peak of bazalt stone, composed by huge prisms, which stand straight up, like some giant trees, one next to the other, in the Abrud Mountains, at North-West of Bucium Şasă”.

There are two Detunate, situated at 1 km away one from another. The Detunata Goală (Naked Roar, 24 hectares area) is at 1169 m altitude, was the first geological reservation (1938) and its name comes from the fact that it doesn’t have vegetation. The Detunata Flocoasă (Shaggy Roar, 5 hectares area) is at 1205 m altitude and it is covered by forests, which explains its suggestive name.

Dinu Lipatti

Dinu Lipatti (March 19, 1917 – December 2, 1950) was a Romanian classical pianist and composer whose career was tragically cut short by his death from Hodgkin's disease at age 33. Despite his short career and a relatively small recorded legacy, Lipatti is considered one of the finest pianists of the 20th century.

Named Constantin by his parents, but always known as Dinu, Lipatti was born into a cultivated and musical family. His father was a violinist who had studied with Pablo de Sarasate and Carl Flesch, whilst his mother was a pianist. Young Dinu’s godfather was George Enescu, a great composer and performer who had a great influence on the life of Lipatti. He was a frail child, and his parents did not send him to school but employed tutors. His first formal piano lessons, at the age of eight, were with Mihail Jora, and at eleven Jora prepared Lipatti for entrance to the Bucharest Conservatory where he studied with Florica Musicescu. Lipatti subsequently studied under Alfred Cortot, Nadia Boulanger, Paul Dukas (composition) and Charles Munch (conducting) in Paris.

Dinu Lipatti returned to Romania in 1939. His career was interrupted by World War II, although he continued to give concerts throughout Europe, including Nazi-occupied territories. He only fled the country in 1943, via Scandinavia, to Switzerland, where at the Geneva Conservatoire he held the highest piano professorship from 1944 to 1949. He concertized widely in Europe, including Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Belgium and Holland, and his fame and popularity grew rapidly. He was also much sought after as a teacher for his masterclasses. In addition to his pianistic accomplishments, Dinu Lipatti was a composer, who wrote in a neoclassical style with French and Romanian influences.

In the last six years of his life, Dinu Lipatti was diagnosed with leukaemia. Yet his drive did not diminish and his playing never suffered. There were even plans for a concert tour in America, but relapses caused it to be cancelled. In his last year, his illness was kept at bay temporarily with a new drug, cortisone - the cost of which devoted friends like Yehudi Menuhin, Charles Munch and Stravinsky contributed no small amounts. It was during this remission that Lipatti, much against the advice of his doctors, decided to honour his concert engagement and played his final recital at Besançon on September 16, 1950. Unfortunately, the leukaemia returned; Lipatti finally succumbed and died a painful death in Geneva on December 2, 1950, at the tragically young age of 33. He is buried at the cemetery of Chêne-Bourg, an outskirt of Geneva close to the border with France, next to his wife Madeleine, a noted piano teacher.

Dinu Lipatti's playing was hailed as having reached the highest degrees in integrity and pianistic technique - which he employed in the quest for musical perfection. He was posthumously made a member of the Romanian Academy (in 1997).

The Superstar

Elisabeta Lipă (born October 26, 1964 in Siret, Suceava County) is a retired rower from Romania, born under the name of Elisabeta Oleniuc. She is the most decorated rower in the history of the Olympics, winning five golds, two silvers and one bronze. She is the only person to win a gold medal in the two premiere rowing events: the single scull and the eight oared boat.

Rowing came into this superstar’s life at the age of 14, in 1979, when a recruiter visited her school at her hometown Botoşani. This person obviously saw the potential in young Elisabeta and in three weeks she was training in Bucharest at the Olympic Rowing Center.

At the age of nineteen, she debuted at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, where she win the double sculls final. In 1988, at Seoul, she earned a silver medal in the same event, and the bronze medal in the quadruple sculls without coxswain. In 1992, at Barcelona, Lipă repeated the second place finish in the double sculls. The next day, Elisabeta led the single sculls from start to finish to earn her second career gold medal. At the 1996 Atlanta Games, she placed ninth in the single sculls, but then won another gold medal as a member of Romania's coxed eight with coxswain crew. With this race, she became the first rower in Olympic history to win six medals. Lipă competed in her fifth Olympics in 2000 at the age of 35. At the Sydney Games she helped Romania defend its title in the eights, thus becoming the oldest oarswoman to win a gold medal in the eight with coxswain event at the Olympics. At the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, Elisabeta Lipă again won the gold medal in the eights. Through this performance, she became the only woman to hold five gold medals at the Olympic Games. Only the 5 consecutive golds by Great Britain's Sir Stephen Redgrave can match Lipă's Olympics rowing achievements. At the World Championships, she won one gold, ten silvers, and two bronzes.

Many would say that athletics and sports are sometimes more a game of fate than a test of endurance, and ‘you win some-you lose some’ but people like Elisabeta disprove this by performing consistently under high pressure – the pressure of their country’s expectations, the pressure they have from within and the pressure of the moment. After her decision to retire (following her last Olympics victory, 2004), she said ‘It was my last race. I am very happy because I won five gold medals in six participation in Olympic games. I dedicate the medal to me’. She was awarded the 2008 Thomas Keller Medal (the 'Oscar' of rowing) at the Rowing World Cup in Lucerne, and now she works as general with a star in the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The Admiral

Ivan Patzaichin (born November 26, 1949), famous Romanian flatwater sprint canoer. Competing in five Summer Olympics, he won seven medals, more than any other competitor in the history of the canoeing events.

He was born at Mila 23, in the Danube Delta, and belongs to the ethnic group of Russian Lipovans (the Lipovans or Starovers are Russians who settled in Romania in the 18th century, being persecuted in Russia because of their religious beliefs). "I remember my childhood with great pleasure, I was very happy back then. [...] I liked to be on the lotca (specific Lipovan boat) – it wasn’t just hanging around, the boat was a necessity as well. The village was flooded every spring and autumn and the lotca was the only way of transportation. We even go to school by boat, there was a big one that pick us up, taking us to and from school, like a school bus".

He graduated the Institute of Physical Education and Sport in Bucharest in 1975 and joined Dinamo Bucharest Club. He won 25 times the National Championships, won also many gold medals at European or Balkanic Championsips. Between 1968 and 1984, Patzaichin won 22 medals at World Championships, including 9 golds, 4 silvers, and 9 bronzes. At the Summer Olympics, he won 4 golds (1968 - Mexico, 1972 - Munich, 1980 - Moscow, 1984 - Los Angeles), and 3 silvers. The 1972 Munich qualifying race at C1 1000m belongs now to the history of sport, Patzaichin qualified rowing more than 500m with a broken paddle, and then won the final!

When he retired, Patzaichin, known as "The Admiral", became a coach and is now head of the Romanian national team. His pupils have won over one hundred sprint canoe titles. He is general with a star (retired), and his club dedicated him a statue.

Anca Parghel

Anca Parghel (born September 16, 1957 in Câmpulung Moldovenesc — died December 5, 2008 in Timişoara) was a celebrate Romanian jazz singer.

Born in the northeastern region of Moldova in 1957, Parghel began singing when she was 3 and studied at the Iaşi Conservatory from the age of 14. She made 16 albums over more than 20 years. "She was a great talent and more than that she was self-taught because there aren't any jazz schools in Romania", musician Damian Draghici told the Associated Press. "She was an extremely talented singer the way she expressed herself. The impact she had on her audience was amazing".

Parghel began performing professionally in 1984 and two years later released her first album "The Young Dance". Her last album "Zamorena" was released this year; she made 16 albums over more than 20 years. She appeared at jazz festivals across the United States and Europe, performing with musicians including Peter Herbolzheimer, Paolo Radoni, Larry Coryell, Charles Loos and Norma Winstone. Parghel also taught jazz in Belgium and Germany.

Grigore Vieru

It's a sad day for the Romanian culture... The famous poet Grigore Vieru died in a tragic car crash... God rest him...

Grigore Vieru (February 14, 1935 – January 18, 2009) was a Moldavian poet and writer, politician, defender of Romanian heritage, militant for unification of Romania and Moldova Republic.

He was born in 1935 in the village of Pererita, Briceni County, Moldova Republic. In 1957 he marked his publishing debut with a poems booklet for children. The following year, Vieru graduated the Ion Creangă Pedagogical State University in Chişinău with a degree in history and philology. In 1959, he became editor at the Nistru Magazine, published by the Moldavian Writers' Union. From 1960 to 1963, he served as editor in chief of the Cartea Moldovenească Publishing House.

In 1967, Vieru's book "Poetry for readers of all ages" (published in 1965) was awarded the Moldavian Prize for Youth Literature. The following year, his book "Your name" became part of the contemporary literature curriculum in Moldavian universities, but due to the publication of the poem "Men of Moldova", an issue of Nistru Magazine was banned in an act of soviet censorship.

In 1973 Vieru visited Romania for the first time, remarking "If somebody dreamed of getting to outer space, my whole life I have dreamed of crossing the Prut River" (note: the Prut River is the border between Romania and Moldova Republic). In 1978, the "Junimea" Publishing House printed "The Friday Star", Vieru's first work published in Romania.

In 1989 he was elected member of Parliament and was involved in getting Romania and Moldova closer to each other. The following year he was elected Honorary Member of the Romanian Academy. In 1992, the Romanian Academy recommended Vieru for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1995, he became a member of the Board of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company, and in 1996 he won several Romanian literary awards. In 2000, Vieru was awarded the "Eminescu" Medal by the Romanian Government.

The Women's Cave

Peştera Muierilor (The Women's Cave) is a splendid natural monument situated in the Getic Depression of Oltenia, Baia de Fier village, Gorj County. Crossing the limestone, Râul Galbenul (the Yellow River) has digged on the right side of the Galbenul Gorges the most visited speleological objective from Romania. Among the thousands of caves from the Carpathian Mountains few have such a rich past in events as this cave.

The name of the cave comes from the middle-ages: when the men were gone to fight, the women and children were hiding in the cave, transformed in a shelter, well protected and undiscovered by the invaders.

The galleries, resulted after the Karstification of the limestone due to the infiltration of the water of the river, are about 3600 m and are disposed in 4 levels. The lower level is divided in two sectors: from North (1500 m) and the South (880 m) with a scientific importance, being a speleological reservation and inaccessible for tourists. The upper level, at 40 m altitude from the valley level, is composed by a horizontal gallery (573 m long), electrified and arranged for visit, which crosses the limestone band on all its length and at which is added, till the length of 1228 m, a hardly accessible network of galleries.

There are too many beauties to be described in a few words. The visitor must see halls, galleries, and formations like the Little Dome, the Altar Hall, the Blooded Rock (a fine embroidery from ferrum oxide flows), the Cupola (17 m high, where a bat colony emits a sound like a bell), or the stoned waterfall, the Turk's Hall (a formation like an Oriental mantle with a fez on the head), the Odalisque, Santa Claus, Big Dome, Wounded Hen Hawk, the Wonders Hall, with an infinity of forms, sizes, colors. The columns and odd figures make the image unbelievable. Back to the Turk Hall passing through the Gate, one arrive in place where the ceiling is at 80 cm height, and next in the Guano Hall with a network of galleries, refuge for the cave fauna. The bats colonies add to the gray ceiling black spots. Excepting the bat species - Myotis sp., Miniopterus sp., Rhinolophus sp. - the cave fauna is composed by myriapods, pseudo-scorpions, spiders and many inferior invertebrates.

On the right of this hall is the entrance in the South inferior level which cannot be visited being a scientific resevation (here is the Bears Gallery, because here were found many Ursus spelaeus skeletons. In this cemetery of prehistoric animals were identified skeleton remains from hyenas, lions, foxes, wild goats, wolves, wild boars; here are also a calcite hall with beautiful veils Woman Veil and the Pearl Hall with many natural beauties; arriving to the last leader is the Musterian Hall, where were found cultural objects, proofs of the human life (30,150 ± 800 years B.C.)