Sibiu Museum of Natural History

There was a time when the Transylvanian naturalism, as well as the European one, experienced a spectacular grow and by that time the Transylvanian Society for Natural Sciences (Siebenbürghische Verein für Naturwissenschaften zu Hermannstadt) was established (1849) as the result of German-Saxon intellectuals’ initiative. They aimed for an organization fit to accommodate the sharing of their passion for the nature and to serve the dissemination of their discoveries in order to educate the younger generation in the spirit of knowledge about nature and of the preservation of natural trust.

One of the issues becoming more and more imperative in the late19th century was that of the available spaces for the collections storage, as their number increased. Around the year 1890, the plans for the construction of a building specially design in this porpoise were clearly contoured.

The construction started in the autumn of the year 1894, having the opening in the 12th of May, 1895. The building was built in an Italian High Renaissance architectural style, on three levels (basement, ground floor and one upper storey), being entirely renovated between 2006 and 2008. The courtyard is meant to be a means of relaxation for the visitors and also of seeing common and rare species of plants as trees and ornamental bushes.

The entire project of the permanent exhibition inaugurated in December 2007 is meant to take into a good account the extent patrimony from a scientific, chronological and esthetical perspective. As elements of novelty in the fashion of presentation, there are the tri-dimensional displaying through the means of dioramas and the sounding and illumination systems suggesting a night and day cycle in each described environment, all conferring to the exhibition a dynamic atmosphere, inducing the visitor an empathic approach to the condition of an explorer.

The collections of the museum comprise over 1 million exhibits (including mineralogy-petrography, paleontology, botany, entomology, malacology, the zoology of the vertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, as well as ichthyology, ornithology, and the zoology of mammals).

The main sections of the museum are The Live World, Ecosystems, Paleontology, Mineralogy. (From Brukenthal National Museum)


Brassaï (pseudonym of Halász Gyula, jr.) (September 9, 1899, Braşov, Romania – July 8, 1984, Èze, Alpes Maritimes, France) was one of the most famous photographers of the World.

Halász Gyula was born in Braşov (Brassó in Hungarian, his pseudonym means "from Braşov"), to a Hungarian father and an Armenian mother. At age three, his family moved to live in Paris, France for a year, while his father, a Professor of Literature, taught at the Sorbonne. As a young man, Gyula Halász studied painting and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, before joining a cavalry regiment of the Austro-Hungarian army, where he served until the end of the First World War. In 1920 Halász went to Berlin, where he worked as a journalist and studied at the Berlin-Charlottenburg Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1924 he moved to Paris where he would live the rest of his life. In order to learn the French language, he began teaching himself by reading the works of Marcel Proust. Living amongst the huge gathering of artists in the Montparnasse Quarter, he took a job as a journalist. He soon became friends with Henry Miller, Léon-Paul Fargue, and the poet Jacques Prévert.

Gyula Halász's job and his love of the city, whose streets he often wandered late at night, led to photography while he was tutored by the fellow Hungarian master Andre Kertesz. He later wrote that photography allowed him to seize the Paris night and the beauty of the streets and gardens, in rain and mist. As Brassaï, he captured the essence of the city in his photographs, publishing his first book of photographs in 1933 titled "Paris de nuit" ("Paris by Night"). His efforts met with great success, resulting in his being called "the eye of Paris" in an essay by his friend Henry Miller. In addition to photos of the seedier side of Paris, he also provided scenes from the life of the city's high society, its intellectuals, its ballet, and the grand operas. He photographed many of his great artist friends, including Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, plus many of the prominent writers of his time such as Jean Genet, Henri Michaux and others.

Brassaï was a founding member of the Rapho agency, created in Paris by Charles Rado in 1933. His photographs brought him international fame leading to a one-man show in the United States at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois, and at New York City's Museum of Modern Art.

In 1956, his film, Tant qu'il y aura des bêtes, won the "Most Original Film" award at the Cannes Film Festival and in 1974 he was made Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and given the Legion d'Honeur in 1976. Two years later, in 1978, he won the first "Grand Prix National de la Photographie" in Paris. As well as a photographer, Brassaï was the author of seventeen books and numerous articles. After 1961, when he stopped taking photographs, Brassaï concentrated his considerable energy on sculpting in stone and bronze. Several tapestries were made from his designs based on his photographs of graffiti. (Via)

In photographing the hoodlums, prostitutes, transvestites, opium dens, and cheap music halls of Paris, as well as the better-known boulevards and attractions of the nocturnal city, Brassai came to know the city inside out. The exploration of the Parisian demi-monde as a massive communal subconscious was not initially a photographic endeavor, but one present in Mac Orlan's literary idea of the "social fantastic". Brassai's camera, tripod, and lighting equipment required him to be bold rather than inconspicuous if he were to show Paris in the mood of the city through its walls and deserted streets and the activities they concealed. His passion was not for the pure photographic rendition of static objects or in the split-second exposures that uncovered the interior of the moment. Rather, his aspiration was to be a kind of recording secretary to the act of living. (Via)

Brukenthal Museum

Housed by the Brukenthal Palace at Sibiu, the Brukenthal Museum is the first Romanian museum and also the oldest museum in Central and Eastern Europe. It gathers together over 15000 exhibits of great value.

Baron Samuel von Brukenthal (1721-1803) was the only representative of the Transylvanian Saxon community who acceded to high public office in the Austrian Empire under the Empress Maria Theresia (1717 – 1780), the first such office being that of Chancellor of Transylvania. The years spent in Vienna, in this capacity, were the years when the Baron started acquiring his collection of paintings, mentioned in Almanach de Vienne (1773) as being one of the most valuable private collections and generally admired by the cultivated Vienna public of the time.

Baron’s initial collections (comprising the collection of paintings, a collection of prints, a library and a coin collection) were mostly put together in the period between 1759 and 1774. We have scant information as to how they came into being, the earliest records in the Brukenthal family being the archive concerning acquisition of paintings dating from 1770 (by which time the core of the collection of paintings must have been acquired). Appointed Governor of the Principality of Transylvania, a position that he occupied between 1777 and 1787, Samuel von Brukenthal built a Late Baroque palace in Sibiu, modeled on the palaces in the imperial capital.

Since the baron and his wife had a daughter as the only child (who died at the early age of four) his testamentary dispositions stipulated that, on the death of the last heir in the male line of succession, the entire inheritance was to be placed in the custody of the Evangelical Church of Sibiu while the palace presenting his collections to be open for the public, event that happened in the year 1817.

During the 19th century, the main concern of the Museum was to preserve the extant patrimony, to enlarge the main collections through the means of acquisitions and to establish new collections, especially in the range of the German-Saxon Culture.
In the year 1948, the Museum was nationalized, becoming the property of the communist Romanian state.

In 1948, the Transylvanian Society for the Natural Sciences in Sibiu ceased its activity, the museum under its patronage being included in the national patrimony. In 1957, the Museum of Natural Sciences became a part of the Brukenthal Museum.

The “August von Spiess” Museum of Hunting has its opening in 1966. 1972 is the opening year to the Museum of Pharmacy. In 1988 was inaugurated the History Section of the Brukenthal National Museum, at present the Museum of History, in the Altemberger House. The Contemporary Art Gallery of the Brukenthal National Museum is the most recently acquired location (2006). (From Brukenthal Museum)

Hunting world records

The tradition of hunting is a vigorous component of Romanian material and spiritual culture, the originality and diversity of its forms of manifestation having its origin in the richness of fauna characteristic of the space around the Carpathian arch, along the Danube to the shores of the Black Sea. "...An universe dominated by the mystical solidarity between hunters and animals"(Mircea Eliade).

The impressive number of medals and recognition as a world record for the most representative species of big game in Europe, confirm the great value of the Romanian fauna heritage.

Thus, Romania holds:
*** the absolute world record at horns of chamois, the famous trophy Hessheimer (141,10 points), obtained in the Făgăraș Mountains in 1934; 16 of the first 20 world trophies come from Romania.
*** the absolute world record at wild cat skull, from 1967, with 21,40 points.
*** the world record at brown bear skull, from 1997, with 69,47 points.
*** the world record at bear fur with 687.7 points (1985); in fact, the first ten trophies in bear fur in the world ranking are from Romania.
*** the world record at wolf fur, from 1997, with 186,17 points; 7 of the first 10 world trophies are from Romanian wolfs.

Longest poem in the World

Andrei Gheorghe, a 22-yo Romanian website developer has created what he claims to be the longest poem in the world, by pairing up random rhyming Twitter updates. The Longest Poem in the World, as he has titled it, works by pulling in updates from the public Twitter timeline and attempting to match them with tweets that the program previously harvested. "If it finds one, then both tweets are pushed to the poem. If not, the tweet is added to that database waiting for a 'brother' later on," he explained.

Andrei, who works for the Romanian interactive web agency MB Dragan, created the program behind the project over a weekend and consulted a pronunciation dictionary to draw up the program's rhyming rules. He said that he does not consider himself an artist but aimed to set up a "playground" to tap into the creative consciousness of the internet. Andrei also said he has no plans to curtail the poem, which is capable of producing around 4,200 verses a day and is constantly updating.

"I found the lyrics to be sometimes interesting, other times weird. It is fully automatic so I just let it run, without any involvement from me," he said. I soon found that people were very excited to be part of this and consider it some form of artistic expression of the collective consciousness of Twitter". (Adapted from Telegraph)

Vatra Dornei

Vatra Dornei, also known as the Pearl of Bukovina, is a town located in Northern Moldavia, at the confluence of the Dorna River and Golden Bistriţa River. Vatra Dornei is placed along one of the roads that link Moldavia and Transylvania, in one of the most beautiful depressions of the Eastern Carpathians, Ţara Dornelor, elevation 802-808 m, in the ambiance created by the forests covering the mountains around: Giumalău, Bistriţa, Călimani, Rodna, Suhard and Obcina Mestecăniş.

The present town of Vatra Dornei developed around the former hamlet of Dorna pe Giumalău, known by the Romans as Durnacum, then mentioned in a document of 1600. The site soon grew in importance among the neighboring villages, becoming truly significant once the authorities officially confirmed the curing properties of its mineral waters, at the end of the 18th century (chemist Hacquette de Nürnberg in 1790, doctor Ignatziu Plusch in 1805 and 1810).

The town is well known as an all-season health resort of national importance having the climate of an intramontane depression: no strong winds, cool summers (July average temperature 15.2°C) and cold winters (January average under -6°C). The annual average temperature is of 5.2°C and the precipitation averages 800 mm annually (more abundant in the May-August period).

The spa’s healing properties that have made it famous across the world include the tonic-stimulative climate, the strongly negative ionized air, free of dust and allergens and rich in resinous aerosols, the springs of carbonated, ferruginous, slightly bicarbonated, sodic, calcic, magnesian, hypotonic mineral waters and the peat mud (brought here from Poiana Stampei). Tourists come in Vatra Dornei to treat their cardiovascular affections and rheumatism, to rest, practice winter sports or just to have a good time. The spectacular landscape also allows for numerous leisure activities – walking, horse-riding, river-rafting, mountaineering.

Vatra Dornei is also known a winter sports resort with its many slopes and ski lifts. Black Hill (1.300 m) and Runc Hill have tracks and slopes for winter sports and a chair lift of 3200m. Points of Interest: the natural park in the resort, famed for its many squirrels and for the brass band concerts given here in summer; the chalet on Runc Hill; the Hunting and Natural Sciences Museum; the Bukovina Ethnographic Museum, etc. If you have the chance to visit Vatra Dornei, it is certainly worth the trip!

AeL, world's best educational content

AeL is a universal and integrated eLearning solution, offering facilities for the management and presentation of various types of educational content, such as multimedia interactive materials, interactive guides, exercises, simulations, and tests.

The eLearning solutions developed by SIVECO Romania cover a wide range of subjects - from creating interactive educational content to developing eLearning platforms and educational portals and address a very heterogeneous target audience: pupils, teachers, students, employers, decision makers from the educational domain, etc. AeL was developed as a support for the learning process in the classroom but also as a product for the future, portable on mobile devices, that offers students the opportunity to learn anywhere, anytime.

Over 15.000 schools from Europe, Middle East, Africa and Community of Independent States (former Soviet Union) have already experienced the AeL eLearning solution. The extensive AeL eContent Library includes over 3.700 interactive lessons on 21 subjects, and over 16.000 reusable learning objects.

Starting with 2005, Romania became a renowned name in the eLearning domain at the World Summit for Information Society, where SIVECO Romania received the First Prize for the AeL interactive lessons. The AeL lessons, which are available in all Romanian schools, received the title of "the best educational content in the world" in a competition in which were submitted more than 20.000 projects from 168 countries. (from SIVECO Romania)

Iolanda Balaş-Söter

Iolanda Balaş (married Söter, born December 12, 1936 in Timişoara) is a Romanian former athlete and an Olympic champion in high-jump, considered one of the greatest high jumpers ever.

Iolanda Balaş got into athletics through her caretaker, former high jumper Luisa Ernst-Lupşa. She made her debut in 1949, and developed a jumping technique which was not deemed advantageous, a variation of the scissor technique but without the rotation of the torso and with the legs opening, instead of coming together towards the bar.

In 1955, before the Melbourne Olympic Games, she jumped 1.75 m setting the first of her 14 world records (plus 4 indoor). She was the favorite at the Australian Olympics, but she placed only fifth and the winner, the American Millie McDaniel, broke Balaş's world record. On 22 June 1958 in Cluj, she became the first woman to exceed 1.80 m. She won her first gold at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, reaching 1.85 m, 14 cm more than the second placed. "My first obstacle is the bar. It would be good to have a rival", she often repeated at the time. In Japan, at Tokyo Olympic Games, despite suffering from tendon and knee problems, she won the gold by jumping 1.90 m. The tendon problems forced her to abstain from the European Championships in 1966, but for years she was to be associated with other well-known abstainers, who forfeited to avoid gender checks, which had recently been introduced by the International Federation. She retired officially in 1967, losing a competition after 140 consecutive victories (unbeaten since 1958). During her career she won two European golds (1958-62), and one silver (1954), apart from the indoor gold in 1966. Her last world record, 1.91 in 1961, lasted for 10 years. After retiring she married her former coach Ian Söter, taught physical education in Bucharest, and from 1988 to 2005 was president of the Romanian Athletics Federation.

Those with gray hair still remember “La fenomenale romena”, “La grande bionda”, “The Deer”, “The Flamingo of the Carpathians”, “The Dragon Fly of Romania” and perhaps, most of all, “Please be quiet, Iolanda Balas is jumping!”… For his incredible 140 consecutive competitions won, she was included in the prestigious Guinness Book of World Records.

Ştefan Popa POPA'S

Ştefan Popa POPA'S (a.k.a. POPA@S, June 11, 1955, Caransebeş), is a famous Romanian cartoonist, included in the Guinness Book of World Records for his achievments.

He studied at the High School of Fine Arts, then moved to the Special School for Mathematics, getting the first place in the Balkan Mathematics Contest. He graduated from Polytechnic University in Timişoara and the Academy of Visual Arts in Poitiers, France.

He started drawing at 5 years and published the first cartoon at 7yo in a local newspaper. At 14 years, Popa published in the only humorous magazine of the time, Urzica. At 19 years he was discovered by Henri Coursaget, first President of UNESCO and president of the Festival in Confolens, during his travels in France, he discovered the universe of cartoons and became a professional. In 1990 he released his first album with satirical cartoons. He worked with famous artists as Salvador Dali, Jerry Robinson (Superman, Batman), Vasquez De Sola, Plantu, Emerson, La Palma, Tim, Morchoisne, Kruger.

Ştefan Popa is member of the Foundation for Science and Arts of the Citá Academy in Rome and of the Association of Plastic Artists (UNESCO). He founded Popa's Academy, a cartoon school. He is now an honorary citizen in 26 cities in the country; in Romania he earned over 100 awards, and other 60 at international contests. He published in major newspapers and magazines worldwide, and over 200 Heads of State and Government have signed portraits made by Popa. His outstanding achievements in the field of graphics have imposed him as one of the most prestigious personalities of contemporary art.

At the International Cartoon Festival of Saint-Estève (France), Ştefan Popa has set the world record of resistance (1527 color portraits in ten days and ten nights). In 1995 he knocked down his own record, with 2772 color cartoons in ten days and ten nights. Also, he has overcome the world record for speed in an hour, which belonged to the Belgian Emile Robin (106 caricatures in an hour), making 131 the caricatures in an hour, and was declared the fastest cartoonist in the world, according to Guinness Book of World Records. In October 1995, André Baur wrote: "(Stefan Popa Popa's) is a force of nature... is the only man who was four seconds faster than the computer".

Murfatlar Vineyards

Blessed with one of the most suitable natural settings, Murfatlar Vineyard is situated in the Southeastern part of Romania, between the Danube and the Black Sea, in the center of the Dobrodja plateau. The vineyard stretches across a surface of more than 3000 ha, covering the villages of Murfatlar, Valul lui Traian, Poarta Albă şi Siminoc. Several elements as: the continental climate, diverse territory the vineyard covers, a sheltering effect against the cold currents coming from the North-East, and the unique and extremely favorable influence of the Black Sea that results in less aggressive summer heat and less frosty winters, offers Murfatlar Vineyard the perfect micro-climate to produce a large variety of quality wines.

For ages, vine growing has been the basic occupation of the people in Dobrodja, and those at Murfatlar are proudly aware they carry on a very long tradition. Scythia Minor, the Roman appellation of the region, was best known as a vine growing region. The wine obtained here was often used as trade currency by the local population and the Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast. Written testimonies on wine making were also left by the celebrated poet Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC - 17 AD), exiled at Tomis (9-17 AD) by the Roman Emperor Augustus.

In 1907, were planted Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Muscat Ottonel and Folle Blanche assortments at the the initiative of two Romanian specialists. The core of what was about to become the most prestigious and best known Romanian vineyard was established at the beginning of the century along with the noble West-European assortments planted on Romanian soil. In 1943, Murfatlar Vine and Wines Research Site was created. The range of wine assortments was extended to Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer Rose, Italian Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot. In 1955, the vineyard was consolidated and expanded to a surface of about 2600 ha, by the including of Murfatlar State Entreprise. Gradually, the wines produced at Murfatlar became highly appreciate both on the local and the international market, the enterprise becoming the leader of Romanian wine producing. In 2000, a group of Romanian private investors became the major share holder.

Photo by sonjabgd
The extensive vineyards and wineries are located in conditions similar to southern France and California. Over 300 days of sunshine, along with cool breezes from the sea, make this area ideal for the production of sweet dessert wines, but soft, rich red wines are also produced here. At wine contests all along the world, the Murfatlar wines were awarded no less than 350 golden medals. (from Murfatlar)

Emerich Jenei

Emerich Jenei (March 22, 1937, Agriş, Arad County) is a Romanian football player and coach, considered one of Romania's best coaches, winner of the European Cup in 1986.

He made his debut playing for Flamura Roşie Arad, and in 1957, at age 20, he signed with Steaua Bucharest. He played for Steaua until 1969, when he left Romania to play in Turkey for Kayserispor Kulübü. In 1971, Jenei retired as player and became a coach. During his career as a footballer, he played 305 matches and he won 12 caps for Romania's National Team (between 1959 and 1964). Jenei won with Steaua 3 Romanian football championship titles in 1960, 1961 and 1968, as well hi participated with Romania's Olympic Team at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Japan, where the Romanians came on 5-th place.

As a coach, Jenei continued to enjoy success. He managed Steaua Bucharest (1975–1978, 1983–1986, 1990–1991, 1993–1994, 1998–2000), FC Bihor Oradea, CS Târgovişte, Universitatea Craiova, the National Team of Romania (1986–1990, 2000), the National Team of Hungary (1992–1993), FC Fehérvár (1993), Panionios F.C. (1995–1996).

Emerich Jenei won the championship title in 1976, 1978 and 1985 with Steaua. In the following season led Steaua Bucureşti to victory in the European Cup final against FC Barcelona in May 1986. He qualified Romania to World Cup 1990 and Euro 2000. After his retirement (2000), worked for the Romanian Football Federation. He is regularly consulted by the Romanian media for his opinion ahead of important football games for Romanian clubs, especially Steaua, or the Romanian National Team. On March 25, 2008, he was decorated by the president of Romania, with Ordinul "Meritul Sportiv" (The Order "The Sportive Merit") class II with one barret.

Ştefan "Pisti" Covaci

Ştefan Kovács (Romanian: Ştefan Covaci; October 2, 1920, Timişoara - May 12, 1995, Cluj) was a successful Romanian (Hungarian ethnic) footballer and coach, winner of European Champions Cup, European Supercup and Intercontinental Cup with Ajax Amsterdam.

He managed Universitatea Cluj (1953-1962) and Romaniaa, as assistant (1962–1967). Kovács had his first major coaching successes at the helm of Steaua Bucharest, where he won between 1967 and 1971 once the championship and three times the cup of Romania. After this he succeeded Rinus Michels at the head of Ajax Amsterdam in 1971, continuing and expanding on his "total football" philosophy. With Ajax he achieved 1972 and 1973 two consecutive European Champions Cups. In 1972 he even won the Intercontinental Cup and also the first edition of European Supercup (1973). Further to that he led Ajax to the double of cup and championship in 1972 and another national championship in 1973.

After he left Ajax in 1973, he was called up by the French football federation to take the reins of the national side (1973–1975). In this position he raised the young generations of French talents (as Raymond Domenech, Arsene Wenger şi Michel Platini) and prepared his successor, Michel Hidalgo, to the successes of the 80's. After this episode he returned to Romania becoming its National Team coach (1976–1980). Later he had further successes with Panathinaikos (1982-1983) and AS Monaco (1986–1987), with which he won the national cup competitions in 1982 and 1987, respectively.

In 1995, when Covaci died, Jacques Chirac was in a meeting with the French government. After consultation with the Prime Minister of France in that time, Chirac interrupted the meeting to preserve a moment of silence. The French president wanted it that way paying homage to the one he considered the founder of modern football in France. (adapted from Wikipedia)