Posts in Adventure

Letters from Moldova: Castel Mimi and Bender Fortress, Pearls of a Small Country with a Big Heart!

My dear travelers and lovers of unusual trips, I hope you are well and ready to continue our adventure in Moldova. Today’s post will be dedicated to interesting tourist attractions that you should definitely visit if your way leads you to the Republic of Moldova.

At the very beginning of today’s post, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Invest Moldova Agency and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova for the kind invitation and the amazing experience to get to know the Moldovan culture and customs better. It is a great honor and pleasure to have had the opportunity to visit Chisinau and other famous tourist attractions in this wonderful small country with a big heart in Eastern Europe!

For all my dear adventurers and fashion lovers who didn’t have time to read my previous travelogues and fashion stories from Moldova on the Mr.M blog or want to remind yourself of some details, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following links:

  1. The story of Chisinau (travelogue): LINK
  2. JETSET, the Swiss pioneer of luxury ski outerwear is back! (fashion story): LINK
  3. André Maurice, Italian fashion story on the streets of Chisinau (fashion story): LINK
  4. Letters from Moldova: In vino veritas! (travelogue): LINK
  5. Fratelli Rossetti: Italian fashion meets Moldovan wine (fashion story): LINK

Castel Mimi is one of the best and most visited tourist attractions in Moldova. Included in the top 15 most beautiful wineries in the world, which represents an unusual combination of history and tradition on the one hand and modern architecture for tens of thousands of visitors who come every year from over 80 countries around the world. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the only castle in Moldova, learn about the unique role of the Castel Mimi winery in the history of Moldovan winemaking, learn how they maintain Moldovan traditions through their food and exceptional wines. Visitors also have the opportunity to explore the many interesting terraces and picturesque gardens of the Castel Mimi complex.

It was a great honor and pleasure to meet the man behind this great project, Mr. Adrian Trofim, general director and founder of the “Constantin Mimi” foundation. During the conversation with him, I learned that the history of winemaking in Moldova began long before Constantine Mimi created Castel Mimi, almost 3000 years ago. The wine industry has come a long way since then and has undergone many evolutions. The official winemaking history of the Castel Mimi winery begins with Constantine Mimi, the last governor of Bessarabia and one of the best winemakers and politicians of the 20th century.

Mr. Trofim believes that legends are created by great people who achieve great things, driven by their passion and dreams and not afraid of hard work and dedication. One of these men is Constantine Mimi, a pioneer, passionate winemaker and significant public figure of the 20th century. He dedicated his life to wine and politics. Applying the knowledge he acquired in Western Europe, Constantine Mimi managed to build the first castle in Moldavia. This led him to produce excellent wines and raise standards by applying new technologies. Thanks to his actions, the country’s wine industry was saved a couple of times, so today Moldova can be one of the leading wine producers in the world. Impressive, right?!

The legacy of Constantine Mimi, as well as the making of wine with great love, continues. The castle, along with its secret recipes and valuable approach, passed it on to future generations of winemakers who do justice to its memory by continuing to produce high-quality wines, suitable for every occasion. So, every time you raise a glass of quality Moldovan wine, remember this extraordinary person who supported the development of Moldovan winemaking culture – Konstantin Mimi!

This winery is considered to be the first real castle in Bessarabia. Since it was built of reinforced concrete with two floors, it was considered a modern building, not only in the Bender district, but also in the entire governorate. The cellar had the capacity to store around 300,000 liters of wine in barrels. A few years ago, more precisely in 2011, the renovation of the winery began, which has become a major tourist attraction. When the castle was rebuilt, it was named “Castel Mimi” in honor of its founder. The works lasted 5 years and the winery was reopened in September 2016.

The renovation of the Castel Mimi tourist complex included: a museum, an art gallery for young artists, a conference hall, a small boutique hotel, a spa, a restaurant, folk art and culinary studios, as well as several entertainment halls. The castle itself has four large halls for 100 to 120 guests, two wine tasting rooms and six rooms in the basement. The plan is to open a hotel with a larger capacity in 2023, and work is currently underway to expand this complex, so that from next year we can expect novelties in the Castel Mimi complex that will attract a large number of tourists.

Fine dining restaurant “The White Owl” and bars in the Castel Mimi complex are the perfect locations for hedonists who want to enjoy excellent Moldovan gourmet cuisine in a relaxing and luxurious environment. All dishes are prepared from the highest quality, fresh ingredients from the garden located in the complex itself, and the whole concept is designed to preserve the environment. You can feel a special pleasure in every bite, which can only be enhanced in the company of top Moldovan wines from the rich Castel Mimi collection.

“The White Owl” is the first fine dining restaurant in Moldova where visitors can enjoy excellent dishes inspired by traditional Moldavian gastronomy with special influences from the cuisine of Provence. You can enjoy the best food and wine that Moldova has to offer at the incredible location of Castel Mimi Winery. The exceptional A La Carte menu will delight you with a rich selection of delicacies, all of which are prepared by the chef according to the best recipes.

The tour of the wine cellars of the Castel Mimi winery was special because I had the opportunity to get acquainted with the way of wine production and to learn something new about this precious and refined alcoholic beverage. Did you know that the wood from which wine barrels are made can affect the taste of wine? Do you know that the same wine can have a different taste if it is kept in barrels made of different types of wood? Mr. Trofim took the time to demonstrate and show me some interesting things from the world of winemaking and how his team takes care of the wines in the barrels every day. Of course, I also had the opportunity to look at some of the special wines that are kept as treasures.

If you want to stay updated and find out news from Castel Mimi Winery or you want to book a tour of the tourist complex, have the option to choose between several types of tours, you can visit their official website or you can follow them on the social networks Facebook and Instagram.

After finishing the Castel Mimi winery tour I headed to the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic, sound familiar? Transnistria is an unrecognized independent state that separated (separated) from the Republic of Moldova. This independent state was created on September 2, 1990. due to its unusual shape, geographical position along the Dniester River and due to the border length of 816 km and the area of slightly more than 4,000 km2, this country has the shape of an elongated island.

Why did I decide to go to Transnistria? The reason is very interesting – Tighina Fortress (Bender). Tighina Fortress (renamed Bender by the Turks) is a 15th-century fortress on the right bank of the Dniester River in Bender, Moldova. This fortress was originally built of earth and wood during the reign of Prince Stephen the Great. Back in 1538, this fortress was conquered by the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who ordered it to be rebuilt in stone and expanded.

According to historians, the first mention of Tighina, as a settlement and customs warehouse, can be found in the trade privilege given on October 6, 1408 by the Moldavian prince Alexander the Good to merchants from Lviv. Later, during the 15th and 16th centuries, the name Tighina is often recorded in medieval documents. In the Moldavian documents that mention the locality, in Tighina, along with the imperial customs and the crossing, a guard is also mentioned.

As for the fortress of Tighina, according to the information that circulated in the previous centuries, they accredited the idea that it was built by the Genoese in the 12th century, as well as the fortresses of Hotin and Cetatea Alba. The military historian Aleksandar Zaščuk saw an accentuated western character in the architecture of the inner citadel. The first and only definitive mention of the existence of the Moldavian fortification itself, a fortress which is assumed to have been made of wood and earth, is found in the Moldavian-Polish Chronicle from the mid-16th century. It states, referring to the Ottoman conquests of 1538, that the Turkish Sultan Suleiman “took possession of the Moldavian fortress of Tighina.”

Archaeological research, which was limited in scope and character, carried out by researcher Jon Hinz in 1969, enabled the discovery of residential complexes and a defensive moat dating from the 15th-16th centuries. century. Archaeological investigations have led to the identification of a fortification, probably of wood and earth, which preceded the later stone construction. The surface of the circular or egg-shaped fortress courtyard was covered with a layer of ash. Ceramic and metal objects have traces of fire.

The fortress, which was restored by Petru Rares and conquered by the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1538, became the residence of the Turkish paradise. Its old name was replaced by a new one, Bender, which means “river port, berth”. During this period, Suleiman I ordered the fortress to be rebuilt in stone and enlarged according to the project of the architect Sinan, and the reconstruction work was completed only in 1541. Using local resources and the labor of local peasants, the Ottomans turned the fortress into a well-fortified fighting facility. At that time, the stone fortress was quadrangular in shape, surrounded on three sides by a very deep moat.

Until the end of the 16th century, Moldavian detachments repeatedly attacked the Bender fortress, but without success. In the summer of 1574, John the Brave besieged it with his army. Then, in 1595 and 1600, Mihail the Brave made two attempts, but neither of the two rulers was successful. Around the same time, Bender was attacked by the Zaporozhian Cossacks. In the years 1705-1707. Prince Antioch Kantemir continued the work on strengthening this fortification of special military importance for the Turks. In this last variant, the fortress consisted of an ensemble of 10 bastions and 11 towers surrounded by the same traditional defensive moat.

The bitter fate of the fortress ruled by the Turks made the chronicler Myron Kostin write that “Tighina fortress has darkened”. As a result of three Russian-Turkish wars, the fortress fell under the rule of the Russian Empire, and the imperial generals considered it very suitable for military barracks. From 1812, that is, from the second half of the 19th century, the Bender fortress gradually began to lose its former strategic importance.

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this third and also the last special travelogue in the autumn season about Moldova where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of wine and the history of this small unusual country with a big heart. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Invest Moldova Agency and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Moldovan culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Moldova.

I would like to especially thank the staff of BERD’S Chisinau MGallery Hotel for their warm welcome and having me in their wonderful hotel. The stay in their hotel was exceptional, where I felt the warmth of my own home!

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Eastern Europe in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about Moldovan wine, culture and history? Have you had the chance to visit the magical Republic of Moldova so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With Love from Moldova,

Mr. M

This post is sponsored by the Invest Moldova Agency and the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Moldova as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Moldova: In Vino Veritas!

My dear travelers and lovers of unusual trips, today we continue our adventure in Moldova. In the previous post, you had the opportunity to get acquainted with the beauties of the capital of the Republic of Moldova – Chisinau. If by some chance you didn’t have time to read the post or you want to remind yourself with some interesting information, take the opportunity and read the post at the following link.

What have we learned so far about Moldova? We know that it is a country of good wines and exceptional food, and that is why many say that Moldova is the new great destination for wine and food tourism in Eastern Europe. Today we will prove it and I will take you along with me along the wine roads of Moldova where we will get to know some of the famous wineries in this unusual country of Eastern Europe.

At the very beginning of this post, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Invest Moldova Invest Agency and the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Moldova for the kind invitation and the incredible experience to get to know the Moldovan culture and customs better.

Sparkling wine has a special place in Moldovan cuisine. The country produces large quantities of classic white and rosé sparkling wines, as well as red sparkling wines that were originally introduced in Moldova. The most famous sparkling wines are those produced in the Cricova winery. Famous brands of Moldovan sparkling wines are Negru de Purcari, Moldova, Chisinau, Cricova, Muscat spumant, National, Nisporeni, etc. They are made from a wide range of European grape varieties, including Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Menu, Sauvignon, Aligot, Traminac Rosé, Muscat Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. The local variety Feteasca Alba, which is also used in sparkling wines, has been cultivated in Moldavia since the time of ancient Dacia.

During my visit to Moldova, I visited the 3 most famous wineries: Cricova, Castel Mimi and Chateau Vartely, today we will visit the wine cellars together and learn more about Chateau Vartely and Cricova wineries, while we will spend a small break in an interesting rural environment with beautiful landscapes – Butuceni.

Chateau Vartely winery officially appeared on the market in 1996 and established itself as a leader on the national wine scene. A few years later, in 2004, the company Chateau Vartely was founded, which has already gained numerous international awards, and in 2008, a tourist complex was opened, equipped with all the latest world standards for the needs of visitors to the Chateau Vartely winery.

The winery is located only 50 kilometers from Chisinau. The total area of ​​the Chateau Vartely vineyard is 550 hectares, and it is located in the Codru and Bugeac zone. It is believed that the vintage grown in this area is bottled in more than 4.5 million bottles annually.

Where does the name Chateau Vartely winery come from? The name Vartely itself comes from the name of the city of Orhei, which in Hungarian means “place for a fortress”. The Chateau Vartely brand was developed and launched in 2004. The slogan of this winery is “Wine with love for you”, because every noble wine that is produced in the Chateau Vartely winery has a part of the heart and dedication of the people who work here.

As a person who loves wine, I can only say that this trip was an extremely new experience for me, especially because I saw an unusual blend of modern and traditional at Chateau Vartely winery. My observation was confirmed by eminent winemakers who also consider Chateau Vartely to be an unusual winery that combines the latest innovations in grape growing and processing technology with a passion for producing top quality wines.

The excellence and outstanding quality of Chateau Vartelly wines has been recognized through numerous medals and recognitions awarded at the most prestigious international competitions such as: Mondial de Bruxelles, Mundus Vini, Vinalies Internationales, Decanter, International Wine & Spirits Competition, Sakura, Citta del Vino, International Wine Challenge and others.

After this exciting tour of the Chateau Vartely winery, which was a combination of a classic tourist tour with the use of modern technology and a picturesque presentation of the unusual story of this winery, the team from the Invest Moldova Agency decided that it would be best to take a break in one of the most beautiful rural areas in Moldova – Butuceni .

One of the most popular places in Moldova is the tourist area called Old Orhei, which is located on the Raut River. It is a national heritage of the Republic of Moldova, located approximately 60 km from the capital Chisinau, this zone includes three villages: Butuceni, Morovaja and Trebujeni. Orhei Vechi is an archaeological and historical complex consisting of the newly opened Arheological Museum, an ancient rock church, a new church and several private old-fashioned hotels – inns in a very rural traditional style, located in the villages of Butuceni and Trebujeni. Old Orhei is a beautiful quiet and wonderful place with beautiful landscapes and rich history that brings tourists to discover the ancient roots of Moldova.

Butuceni is a very small and lovely village that is located next to the rocks and belongs to the Old Orhei complex. Of the three villages, Butuceni is the closest to Old Orhei. That is why today it is the most visited tourist destination. This quiet and interesting village attracts tourists because it preserves the true Moldavian tradition with its striking colorful houses, narrow streets and amazing nature. There is no household in Butuceni that does not engage in agriculture and animal husbandry because tourism is only a part of their income.

I had a great experience with the Butuceni Eco Resort Restaurant and Museum, where I learned a lot of interesting information about this picturesque place and had the opportunity to peek into the authentic Moldovan tradition, culture and history with an amazing gourmet trip with wonderful meals and the famous warm Moldovan hospitality. The exterior appearance of all the houses in Batuceni looks very charming because they remind you of your grandparents’ house in the countryside.

If you come to this part of Moldova, don’t forget to stop at Butuceni Eco Resort where you can really relax after a long hiking tour. I’m sure you will be delighted by the taste of traditional Moldovan zama soup, mamaliga with meat and a glass of good wine. Once you try the local Moldovan cuisine, be sure that you will fall in love at the first bite. In this place you are provided with a wireless WiFi internet network, so you will be able to share the experience with your family and friends through the many applications that make our life modern.

In Old Orhei, you feel as if you have left the modern city life and stepped into a rural idyll, a real nirvana isolated from the influence of the outside modern world. Staying in the middle of monumental stone constructions, cave monasteries and all other archaeological reserves, you will have the opportunity to peer into history to the ancient roots of Moldovan culture and national identity. Visit Orheiul Vechi and discover its significance and incredible history.

Finally, I left you one of the most famous tourist attractions for lovers of refined alcoholic beverages – wine. The wine cellars of Cricova Winery are the second largest wine cellar in Moldova, after Milestii Mici (the largest in the world). This amazing winery boasts 120 kilometers of labyrinthine roads located at levels from 30 to 100 meters underground. Tunnels have existed under Cricova since the 15th century, when limestone was quarried for the construction of Chisinau. In the 1950s, they were turned into a wine cellar.

Half of the tunnel is used for wine storage. The roads in the Cricova winery are named after the wines they store. This “wine city” has its own special warehouses, wine tasting rooms and other facilities underground. It descends as much as 100 meters below ground level and contains over a million bottles of rare wine. The oldest wine dates back to 1902 (see the picture below). The temperature stays at around 12 °C all year round, which is the perfect temperature for wine, but I was always bundled up with my winter jacket, which I didn’t part with during my entire trip through Moldova.

The largest importer of wine from Cricova is Kazakhstan. It used to be Russia, but that changed in 2014 when Russia imposed an embargo on Moldovan wine in retaliation for Moldova taking steps towards joining the European Union.

Cricova winery produces sparkling wines according to the classic French method, which was supposedly invented several centuries ago by the monk Dom Pierre Pérignon – “Methode Champenoise”. Cricova makes a unique sparkling red wine, kodrinskoie-sparkling, made from Cabernet Sauvignon and marketed as having a “rich velvety texture and flavors of blackcurrant and cherry.”

The “Grand Cellars of Cricova” house a varied collection of wines, The National Oenotec. The unique exhibits (“Jerusalem of Easter” vintage 1902, the liqueur “Jan Becher” vintage 1902) together with other 158 brands from Burgundy, Moselle, Tokay, the Rhine, are in the collection of the establishment as well as of Moldova in general, comprising nowadays a total of about 1.3 million bottles.

However, the pride of the Oenotec are, first of all, the wines bearing the name “Cricova”, which brought the winery a collection of national and international tasting awards. As of 2008, the collection consists of over 70 silver, gold, and Grand Prix awards.

However, the pride of the Oenotec are, first of all, the wines bearing the name “Cricova”, which brought the winery a collection of national and international tasting awards. As of 2008, the collection consists of over 70 silver, gold, and Grand Prix awards.

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this second special travelogue in the autumn season about Moldova where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the wine of this small unusual country with a big heart. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Invest Moldova Agency and the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Moldova in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Moldovan culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Moldova.

I would like to especially thank the staff of BERD’S Chisinau MGallery Hotel for their warm welcome and hosting me in their hotel. The stay in their hotel was exceptional, where I felt the warmth of my own home!

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Eastern Europe in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about Moldovan wine, culture and heritage? Have you had the chance to visit the magical Republic of Moldova so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With Love from Moldova,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Invest Moldova Agency and the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Moldova as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Moldova: Chisinau, a Small Metropolis with a Big Heart…

My dear travelers, I hope you are well and ready for a new season of adventures on the Mr.M blog! This autumn I had the opportunity to visit an unusual small country with a big heart in Eastern Europe – the Republic of Moldova. I am very proud of the fact that I am the first blogger in the world who was invited to visit and feel the Moldovan hospitality and to check some facts that I read in numerous magazines that this small country is the new big destination for lovers of good wines and food in the Eastern Europe.

At the very beginning of this post, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Invest Moldova Agency and the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Moldova for the kind invitation and the incredible experience to get to know the Moldovan culture and customs better.

What do we know about Moldova? The Republic of Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It borders Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east and south. The capital and also the largest city of the Republic of Moldova is Chisinau. Most of the Moldavian territory was part of the Principality of Moldavia from the 14th century until 1812, when the Ottoman Empire ceded it to the Russian Empire, to which Moldavia was a vassal state and became recognized as Bessarabia.

Southern Bessarabia was returned to Moldavia in 1856, which united with Wallachia three years later to form Romania, but Russian rule was restored over the entire region in 1878. During the Russian Revolution in 1917, Bessarabia briefly became an autonomous state within the Russian Federation. During February 1918, the Moldavian Democratic Republic declared independence and then integrated into Romania later that year after a vote in its assembly. The decision was contested by Soviet Russia, which in 1924 established, within the Ukrainian SSR, the so-called Moldavian Autonomous Republic (MASSR) on the territories partially inhabited by Moldavia east of Bessarabia.

Today, Moldova is a parliamentary republic with a president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government. It is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) and the Trio of Associations . This year, Moldova became an official candidate for membership in the European Union.

How did Moldova get its name? The name Moldavia is derived from the river Moldavia, whose valley served as a political center at the time of the founding of the Principality of Moldavia in 1359. The origin of the river’s name remains unclear to this day. According to the legend transmitted by Moldavian chroniclers Dimitrije Kantemir and Grigore Ureča, Prince Dragoš named the river after hunting aurochs: after the chase, the prince’s exhausted hound Molda drowned in the river. The name of the dog, given to the river, spread to the Principality and then to the Republic of Moldova.

The cultural tradition of Moldova was primarily influenced by the Romanian origin of its majority population, whose roots go back to the second century AD, the period of Roman colonization in Dacia. Due to its unusual geographical location at the crossroads of Latin, Slavic and other cultures, Moldova has enriched its own culture by adopting and maintaining the traditions of neighboring regions and other influential powerful states. The largest ethnic group, which by the 14th century had become widely identified as the “Moldavian” league, played a significant role in shaping classical Romanian culture. Moldavian culture was also influenced by Byzantine culture, the neighboring Hungarian and Slavic populations, and later the Ottoman Turks. The strong Western European influence in Moldovan literature and art experienced a golden revival in the 19th century. During the period 1812-1917. and 1944-1989. , Moldovans were under the influence of Russian and Soviet administrative control, as well as immigration of ethnic Russians.

The cultural heritage of Moldavia was marked by numerous churches and monasteries built by the Moldavian ruler Stefan the Great in the 15th century, the works of later Renaissance metropolitans Varlaam and Dosoftei, as well as the works of scientists such as Grigore Ureche, Miron Kostin, Nikolae Milescu. In the 19th century, Moldavians from the territory of the medieval Principality of Moldavia, divided into Bessarabia, Bukovina and Western Moldavia (after 1859, Romania), made a significant contribution to the formation of modern Romanian culture. Among them there were many Bessarabians, such as Alexander Donica, Alexander Heide, Bogdan Petricic Hasde, Konstantin Stamati, Konstantin Stamati-Chiurea, Kostache Negruci, Alek Rousseau, Konstantin Stere.

Mihai Eminescu, a late romantic poet, and Ion Creanga, a writer, are the most influential artists in the Romanian language, considered national writers in both Romania and Moldova.

We come to the interesting part that interests us all – the food! Moldovan cuisine is specific and the style of cooking is a matter of tradition that is extremely important for Moldovans. It consists mainly of ingredients such as various types of meat, potatoes, cabbage and various grains. The local cuisine is very similar to Romanian, and also draws inspiration and elements from other cuisines in the region, including Greek, Polish, Ukrainian and Russian, with a strong influence from Ottoman cuisine.

Due to its excellent geographical position, the fertile soil of Moldova provides an abundance of grapes, fruits, vegetables, cereals, meat and dairy products, all of which have found their application in the national cuisine. The fertile black soil combined with the use of traditional agricultural methods allows the cultivation of a wide range of food in Moldova. Moldovan cuisine is rich and with good food you can always find a suitable wine!

The most famous Moldovan dish is mamaliga (porridge or porridge made from corn flour). This is a polenta-like staple on the Moldovan table, served as a side dish to stews and meat dishes or garnished with fresh cheese, sour cream or pork rind. Regional delicacies include branza (brine cheese) and friptura (lamb or goat stew). Do not forget that every good Moldovan dish must be accompanied by a suitable wine because it is a matter of tradition and way of life that Moldovans have cherished for centuries!

Traditional for Moldovan cuisine are dishes that combine a variety of vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, beans, onions, garlic and leeks. Vegetables are used in salads and sauces, and are baked, steamed, pickled (muraturi), salted or marinated.

Different types of borscht (stew) include a wide range of soups with a characteristic sour taste. These can be meat and vegetable soups, or fish soups, all of which are pickled with borscht (traditionally made from bran) or lemon juice. Chicken soup with meat, known as zeama, is very popular.

Meat products occupy a special place in traditional Moldovan cuisine, especially as an appetizer or main course. Roasted and roasted pork, beef meatballs and steamed lamb are common. Meat and fish are often marinated and then grilled. Traditional holiday dishes include stuffed cabbage with minced meat, pilaf (rice dish), pork jelly, noodles, chicken and many others.

In certain areas, the cuisine of different ethnic minorities prevails. In the eastern regions, Ukrainians eat borscht, while in the south, Bessarabian Bulgarians serve traditional mange (chicken with sauce), while Gagauz prepare shorpa, a very spicy mutton soup. Pelmeni (dumplings filled with meat) are popular in Russian communities. The various dishes served at the New Year’s table include mostly Russian-influenced dishes such as shuba and salade de boeuf.

Other very popular dishes include a variety of pierogi called coltunasi, filled with fresh white cheese (coltunasi cu brinza), meat (coltunasi cu carne) or cherries.

Soft drinks include stewed fruit compote and fruit juice. Popular alcoholic beverages are divin (Moldavian brandy), beer and, of course, the famous Moldovan wine. European grapes are used in wine production. Popular grapes include Sauvignon, Cabernet and Muscat. The main domestic Moldovan varieties include Feteasca, Rara neagra and Busuioaca alba.

Sparkling wine has a special place in Moldovan cuisine. The country produces large quantities of classic white and rosé sparkling wines, as well as red sparkling wines that were originally introduced in Moldova. The most famous sparkling wines are those produced in the Krikova winery. Famous brands of Moldovan sparkling wines are Negru de Purcari, Moldova, Chisinau, Cricova, Muscat spumant, National, Nisporeni, etc. They are made from a wide range of European grape varieties, including Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Menu, Sauvignon, Aligot, Traminac Rosé, Muscat Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. The local variety Feteasca Alba, which is also used in sparkling wines, has been cultivated in Moldavia since the time of ancient Dacia.

During my visit to Moldova, I visited 3 of the most famous wineries: Cricova, Castel Mimi and Chateau Vartely, about which I will write more in the next post and I am sure you will enjoy the unique content!

After I introduced you to the history of Moldova and introduced you to the Moldovan culture, heritage, as well as their cuisine, it’s time to write something about the capital of this unusual small country with a big heart that forms the heart of Eastern Europe – Chisinau!

Chisinau is the main industrial and commercial center of Moldova, and it is located in the very heart of the country, on the Bach River, a tributary of the Dniester. According to some recent data, over 600,000 inhabitants live in the city itself, while the municipality of Chisinau, which includes the city itself and other nearby communities, has almost 800,000 inhabitants. Chisinau is the most economically prosperous center in Moldova and the largest traffic hub. Almost a third of the population of Moldova lives in the metro area, which is really impressive!

How did the capital of Moldova get its name? The origin of the city’s name is still unclear. There are numerous legends and theories that indicate that the name could come from the archaic Romanian words chisla (meaning “spring”, “source of water”) and noua (“new”), because it was built around a small spring, at the corner of Pushkin and Albisvara streets that form the heart of today’s Chisinau!

There is one official version of history, formulated by Stefan Čobanu, a Romanian historian and academic, who believes that the name was formed in the same way as the name of Chișinău (alternatively spelled: Chişinău) in western Romania, near the border with Hungary. Her Hungarian name is Kisjeno, which is where her Romanian name comes from. Kisjeno comes from kis “small” and Jeno, one of the seven Hungarian tribes that entered the Carpathian Basin in 896. At least 24 other settlements are named after the Jeno tribe.

Chisinau is known as Kishinev in Russian, while Moldova’s Russian-language media call it Chisinau. It was also written as Chisineu in the Romanian language before the 20th century and as Chisineu in the Moldavian Cyrillic script. Historically, the city’s English-language name, Chisinau, was based on a modified Russian because it entered the English language via Russian when Chisinau was part of the Russian Empire.

How was Chisinau created? Founded in 1436 as a monastery village, the town was part of the Principality of Moldavia, which became a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire from the 16th century, but still retained its autonomy. At the beginning of the 19th century, Chisinau was a small town with 7,000 inhabitants.

Historically speaking, Chisinau was home to fourteen factories in 1919. Chisinau is the financial and business capital of Moldova. Chisinau has the largest and most developed mass media sector in Moldova and is home to several affiliated companies, from leading television networks and radio stations to major newspapers. All national and international banks have their headquarters in Chisinau. Notable locations around Chisinau include the Patria cinema, new malls Malldova, Megapolis Mall and the most famous shops. While many locals continue to shop at the bazaars, many upper-class residents and tourists shop at retail outlets in Maldova as well.

Elat, an older shopping center in the Botanica district, and Sun City, in the center, are more popular with locals. There are several amusement parks in the city. One from the Soviet era is located in the Botanica district, along the three lakes of the large park, which extends to the outskirts of the city center. The second, modern park Aventura, is located further from the center.

The urban plan of Chisinau was developed in the 19th century. As far back as 1836, the construction of the Chisinau Cathedral and its bell tower was completed. The bell tower was demolished during the Soviet era and was rebuilt in 1997. Chisinau also displays a huge number of Orthodox churches and 19th-century buildings throughout the city, such as the Ćuflea Monastery or the Church of the Transfiguration. Most of the town is made of limestone quarried from Krikova, leaving the famous wine cellar there.

Many buildings of modern architectural style were built in the city after 1991. There are many office and retail complexes that are modern, renovated or newly built, including Kentford, SkyTower and the headquarters of Union Fenos. However, old clusters of Soviet-style apartment blocks are still an extensive feature of the cityscape.

There are several important museums in Chisinau. The three national museums are the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History, the National Museum of Art and the National Archaeological and Historical Museum. Chisinau, like all of Moldova, still shows significant signs of ethnic culture. Signs reading “Patria Mea” (My Homeland) can be found all over the capital. Although few people still wear traditional Moldovan clothing, large public events often attract people to wear national costumes.

Moldova’s National Wine Day and Wine Festival are held every year on the first weekend of October in Chisinau. The events celebrate the fall harvest and recognize the country’s long history of winemaking, dating back some 500 years. It is the tradition and culture of this country and it is the strong roots that make this country original and beautiful!

During my first day in Chisinau, I had the opportunity to attend a big fashion event UNZIP which is important both for famous Moldovan fashion designers and for some new young rising fashion designers who are considered to become important names in the fashion world. My first impression when I entered the magnificent building where the shows were held was incredible because you can see how much the Moldovans actually take care of all the details, so I had the impression that I was at some gala event as part of the Milan fashion week that I attended, so I have only words of praise for the organization of this wonderful event.

My first day in Chisinau was exciting and full of surprises. I enjoyed numerous Moldovan specialties and rode local trolleybuses, since the people from the organization thought that I had no idea what it’s like to be a tourist in a city where you can feel the positive energy while cruising through the city on one of the numerous trolleybus lines…

I would like to use this unique opportunity to thank the team of the Invest Moldova Agency of the Republic of Moldova for the sincere and kind invitation to visit their country and to feel the Moldovan hospitality and at least for a short glimpse into the centuries-old culture and traditions of an unusual and beautiful country in Eastern Europe. This was an unusual and beautiful trip where I recorded numerous photos, beautiful memories and brought home the most beautiful Moldovan wines and cheeses. Travel is the best form of informal education, where a person gets to know the world and new cultures and thus has the opportunity to connect with the world and expand his horizons and cultural limits. This time Invest Moldova Agency with its partners made my trip exceptional and I am glad that I was the first blogger in the world to visit their country and I sincerely hope that in the near future there will be more bloggers, influencers and media persons who will show Moldova and prove that it is a beautiful small country with a big heart that is always ready to welcome everyone and find yourself!

Of course, my visit to Moldova was exceptional because I had the opportunity to stay in one of the best hotels in the city – BERD’S Chisinau MGallery Hotel Collection, which is the first and only designer hotel in Moldova. It is located in the heart of the social and cultural life of Chisinau and it was very easy and simple to move around the city, which is the most important thing for any traveler, right?

The hotel offers 33 rooms and apartments full of local tradition combined with modern, contemporary architecture and aesthetics with top comfort. The Italian restaurant MEZZO presents a new fresh look at Italian tradition, delicious cuisine and an elegant interior that remains true to the spirit of minimalism. BERD’S Chisinau MGallery promises an authentic journey into Moldovan culture.

I would like to thank the friendly and professional staff who made my stay unforgettable and it was a great pleasure to be their dear guest in the special Signature suite, which represents a true and deep understanding of luxury and design. This elegant two-bedroom apartment with a spacious living room is equipped with soft leather furniture, an amazing bedroom with a leather desk, an open bathroom with a jacuzzi and a shower. The interior is decorated with hand-woven carpets originating from Tibet and conceptualized by Lucca Scacchetti to convey traditional local motifs. The unique collection of ceramics by the famous Moldavian sculptor – Yuri Platon also contributes to the experience.

My dear travelers, we have reached the end of this first special travelogue in the autumn season about Moldova where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the capital of this small unusual country with a big heart – Chisinau. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Invest Moldova Agency and the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Moldova in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Moldovan culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Moldova.

I would like to once again give special thanks to the staff of BERD’S Chisinau MGallery Hotel for their warm welcome and for hosting me in their hotel. The stay in their hotel was exceptional, where I felt the warmth of my own home!

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Eastern Europe in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about Chisinau and Moldovan culture? Have you had the chance to visit the magical Republic of Moldova so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With Love from Chisinau,

Mr.M

In the next post, we will go together on the wine roads of Moldova and visit some of the most Moldovan famous wineries…

This post is sponsored by the Invest Moldova Agency and the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Moldova as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Jordan: Aqaba and Dead Sea, Pearls from the South!

My dear travellers and lovers of unusual trips, I hope you are well and ready to continue our adventure in Jordan! Today’s post is special and a bit sentimental as this is the last travelogue in the series of posts Letters from Jordan. This post will wrap up my Jordan adventure and I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful messages and numerous questions about the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I sincerely hope that I managed to solve all your doubts and that your next destination will be this unusual country!

For all my dear travellers and fashionistas who didn’t get to read my previous travelogues and fashion stories from Jordan on the Mr.M blog or want to remind yourself of some details, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following links:

  1. The story about Amman and Jerash (travelogue)
  2. The story of Petra (travelogue)
  3. The story from Wadi Rum with Fratelli Rossetti (fashion story)
  4. The Fashionable Royal Blue adventure in Aqaba (fashion story)
  5. The story of Wadi Rum, the Moon Desert Princess (travelogue)
  6. The story of Petra with Loro Piana (fashion story)

Today I will share with you my experience in Aqaba and Dead Sea and I would like to thank the Visit Jordan for the kind invitation and the amazing experience to get to know Jordanian culture and customs.

Aqaba is the only seaport in the Kingdom of Jordan, as well as the largest and most populated city in the Gulf of Aqaba. Located in the southernmost part of Jordan, Aqaba is the administrative center of Aqaba Governorate. Today, over 150,000 people live in the city. Aqaba plays a major role in the development of the Jordanian economy, through vibrant trade and tourism sectors. The port of Aqaba also serves other countries in the region. Aqaba’s ideal strategic location on the northeastern part of the Red Sea between the continents of Asia and Africa has made its port important for thousands of years.

The ancient city that was located in the area of today’s Aqaba was called Elat, adopted in Latin as Aela and in Arabic as Aila. Its strategic location and proximity to copper mines made it a regional hub for copper production and trade in the Chalcolithic period. Aela became a diocese under Byzantine rule and later became a Latin Catholic titular see after the Islamic conquest around 650 AD, when it became known as Ayla. The name Akaba appears in the Middle Ages. The Battle of Aqaba in the Great Arab Revolt, depicted in the film Lawrence of Arabia, resulted in a victory for the Arab forces over the Ottoman defenders.

Aqaba, next to Wadi Rum and Petra, is located in the famous golden Jordanian tourist triangle, which strengthened the location of the city on the world map and made it one of the main tourist attractions of the Kingdom of Jordan. The city is governed by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, which has turned Aqaba into a low-tax, duty-free city, attracting several mega projects such as Aila Oasis, Saraya Aqaba, Marsa Zayed and the expansion of Aqaba Port. It is expected to turn the city into a major tourist center in the region. However, industrial and commercial activities remain important, due to the city’s strategic position as the only seaport in the country. The city is located just across the border from Eilat, also Israel’s only port on the Red Sea. After the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace accord, there were plans and hopes for the establishment of a cross-border tourism and economic zone, but few of these plans came to fruition.

Since I know how much you love to read interesting historical facts, I made sure to find out how the only seaport in Jordan got its name. The name of the city was anciently Elat, Ailat. The name is probably derived from the Semitic name of a tree from the genus Pistacia. Modern Eilat (founded in 1947), located about 5 km northwest of Aqaba, is also named after an ancient settlement. In the Hellenistic period it was renamed Berenice, but the original name survived, and under Roman rule it was reintroduced in the forms Aila, Aela or Haila, adopted in Byzantine Greek as Aila Aila and in Arabic as Ayla, while the Crusaders called the city Elin.

The current name of Aqaba is shortened from ʿakabat Ailah – “mountain pass of Ailah”, which was first mentioned by Idrisi in the 12th century, at a time when the settlement was mainly reduced to a military stronghold, exactly referring to the pass northeast of the settlement.

Aqaba has a number of luxury hotels, including Tala Bay Resort, that cater to those who come to have fun on the beaches as well as to dive. It also offers activities that take advantage of its desert location. Its many cafes offer mansaf and knafeh and baklava desserts. Another very popular place is the Turkish bath (Hamam) built in 306 AD, where locals and visitors come to relax after a hot and tiring day.

Aqaba has been chosen as the site of a new waterfront construction project that would renovate Aqaba with new artificial water features, new high-rise residential and commercial buildings, and more tourism services to put Aqaba on the investment map and challenge other centers of waterfront development throughout the region. Aqaba was chosen as the best Arab tourist city in 2011.

During the five-day holiday at the end of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, Jordanian and Western expatriates flock to the city with numbers reaching up to 50,000 visitors. During that time, the occupancy rate of most hotels there reaches as high as 90% and they are often fully booked.

The fact that Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan has successfully created a distinctive cuisine compared to other Jordanian cities. Main dishes include Saiadeiah, a combination of rice, fish and spices, a dish common in Arabian coastal cities. Kishnah is a famous dish that includes fish, tomatoes and onions cooked together. Bukhari dish consists of rice, meat, hummus beans, ghee and spices popular in wedding ceremonies. Treats in Aqaba include Al-Hooh, which consists of layers of pastry filled with nuts or dates that are then fried in ghee and dipped in sugar syrup. Dates and ghee, which consists of fresh dates dipped in ghee, is a simple dessert that is also commonly presented to all tourists.

The Dead Sea, also known by other names, is a salt lake bordered by Jordan on the east and Israel and the West Bank. It lies in the valley of the Jordan River, and at the same time its main tributary is the Jordan River.

The lake is located about 430 meters below sea level, which makes the shores of the Dead Sea the lowest altitude on Earth. It is 304 meters deep and is the deepest hyper-saline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2%, it is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, almost 10 times saltier than the ocean and has a density of 1.24 kg/l, making swimming akin to floating. This salinity creates a harsh environment where plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The main, northern basin of the Dead Sea is 50 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide at its widest point.

Since you know that I can’t swim, you must be wondering how I dared to enter the lake, since we know that lakes can be quite deep… After reading numerous articles in which scientists claimed that it was simply impossible that due to the salinity of the lake itself a man drowns, I decided to see for myself.

There are rules that you must follow if you want to feel the beauty and healing of this lake in a healthy way. Staying in the water is limited due to salinity.

What does it actually look like to have a Spa relaxing day on the Dead Sea? When you get to the lake you can stay in it for between 10 and 15 minutes, don’t get the area around your eyes and mouth wet because of the salt! After that, you can apply a layer of healing mud from the Dead Sea, which has many positive properties that can help people who have problems with some skin diseases. It is recommended to leave the mud on the body to dry for up to 20 minutes and after that period you can re-enter the Dead Sea to remove the mud more easily with the help of salt from the lake and take a good shower with plain water. It is recommended to do this once, maximum twice a day. If you have sensitive skin like me, my honest recommendation is to do this once a day or once every 2/3 days due to the salinity.

The interesting thing is that it was the Dead Sea that attracted visitors from the entire Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world’s first spas and supplied a wide range of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizer. Today, tourists visit the lake on its shores in Israel, Jordan and the West Bank.

The Dead Sea area has become a location for numerous health researches and a place for potential treatment of some diseases. The mineral content of the water, the low content of pollen and other allergens in the atmosphere, the reduced ultraviolet component of solar radiation and the higher atmospheric pressure at this great depth can have specific health effects. For example, people who have reduced respiratory function due to diseases such as cystic fibrosis benefit from increased atmospheric pressure.

The climate and low altitude of the region have made it a popular center for certain therapies:

Climatotherapy: A treatment that uses local climatic characteristics such as temperature, humidity, sunshine, barometric pressure and special atmospheric constituents
Heliotherapy: A treatment that uses the biological effects of solar radiation
Thalassotherapy: A treatment that uses bathing in the water of the Dead Sea

Climatotherapy at the Dead Sea can be a therapy for psoriasis by prolonged sunbathing in the area due to its location below sea level and the subsequent result that UV rays are partially blocked by the increased thickness of the atmosphere.

Patients with rhinosinusitis who received nasal irrigation with Dead Sea saline showed improved symptom relief compared to standard hypertonic saline spray in one study.

Dead Sea mud therapy has been suggested to temporarily relieve pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. According to researchers at Ben Gurion University, treatment with mineral-enriched mud packs can be used to augment conventional medical therapy.

What does relaxation and rest look like when you apply mud from the Dead Sea. The picture was taken with the permission of all family members.

In the picture above, you can see a family enjoying their vacation at the Dead Sea and what the drying period of the mud looks like when applied to the skin. Today, the Dead Sea has become an ideal tourist destination for generations because everyone wants to experience the healing properties of the Dead Sea.

A clock located at the entrance to the lake where you can track your time in the water.
This is the area for swimming in the Dead Sea at the Kempinski Ishtar Hotel Resort

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of the last special fourth travelogue about the Kingdom of Jordan where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the only sea port of Aqaba and the lowest point on Earth – the Dead Sea. This series of travelogues would not be possible without the selfless help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Jordanian culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.

I would like to especially thank the staff of the Kempinski Aqaba and Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea hotels for their warm welcome and having me in their incredible hotels. The stay in their hotels was exceptional, where I felt the warmth of my own home! Top full service that can be expected in 5* star hotels, pleasant staff, exceptional food, I have to put a special emphasis on the sweets! 🙂

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about Aqaba and the Dead Sea? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Jordan,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Jordan: Wadi Rum, The Moon Desert Princess…

My dear travellers and lovers of unique trips, I hope you are well and ready to continue our adventure in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Today I have a special story about Wadi Rum, Jordan’s famous thee moon desert princess.

For all my dear travellers and fashionistas who didn’t get to read my previous travelogues and fashion stories from Jordan on the Mr.M blog or want to remind yourself of some details, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following links:

  1. The story about Amman and Jerash (travelogue)
  2. The story of Petra (travelogue)
  3. The story from Wadi Rum with Fratelli Rossetti (fashion story)
  4. The Fashionable Royal Blue adventure in Aqaba (fashion story)

Today I will share with you my adventure in Wadi Rum and I would like to thank the Visit Jordan for the kind invitation and the amazing experience to get to know Jordanian culture and customs.

Wadi Rum is a natural tourist attraction, a valley located in southern Jordan. Why did it get the famous nickname Moon Valley? This epithet derives from the similarity of the Wadi Rum relief terrain to that of the Moon. In 2011, UNESCO included the Wadi Rum Protectorate in the World Natural Heritage List, and in 2019, the International Astronomical Union announced at a global press conference the naming of the star (VASP-80) as “Petra” and the name of the planet orbiting it as Wadi Rum.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom in Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is a desert of varied terrain with a desert climate and is located within the boundaries of the Hismi Desert, one of the most beautiful deserts in the world. Its rocky mountains are characterised by white, yellow, red and brown colours, as well as characteristic geographical formations. Wadi Rum contains a group of narrow valleys, natural arches, steep cliffs and steep roads, as well as large piles of collapsed rocks, numerous caves and thousands of carvings and inscriptions. It also includes the highest mountain peaks of the southern Levant, namely: Jabal Umm al-Dami and Jabal Rum.

The Wadi Rum desert is home to some desert plants and an exotic group of small birds such as the desert lark, in addition to reptiles and numerous small mammals. Also here you can see numerous migratory birds that travel between Africa and Eastern Europe, especially birds of prey, which can be seen in large numbers in just one day.

One of the interesting things is that many films were shot in Wadi Rum, such as “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Al-Muraikhi”, because the valley attracted filmmakers, especially science fiction films that take place on Mars due to the great similarity between the terrain of Wadi Rum Ruma and the planet Mars. Today, Wadi Rum is one of the most visited tourist areas in Jordan.

Tourism has supported the development of agriculture and urban life in the region, and tourists can engage in many activities such as hiking, hot air balloon rides, horse and camel excursions or four-wheel drive, and a camel race is held every year, which is the first event of its kind in Jordan. In addition, Wadi Rum is considered one of the best places in Jordan for star and galaxy gazing, as well as meteor shower viewing.

The mystery about the name of this desert, as well as the real reason why Wadi Rum was called by this name is still unknown. There is a belief that the name “Rum” was taken from the Koran. Many today believe from an old legend that Wadi Rum was called “Aram” or “Iram” in ancient times, which means shapes and designs on stones (such as inscriptions). While some historians have mentioned that the region got its name from the leader of the Assyrians, who invaded the southern region of the Levant in the eighth century BC.

By examining certain writings, scientists have come to the knowledge that Wadi Rum was inhabited several thousand years ago and that these people struggled to survive in the harsh environment. These people were hunters, shepherds, farmers and traders. The Nabateans also once inhabited the area of Wadi Rum, leaving behind many monuments and inscriptions, including a temple known today as the “Nabatean Temple”.

Research and found inscriptions indicate that the first human settlement in Wadi Rum dates back to the Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago, and that the area was full of springs, a temperate climate and abundant groundwater. Many civilizations and nations have thrived in Wadi Rum due to its prominent geographical location between the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant, such as the Edomites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Nabateans and others.

Perhaps the Roman historian Ptolemy first mentioned Wadi Rum, which he named (Aramoa) in his list of cities located in Arabia Felix, indicating that the valley was part of a regional trade network. Archaeologists have largely considered the isolated site to be connected to the Nabatean economic centers of Petra and Isla. In the 1990s, two scientists from the University of Victoria led a project to survey the valley and restore its antiquities, and studies revealed the existence of a palace complex and a bath complex belonging to the Nabateans located on a small hill next to the eastern side of Jebel Rum. Scientists have hypothesized that the complex complex of villas built in this arid environment was built to impress travellers passing through the area.

The inhabitants of the valley joined the forces of the Great Arab Revolt led by King Faisal and fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia during the Great Arab Revolt of 1916 against the Turkish and German armies. Perhaps the credit for the fame of Wadi Rum belongs to Lawrence of Arabia, who crossed it several times during the war and then settled there. The Mountain of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom is located in Wadi Rum.

All the inhabitants living in and around Wadi Rum today are Bedouin, and until recently they lived a Bedouin life, relying on raising their own goats and camels. Although some of them live in modern cement houses today, they still maintain Bedouin customs and Arab dress traditions. Knitting goat hair tents all summer. They are hospitable people and are largely responsible for the development of Wadi Rum as a tourist destination, and many tourists find that sharing food or drinking coffee with the Bedouins is one of the best memories of their lives.

Visitors to Wadi Rum usually have the opportunity to see very few animals as most desert creatures are active at night and avoid sunlight during the day. The number of these animals has decreased dramatically over time, but there are still a large number of interesting birds, insects, reptiles and some desert plants.

Trees are rare in Wadi Rum, except for the acacia trees, which are characterized by flat tops and scattered thorny branches. A small number of low, woody shrubs spread across the desert. These plants are an important source of food for goats and camels, especially in the summer months when all other succulent desert plants are drying up. In Wadi Rum, certain types of plants grow in nature that are adapted to the harsh climatic conditions of the desert areas, such as al-Mughira, al-Rumm, al-Ghadi, al-Tarfa and al-Baitran trees.

Tourism activity in Wadi Rum began in 1984, when a British climbing team led by Tony Howard requested permission from the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism to explore the possibilities of hiking in Wadi Rum and its surroundings. The attempt succeeded with the help of the Bedouins and the support of the ministry. Since then, Bedouins belonging to the prominent Al-Huwaitat tribe in the area have collaborated to organize tourism, investing the proceeds in building houses and schools and buying buses to connect the area with the cities of Aqaba and Wadi Musa. In the mid-90s, there was a boom in tourism that is still active today.

Wadi Rum is full of tourist camps that replace hotels, because it is a nature reserve where hotels are not allowed. Tourism promotion of this area began in the late eighties, after a movie (Lawrence of Arabia) was shot there in the sixties. Today, tourism has become a source of income for many residents who work in it as guides or other jobs.

The Jordanian Ministry of Tourism counts Wadi Rum as part of the Golden Tourism Triangle, which includes Wadi Rum, Petra and Aqaba. Tourist activities in this area include camping and trips between the mountains on horses and camels or using four-wheel vehicles, and hiking is also practiced there. The visitor can spend the night in camps that provide food and other services. When you come to Wadi Rum, you have the opportunity to enjoy countless possibilities and to experience a different way of life at least for a moment.

Some of the activities: hiking, watching camel races, hot air balloon rides, star gazing, 4 wheel drive motorbikes, camel and horse riding and enjoying local Bedouin cuisine.

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of this third special travelogue from the Kingdom of Jordan about the moon desert princess Wadi Rum, which would not have been possible without help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and the beauty of Jordanian culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about Wadi Rum? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Wadi Rum,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Jordan: Petra, the Ancient City of Secrets…

My dear travellers and lovers of unique journeys, I hope you are doing great and ready to continue our Jordanian adventure! Today we continue our adventure and together we visit one of the most mysterious ancient cities in the world that still keeps its secrets in stone – Petra.

If by any chance you didn’t get to read the first travelogue from Jordan on the Mr.M blog or you want to remember some details from magical Amman and Jerash, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following link.

Today I will share with you my impressions of ancient Petra and I would like to thank the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan for the invitation and the amazing experience to get to know Jordanian culture and customs better.

Petra, originally known to its inhabitants as Raqmu, is located near the mountains of Jabal Al-Madbah, in a basin surrounded by mountains that form the eastern part of the Arabah Valley that stretches from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Scientists have come to some knowledge that the area around today’s Petra has been inhabited since 7000 BC, and the Nabateans may have settled in what would become the capital of their kingdom as early as the 4th century BC. Archaeological work has revealed only evidence of the presence of the Nabateans dating back to the second century BC, when Petra became their capital.

Who were the Nabateans? The Nabateans were nomadic Arabs who contributed to the development of Peter through their investments. The convenient geographical location and proximity to the incense trade routes allowed Petra to become a major regional trade center.

The trading business provided the Nabataeans with an extraordinary income and Petra became the center of their wealth. The Nabateans were accustomed to living in barren deserts, unlike their enemies, and were able to repel attacks by taking advantage of the area’s mountainous terrain. They were especially skilled in rainwater harvesting, agriculture and stone-cutting. Petra saw its heyday in the 1st century AD, when its famous Al-Khazneh building – believed to be the mausoleum of the Nabataean king Areta IV – was built, a time when the population of Petra reached an incredible 20,000 inhabitants for that time.

Although the Nabatean Kingdom became a state under the administration of the Roman Empire in the first century BC, it did not lose its independence until 106 AD. Petra fell into the hands of the Romans, who annexed Nabatea and renamed it Arabia Petraea. The importance of Petra declined as sea trade routes appeared, and after an earthquake in 363 it destroyed many buildings. In the Byzantine era, several Christian churches were built, but the city continued to decline, and by the early Islamic era it was abandoned, but a small number of nomads were present. Petra was forgotten and unknown to the public until it was rediscovered by Johann Ludwig Burkhard in 1812.

To approach the Petra city, one must pass through a 1.2 kilometer long gorge called the Siq, which leads directly to Khazneh. Known for its stone-carved architecture and plumbing system, Petra is also called the “City of Roses” because of the color of the stone from which the entire city is carved. UNESCO described this world heritage in 1985 as “one of the most precious cultural assets of human cultural heritage”. At the beginning of the 21st century, more precisely in 2007, Al-Khazneh was declared one of the new 7 wonders of the world. Petra is a symbol of Jordan, as well as the most visited tourist attraction of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Statistics maintained by the Ministry of Tourism show that the number of tourists who visited Petra peaked in 2019, when there were over a million tourists. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, the number of tourists dropped, but again in 2021, Petra had almost 300,000 visitors, which is an impressive figure if we consider the problems in tourism caused by the pandemic itself.

As you walk to Petra, stop by the souvenir shop where you will have the opportunity to learn more about Petra from the locals and get to know the history and culture of this ancient city. Souvenirs are very interesting, so take a few minutes of your time when visiting Petra and experience this city in a completely different way. There is only one souvenir shop, so you are sure to find this interesting place!

One of the interesting things Petra is known for is its Hellenistic architecture. The facades of the tombs at Petra show this type of architecture and also provide information on the different types of cultures with which the Nabataeans traded. Most of them contain information about the type of burials in niches carved into the stone.

Perhaps the most significant resemblance to the Hellenistic style comes with its treasury, which is 24 meters wide and 37 meters high and recalls the architecture of Alexandria. The facade of the Treasury has a broken pediment with a central tholos inside, and two obelisks appear to be forming in the rock at the top. Near the bottom of the Treasury are the twin Greek gods Castor and Pollux, who protect travelers on their journeys. Near the top of the Treasury, symbols of two victories can be seen in the form of a female figure on a tholos. This female figure is believed to be Isis-Tyche, Isis being an Egyptian goddess and Tyche the Greek goddess of fortune.

Al-Khazneh means “Treasury” in Arabic, the name derives from the legend of an ornamental stone urn high up on the second level, which is in reality solid sandstone.

There are several legends associated with the Treasury, but one legend says that an Egyptian pharaoh and part of his army escaped the closing of the Red Sea, magically created Al-Khazneh as a safe place for their treasury, and continued their search for Moses. This led to the name Khazneh el-Far’oun, “Treasury of the Pharaoh”.

Swiss researcher Johann Ludwig Burkhardt wrote about another local legend that “ancient pharaonic treasures” were hidden in the urn. The urn shows significant bullet damage, which the Jordanian government attributes to the Bedouins who believed in the legend.

Al-Khazneh was originally built as a mausoleum and crypt in the early 1st century AD during the reign of Areta IV Philopatris. Many of the building’s architectural details have eroded over the two thousand years since it was carved and sculpted from the cliff. The sculptures are believed to be of various mythological figures associated with the afterlife. At the top are the figures of four eagles that would take away souls. The figures on the upper level are dancing Amazons with double axes. The entrance is surrounded by statues of the twins Castor and Pollux who lived partly on Olympus and partly in the underworld.

Another excellent example of Hellenistic architecture presented in Petra is the monastery, which is the largest monument of Petra and another building carved into the rocks of Petra. The monastery shows more Nabataean touches while at the same time incorporating elements of Greek architecture. Its only source of light is the entrance, which is 8 meters high. Outside the monastery is a large area, which was specially leveled for religious purposes. Earlier, in the Byzantine period, this was a place for Christian worship, but now it is a holy place for pilgrims.

At the end of a narrow gorge, the Siq, is the most complex ruin of Petra, popularly known as Al-Khazneh (“the treasury”), carved into the sandstone cliff. Although it remains in a remarkably well-preserved state, the face of the structure is pockmarked with hundreds of bullet holes made by local Bedouin tribes who hoped to dislodge the riches rumored to have once been hidden within. Not far from the Treasury, at the foot of the mountain called En-Nair, is a huge theatre, placed so that the greatest number of tombs can be seen. At the point where the valley opens into the plain, the site of the city is revealed with striking effect.

During construction, the theater was cut into the hillside and into several tombs. The rectangular gaps in the seats are still visible. It is surrounded on almost three sides by pink mountain walls, divided into groups by deep cracks and covered with mounds cut into the rock in the form of towers. It is believed that the theater can host around 8,500 people. Performances that the audience could attend here were poetry and drama readings. Gladiator fights were also held here and are thought to have attracted the largest crowds, although no gladiator was able to gain momentum or fame due to the high death rate that came with it. The theater was one of many buildings in Petra that suffered significant damage in the Galilee earthquake of 363 AD.

The Petra swimming pool and garden complex is a series of buildings in the city center. It was originally said to be a market area, but detailed excavations at the site have allowed scientists to come to the conclusion that it was actually a complex Nabatean garden, which included a large pool, an island pavilion and a complex hydraulic system.

In front of the Petra pool and garden complex is a colonnaded street, which is among the few artifacts of Petra that are constructed rather than natural. This street once held a semicircular nymphaeum, now in ruins due to flash floods, and once held a single Petra tree. This was meant to be a symbol of the peaceful atmosphere that the Nabateans were able to build in Petra. When the Romans took control of the city, the colonnaded street was narrowed to make a side walk.

Petra is a place at the crossroads of natural and cultural heritage that forms a unique cultural landscape. Since the rediscovery of Petra by Johann Ludwig Burkhard aka Sheikh Ibrahim in 1812, the cultural heritage has attracted a large number of interested people who share an interest in the ancient history and culture of the Nabataeans, such as travelers, pilgrims, painters and scientists.

However, it was not until the end of the 19th century that archaeological researchers systematically approached the ruins. Since then, regular archaeological excavations and research into the Nabatean culture are part of today’s UNESCO world cultural heritage. Through excavations in the Archaeological Park of Petra, an increasing number of Nabataean cultural heritage is exposed to environmental impact. The large number of discoveries and the exposure of structures require numerous conservation measures respecting the interrelationship between the natural landscape and the cultural heritage, as this connection in particular is a central challenge at the UNECSO World Heritage Site.

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of this second special travelogue about the ancient city of Petra, which would not have been possible without the help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Jordanian culture and traditions. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about an ancient Petra? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Petra,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Jordan: Amman and Jerash, Jewels of the Middle East you will love!

My dear travellers and lovers of unique trips, welcome to another new adventure on the Mr.M blog. Today we officially start a new series of travelogues about an exotic oriental country that is not known much about and therefore represents an unexplored gem of Western Asia – Jordan.

In today’s post, we will enjoy the beauty of two cities together: Amman, the capital of Jordan, and Jerash, an ancient city. Before starting today’s post, I would like to thank the National Tourism Board of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan – Visit Jordan for the warm invitation and the amazing experience to get to know the Jordanian culture and customs.

The view from my hotel room

As you are used to, I will first introduce you to some basic information about the country we are visiting. Jordan, the official name of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a country in Western Asia. It is located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe in the Levant region, on the east bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and east, Iraq to the northeast, Syria to the north and the Palestinian West Bank, Israel and the Dead Sea to the west. It has a coastline of less than 30 kilometers on the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea in the southwest. The Gulf of Aqaba separates Jordan from Egypt. Amman is the capital and largest city of Jordan, as well as its economic, political and cultural center.

Today’s Jordan has been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic era. Three stable kingdoms appeared there at the end of the Bronze Age: Ammon, Moab and Edom. The later empires that arose were: the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Nabatean Kingdom, the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Rashidun, Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates and the Ottoman Empire.

After the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in 1916 during World War I, the Ottoman Empire was divided by Britain and France. The Emirate of Transjordan was founded in 1921 by Hashemite, then Emir Abdullah I, and the Emirate became a British protectorate. In the mid-20th century, Jordan became an independent state officially known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, but was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1949. Jordan is one of the founders of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The sovereign state is a constitutional monarchy, but the king has broad executive and legislative powers.

Jordan is a semi-arid country, covering an area of 89,342 km2, with a population of 10 million, making it the eleventh most populous Arab country. The dominant majority, or about 95% of the country’s population, are Sunni Muslims, with a predominantly Arab Christian minority. Jordan has been repeatedly referred to as an “oasis of stability” in the turbulent Middle East region. The country remained largely unscathed by the violence that gripped the region after the 2010 Arab Spring. Interesting information that Jordan has accepted refugees from several neighboring countries in conflict since the middle of the 20th century. An estimated 2.1 million Palestinian and 1.4 million Syrian refugees are present in Jordan. The kingdom is also a haven for thousands of Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution by the Islamic State.

The graffiti you can see on the left represents the equality of men and women, this is considered a modern piece of Street Art.

Jordan has a high human development index, ranking 102nd, and is considered an upper-middle-income economy. Jordan’s economy, one of the smallest in the region, is attractive to foreign investors based on its skilled workforce. The country is a major tourist destination, which also attracts medical tourism due to its well-developed health sector.

Amman is the capital and at the same time the largest economic, political and cultural city of Jordan with slightly more than 4 million inhabitants. , Amman is the largest city in the Levant region, the fifth largest city in the Arab world and the ninth largest metropolitan area in the Middle East.

Some of the first official evidence of settlement in the area of present-day Amman dates back to the 8th millennium BC, at the Neolithic site known as Ain Ghazal, where the world’s oldest human-shaped statues were discovered. During the Iron Age, the city was known as Rabath Ammon and served as the capital of the Ammon Kingdom. In the 3rd century BC, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt, rebuilt the city and renamed it “Philadelphia”, making it a regional center of Hellenistic culture. Under Roman rule, Philadelphia was one of the ten Greco-Roman cities of the Decapolis before being ruled directly as part of the province of Arabia Petraea.

The Rashidun Caliphate conquered the city from the Byzantines in the 7th century AD, restored its ancient Semitic name and called it Amman. During the Middle Ages, the city alternated between periods of destruction and abandonment and periods of relative prosperity as the center of the Balka region. Amman was largely abandoned from the 15th century until the end of the 19th century, when the Ottoman authorities began to settle the Circassians.

The first municipal council of Amman was established at the beginning of the 20th century. Amman witnessed rapid growth after being declared the capital of Transjordan in 1921, receiving migrants from various Jordanian and Levantine cities, and after several successive waves of refugees: Palestinians in 1948 and 1967; Iraqis in 1990 and 2003 and Syrians in 2011. It was originally built on seven hills, but now extends over 19 hills combining 22 areas, administered by the Greater Amman Municipality. The areas of Amman are named after the hills (Jabal) or the valleys (Wadi) they occupy, such as Jabal Lwaybde and Wadi Abdun. Eastern Amman is predominantly filled with historical sites that often host cultural activities, while western Amman is more modern and serves as the economic center of the city.

Over a million tourists visited Amman in 2018, officially making it the 89th most visited city in the world and the 12th most visited Arab city. Amman has a relatively fast growing economy and is ranked as a Beta-Global City by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Moreover, it has been declared one of the best cities in the Middle East and North Africa according to economic, labor, environmental and socio-cultural factors. The city is among the most popular locations in the Arab world for multinational corporations to open their regional offices, alongside Doha and Dubai.

Roman Forum and Theater

Amman is considered one of the most liberal cities in the Arab world. The city has become one of the most popular destinations for expats and students who want to live, study or work in the Middle East or the Arab world in general. The city’s culinary scene has changed from shawarma and falafel stands to include many popular international restaurants and fast food joints such as Asian restaurants, French bistros and Italian trattorias. The city has become famous for its fine dining scene among Western expats and tourists from the Persian Gulf.

The famous market located very close to the center of Amman

Souk Jara is one of the most famous outdoor markets managed by the Jabal Amman Residents Association (JARA). Large shopping malls were built during the 2000s in Amman, including Mecca Mall, Abdoun Mall, City Mall, Al-Baraka Mall, Taj Mall, Zara Mall, Avenue Mall and Abdali Mall in Al Abdali. Wakalat Street is the first pedestrian zone in Amman and famous fashion brands can be found here. The Sweifieh area is considered the main shopping district of Amman.

Nightclubs, music bars and shisha lounges are present all over Amman, changing the old image of the city as the conservative capital of the kingdom. This burgeoning new nightlife scene has been shaped by Jordan’s younger generations. In addition to a wide range of places to party, drink and dance in the company of the city’s rich entertainment, Amman hosts numerous cultural entertainment events, including the annual Amman Summer Festival. Souk Yara is Jordan’s weekly flea market event that takes place every Friday during the summer.

Local cuisine is considered a fusion of several cuisines in the region. It is known as the food of the Levant – an ancient word for the area bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Peninsula. But the food here is not just the sum of its calories. However, the real street food scene in the city makes Amman cuisine recognizable in the world.

Central streets of Amman

Many events take place in Amman, including events sponsored by Red Bull Soundclash and the Soapbox Race, the second part of the Jerash Festival, the Al-Balad Music Festival, the Amman Marathon, the Made in Jordan Festival, the Amman Book Festival and the New Think Festival. Venues for such cultural events often include the Roman Theater and Odeon Theater in the city center, Ras al Ain Hangar, King Hussein Business Park, Rainbow Theater and Shams Theatre, Royal Film Commission, Shoman Libraries and Darat al Funun, and the Royal Cultural Center in City Sports . In addition to major events and institutional planning, scholars highlight tactical urbanism as a key element of the city’s cultural fabric.

Downtown Amman

What is important to visit in Amman? When you came to the capital of Jordan, I think you should visit the Roman amphitheater that was built in the second century BC. Also, the Roman Theater is located in a place that is still the heart of the old part of Amman. A large part of the theater has been renovated, so many events are held there. In the immediate vicinity on the hill is the Citadel, from which you can enjoy the view of the city and the old part of the city.

Citadel

The Citadel was once the acropolis of the ancient city, of course even today visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the preserved ruins. One of the ruins is the Temple of Hercules, built in honor of Marcus Aurelius. The temple had four Corinthian columns, of which unfortunately only two survive today. Also on the Citadel you will find the remains of a Byzantine church from the 6th century, as well as numerous monuments that marked the beginning of Arab rule.

The Citadel has a long history of occupation by many great civilizations. Evidence of habitation has been found since the Neolithic, and the hill was fortified during the Bronze Age. The hill became the capital of the Kingdom of Amon sometime after 1200 BC. Later it came under the rule of empires such as the Neo-Assyrian Empire (8th century BC), the Neo-Babylonian Empire (6th century BC), the Ptolemies, the Seleucids (3rd century BC), the Romans (1st century BC), Byzantines (3rd century AD) and Umayyads (7th century AD). After the Umayyads, there was a period of decline and for most of the time until 1878, the former city became an abandoned pile of ruins used only sporadically by Bedouins and seasonal farmers. Despite this gap, the Amman Citadel is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the world.

Most of the ruins still visible at the site date from the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods. The main remains on the site are the Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine church and the Umayyad palace. The Archaeological Museum of Jordan was built on the hill in 1951. Although the fortification walls enclose the heart of the site, the ancient periods of occupation covered large areas.

The historic buildings, tombs, arches, walls and steps have no modern boundaries, and therefore there is significant archaeological potential at this site, as well as in the surrounding lands, as well as throughout Amman. Archaeologists have worked on the site since the 1920s, including Italian, British, French, Spanish and Jordanian projects, but much of the Citadel remains unexcavated.

The Jordan Archaeological Museum is located in the Amman Citadel. It was built in the middle of the 20th century and presents artifacts from archaeological sites in Jordan, dating from prehistoric times to the 15th century. The collections are arranged in chronological order and include objects from everyday life such as flint, glass, metal and pottery, as well as more artistic objects such as jewelry and statues. The museum also contains a collection of coins.

The museum previously housed some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the only copper scroll, which is now on display in the newly established Jordan Museum, along with the Ain Ghazal statues, which are among the oldest statues ever made by human civilization.

Jerash is a city in northern Jordan. The city is the administrative center of Jerash province and has a little more than 50,000 inhabitants. The first evidence of settlement in Jerash is found at the Neolithic site known as Tal Abu Sowan, where rare human remains dating back to 7500 BC have been discovered. Jerash flourished during the Greek and Roman periods until the middle of the eighth century. However, in 1120, Zahir ad-Din Toghtekin, the atabeg of Damascus, ordered a garrison of forty men to build a fort at an unknown site in the ruins of the ancient city, probably the highest point of the city walls in the north-eastern hills. It was captured in 1121 by Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, and then completely destroyed. Then the crusaders immediately left Jerash and retreated to Saqib.

Jerash was then abandoned until the Ottomans reappeared until the beginning of Ottoman rule in the early 16th century. However, archaeologists have found some evidence – a small Mamluk hamlet in the northwest quarter that indicates that Jerash was resettled before the Ottoman era. The ancient city was gradually discovered through a series of excavations that began in 1925 and continue to this day.

Today, Jerash is home to one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman cities, earning it the nickname “Pompeii of the East.” Approximately 330,000 visitors The Jerash Festival is held here, one of the leading cultural events in the Middle East that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year.

The Jerash archaeological site has two museums where archaeological materials and relevant information about the site and its rich history are displayed. The Jerash Archaeological Museum, which is the older of the two museums, is located on top of a hill known as “Camp Hill” east of Cardo and overlooks the Oval Plaza (circular square). The small museum contains a chronological display of artifacts found in and around Jerash from prehistory to Islamic times.

The museum displays a unique group of small statues of a group identified as Muses of the Olympic Pantheon that were discovered in Jerash in 2016. The statues, which are of Roman date, were found in a fragmentary state and have been partially restored. The museum also contains a well-preserved late 4th to 5th century lead sarcophagus featuring Christian and pagan symbolism. The museum also has numerous sculptures, altars and mosaics on display outside.

The Jerash Visitor Center serves as a recent archaeological museum and presents the site of Jerash in a thematic approach focusing on the evolution and development of the city of Jerash over time, as well as the economy, technology, religion and daily life. The center also displays further sculptures discovered in Jerash in 2016, including restored statues of Zeus and Aphrodite, as well as a marble head thought to represent the Roman empress Julia Domna.

I would like to share with you another interesting fact about this amazing place. The legendary Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed for the first time in Jordan at the Oval Forum, the archaeological site of Jerash. The concert was held on September 18, 2017 organized by Friends of Jordan Festivals.

Mr. Bocelli is an international classical crossover tenor and has attracted many music lovers with the beauty of classical music. His performances were attended by many eminent figures from the world of politics, art and religious leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. This was a magnificent event that the people of Jordan still remember today.

Jerash has developed dramatically with the growing importance of the tourism industry in the city. Jerash is now the second most popular tourist attraction in Jordan, after the ruins of Petra. On the western side of the city, which contained most of the representative buildings, the ruins have been carefully preserved and spared from encroachment, and the modern city stretches east of the river that once divided ancient Jerash in two.

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of this first special post about the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which would not have been possible without the selfless help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Jordanian culture. and traditions. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about the Amman and Jerash? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Amman,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from the Kingdom of Sweden: Nationalmuseum, the greatest Art Treasure in the Heart of Scandinavia!

My dear travellers and lovers of extraordinary trips, I hope you are well and ready for a new adventure on the Mr.M blog. Today’s post will be the last post for the month of July (sorry for the confusion that I made with the previous post) and also the last letter in the series of posts from Sweden.

Before I start today’s post, I would like to remind you of some of the previous posts from the edition of letters from the Kingdom of Sweden, so if you haven’t had time to read the previous stories or maybe you want to remind yourself of some interesting details, spare a few minutes of your time and by clicking on the following links, visit some of the previous travelogues from Sweden:

1) Stockholm: A Modern Green City of Culture on the Water

2) Everything you need to know about the Royal Palace in Stockholm

3) Vasa, The Story of the sunken legendary luxurious warship…

Today I will share with you my impressions of the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and I would like to thank the Visit Stockholm for the invitation and the amazing experience to get to know the culture and customs in the heart of Scandinavia.

The Nationalmuseum (National Museum of Fine Arts) is the central Swedish state museum in Stockholm, and also the largest Swedish art museum. The collections of this extraordinary art treasure house consist of various works of painting, sculpture and art on paper from around the 16th century to the 20th century, as well as arts and crafts and design objects from the 16th century to the present day. The total number of exhibited works reaches an incredible figure of almost 700,000 objects. The National Museum is located on Blasieholmen in Stockholm in a building designed for this purpose by the German architect Friedrich August Stühler. The building was completed in 1866, but the museum’s history is older than that and goes back to June 28, 1792, when the Royal Museum was founded. The National Museum is therefore one of the oldest art museums in Europe.

The collections were moved to Blasieholmen after previously being partially housed in the Royal Museum, which opened in 1794 in the north wing of the Royal Palace in Stockholm. As with several other national art museums, the collections are largely based on generations of royal collectors, which for various reasons passed into state ownership. For example, works that belonged to Gustav Vasa can be seen today in the Nationalmuseum.

The museum’s activities also go outside the box, so you can see certain works outside the building on Blasieholmen. The National Museum also includes a collection of portraits of the Swedish state exhibited in Gripsholm Castle. In addition, objects from the museum’s collections are exhibited in a number of museum institutions throughout Sweden.

This museum has a long history and I will try my best to briefly explain some of the most important historical moments related to this institution. In the early history of the National Museum, as with several other European national galleries, the history of the National Museum is largely synonymous with the development of royal, state and more widely available collections. In Sweden, the foundation for today’s state art collections was laid in the 18th century. Several works included in the collection of the National Museum, for example a part of French paintings from the 18th century were once owned by Queen Louisa Ulrike. By 1777, the queen’s financial situation had become unsustainable, partly as a result of a large and expensive investment in art. The debts were settled by her son, the then Swedish king Gustav III, in exchange for her giving up her collections and Drottningholm Castle.

For today’s Nationalmuseum, it is important that the king did not use his own financial means, but the state’s, which prevented the collections from being dispersed during the succession. It is likely that state funds were also used when Gustav III, after the death of his father Adolf Frederick, acquired several works of art, including Chardin’s Tecnarin. At the same time, the king also made an important acquisition of the collection of drawings by Carl Gustav Tessin that Adolf Fredrik had bought from him in 1755. The collection of drawings was immediately donated to the Royal Library, but was then transferred to the Royal Museum when it opened in 1794.

How did that transformation from a royal art collection to a state museum take place? There are no official records that can explain to us what Gustav III intended with his museum arrangement. It was believed that he was targeting a publicly accessible institution, but recent research has shown that there is no reliable evidence for this. It should be remembered that the significance of making something available to the public was somewhat different then than it is today, which is why it is believed that the royal museum would have become a private matter, accessible to those who could be considered competent. Regardless of Gustav III’s intentions, the Royal Museum was founded on June 28, 1792, just three months after the king’s death.

At that time, they did not have prepared rooms for exhibitions, and the work on the building was not finished after the king’s death. The transfer of the artistic heritage was carried out in December 1792 and was of great importance for the future of the museum. During the work on the registry office, the significance of the financial resources (state or private) used by the king for the acquisition of art collections was highlighted. At that time, there were no firm laws governing what was considered the king’s private property and what was state property.

Through the transfer of inheritance, all the king’s art collections became state property. In this way, the king’s art collections became the property of the people, but only later would they become fully publicly available.

The first decades of the 19th century were an extremely difficult period for the museum. The lack of interest combined with very little resources bordering on non-existent meant that the work was kept alive by the energy of the museum’s dedicated staff. The lack of funds made new acquisitions largely impossible. At the same time, many of the great museum collections in Europe were created at this time thanks to an aggressive acquisition policy, supported by more concerned courts and the bourgeoisie. From 1817 the Royal Museum did receive an annual grant from the State, but this was insufficient for anything more than the maintenance necessary to save the collections from total decay. However, the donations saved the museum because they legitimized the museum as its own authority.

However, rather poor economic conditions made it difficult for the first part of the 19th century to pass completely uneventfully. The most significant thing that happened at that time was the large acquisition of sculptures by Johann Tobias Sergel in 1815. After Sergel’s death, the Royal Museum was able to acquire all the sketches of plaster and terracotta sculptures that were part of his work.

It can be said that the acquisition and installation of Sergel’s sculptures marked a turning point in the exhibition activities of the museum because it represents both classicism and indigenous art. Because, at the same time when the Sergel collection was presented to the public in artistic Sweden, voices were raised who wanted to shift the focus from classicism to domestic and nationally oriented art. In this context, it may be noted that in 1818, King Carl XIV Johan commissioned from Bengt Erland Fogelberg colossal sculptures representing the gods Asa Oden, Thor and Balder. They will later be placed in the Royal Museum.

Later in the 19th century, painting will have a more significant place in museum activities, as can be seen from the documentation on the drastic changes initiated by the museum director. The director took the museum into the 19th century in a completely different way with a new color scheme, associated above all with the Danish and German Biedermeier, and the exhibitions were arranged in a modern way for that time, from the classically oriented Enlightenment principle to the provoking imagination, romantically suggestive exhibition aesthetics.

The 20th century brought certain innovations, so the department of modern art was founded in 1952. The first exhibition was a tour of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica in October 1956, when the renovation of the museum was completed, the facility was named “Moderna Muzeet”, which was officially opened on May 9, 1958. Until 1975, the Modern Museum was a subdivision of the National Museum.

Later, the Modern Museum became a unique separate institution, which together with the Nationalmuseum and the East Asian Museum was part of the joint body Statens konstmuseer. When the Modern Museum became an independent institution in 1999, the Statens konstmuseer changed its name to the Nationalmuseum from Valdemarsudde Prins Eugen. At the same time, the East Asian Museum was transferred to the newly formed State Museum of World Culture. A few years ago, in 2017 to be exact, Valdemarsudde became an independent foundation again, and the authority has since been called the Nationalmuseum.

A large number of works in the museum’s collections come from the royal collections of many generations. From the gallery of Gustav Vasa’s paintings that were in Gripsholm Castle, it is possible to identify with certainty several paintings that are now in the National Museum. Gustav Vasa’s collection consisted mainly of works of art by Northern European painters.

Of the works with a past in royal ownership, many were acquired on the background of various personal preferences, but also several examples of objects that came to royal collections in the 17th century as war booty.

A large part of the works that today are considered to form the core of the Nationalmuseum’s collection of paintings before 1800 mainly come from several collections: Karl Gustav Tessin, Queen Lovisa Ulrike, King Adolf Fredrik and Gustav III. However, several of the most important works in the royal collections were acquired through Tessin in various ways.

These collections were dominated by French, Dutch and Gustavian Swedish painting, which greatly influenced the composition of the National Museum’s collection as it looks today. Several of the museum’s Rembrandt works are owned by these people, as well as other important works from 17th-century Holland and some from Flanders from the same period.

One ff these four collectors, Carl Gustaf Tessin undoubtedly had the greatest importance, not least because a large part of the collections of Adolf Fredrik and Lovisa Ulrike ended up there under his care. At the age of nineteen, Tessin went on a grand tour during which he stayed in Paris between 1714 and 1716. He would later return several times, but during this first visit he acquired a large number of master drawings and 23 so-called contre-epreuves by Antoine Vato and met several artists of that time.

Later, Tessin returned to Paris, now in better financial conditions as he was appointed overseer responsible for the building of a castle in Stockholm, succeeded his father and married a wealthy heiress. He now acquired paintings by artists such as Francois Lemoine, Francois Desport, Nicolas Lancrat and Jean-Baptiste Pater.

However, he did not buy anything from Watteau, whom he held in high esteem. The explanation for this can be seen in the fact that the artist has now passed away and that Tessin has concentrated on living artists and that the prices of Watteau’s works have risen. Being in Paris also meant buying art in the name of building a castle. From Paris he traveled to Venice to try to negotiate a contract with Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, but without success.

Later, in 1739 Tessin returned to Paris again, where the art scene behaved differently with the re-established salon from 1737. During this visit, he focused on François Boucher and Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, acquiring among others Boucher’s Triumph of Venus, which was shown at the Salon of 1740. Tessin also made several purchases of Dutch paintings on the Paris market, mostly through the art dealer Edme – François Gersen. Among those works, Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Young Woman in Profile and Constantin Verhout’s Sleeping Student are significant.

Until 2013, when the Nationalmuseum building on Blasieholmen in Stockholm was closed for renovations, several temporary large exhibitions were shown annually. Some examples were Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Design by Sigward Bernadotte, Terribly Beautiful, Deceit the Eye, Pre-Raphaelites, Caspar David Friedrich, Rubens and van Dyck, Concept Design, The Shape of Time, and Slow Art. In the gallery of engravers, smaller exhibitions with works mainly from their own collections are shown.

The museum borrows a large number of works for exhibitions in other museums in Sweden and abroad. In the Nationalmuseum, research is carried out on the basis of its own collections as a starting point, as well as its own publishing activities.

The Nationalmuseum also has a picture archive. The museum is also in charge of the Art Library, which is one of the largest art libraries in the Nordic countries and is a joint library of the Nationalmuseum and the Modern Museum.

The museum has a department for conservation, photography and art management with orientations according to the objects of each collection. The department works on the preservation of objects and cooperates with the Department of Collections and Research on technical research.

The Nationalmuseum manages, in whole or in part, the collections of objects in a large number of visitor destinations throughout the country. These include, for example, Drottningholm Castle, Gripsholm Castle, Ulriksdal Castle, Nines Castle, Lacko Castle, Lovstabruk Castle, Vadstena Castle and the Gustavsberg Porcelain Factory. The Orangery Museum in Ulriksdal Castle and the Museum de Vries in Drottningholmsmalmen preserve the central parts of the museum’s sculpture collection. Since 2018, the National Museum has a branch in Ostersund – the Jamtli National Museum.

Until July 1, 2017, Prins Eugens Valdemarsudde belonged to the competent National Museum with Prins Eugens Valdemarsudde. The authority (now called only the Nationalmuseum) falls under the Department of Culture. The association of friends of the Nationalmusei vanner museum was founded in 1911 by the then Crown Prince Gustaf (VI) Adolf and over the years has made a significant contribution to the museum’s collections.

The Nationalmuseum in Stockholm was closed on February 3, 2013 for renovations. The museum was in need of extensive restoration and renovation, as the building was badly worn from heavy use. Several technical systems in the museum have reached their useful life.

The Nationalmuseum reopened on October 13, 2018, and the opening ceremony was personally performed by King Carl XVI Gustaf in the presence of members of the royal family, Minister of Culture Alice Bach Kunke and thousands of visitors. The museum’s exhibition space has been expanded and can now accommodate twice as many visitors and display almost three times as many works of art. In addition to the technical update, previously blocked windows and skylights have been opened to create more daylight and views towards the city. The noisy restaurant got a better, quieter location and was replaced by an airy and quiet sculpture garden. The museum has restored a color scheme inspired by the original palette.

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of the fourth and at the same time last special post from the Letters from the Kingdom of Sweden, which would not have been possible without the selfless help of the Visit Stockholm in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Swedish culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Sweden.

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual city in Scandinavia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm? Have you had the chance to visit the heart of Scandinavia so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Stockholm,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Stockholm, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from The Kingdom of Sweden: Vasa, the Story of the sunken legendary luxurious warship…

My dear travellers and lovers of unique trips, I hope you are well and ready for new adventures! This is the last post for this month and I wanted to share with you an unusual legend about a luxurious Swedish warship, the Vasa.

Before I start today’s post, I would like to remind you of some of the previous posts from the edition of letters from the Kingdom of Sweden, so if you haven’t had time to read the previous stories or maybe you want to remind yourself of some interesting details, spare a few minutes of your time and by clicking on the given links, visit some of the previous travelogues from Sweden:

1) Stockholm: A Modern Green City of Culture on the Water

2) Everything you need to know about the Royal Palace in Stockholm

Today I will share with you my impressions of the Vasa Museum and the legend of this amazing warship and I would like to thank the Visit Stockholm for the invitation and the amazing experience to get to know the culture and customs in the heart of Scandinavia.

I think the older generations remember the legend of a magnificent warship that was supposed to show power and strength with its beauty and luxury, but sank after traveling 1300 meters from the port… How this ship went from being a great shame to the pride of Sweden, we will discover together in today’s post on the Mr.M blog.

Vasa or Wasa is a famous Swedish warship built between 1626 and 1628. The ship sank after sailing approximately 1,300 m on its maiden voyage on August 16, 1628, at dusk.

Since the Vasa was one of the most expensive ships of all time with modern war equipment and exquisite craftsmanship, you must be wondering what went wrong?

Many questions were asked: Was the ship properly prepared for the wind? Was the crew sober? Is the ballast properly stored? Were the weapons properly secured? However, no one was ready to take the blame. The crew members and the shipbuilders formed two groups and each of them tried to blame the other and all of them swore that they had performed their duty without fault and during the investigation the details of the stability demonstration were revealed.

Then attention was focused on shipbuilders. “Why did you make a ship so narrow, so bad and without enough bottom that it capsized?” the prosecutor asked the shipbuilder Jakobson. Jakobson stated that he built the ship according to the instructions of the master shipbuilder, who in turn followed a specification approved by the king himself. Jacobson actually widened the ship by about half a meter (50 cm) after he took over construction, but the construction of the ship was too far advanced to allow further expansion.

In the end, no culprit could be found. Arent de Groot’s answer, which became legendary, when asked by the court why the ship sank was “Only God knows”. Gustav Adolf approved all the measurements and armament, and the ship was built according to the instructions and loaded with a certain number of guns. In the end, no one was punished or found guilty of negligence, and the blame practically fell on Henrik Hibbertsson.

Some research today has shown that the Vasa sank because it had very little initial stability, which can be thought of as resistance to heeling under the action of wind or waves acting on the hull. The reason for this is that the distribution of mass in the hull structure and the ballast, guns, cargo and other items loaded onto the ship add too much weight to the ship. The center of gravity is too high, so it takes very little force to capsize the ship, and there isn’t enough righting moment, the force that tries to force the ship back into an upright position.

The reason the ship has such a high center of gravity is not because of the cannons. They weighed slightly more than 60 tons or about 5% of the total displacement of the loaded ship. This is relatively light weight and should be manageable on a boat of this size. The problem is in the hull construction itself. The part of the hull above the waterline is too tall and too heavily built for the amount of hull in the water. The headroom on the decks is more than necessary for the crew members who were on average not quite 1.70 meters tall and therefore the weight of the deck and the weapons they carry is more above the waterline than necessary. In addition, the deck beams and their supporting timbers are oversized and spaced too closely together for the load they carry, thus adding too much weight to the already tall and heavy superstructure.

This ship spent 330 years submerged and there were several attempts to bring the wreckage to the surface. The ship was salvaged with a mostly intact hull in 1961. It was housed in a temporary museum called Vasavarvet (“Vasa Shipyard”) until 1988, and then moved permanently to the Vasa Museum in the Royal National City Park[ in Stockholm. The ship is one of Sweden’s most popular tourist attractions and has been seen by over 35 million visitors since 1961. Vasa became a universally recognized symbol of the Swedish Empire.

The ship was built on the orders of the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus as part of the military expansion he initiated in the war with Poland and Lithuania (1621–1629). She was constructed at the Stockholm Naval Shipyard under contract to private entrepreneurs and armed primarily with bronze cannons cast in Stockholm. Richly decorated as a symbol of the king’s ambitions for Sweden and himself, when completed she was one of the most powerfully armed vessels in the world. However, Vasa was dangerously unstable, with too much weight in the upper hull structure. Despite this lack of stability, she was ordered out to sea and sank just minutes after encountering a breeze stronger than a breeze. The order to sail was the result of a combination of factors. The king, who commanded the army in Poland at the time of her maiden voyage, was anxious to see Vasa take the place of flagship of the reserve squadron at Alvsnabben in the Stockholm Archipelago. At the same time, the king’s subordinates lacked the political courage to openly discuss the ship’s problems or to delay the maiden voyage. The Swedish Privy Council organized an investigation to find those responsible for the disaster, but in the end no one was punished.

During an investigation of the wreck in 1961, marine archaeologists found thousands of artifacts and the remains of at least 15 people in and around Vasa’s hull. Among the many items found were clothing, weapons, cannons, tools, coins, cutlery, food, drink and six out of ten sails. The artifacts and the ship itself have provided scholars with invaluable insight into the details of naval warfare, shipbuilding techniques and daily life in early 17th-century Sweden. Today, the Vasa is the best-preserved ship from the 17th century in the world and also the most visited museum in Scandinavia. The Vasa wreck is continuously being monitored and researched on how to best preserve this historical specimen.

What does Vasa look like as a wreck and what is left? The Vasa has four preserved decks: the upper and lower gun decks, the storeroom and the orlop. Due to the constraints of preparing the ship for conservation, archaeologists had to work quickly, in 13-hour shifts during the first week of excavation. The upper gun deck was heavily disturbed by various salvage projects between 1628 and 1961 and contained not only material that had fallen from the rigging and the upper deck, but more than three centuries of harbor debris.

The decks below are less and less destroyed. The decks contained not only gun carriages, three surviving cannons and other items of a military nature, but were also the places where most of the sailors’ personal belongings were placed at the time of the sinking. This included a wide variety of scattered finds, as well as crates and barrels of spare clothing and footwear, tools and repair materials, money, privately purchased groceries and all items of daily use. necessary for life at sea.

Most of the objects found are made of wood, which testifies not only to the simple life on board, but also to the generally unsophisticated state of Swedish material culture at the beginning of the 17th century. The lower decks were primarily used for storage, so the hold was filled with kegs of provisions and gunpowder, coils of anchor cable, iron shot for guns, and some officers’ personal belongings. On the orlop deck, a small compartment contained six of the ship’s ten sails, spares for rigging, and working parts for the ship’s pumps. Another compartment contained the ship’s carpenter’s belongings, including a large tool chest.

After the ship itself was salvaged and excavated, the site of the loss was thoroughly excavated during 1963–1967. This produced many pieces of rigging as well as structural timber falling off, particularly from the bill head and stern castle. Most of the sculptures that decorated the exterior of the hull were also found in the mud, along with the ship’s anchors and the skeletons of at least four people. The last item mentioned was a nearly 12 meter long boat, called an esping in Swedish, found lying parallel to the ship and believed to have been towed by Vasa when it sank.

The Vasa Museum is something you must not miss when you come to Stockholm. There are various exhibitions in the museum with different themes such as life on board and its historical context. The film about you is shown in different languages. There is also an audio guide in different languages, which visitors use on their mobile devices. The museum has free Wi-Fi internet. In addition, there is a well-stocked shop and a pleasant restaurant for lunch and fika (a wonderful and unusual Swedish custom that you must try). It is important to note that admission to the museum is free for children under 18 years of age.

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of the third special post about the legendary luxurious Swedish warship Vasa, which would not have been possible without the selfless help of the Visit Stockholm in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Swedish culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Sweden.

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual city in Scandinavia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about Royal Palace of Stockholm? Have you had the chance to visit the heart of Scandinavia so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Stockholm,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Stockholm, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Sweden: Everything You need to know about The Royal Palace in Stockholm…

My dear travellers and lovers of unique trips, I hope you are well and ready to continue our adventure in the heart of Scandinavia and the capital of the Kingdom of Sweden – Stockholm. As I promised you in the previous post, in the following posts I will share with you some more detailed information about certain sights that caught my attention and that I am sure will intrigue you. Today’s post will be dedicated to the Royal Palace in Stockholm, as well as the royal complex.

If by any chance you didn’t have time to read the first travelogue about Stockholm on the Mr.M blog or you want to remind yourself of some details, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following link.

Today I will share with you my impressions of the Royal Palace in Stockholm and I would like to thank the Visit Stockholm for the invitation and the amazing experience to get to know the culture and customs in the heart of Scandinavia.

Before I start my story about the Royal Palace today, I think we should get to know the members of the Swedish Royal Family better. Since 1818, the Swedish royal family has consisted of members of the Swedish royal house of Bernadotte, closely related to the King of Sweden. Today, those recognized by the government are entitled to royal titles and perform official duties and ceremonial state duties. The extended royal family consists of other close relatives who are not directly from the royal family and therefore do not officially represent the country.

Throne room – “Hall of State”

The Swedish royal family, closely related to the head of state, could be identified as having existed since the 10th century AD, with more precise details added during the two or three centuries that followed. An exception is the case of Saint Bridget, who became known outside of Sweden as the Princess of Nericia, which seems to have been a noble and not a royal title, since she was not the daughter of a king. Historically confirmed monarchs are officially listed by the Swedish Royal Court.

Until the 1620s, the Swedish provinces were granted as territorial appanages to royal princes who, as their dukes, ruled semi-autonomously. Beginning with the reign of Gustavus III, and as codified in 1772, the provincial duchies existed in the royal family only as nominal non-hereditary titles, without any inherent ownership or trust in them, although several members of the royal family maintained a special public connection with and sometimes secondary residence in “his or her duchy”.

The son of the Swedish king usually held the princely title as a royal dynast (such as Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland), but on rare occasions also as a noble rank (such as Fursten Prince Friedrich William of Hessenstein), or as a courtesy to a former dynast ( such as Prince Oscar Bernadotte).

The Swedish Royal Court lists the following persons as members of the Royal House:

1) King Carl XVI Gustaf (born in 1946)
2) Queen Silvia (King’s wife, born in 1943)
3) Princess Victoria, Duchess of Västergotland (King’s elder daughter, born 1977)
4) Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergotland (son-in-law of the King, born in 1973, husband of Princess Victoria)
5) Princess Estelle, Duchess of Östergötland (granddaughter of the King, born in 2012, daughter of Princess Victoria)
6) Prince Oscar, Duke of Scone, (grandson of the King, born in 2016, son of Princess Victoria)
7) Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Vermland (the king’s only son, born in 1979)
8) Princess Sofia, Duchess of Vermland (King’s daughter-in-law, born 1984, wife of Prince Carl Philip) 9) Prince Alexander, Duke of Södermanland (King’s grandson, born 2016, son of Prince Carl Philip)
10) Prince Gabriel, Duke of Dalarna (king’s grandson, born 2017, son of Prince Carl Philip)
11) Prince Julian, Duke of Halland (King’s grandson, born 2021, son of Prince Carl Philip) 12) Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Halsingland and Gastricland (King’s younger daughter, born 1982) 13) Princess Leonora, Duchess of Gotland (granddaughter of the King, born in 2014, daughter of Princess Madeleine)
14) Prince Nikola, Duke of Angermanland (king’s grandson, born in 2015, son of Princess Madeleine)
15) Princess Adrienne, Duchess of Blackingham (granddaughter of the King, born in 2018, daughter of Princess Madeleine)
16) Princess Margareta, the King’s first sister, born in 1934
17) Princess Desiree, Baroness Silfverschiold (the King’s third sister, born in 1938), widow of Baron Niclas Silfverschiold.
18) Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnusson (King’s fourth sister, born in 1943), married to Consul General Tord Magnusson.
19) Marianna Bernadotte (born 1924), widow of the king’s uncle Sigvard Bernadotte.
20) Princess Birgitta, Princess of Hohenzollern (the King’s second sister, born in 1937), widow of Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern.

Queen Silvia

Now that we’ve been introduced to the royal family, it’s time to learn a little more about the royal complex.

Stockholm Palace or Royal Palace is the official residence and main royal palace of the Swedish monarch (King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia use Drottningholm Palace as their usual residence). Stockholm Palace is located on Stadsholmen in Stockholm. It is located near the Riksdag building. The offices of the King, other members of the Swedish royal family and the Royal Court of Sweden are located here. The palace is used for representative purposes by the king while performing his duties as head of state.

This royal residence has been in the same location by Norström in the northern part of Gamla stan in Stockholm since the mid-13th century when Tre Kronor Castle was built. In modern times the name refers to a building called Kungliga Slottet. The palace was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and was built on the same site as the medieval Tre Kronor Castle which was destroyed by fire on 7 May 1697.

Due to the costly Great Northern War that began in 1700, the construction of the palace was stopped. In 1727, construction continued six years after the end of the war. When Tessin the Younger died in 1728, the palace was completed by Carl Harlemann who also designed much of its Rococo interior. The palace was not ready for use until 1754, when King Adolf Frederik and Queen Louise Ulrika moved in, but some interior work continued until the 1770s.

No major changes have been made in the palace since its completion, only some adaptations, new interiors, modernization and remodeling for various regents and their families, coloring of facades and addition of palace museums. The palace is surrounded by Lejonbacken and Norrbro to the north, Logarden and Skeppsbron to the east, Slottsbacken and Storkirkan to the south, and the outer courtyard and Hogvaktsterrassen to the northwest.

As of 2009, the interior of the palace consists of 1,430 rooms. The palace contains apartments for royal families, representatives and ceremonies such as the State Apartments, Guest Apartments and Bernadotte Apartments. More features are the State Hall, the Royal Chapel, the Treasury with the regalia of Sweden, the Livrustkammaren and the Tre Kronor Museum in the remaining basement vaults from the former castle. The National Library of Sweden was housed in the northeast wing, Biblioteksfligeln (Library Wing), until 1878. Since 2014, it houses Bernadotte’s library. The Slottsarkivet is located in the wing of the office.

The palace houses the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden, a workplace for about 200 employees. The Royal Guard guarded the palace and the royal family since 1523. A comprehensive renovation of the facade began in 2011 to repair weather-damaged sandstone sections. The Royal Palace is owned by the Swedish state through the National Property Board of Sweden, which is responsible for the management and maintenance of the palace, while Stathallarambet (Office of the Governor of the Royal Palaces) administers the royal right to dispose of the palace. The palace belongs to the crown palaces in Sweden which are at the disposal of the King and the Royal Court of Sweden.

Artists such as Jean Eric Rehn and Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander were important to the magnificent interior of the palace during the late 18th and 19th centuries, when pilasters, columns, wall decorations and other details were added. Among those sculptors, painters and craftsmen who also contributed to the later renovations were Louis Masreliez (interior work in classicism and neoclassicism), Jean Baptiste Masreliez (interior work), Akel Magnus Fahlcrantz (Logarden wall and wrought iron fence in Logarden), Johann Niclas Bistrom (sculptures), Sven Scholander (restorations), Johan Akel Vetterlund (facade sculptures of prominent people and four allegorical groups on the Logarden wall), Julius Kronberg (paintings on the ceiling) and Kaspar Schroder (facade sculptures on the court lion mask facade).

Major changes to the facade were made during the reign of King Charles XIV John, which resulted in the repainting of the Harlemann light yellow color of the facade and in the early 20th century during the reign of King Oscar II when the decision was made to return Tessin to the original.

During the reign of King Oscar I, there was a renewed interest in the older styles and when the Vita Havet (White Sea Ballroom) was created to the design of Per Akel Nyström in 1844–1850, a compromise was made between the old and the new. Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander was the royal curator to King Charles XV and shared his taste in interior design, resulting in rooms such as the Victoriasalongen (Victoria Salon) in the exuberant revived Rococo style.

King Oscar II carried out numerous additions, improvements and modernization of the palace. Most of the empty facade niches during his reign were filled with sculptures. He gave an update on the technical installations of the palace, such as the installation of water pipes in 1873, electricity installation in 1883, telephone in 1884 and water central heating around 1900.

Since 2014, the property has been connected to district heating. The king’s interest extended to the decoration of the staircase, and he commissioned Julius Kronberg to paint the ceilings on the ceiling of the West Staircase. Author Georg Svensson wrote about King Oscar II that “his goal was to complete the construction of the palace according to Tessin’s plans in a manner worthy of this monument.”

During 1922 to 1930, Lawgarden was rebuilt from a former English park into a more open area with pools of water on either side of the promenade leading from the East Arch to Skepsbronn.

From 1956 to 1958, the Gustav III Museum of Antiquities was restored. The architect and chief intendant Ivar Tengbom was appointed for the works. The Treasury was opened in 1970, and the Tre Kronor Museum in 1999. 4 years ago, in 2018 to be exact, nearly 600 solar panels were installed on the roof of the palace and are expected to generate an annual output of 170 MWh or at least twelve percent of the palace’s annual electricity consumption.

According to data from 2014, the Royal Palace has 1,430 rooms.

Basement: There are 104 rooms in the basement, most of which were used as storerooms and prisons. The remains of the old Tre Kronor Castle are visible there. Certain parts of the basement are divided into two basement floors because of the large differences in headroom in the different parts. A royal wine cellar could be found under the west range in the late 1800s and 1900s, and is most likely still there.

The ground floor is the highest floor of the palace. The rooms there were mainly used by the court staff, and there are four portals (or arches) that form the entrances to the palace, as well as the State Hall and the Royal Chapel.

The middle floor or mezzanine has 115 rooms. Most of the rooms have retained their size since the construction of the palace, but their use has varied. The name is derived from the fact that the floor is only half as low as the other floors. The rooms were mainly used by the court staff, but there were also apartments of princes and princesses. In the mezzanine there is also a small apartment for guests, which consists of several rooms in the northern part of the western row.

The first floor has 67 rooms. The rooms have mostly kept their size since the palace was built, but their use has varied. The Bernadotte Apartments and the Hall of Pillars are located in the north row, and the east row has private rooms. King Carl XVI Gustaf and his family lived here until they moved to Drottningholm Palace in 1981.

The second floor has 57 rooms. Most of the rooms have retained their size since the construction of the palace, but their use has varied. Guest Suites, State Suites with Vita Havet Ballroom (White Sea), Cabinet Meeting Room and Prince Bertil Suite are on this floor.

The attic, has about 25 rooms, as well as the upper part and the arches that form the ceiling for the State Hall, the Royal Chapel and the southern staircase. The attic is mainly used for storage.

Treasury

Within the royal complex there are several separate museums that you can visit, namely: Royal Apartments with apartments for their guests, Treasury, Three Tre Kronor Museum, Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities, Royal Chapel, Royal Armory Museum. Depending on your interests you can visit the museums that you think suit you, but I can tell you that each of them is special and unique, so you should visit each of them if you have enough time.