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29/12/2013 provides everything you need to plan your holiday - unbiased travel information based on extensive, personal travel and an unparallelled network of local specialists.

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For a full run down on Romanian cultural events including exhibitions, lectures and film festivalsin the UK, we recommend you check out the ROMANIAN CULTURAL CENTRE.

To book your perfect holiday
we recommend:

01900 838570

A quaity, personal service by
travel experts in your local area

The Romanian Cultural Centre in London is an independent association, which promotes Romanian cultural programs, and cultural exchanges between Britain and Romania, maintains an information and data base service, and acts as the focus for the Romanian community in Britain. We are all ordinary Romanians who give time and energy to organising concerts, film screenings, book presentations, special events and monthly parties.

For further information and a full diary of events visit:

Bradt GuideTransylvania

Author: Lucy  Mallows
Publisher:  Bradt Travel Guides Publication: September 2008

Too fast the year has turned a  corner, aquaplaning on puddles of a British summers liquid sunshine  Halloween is almost upon us. In Chalfont St Peter the crepuscular rays of  dwindling daylight search deep into the Bradt offices. A nearby murder of  crows is disturbed, breaking the evenings tranquillity in raucous flight. In  the furthest recesses of a basement storeroom something ancient is awakened -  Transylvania lives...

Transylvania has paid an economically expedient homage  to Bram Stokers Dracula for many years. Rocky Horrors Dr Frank N Furter, the  sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania added a later twist,  though not one known to have had local origins. Tourists by the busload, lured  by macabre gothic tales, have fallen on the stories of Vlad Tepes The  Impaler, ensuring the legends immortality. However, Bradts Transylvania  sheds a withering light on vampiric myth Vlads penchant for puncturing  was it seems indulged elsewhere. Much more shockingly, the book discovers a  far darker secret the disturbing phenomena of those twin Transylvanian  songstresses, The Cheeky Girls&

To book your perfect holiday
we recommend:

01900 838570

A quaity, personal service by
travel experts in your local area

The reality  of Transylvania is a vast area, almost 58,000 square kilometres, occupying the  heart of post Ceausescu Romania. Here, vast swathes of countryside unafflicted  by the brutal homogeneity of agribusiness, where horse-drawn carts are very  often the only transport, preserve traditional lifestyles and indigenous  wildlife lost to more intensively cultivated regions. As author Lucy Mallows  reports, Transylvania is the perfect escape from the hectic, stressed-out  Western world. Its impossible to rush. The region is very affordable and  getting easier to navigate. Local cuisine is delicious, hearty peasant fare,  fruit and vegetables often organic and locally produced. Mallows expands  to cover eco-tourism, bear, wolf and lynx tracking together with birdwatching,  hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Elsewhere, she describes a landscape strewn  with medieval cities, hidden Saxon villages, romantic palaces, rocky ruins and  imposing fortresses. Transylvania offers a window onto a Europe thats long  been exorcised out of existence further west, and your name doesnt have to be  Professor Van Helsing or Buffy the Vampire Slayer to brave a visit. volunteer with Operation Romanian Villages, a  campaign to save settlements from demolition during the Ceau_escu regime. She  is also author of Bradts Slovakia and Bratislava.

For review  copies contact Travel Media 01830 540 440 or [email protected]
Price:  £14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84162 230 9
Bradt  Travel Guides
01753 893 444
[email protected]

By Bronwen Riley Photographs by Dan Dinescu

Stunning photography illustrates a fascinating journey by Romania expert Riley around this little-known region. Its myths, characters and buildings give remarkable insight into a hidden world. - Tatler

This wonderful book is a testament to this haunting land. Riley is passionate about the region, and has spent much of the past 10 years living in remote mountain villages. In her elegant prose she explores this land recently unshackled from the chains of communism, and finds a place steeped in gypsy magic. Illustrated with Dinescu's hauntingly lovely photographs, this is a very special book. - Sunday Telegraph

Bronwen Riley writes superbly&Dan Dinescu's photography is simply stunning - Independent

Many people think Transylvania is a fictitious land, like Ruritania or Narnia. It is the birthplace of Dracula. It is the place where dragons live in Harry Potter and the country to which the Pied Piper spirited the children of Hamelin. Indeed, although Transylvania is a real place, truth here is often stranger than fiction. Streams run with silver, the mountains are full of gold, dinosaur nests are found in river beds and haystacks in trees. It is a country of striking cultural contrasts: of Orthodox monasteries, Gothic churches and Communist follies. While the 'King of the Gypsies' lives in a grandiose modern palace, the future King of England has bought a modest peasant's house in a remote village. Transylvania only recently awakened from the deep sleep of Communism and, though life is now changing fast, traditions remain here that elsewhere died out long ago.
Transylvania captures this vanishing world in words and pictures.

Publisher: Frances Lincoln
Price: £ 30.00
ISBN: 9780711227811
Format: 203 mm x 290 mm (8 inches x 11.4 inches)
Binding: Hardback; 192 pages; 250 colour photographs

Tim Burford & Norm Longley

The updated fifth edition of the Rough Guide to Romania is the definitive guidebook to one of Europe's most extraordinary nations. A full-colour section introduces the author's highlights 'the things not to miss' of the country. There are detailed accounts of all the attractions, from the Danube Delta to the bustling capital of Bucharest and the gothic castles of Dracula's Transylvania. The guide reviews the best places to eat, sleep and drink, for every budget. There are practical tips on everything from tracking wolves in the Carpathian Mountains to making the most of the country's many vibrant folk festivals. In the contexts section the authors delve deep into Romania's history, culture and wildlife. This new edition boasts a bigger section on Bucharest and more detailed hiking information throughout the country.
In our opinion the Rough Guide is the must-have general guide for anybody travelling to or interested in Romania

Tessa Bunney

Hand to Mouth, a collection of photographs by Tessa Bunney, exploring the lives of villagers and nomadic shepherds in Romanias Carpathian Mountains.

Made over a period of four years, Tessa Bunney worked closely with these communities, spending prolonged periods travelling amongst villages and shepherd camps. She explains, I would walk along cart tracks and dirt roads, photographing the people I met on the way - peasant farmers working the fields, women walking along knitting in the street. As the title Hand to Mouth suggests, these people survive precariously by their own labour, bringing a new reality to our often-idealised notion of self-sufficiency.

Bunney takes us on a journey through the seasons, witnessing the changing landscape and the rhythms of rural activities: cheese making, crop harvesting and sheep milking. Her photographs reveal a way of life that is at times idyllic, yet often harsh. With Romanias new EU membership and its associated health regulations, this mountain culture, rich in traditions linked closely with the land, is now under threat. Bunney says, I hope these rural communities are given some choice in the direction of their future, and that their culture and the unique landscape they inhabit is not lost for ever.

Publication price £15.00
Order from
Impressions Gallery

Caroline Juler
271 pages; 160 colour photographs; 20 colour maps and several cutaway diagrams of buildings
November 2007

This latest travel guide to Romania begins with a general introduction, Romania Today, and contains sections on food and drink, land and wildlife, history, culture and art. It covers all the main regions of Romania, starting with Bucharest, and contains some less well known ones such as southern Muntenia and Oltenia. The practical 'Travelwise' section at the back contains info on travelling to and from, hotels, restaurants, shopping, entertainment and sporting opportunities. Much of the book was written by the well-known specialist Caroline Juler, who also wrote the Blue Guide to Romania. The guide even emphasises Romania's 'green' credentials at the back in a section called A Note on Responsible Tourism. 'National Geographic encourages rewarding, mindful, travel - mindful of hte relationship between the traveler and the quality of the destination. Romania has signed on to the principles listed in National Geographic's Geotourism Charter, which defines geotourism as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of the place being visited. The book is illustrated withSteve Weinberg's excellent colour photographs.

You can already order your copy from:

ALAN OGDEN: The following selection of books are either written or edited by Alan Ogden. Alan has spent many years travelling to and studying Romania, it's complex history and culture, and the many characters who have travelled there over the centuries. His excellent books are written with passion and enthusiasm and are essential to anybody with a serious interest in Romania, it's history or even certain aspects of it, such as the Painted Monasteries or Bucovina or the Fortress Churches of Saxon Transylvania.

All of Alan's books are available from either of the following London booksellers:

John Sandoe [Books] Ltd
10 Blacklands Terrace, Chelsea, London SW3 2SR
Telephone orders: 00 44 20 7589 9473 Fax: 020 7581 2084
Or online at:

Daunt Books,
83 Marylebone High Street,
London W1U 4QW
Telephone orders: 00 44 20 7224 2295

or from or
Alan Ogden
280 pages; paperback; published 2007

"Moons and Aurochs" takes the reader on an eccentric and out-of-the-way tour of Romania. Starting his journey in the wetlands of the Danube Delta, the author wanders through the mountains of Transylvania into the hidden Carpathian valleys of Moldavia and ends up on the plains of the Banat, along the way meeting Lipovans, Szekelys, Csangos, Saxons and Hutsuls. The effect is to view Romania through a constantly rotating kaleidoscope where colourful historical figures mutate into equally colourful contemporary characters.

Order onlinefrom:
ROMANIAN FURROW: Colourful Experiences of Village Life
Donald Hall (Author) and Alan Ogden (Editor)
232 pages; paperback; published 2007

Romanian Furrow is an enchanting and enduring account of Romanian country life in the 1930s: it is a lasting chronicle to the men and women whose lives, though hard, were as complete and satisfying as the cycle of the seasons which ordained them, and who, from their reliance on the earth, found beauty, passion as well as renewal, and mingled their love for it in their songs, customs and animist traditions.

The author of Romanian Furrow, Donald Hall, wandered from village to village, sometimes stating several weeks to help with the harvest or to repair a watermill. Hall was not just an observer; he was an active participant in peasant life, often wearing the dress of the peasants, learning their sings, dancing and drinking at their weddings, and attending their funerals, Hall was aware that much around him was destined to disappear before the onslaught of 20th century materialism. Hall's account of rural life in Romania - which has not markedly changed today - admirably meets the reading requirements of Green or Eco tourists, a market segment that Romania is investing much of its tourism budget to attract.

Order onlinefrom:
Alan Ogden
360 pages; paperback; published 2004

This book overlaps with Romania Revisited and Fortresses of Faith, but is distinct.  After a useful Potted History of Transylvania, Ogden shows how the country is divided.  There is the large Saxon community, centred on Sibiu, which began arriving in 1143 and lasted until after the Second World War.  It is now largely dispersed, thanks to Hitler, Stalin and Ceausescu, but Ogden has located some stalwart survivors in Viscri, whom he visits on several occasions.  He writes also about the Székelys on the eastern borders of the Carpathians; the remote villages of Maramures; the gypsies; and above all, the Hungarians and Romanians and the historical forces that have kept these peoples at loggerheads. This book is a must for anybody interested in the complex history of the families or Transylvania, and in particular for fams of the trilogy of books by Miklos Banffy

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Alan Ogden
239 pages; hardback; published 1999

The story of the journeys made by English travellers to Romania between 1602 and 1941. The author, Alan Ogden, interweaves the impressions of previous generations into an account of his own journeys made in the summer and winter of 1998. Although the chapters are arranged to follow his own route, he integrates earlier writings into his narrative by linking them to towns and places. The bibliography provides a detailed inventory of published English travel writing in Romania and Ogden has selected those passages which throw light on the attitudes of earlier travellers and highlight some of their more amusing antics. His sources are divided into 'The Gentlemen' and 'The Ladies' and are supported by a general English language bibliography. The book is illustrated with the author's own photographs, based on the work of Karl Hielscher in 1933, and with maps also drawn by the author.

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REVELATIONS OF BYZANTIUM: The Monasteries and Painted Churches of Northern Moldavia
Alan Ogden
274 pages; hardback; published 2002

After the fall of Byzantium and the expansion of Ottoman rule throughout the Balkan Peninsula, the Romanian principalities became the most important depository of the Byzantine heritage. It was here that this tradition was preserved, having been passed on to the Romanians of the Middle Ages by their ancestors. This heritage continued to spread throughout Europe and influence European society and culture, creating the historical phenomenon that the great Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga would refer to as 'Byzantium after Byzantium'. The monasteries and painted churches of Northern Moldavia stand today as true revelations of Byzantium. This full-colour album presents the monasteries and painted churches of Moldavia, which stand today as a testament to the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the Romanian people. As the Romanians living in the historical provinces of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania, which today form modern Romania, struggled to maintain their autonomy against Ottoman expansion, their relative freedom allowed them to express themselves both artistically and culturally. Among their most remarkable creations are the monasteries and painted churches of Moldavia, in northeastern Romania. These monuments, unique in the world, reflect a cultural legacy inherited from Byzantium and the Roman Empire. The author provides a comprehensive introduction discussing the art and architecture of the monasteries and painted churches of Northern Moldavia. Each church is then presented separately in words and pictures to reveal its own unique history and artistic beauty. Also included is an introduction on the history of Moldavia and the Romanian lands during the Middle Ages by Kurt W Treptow, a noted specialist on Romanian history.

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FORTRESSES OF FAITH: A pictorial history of the Fortified Saxon Churches of Transylvania (Hardback)
Alan Ogden
132 pages; hardback; published 2000

As we are just into the second millennium, the story of the Saxon settlers in Transylvania assumes a particular historical pertinence. For nearly a thousand years, these stalwart people from the Rhine valley and thereabouts played a key role in the history of Transylvania until their diaspora in the second half of this century. Fortresses of Faith focuses on their magnificent architectural legacy - the fortress-churches or kirchenburgen of the Seibenburgen. After a comprehensive introduction covering history, architecture, and decor, the author takes us on an enthralling photographic tour, helpfully arranged for travellers into the areas surrounding Sibiu, Medias, Sighisoara, and Brasov. His black and white photographs poignantly capture the moody images of these and stone war-horses of Christendom, many of which are now without congregations and prey to the dilapidation of time. It is a superb photographic record with a broad appeal to overseas descendants of Transylvania Saxons, tourists and students of Romanian history. While there is a comprehensive German-language library and database on this subject, this is the first English language book to address this topic and will be of great interest. The author, Alan Ogden, received enthusiastic support from historians in Germany and Romania as well as official sponsorship from British American Tobacco plc, who shared his vision of sounding the alarm about the uncertain future of this forgotten heritage of Christian Europe.

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John Akeroyd (Fundatia ADEPT)
86 pages; paperback; published 2006

This book introduces the remote Saxon Villages district of southern Transylvania in Romania. One of Europe's least known cultural treasures, the countryside presents a remarkable survival of medieval landscape: fortified churches, unspoilt villages, non-intensive mixed farming in ecological balance with nature and wildlife, set amongst old-growth woodland and wildflower-rich hay-meadows. Such natural beauty and richness is no mere assemblage of fragments, but an intact, integral whole - of inestimable scientific, cultural and human value. But with social and financial pressure for rural development, and as Romania enters the EU, the substance and atmosphere of this special place is gravely at threat. The special qualities of the Saxon Villages will only survive if tradition and innovation can be combined to yield a sustainable economic future and modern quality of life, while preserving a unique sense of place. Farming and quality food production, together with traditional crafts and eco-tourism, are at the heart of both sustainable development and the conservation of biodiversity. The book is aimed both at visitors - past, present and future - to the Saxon Villages, and all those interested in botany, natural history and conservation, and the history and culture of Central Europe. A Romanian edition is also available, which is being distributed to Transylvanian schools and university departments, offices of local and national government, and decision makers.

Fundatia ADEPT, implementing rural development and biodiversity conservation in SE Transylvania, is sponsored by Orange Romania and the Darwin Initiative. John Akeroyd is an eminent botanist who regular spneds his time in Transylvania.

Order onlinefrom:
Or purchase in Romania from the Fundatia ADEPT Tourist Information Office in Saschiz (near Sighisoara)

Transylvania Uncovered is working with Fundatia ADEPT to promote rural holidays in this region of southern Transylvania;
all holiday prices will include a donation towards the invaluable work of Fundatia ADEPT

1: 50 000 Scale Tourist Map
John Akeroyd (Fundatia ADEPT)

This large scale map is essential for anybody staying in the remote Saxon villages of southern Transylvania who wish to explore on foot. It covers the Tarnava Mare region from Richis and Atel in the west to Beia and Fiser in the east, and south from the Tarnava Mare river and Sighisoara to Movile and Dacia. It includes the town of Sighisoara and many of the villages where tourist accommodation is being developed, such as Viscri, Biertan, Malancrav,Crit and Cloasterf. The map is double sided with information in English and Romanian.

Fundatia ADEPT, implementing rural development and biodiversity conservation in SE Transylvania, is sponsored by Orange Romania and the Darwin Initiative. John Akeroyd is an eminent botanist who regular spneds his time in Transylvania.

Order onlinefrom:
Or purchase in Romania from the Fundatia ADEPT Tourist Information Office in Saschiz (near Sighisoara)

Beyond the Forest is working with Fundatia ADEPT to promote rural holidays in this region of southern Transylvania;
all holiday prices will include a donation towards the invaluable work of Fundatia ADEPT

We also recommend the extensive range of detailed maps produced by DIMAP covering Romania;
these include a selection of large scale regional and walking maps, and an excellent updated 1:250 000 scale road atlas
which is a must for anybody driving in Romania. These are available in bookstores, at MOL petrol stations,
or from their website:

Cockermouth, Cumbria, United Kingdom CA13 0RA
- Tel. +44 (0)1900 838570; Email. [email protected] and are information websites provided and maintained in the United Kingdom by Romantique Couture

Copyright © 2014 BeyondtheForest - the Romania Travel Specialists