Thursday, April 30, 2009

Romanian Zacusca

A traditional vegetable spread found in Romania (probably in other neighboring countries as well). It is delicious on crust bread or even as a topping on rice for a quickie vegetarian meal. It is also excellent as a sandwich spread. This recipe is for a large batch intended for canning. You can cut it back if you want a smaller batch for immediate consumption.
8 lbs fresh eggplants
6 lbs red peppers
2 lbs onions
2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups tomato paste
2 cups olive oil
Over an open flame (gas stove or grill) completely blacken the skins of the eggplants and peppers.
Peel skins off immediately. Easiest way to get the last bits off is to do it under a slow running faucet.
Puree each of the three vegetables separately in a food processor. And place each in a separate bowl when you are finished.
Place oil and onion in a large pot.
Saute onions for about 4 minutes over medium-low heat.
Add eggplant, onion, salt and pepper.
Cook until a thin layer of oil remains on top and when a spoonful of zacusca is removed, only the oil should run off the spoon, not the zacusca.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper to meet your tastes.
Spoon mixture into sterilized jars of your choosing. It is easiest if they are all the same size.
Wipe rims clean and place clean lids and rings on jars.
Place into a single layer in large pot (water bath canner if you have one).
Fill pot with water up to the necks of the jars. Bring to a boil and boil for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool in water bath.
When cool remove from water and you are ready to go. If oil separates just mix it back in when ready to serve.
NOTE: My original Romanian recipe calls for a full Liter of oil but results in a much heavier and oilier zacusca. I cut mine back substantially from the original.

Laura Cosoi

Laura Cosoi was born on January 2, 1982 in Romania. She is a famous Romanian actress.

Biography and Career :

Laura Cosoi started her acting career having a role in the La Bloc Tv Series on Pro Tv. Her role in the movie is Adina - a simple-minded and naive blonde girl. She is a beautiful and passionable girl but unfortunately she believes all the stupid things she hears. Her friends trick her easily so that she always takes care of all the things in house.

Quotes :
- When I was a kid, I used to have a small boutique just in front of my house. I used to sell the sweets my father brought me, my clothes, my cousin's clothes and many other things.

- I feel sexy, I dress sexy, I'm a sportive woman, I dress sport and I pay attention the way I look.

- I don't like to stay 2 hours in front of the mirror like other women. I like to combine different styles of fashion like classic and elegant. I like to feel confortable and I love quality clothes, they make me smile.

- I love shopping. I have a huge shoes collection. I usually do shopping when I leave country because I want to have were to choose from.

- I try to dress different from others around.

- I guide myself after new fashion trends when choosing the right clothes.

- When I'm wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, I want them to be quality and to have a message. Even if I dress simple clothes I want to be fancy in them.

Trivia :
- In March 2006 she appeared in Playboy

- Her boyfriend is Smiley (romanian singer)

Filmography :

- Fete cu lipici (Serial TV) (2005) - Adina

- La bloc (Serial TV) (2002) - Adina

Adrian Nastase

Adrian Nastase was born on June 22, 1950 in Bucharest Romania. He is a famous Romanian politician.

Biography and Career :

Nastase graduated the Law Faculty and the History-Philosophy Faculty in Bucharest. He taught international public law in different schools in Bucharest (1990-1992).Between 1976 and 1989 he was a member of PCR (the Romanian Communist Party). He was also a FSN member. From June 1990 till October 1992 he was Romania's external affairs minister. He becomes president of the Chamber of Deputys and the president of the Parliamentary Group of Friendship with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1992- 1996). In 1996 he is named president of PDSR (the Romanian Social Democrat Party) and member of the Romanian Parliamentary Mission at the Europe's Council Parliamentary Meeting. He becomes vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies and a member of the Permanent Bureau (he assures the connection between the following commissions: the Discipline and Immunity Juridical Commission, the External Affaires Commission, the Culture, Arts and Mass-media Commission). He is also a member of the sub- commission for the human rights.In 1997 he becomes prim-vice-president of PDSR and in December 2000- temporary president of PDSR and Romania's prime-minister (he leads the Government with the biggest economical increase since after 1989, but also with many corruption accusations). In June 2001 he is named president of PSD.In November- December 2004 he runs for Romania's presidency as a candidate of PSD but he is defeated by Traian Basescu on the second tour.In April 2005 he looses the presidency of PSD, remaining the executive president of the party.He got married on 31 July 1985 with Dana Nastase, the daughter of the ex communist leader – Angelo Miculescu. They have two sons- Andrei and Mihnea.

In 2005 and in 2006 he faces corruption accusations and is forced to resign from the Chamber of Deputies presidency function and from the party's executive- presidency function.

Adrian Nastase was the prime-minister of Romania between 2000 and 2004 and from 2005 till 2006 was the president of the Chamber of Deputys and executive president of PSD (Social Democrat Party).

He published many books, such as:

- "The political idea of change"

- "International economic law II"

- "Parliamentary humor".

Trivia :

- He likes Classical music.

- His hobbies : tennis, fishing and hunting.

- He speaks fluently English and French.

Leonard Doroftei

Leonard Doroftei (full name Leonard Dorin Doroftei) was born on April 10, 1970 in Ploiesti, Romania. He is a famous Romanian boxer.

Biography and Career :

Discovered by the emeritus coach Titi "Towel" Tudor, Doroftei began boxing in 1884, aged 14 for the club Prahova from his hometown.

His career continued at Steaua Boxing Club then at Freedom Star Club Constanta. Throughout shi career he has been coached by great names like Emil Popa, Ilie Dascalu, Relu Auras.

Doroftei scored his first successes in the junior league thanks to his powerful left hand strike. He became national champion in 1986 and 1987.

The successes in the junior league were followed by five titles in the senior league in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997.

His most notorious winnings were in the int ernational tournaments. He won the world Champion title in Berlin 1995. After the second place at the European Championship in Bursa 1993, he obtained the title of European champion in 1996 at Vejle.

His performances at the Olympic games in Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996, where he obtained the bronze medals , where among the best ever in Romanian boxing history.

In 1998, after 13 years and over 250 amateur boxing, Leonard "The Lion" Doroftei goes into the pro league.

In 6 years of professional boxing he boxed for the Canadian club Interbox from Montreal, coached by Stephane Larouche.

He disputed 24 matches, winning 22 of them, 8 of whom by K.O , loosing one game and one draw.

His most important fights were held stating from 2002. In that year, on the 5th of January in San Antonio USA, he claims the World Title Light Weight WBA version from Raul Balbi. On the 31st of may he thrilled an audience of more than 8.000 in Bucharest’s boxing hall "Ioan Knust Ghemanescu" by winning the rematch against Raul Balbi.

On the 17th of May 2003 he boxes in Pittsburg USA for the unification of the WBA and IBF titles against the American Paul Spadafora, the match ending in a draw. Leonard remains in the possession of the WBA belt.

On October 23rd 2003 in Bucharest he looses the world title without throwing a single punch because he didn't make the weight limit. He was 4¼ lb (1.9 kg) over the 135 lb (61.2 kg) weight limit, so he lost his WBA title in favor of Miguel Calist.

On July 25, 2004 he tried to win the interim WBC title but Arthuro Gatti knocks him out in two rounds.

Trivia :

- He is married and lives in Romania with his wife and two sons.
- He works as a trainer for boxing prospects.

Awards :

- Champion WBA version.
- 239 winnings in the amateurs league.
- European Champion Vejle 1996.
- World Champion in Berlin 1995.
- Bronze medals at the Olympic games in Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baile Herculane

Situated in the South-Western part of the country, on both sides the Cerna river, reaching till the foot of the Dormogled Mountain Mass, Baile Herculane is a natural reservation famous for its variety and riches of its flora. The resort is the oldest one in Romania among all resorts and it was founded almost 2000 years ago. (1825 years since its foundation were celebrated in 1978).

Baile Herculane lie at 160 m altitude and because of some relief particularities, the climate is mild, having Mediterranean influences. The annual average temperature is +9,3 C degrees. The winds are weak, the rainfall is reduced. The place is also dominated by mild winters, short, early springs and cool summers. The cloudiness is less present, and therefore the clear days start in March and end in October.
Because of the increased thermal and mineral effects, the physiological agency of the waters in Herculane is very complex and their therapeutic value is high. The temperature of the thermal waters alternates between 41 C degrees and 60 C degrees. The waters are sulphurous, calcic, magnestic.
The multifold landscape, the amazing flora and fauna, the pleasant climate, the picturesque surroundings, all of these make Baile Herculane to be a favourite place for holydays, relaxation and active rest.
In modern times, the spa town has been visited for its natural healing properties: hot springs with sulfur, chlorine, sodium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals, as well as negatively ionized air. Before World War II, it remained a popular destination with Western Europeans, who lent the town a refined elegance. During the Communist rule, mass tourism facilities were built, such as the tall concrete hotels which dominate the skyline. It was especially popular with retirees, who would spend their state-allotted vacation vouchers there, hoping to improve their health. Today, they share the town with a younger crowd, attracted by its beautiful mountain setting. Although very beautiful, may of the Austro-Hungarian buildings are now derelict including many of the baths.


Mamaia is the biggest resort on the Romanian Black Sea shore. It is situated immediately north-east of Constanţa, Romania. Mamaia has almost no full time residents, being populated mostly during the summer.

Mamaia is 8 km (5 miles) in length and only 300 m (328 yards) in width, being a strip of land between the Black Sea and Lake Siutghiol.

Through major developments throughout the past couple of years, Mamaia has transformed itself into a major summer destinations of Europe.

The beach season is at its best between mid-May and late September, when average daytime temperatures are 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). The water is warm until late autumn.

Hotels range from mid-end to exclusive 4 and 5 stars hotels and private clubs.

The 11th reunion of the Central European heads of state took place in Mamaia on May 27–May 28, 2004.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Romanian painter, etcher and art critic.

He entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Jassy at a time when the Academy was in its heyday, studying at the same time as Stefan Dimitrescu did (later Tonitza, Dimitrescu, Sirato and O. Han were to form the "Group of the Four"). Professors were Gheorghe Popovici and Emanoil Bardasare. If in 1908 he would be in Munich for attending courses at the Bavarian Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the next three years would be spent in Paris for studio visits and realisation of sketches after famous painters. Although the young artist's creation would initially conform to the manner of painting of the time, his endowment as a colourist and the "fraîcheur" of his feelings would take him irreversibly to the realm of originality. The painter's aesthetics would stem from the Impressionism specificity, the findings of the representatives of Post-impressionism, and by all means from the embellishing practice in doing a composition and the Belle Epoque splendour of the 1900 art (see the 1900 Style). Equilibrium, hedonism- the unrepressed joy for the enchanting appearances of reality-, and a calm sensuality all concurred in rendering his pictures full of light, in exalting and matching colours, and in ideally matching the form (given by a gracefully imagined drawing) with colour. His commitment to his time events is best perceivable in his graphic work, malitious and sometimes dramatical (he sketched for many of the time magazines: "Rampa", "Flacara", "Clopotul", "Hiena", etc.), and in his articles, which mainly discussed cultural and social events. Although he could not be spared the restlessness of every day life, and could not escape the contemporary life determination, the serenity of his painting was a datum. It proposed a classical aesthetical ideal, worshipped the beautiful, and viewed the art as a treasurer of spiritual values in eternity. His art is certainly there in the Dobrogea landscapes, in the portraits of clowns and children, in the portraits of young women, in still life, with its touch of mildness and vast canvas, where lights smoothly play on objects, with shining colours.

Cotnari Winery

The village of Cotnari is 54km northwest of Iasi. Its nearby vineyards, dating from 1448, are among the most famed in Romania, producing four to six million bottles of sweet white wine a year and exporting to the US, Canada, England, Italy, Spain and Japan, among others. Legend says Stefan cel Mare, someone who undoubtedly knew his wine, described it as ‘wine given by God’.
In the 15th century, French monks arrived in the area, bringing grape stocks, which they planted in the village and by the end of the 19th century Cotnari wine had scooped up prizes at international exhibitions. A half completed and abandoned royal palace, odered by King Michael I in 1947, was restored in 1966 and today houses Cotnari Winery’s administration.
The winery’s most popular wines include white table wines such as frâncusa (dry), catalina (semisweet), and the sweet, golden grasa and tamâioasa dessert wines.
The cotnary Winery hosts wine-tasting sessions and tours of its cellars and factory (by appointment only). Every year on 14 September, wine connoisseurs converge on Cotnari to get ripped in celebration of the harvest.
From the Cotnari shop in the village, continue on the road towards Botosani and Hârlau. The factory is 200m farther on the left.


Romania, a name which in many minds is synonymous with many bad things. This, because nobody told you the good things about Romania. Nobody told you for exemple, that Romania is a country inhabitated by 600.000 years, and the ancestors of the romanians, had a blossom and high civilization the same at least, as the greeks and romans, and some ancient gods, for exemple Orfeus was tooked by the greeks from here, the same with Herodot which borrowed from the dacian doctors-priests the otah which today is named after him. Just a few people known that the jet engine, the fountain pen or the insulin was romanian inventions, or that the old writing from the world was discovered on the valley of the river Mures from Romania from where the Summerian civilizations just barrow it. These are things which can be learn from the magazines or internet, but nobody and nothing will offer you the sensation that you will live coming in these country blessed by God. Here you will find all the relief forms existing in nature: plain, hill, plateau, mountains and sea. All the tourists which are coming in Romania, and visit this country, are surprised by the diversity of the relief and its alternancy because here the hills are plaiting harmonious and naturally with the plain and the mountains. Here, the fall on the valleys of the Carpathians Mountains, the colours of the forrest made a charming immage that never will erase from your mind. Do not forget the faboulous Danube Delta, natural reserve of biosfera and a paradise of birds and fishes. The hay stacks, nature allways green, herds of cattle and especial the flock of sheeps, which sometime cross over the roads,giving to the tourists the ocasion to see the ancient tradition of transhumance will enjoy your eyes and feelings help you to remember the period of your childhood or will make you to see alive the stories of your grandparents. If you will climb on the pick of the mountains you will find there as in to the plains or in to the hills region, beautiful landscapes, glacial lakes cleans and clears as some eyes used by the planet to watch the sky. You will be impressed by the silence and the fresh and unpolutted air, and in the winter season you will be able to skiing in to the ski resort which are spread in all Romania. All this form the nature of the country but are not the only one things which can be seeing here. The tracks of the past are present at every step that we make in this country. The fortifications situated on the picks of the hills as some vultures nests, the palaces of the nobiles, the summer residence of the romanian royal family from Peles, the fortified churches from Transylvania which are the romanian equivalent of the castles from Loira valley (France), the painted churches from Moldova(Bucovina), the faimous constructions and wooden churches from Maramures, the medieval towns-citadells Brasov, Sighisoara, Sibiu, Cluj-Napoca, Alba Iulia, Hunedoara, are so many living proofs of the existence on these lands to a lineage which not just defended the european civilisation alone, but had time between to invasions of the empires from neighbourhood to create and let to its progenys and to humanity real treasures of architecture and art. As a proof of their value and apreciations many of this vestiges was included in to the UNESCO heritage. You will be glad to discover the romanian traditions very well preserved yet in some regions and the numerous legends of the place the most well known beiing the one of the Count Dracula. And when you are tired to visit all the places that I've described to you above, you will be able to stop to clean and peaceful hotels or in guest houses which preserved and unchanged the way of life of the Romanian peasant. You will be able to feast from our traditional dishes which are so tasty then I can't find the right word to describe it and you will drink from our wine or plum brandy which will fill the taste of food. Which is very important ot know is that, in Romania over 80% from the traditional food is prepared using natural ingredients, obtained from bio traditional methods. Because of that the taste of our dishes and liquers or wines is different by the one from the rest of Europe and you will find in it the flavour and the savour of the earth which was help to grow the vegetals, the fruits, the grass, the flowers or the cereals which feed the animals from whose meet, milk or honey you eat. At the end of the day you will walk trough our cities or villages without the fear to be robbed or killed. Romania is a safe country and the criminality from our localities is below that the one from the biggest citys of the world. In the night time you will have a sweet sleep, without worries as in your childhood, in the silence of the romanian nights, because the next day to go again on your way trough that wonderfull country, discovering its treasures and pray the Lord that your trip never ends.
This is the real Romania.


This section is courtesy of Romanian National Tourism Office for North America.
Started by Romans, unique in Europe, today Romania's 70 natural spas provide relief for many medical disorders and illnesses including rheumatism, endocrine, kidney, liver, respiratory, heart, stomach and nervous diseases as well as nutrition, metabolism and gynecological malfunctions.
Romania is home to more than one third of Europe's mineral and thermal springs. Natural factors are complemented — under attentive medical care — by physiotherapy, acupuncture, electrotherapy and medicines produced from plants.
Romania's main spas include: Mangalia, Neptun, Eforie Nord, Covasna, Slanic Moldova, Vatra Dornei, Borsec, Sovata, Tusnad, Calimanesti, Govora, Herculane, Buzias and Baile Felix.


This section is courtesy of Travel Lady Magazine
"More religious frescoes?" Yes and no. Frescoes, surely, and unquestionably religious, but in northeastern Romania's Bucovina region, the "big five" painted monasteries greatest treasures aren't hidden behind closed doors. Instead, they cover the exterior walls, eaves to ground, ready to overwhelm viewers at first glimpse. They've been doing just that for some 500 years.Easily accessible from bases in Campulung Moldovenesc or Suceava, these UNESCO World Heritage Monuments can be viewed in one frustratingly rushed day, but are better savored in two or three. Most packaged tours of Romania include at least three of the monasteries. Joining a locally based tour or hiring a taxi for the day are other options. Those not intimidated by narrow, winding, often pot-holed mountain roads will find a rental car the best way to explore both scenery and sights.A sample circuit could begin from Campulung Moldovenesc's comfortable Hotel Zimbrul. The hotel is right on the main street, as is the turn-off for the first monastery and the return from the last. A 30-minute drive through mountains thick with fir trees leads to Moldovita, founded in 1532. Hundreds of tableaux bring childhood Sunday school lessons to life, but there is also the chance to learn a little history. One of Moldovita's most valuable compositions recreates, in vibrant reds and blues, the siege of Constantinople. For centuries, Romania suffered Turkish invasions and many of the country's 2,000-plus monasteries were built in gratitude for various victories.Although the monasteries builders could hardly have anticipated 20th Century driving times, the fact remains that a 30-minute drive separates one from another. A wooded stretch brings travelers to Sucevita whose powerful stone fortification walls and towers seem more likely to enclose a bleak medieval castle than wall after wall of glorious paintings. Dating to the late 16th Century, Sucevita boasts the greatest number of images — thousands — painted against a green background often compared to the color of a lawn just after the rain.At the town of Marginea, noted for black pottery, drivers should turn south to Solca where a short detour leads to the monastery of Arbore. If time demands skipping something, Arbore would be the choice as its exterior frescoes have faded considerably. However, the interior offers a chance to observe the Romanian Orthodox custom of hanging embroidered scarves around icons and from chandeliers. In all the monasteries, interior paintings have not fared too well, proving that incense and candle smoke can be more destructive than wind and rain.To reach the next monastery, return to Solca, continue south to the town of Gura Humorului, then follow signs for Humor monastery. You'll know you've arrived when a roadside display of painted eggs, hand-embroidered vests and cloth comes into view. Prices are low, the quality of workmanship high. In the 15th Century, calligraphers and painters of miniatures practiced their craft at Humor, whose walls have been described as "pages of a manuscript covered with miniatures, left lying on a lawn." Here, the devil is portrayed as a woman, humorous to today's viewers, but true to ancient peasant belief, while a "hora" (traditional dance) danced in celebration of the Biblical prodigal son's return could have been modeled after a 20th century Moldavian village gathering.Doing the circuit in reverse, starting rather than ending at Voronet monastery, would detract from the sense of perfection and completion that strikes almost all who view this gem. Chronicles state that Stephen the Great, Romania's most renowned ruler, erected the monastery in only three months, back in 1488, to fulfill a pledge after defeating the Turks. Its gentle, yet vivid, blues (popularly known as "Voronet blue") plus the quality of the frescoes have led to Voronet's billing as the "Sistine Chapel of the East." A magnificent Last Judgment covers an entire wall. Animals, including elephants and whales, join people in procession toward the open gates of heaven. First, though, they must pass the seat of judgment. Here, Byzantine-style figures have the soft faces of Moldavian women while angels blow the traditional shepherd's long horn, the "bucium," and the paradise-bound are covered with embroidered cloths.These monasteries remain active, so visitors might chance on a service where the high voices of nuns sing in response to the chanting of the priest. If a clacking sound is heard, it signals a nun circling the church repeatedly striking a long wooden board, or "toaca," with small mallets to announce the start of services.

Romanian Coliva

Coliva is the Romanian translation of the Greek κόλλυβα (kólliva) and it describes a sweet pudding made of boiled wheat.

Ingredients: 1 kg wheat kernel, 250 g sugar, 150 g honey, water to cover the kernels, 240 g crushed walnuts, crunched graham crackers as needed, powdered sugar as needed, vanilla, fine zest from 1 lemon, fine zest from 1 orange, colored candy, 100 g milk chocolate grinded fine or cocoa powder.
Since coliva is a ritual dish, its preparation follows a ritual too. The day before the liturgy prepare the wheat as follows:
Wash the wheat kernel with nine waters (one for each of the 9 angel squads in heaven) then boil in a Teflon pot for 2-3 hours at medium heat. Stir thoughtfully with a wooden spoon to prevent the wheat from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When boiled, put content into an enameled pot and covered with a wet towel, so that the composition won’t form a “crust.”

Sweeten the composition with 250 g sugar and 150 g honey. Flavor with zest from one lemon and one orange and with 1 TBS vanilla.Add 200 g of the crushed walnuts and stir till all these extra ingredients incorporate in the wheat composition evenly. Your coliva is now almost ready – all it needs is the décor that will make it fit for the liturgy.

Place the composition on a large platter and form the coliva with your hands, respecting its shape – make sure you even the coliva to look like a cake. Coliva can take any form: rectangular, oval or round, and sometimes even “cross.” With the rest of the crushed walnuts and crushed graham crackers cover the coliva on the top and the sides. Add powder sugar and then make your ornaments out of chocolate and candy. You can even use half walnuts to form a cross or to ornate the sides of the coliva.

Coji de portocala

Cristi Nistor & Simona Nae

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gigi Becali

George Becali (commonly known in Romania as Gigi Becali, born 25 June, 1958) is a controversial Romanian politician and businessman, mostly known for his involvement in the Steaua football club.
He was born in Zagna, Vadeni, Braila County , as his family was deported to the Baragan by the Communist
authorities because of their associations with the pre-WWII fascist Iron Guard .
His cousins, Victor Becali and Ioan Becali, are also involved in Romanian football. In 1994, he married Luminita, 11 years his junior; the couple have three daughters: Teodora (b. 1996), Alexandra (b. 1997) and Cristina (b. 2001).
After the 2005 floods , he funded with $4 million the rebuilding of about 200 houses in the Vulturu village  that was destroyed by the overflow of the Siret river. Subsequently the villagers wanted to rename it Vulturu Becali in his honor.
Real estate business

Becali became a millionaire through an exchange of land with the Romanian Army, dubbed by the Romanian press as suspicious, as the Army did not need the land it received and the land he received was worth much more. The deal consisted in Becali giving the army a 21.5 ha plot in Ştefăneştii de Jos (about 15 km from Bucharest) in exchange for a 20.9 ha plot in Băneasa-Pipera, in Northern Bucharest.As the real estate prices skyrocketed in the capital, he sold the land to some companies which built residential areas.
In 2007, it was revealed that in 1998, when Becali sent the offer to the Romanian Army, he was not the owner of the property in Ştefăneştii de Jos, buying it only after it was clear that the deal would be signed. Also, the Army was not legally allowed to give away the Pipera plot, because it was claimed by former owners.The affair was investigated in 2006 by the National Anticorruption Directorate (NAD). In July 2007, the NAD started to investigate a transaction between Becali and the daughter of Defence Minister Victor Babiuc, involving land in Pipera which was sold for $300/sqm.

Ownership of Steaua

Becali joined the General Shareholders' Council of the FC Steaua Bucharest football team at the end of the 1990s, during the presidency of businessman Viorel Păunescu. Step by step, he tried to eliminate other possible candidates and gather all the Club's shares. He obtained 51% of the shares on 6 February 2003 and he bought another 15% toward the end of the year 2003.
On October 17, 2005, his entire fortune was impounded by the National Fiscal Authority (ANAF) for debts totaling US$ 11,000,000. However, Becali sued the ANAF and won the trial, and subsequently the order of seizure was lifted.He was however able to avoid paying the taxes by transferring the assets of Steaua to a newly-formed company, AFC Steaua Bucureşti, allowing the old association to go bankrupt.As of 2007, Becali detains no official link to the club, as he gradually renounced his shares in favour of his nephews.
In 2005, the papers wrote that he commissioned a painting inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, in which he holds the place of Jesus, while the eleven players and the coach hold the place of the disciples. Becali denied the story, claiming that he received the painting from an admirer.
Other business activities

Becali announced in 2008 that he intends to open his own bank, named "Becali Bank", intended to be used "only by millionaires", with an initial investment of 30 million euro. Nevertheless, the Administration Council of the National Bank of Romania rejected the plan of creation without giving a public reason.Cotidianul notes that the National Bank can reject the creation of a new bank if they suspect that the new bank would not respect the laws or that they won't have solid and prudent investment policies.
In reply to this decision, Becali named Mugur Isărescu, the governor of the National Bank, "a buffoon, a frustrated and envious person" and announced that he intends to sue him.
Political career
In the 2000 Romanian legislative election, Gigi Becali has been a candidate of the "League of Italian Communities in Romania" for the seat in the Chamber of Deputies reserved to the Italian minority. He received 16,266 votes (0.15%) countrywide, of which 7,677 in Ilfov County. Nevertheless, he lost to Ileana Stana-Ionescu, who got only 2,943 votes in one constituency. Becali contested the results, but according to Romanian election law, for national minorities, it doesn't matter the total number of votes, but only the person who gains the largest percentage in one constituency gets the seat reserved for that national minority.
He has led the New Generation – Christian Democrat Party (PNG-CD) since January 2004, being its candidate in the 2004 presidential elections, receiving 1.77% of the votes cast (184,560 votes).
In his 2004 electoral campaign, Becali used clips of the "Mihai Viteazul" movie (directed by Sergiu Nicolaescu), whose main character was played by Amza Pellea. Amza's daughter, Oana Pellea, sued Becali for using Amza Pellea's image without permission and won 35,000 RON (about $12,000) in damages.
He often had disputes with Corneliu Vadim Tudor, another extremist politician. These disputes, usually consisted of exchanges of insults between the two.] He had another dispute with Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu whom he named a "cockroach-politician" and a "Very Important Papagal" (papagal means "parrot" in Romanian and is regarded as an insult).
In December 2006, he promised that his party would generate a "Cultural revolution" in Romania.
At the elections for the European Parliament, held in November 2007, his party (PNG-CD) obtained 4,86% of the popular vote, little under the 5% needed for admission in the EU governing body. Same happened at the elections from December 2008, as a surprise to many people.
Views on homosexuality

In line with his conservative Orthodox Christian views, Becali has often made inflammatory remarks in the press regarding LGBT people. During his 2004 presidential campaign one of the main themes of his rhetoric was opposition to sexual minorities, which he voiced over and over in interviews and TV appearances.
On May 26, 2006, Becali's personal foundation, the "George Becali Christian Foundation", along with the Romanian Orthodox Church and 22 NGOs, signed a protest letter calling on the government and the courts to ban the Bucharest GayFest 2006 parade, focussed that year on the theme of same-sex unions. A few days later, the Bucharest Court of Appeals ruled, however, that the parade was legal, and it was ensured significant police protection. Becali justified his opposition to the pride parade by stating that he "doesn't discriminate against homosexuals" but that, "They abuse their rights. This is proselytism. They can do what they want in their homes, but not on the streets. I call on the Romanian Orthodox Church to defend the Christian faith and morals. Becali declared that he intended to pay for a referendum on same-sex marriage, which he believed 99% of people would vote against. He was also widely criticized in the media for asking, "Why [are there] so many homosexuals? I'll give two or five million dollars [for a referendum], so we can finish off all homosexuals in the country."
The media commentator Dan Tapalagă, in an editorial at the Cotidianul newspaper, criticized the Romanian Orthodox Church for its coalition with Becali, and its opposition to the gay pride parade, which he sarcastically termed as "the sin of the Becalised Church".
In an opinion piece written after Becali's inflammatory declaration, journalist Radu Călin Cristea quoted Cristian Pârvulescu, a Romanian political analyst, who described Becali as a "populist who practices a superficial form of legionarism", referring to the fascist Iron Guard movement which took place in 1930s Romania and whose members were named "legionnaires" (legionari). Cristea also warned that society and the political class should stop regarding Becali as an "inoffensive and amusing clown".
In October 2006, Gigi Becali was awarded the LGBT community's "black ball" for the most homophobic personality in Romania, as part of the 2006 Gay Awards Gala which took place during the Gay Film Nights Festival of Cluj-Napoca.
During Bucharest's annual GayFest in June 2007, Becali seemed to have tempered his homophobic stance. He declared in an interview that "I love them [homosexuals] in the same way that I love all other people. They can marry at the City Hall, every day, 10 of them if they want to. But in church, they don't have a place."When questioned about homosexuality in another interview conducted during the 2007 GayFest, he stated, "They can do what they want... marry... I don't have anything against that". On the question of whether he would accept a gay person in the New Generation Party of which he is president, Becali replied "But why would I have a problem with that? Who knows how many there already are?"
In September 2007, he resumed his homophobic speech, stating that if he becomes president of Romania, he will "get rid of all homosexual and lesbian clubs" and create special neighbourhoods for homosexuals and lesbians, so that "they can stay there and leave us [alone]". He also referred to gays as "sinners" and said that "they should go to the priest if they have problems in their head". The secretary-general of the New Generation Party, Cătălin Dâncu, later appeared to distance himself from Becali's comments, declaring that, "As long as EU principles clearly state that minority rights must be respected, Romania as a member-state must respect them". Romania's National Council for Combating Discrimination is investigating whether Becali's comments breach anti-discrimination and hate speech laws, stating that he could be fined up to 8000 lei (~€2500).

In February 2002, Becali cursed and threatened Cristian Tudor Popescu, a well-known journalist, in a café, after the latter had written the article "O statuie pentru Puiu Paşcu" ("A Statue for Puiu Paşcu" - a former Minister of Defense in the Social Democratic Party cabinet of Adrian Năstase) in Adevărul about the controversial land swap with the Army and the assault on Malonga Parfait. Becali told Popescu that he should have been shot and that the journalists destroyed Romania.
In 2005, Becali provoked controversy by using extremely vulgar language in an interview, insulting the reporter and the channel he worked for (Antena 1).
In July 2005, in a restaurant, Becali cursed, spat and spilled a glass of wine on Şerban Huidu, the creator of the satirical TV show "Cronica Cârcotaşilor". Becali got the nickname "Ioan Botezătorul" (John the Baptist) after this incident.
Following a match of FC Steaua in April 2006, his bodyguards used violence against a female reporter of Realitatea TV after Becali asked them to "take her away from that place".
He currently is one of the favorite subjects of the Romanian media, due to his frequent slips of the tongue and inflammatory remarks. For example, in July 2005, a reporter called Becali to ask him some questions related to the Steaua football club. Becali used this opportunity to unleash a flurry of curses addressed to Antena 1 and Dan Voiculescu. He himself said in the dialogue that "he is not a civilized man".
In 2008, he admited that when he lost money in a casino, he lost his temper and began throwing chairs toward the windows, breaking them.
 In 3.04.2009 Romanian football club Steaua owner Gigi Becali was placed under 29-day preventive arrest Friday morning in the case regarding the alleged kidnapping of three people who stole Becali’s car in January this year.
After a trial that lasted more than five hours, the judges of the Bucharest District 1 Court decided to uphold prosecutors’ request to place Becali and other four people under preventive arrest.
Soon after the court pronounced its verdict, Becali's lawyer Gheorghe Mateut, as well as the defendants of Catalin Zmarandescu, Stefan Dediu, Nicolae Dumitrascu and Dumitru Beciu, appealed the ruling, while one of the culprits started to curse and air threats.
Mateut deemed the court’s ruling abusive and stressed that prosecutors presented irrelevant evidence to incriminate Becali, namely, phone conversations which, according to Mateut, fail to prove Becali’s involvement in the kidnapping.
Soon after the court’s ruling, Becali’s cronies started to encourage him and said all Romanians are on his side. Six people were heard Thursday in connection with this case and Becali’s properties were thoroughly searched by police officers.
According to police officers investigating the case, in January this year, three people were dashed into the trunk of a car in the middle of the night, taken to a residence in Pipera, near Bucharest, and detained for nearly three hours for allegedly stealing Becali’s car, which he had left open and with keys in the ignition outside a bar.

Ionut Iftimoaie

Ionut Iftimoaie is a Romanian fighter. He is the only Romanian who fights in K-1. He was a boxer, but he preferred kickboxing and began fighting in the Romanian K-1 circuit(Lokal Kombat). He had his first fight at Lokal Kombat 7, in August 2004 and he beat Ivica Perkovic. He fought in K-1 Italy 2005 and he became the first Romanian to fight in K-1. He reached the semi-finals, but his leg was injured and he failed to finish the fight against Freddy Kemayo. He fought many big names of K-1, including: Alexander Ustinov (draw), Josip Bodrozic (win by decision), Sergei Gur (win by decision), Petar Majstorovic (win by decision), Freddy Kemayo(lost by TKO in first fight and win by decision in second fight).Ionut Iftimoaie vs Ivica Perkovic(CRO)- Ionut by decision(Lokal Kombat 7, 11 August 2004) Ionut Iftimoaie vs Stephane Reveillon(FRA)- Ionut by TKO, round 1(Lokal Kombat 9, 11 September 2004) Ionut IFtimoaie vs Josip Bodrozic(CRO)- Ionut by decision(Lokal Kombat 11, 10 December 2004) Ionut IFtimoaie vs Andre Tete(BEL)- Ionut by decision(Lokal Kombat 12, 11 February 2005) Ionut IFtimoaie vs ALexander Ustinov(RUS)- draw(Lokal Kombat 16, 16 September 2005) Ionut IFtimoaie vs Freddy Kemayo(FRA)- Ionut by decision(Lokal Kombat 18, 16 December 2005) Ionut IFtimoaie vs Wojciech Jastrzebski(POL)- Ionut by KO, round 1(Lokal Kombat 19, 10 March 2006) Ionut IFtimoaie vs Sergei Gur(BLR)- Ionut by decision(Lokal Kombat 21, 2 August 2006)

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Bistriţa (German: Bistritz, archaic Nösen; Hungarian: Beszterce) is the capital City of Bistrita-Nasaud County , Transylvania, Romania. It is situated on the Bistrita River. The city has a population of approximately 80,000 inhabitants.
The earliest indication of settlement in the area of Bistriţa is from Neolithic remains. Pechenegs settled the area in 12th century due to attack from Cumans and were given name of Beszterce's district as Besenyő (Hungarian of them) which was centered by Beszterce. Transylvanian Saxons settled the area in 1206 and dubbed the region "Nosnerland". The destruction of Markt Nosa ("Market Nösen") by M0ngols heading toward Central Europe was described by a document from 1241. Being situated on several Trade routes, Bistriţa became a flourishing Medieval trading post. The town was named after the Bistriţa River, whose name comes from the Slavic word, bystrica meaning "the limpid water".
Bistriţa became a Free royal town in 1330. In 1353 it gained the right to organize an annual 15-day fair, as well as a seal containing the coat of arms of an ostrich with a horseshoe in its beak. In 1465, the city's fortifications had 18 defensive towers and bastions defended by the local guilds. It was also defended by a Kirchenburg, or fortified church.
It became part of Romania after 1919, except during its reversion to Hungary between 1940 and 1944.

The main attraction of Bistriţa's central square is the Lutheran church, which was built by the Transylvanian Saxons and originally constructed in the 14 th century in Gothic style but later remodeled between 1559–1563 by Petrus Italus with Renaissance features. It was re-renovated in 1998.

On June 11, 2008, the tower and roof of the church caught fire for reasons that are yet unknown. The main part of the church suffered just a little damage and is not in much danger, the interior being intact. It is speculated that both bells residing in the tower (one dating from the 15th century,the other from the 17th) might have melted. The church suffered from fire in 1857, when the tower's roof and the bells were destroyed. The roof was rebuilt after several years.
The Bistriţa-Năsăud County Museum, located in a former barracks, contains Thracian, Celtic, and German artifacts. 19th century fires destroyed much of the city's medieval citadel.

In Bram Stocker`s novel Dracula , the character Jonathan Harker visits Bistriţa and stays at the Golden Krone Hotel (Romanian: Coroana de Aur). Although no such hotel existed when the novel was written, a hotel of the same name has since been constructed for tourists.

Andreea Marin

Andreea Marin was born on December 22, 1974 in Roman, Romania.
Biography and Career :
Andreea Marin attended the local High-School from Roman and after that she continued her studies at Iasi University from Romania. She got specialized in journalism and public relations at "Thompson Dundation" and in United States at The University from South Carolina.Andreea Marin gathered a huge professional experience during her colaboration with TVR 1 so that she was included in the Top 50 of the most successful women in Romania made by Capital Magazine.Andreea Marin is also the programme director for "The Prime Time World Broadcast", an international company from Madrid, Spain.Andreea Marin is famous due to her TV Show named "Surprize, Surprize" started in 1998.
Andreea Marin made several documentaries and took interviews to a lot of famous international personalities including : Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Mike Meyers, Erik Roberts, Martin Landau, Larry Hangman, Richard Clayderman, Martin Lawrence, Beyonce, Liza Minnelli and many more.Andreea Marin was the presenter for many musical awards like: - Eurovision, Mamaia, Cerbul de Aur.
She represents the Romanian Image for : - Garnier - L'Oreal;- BMW Automobiles;- Procter and Gamble - Head & Shoulders;- Cartier (jewels and stuff).Statistics reports show that more than 879,000 romanians are watching "Surprize, Surprize" weekly, having the highest rate of audience.
Quotes :- I can change the way I look, the way I live and my career because I am extremly flexible and I have a strong motivation;- If I fall, I rise up again on my knees and start building all the things better.
Trivia :-
In 2006 she married Stefan Banica Jr. ;
- She is the first Romanian journalist who climbed Kilimanjaro;
- Her TV Show "Surprize, Surprize" has been nominated for "The Best Social TV Show", every 5 years.
Filmography :
1. The Eurovision Song Contest (2004) (TV) .... Romanian vote presenter
2. The Eurovision Song Contest (2000) (TV) .... Romanian vote presenter

Monica Columbeanu

Monica Gabor was born on January 8, 1988 in Bacau, Romania. She is a famous Romanian model of young age. Monica Gabor Height : 5'8''/178 cm.

Biography and Career :Since she was a little child she has dreamt to become a famous model, but she never thought she would conquer Romania with her beauty at only 18 years old.Monica Gabor has been in the fashion industry since she was 16 and she casted from the beginning for the most important fashion designers in the country.Monica Gabor’s beauty was early discovered and recognized, she was considered since she was 16 one of the Romanian models with huge potential by the local designers.

Monica Gabor really became famous after the media had found out about her relationship with Irinel Columbeanu, a Romanian businessman, wel l known for his relationships with much younger women (he is 30 years older than Monica ).

Monica Gabor was voted the sexiest woman from Romania, in the FHM top and she became Top Model Romania in 2005. Even though the media considered that this title was bought by the wealthy businessman the facts have remained unchanged.Monica Gabor graduated high school in Bacau and the couple decided to get married.Not only because she is young and beautiful, but also due to her special relationship with Irinel Columbeanu, Monica Gabor's success has increased fast lately.Monica Gabor has her own Tv show on B1 TV and it brings her exactly the promotion she needs.

- Monica Gabor moved out from Bacau to Bucharest to share her life with Irinel Columbeanu.- Monica Gabor passed the French oral bac exam with maximum mark.

- Even though Monica Gabor neglected school she handled pretty well the graduation exams.- After she met Irinel Columbeanu she had a silicone implant done.

- In January 2007 she gave birth to her first child Irina.

Mircea Eliade (1907-1986)

Eliade was educated as a philosopher. He published extensively in the history of religions and acted as editor-in-chief of Macmillan's Encyclopedia of Religion. The influence of his thought, through these works and through thirty years as director of History of Religions department at the University of Chicago, is considerable.
Eliade's analysis of religion assumes the existence of "the sacred" as the object of worship of religious humanity. It appears as the source of power, significance, and value. Humanity apprehends "hierophanies"--physical manifestations or revelations of the sacred--often, but not only, in the form of symbols, myths, and ritual. Any phenomenal entity is a potential hierophany and can give access to non-historical time: what Eliade calls illud tempus (Latin for 'that time,' I tend to think of it as 'yon time'). The apprehension of this sacred time is a constitutive feature of the religious aspect of humanity.

Mircea Eliade was born in Bucharest, Romania on 13 March 1907. Although Romanian records give his date of birth as 28 February, this is according to the Julian calendar, since the Gregorian calendar was not adopted in Romania until 1924. Eliade’s Orthodox Christian family celebrated his birthday on the Day of the Forty Martyrs, which is 9 March by the Julian calendar, and Eliade himself gave that date as his birthday. Despite a childhood interest in entomology and botany (which doubtless first attracted his attention to Goethe, a lifelong role model and inspiration), he developed an interest in world literature and was led from there to philology, philosophy, and comparative religion. As a youth he read extensively in Romanian, French, and German, and around 1924-25 he learned Italian and English to read Raffaele Pettazzoni and James George Frazer in the original.

In 1925 Eliade enrolled at the University of Bucharest where he studied in the department of philosophy. The influence of Nae Ionescu (b.1890), then an assistant professor of logic and metaphysics and an active journalist, was keenly felt by the young Eliade and the shadow which fell on the older scholar because of his involvement with the extreme right in inter-war Romania has darkened Eliade's reputation.

Eliade's Master's thesis examined Italian Renaissance Philosophers from Marcilio Ficino to Giordano Bruno, and Renaissance Humanism was one of his major influences when he turned to India in order to "universalize" the "provincial" philosophy he had inherited from his European education. Finding that the Maharaja of Kassimbazar sponsored European scholars to study in India Eliade applied and was granted an allowance for four years. In 1928 he sailed for Calcutta to study Sanskrit and philosophy under Surendranath Dasgupta (1885-1952), a Cambridge educated Bengali, professor at the University of Calcutta, and author of a 5 volume, History of Indian Philosophy (Motilal Banarsidass 1922-55).

He returned to Bucharest in 1932 and successfully submitted his analysis of Yoga as his doctoral thesis at the Philosophy department in 1933. Published in French as Yoga: Essai sur les origines de la mystique Indienne this was extensively revised and republished as Yoga, Immortality, and Freedom. As Ionescu's assistant Eliade lectured on, among other things, Aristotle's Metaphysics and Nicholas of Cusa's Docta Ignorantia. From 1933 to 1939 he was active with the Criterion group who gave public seminars on wide-ranging topics. They were strongly influenced by the philosophy of "trairism," the search for the "authentic" in and through lived experience (Romanian, traire) seen as the only source of "authenticity."

After the Second World War, during which he served with the Romanian Legation in the UK and Portugal, Eliade was unable to return to the newly communist Romania because of his connection with the right-wing Ionescu. In 1945 he moved to Paris where his acquaintance with George Dumézil, an important scholar of comparative mythology, secured a part-time post for him at the École des Hautes Études at the Sorbonne teaching comparative religion. From this time on almost all of Eliade's scholarly works were written in French.

At the prompting of Joachim Wach, Eliade's predecessor at the University of Chicago, a comparativist and hermeneuticist, Eliade was invited to give the 1956 Haskell Lectures on "Patterns of Initiation" at the University of Chicago. These were later published as Birth and Rebirth. In 1958 he was invited to assume the chair of the History of Religions department in Chicago. There he stayed until his death on 22 April 1986, publishing extensively and writing largely unpublished fiction. He also launched the journals History of Religions and The Journal of Religion and acted as editor-in-chief for Macmillan's Encyclopedia of Religion.
Despite his focus on the history of religions, Eliade never relinquished his philosophical agenda. That said, he never fully clarified his philosophy. There has been radical disagreement over his thought, some seeing it as a crucial contribution to the study of religion, and some seeing him as an obscurantist whose normative assumptions are unacceptable.

In Cosmos and History:The Myth of the Eternal Return (1954), a book which he was tempted to subtitle Introduction to a Philosophy of History, Eliade distinguishes between religious and non-religious humanity on the basis of the perception of time as heterogenous and homogenous respectively. This distinction will be immediately familiar to students of Henri Bergson as an element of that philosopher's analysis of time and space. Eliade contends that the perception of time as an homogenous, linear, and unrepeatable medium is a peculiarity of modern and non-religious humanity. Archaic or religious humanity (homo religiosus), in comparison, perceives time as heterogenous; that is, as divided between profane time (linear), and sacred time (cyclical and reactualizable). By means of myths and rituals which give access to this sacred time religious humanity protects itself against the 'terror of history', a condition of helplessness before the absolute data of historical time, a form of existential anxiety.

In the very process of establishing this distinction, however, Eliade undermines it, insisting that non-religious humanity in any pure sense is a very rare phenomenon. Myth and illud tempus are still operative, albeit concealed, in the world of modern humanity and Eliade clearly regards the attempt to restrict real time to linear historical time as finally self-contradictory. He squarely sets himself against the historicism of Hegel.

"The sacred" has also been the subject of considerable contention. Some have seen Eliade's "sacred" as simply corresponding to a conventional concept of deity, or to Rudolf Otto's ganz andere (the "wholly other"), whereas others have seen a closer resemblance to Emile Durkheim's socially influenced sacred. Eliade himself repeatedly identifies the sacred as the real, yet he states clearly that "the sacred is a structure of human consciousness" (1969 i; 1978, xiii). This would argue more for the latter interpretation: a social construction of both the sacred and of reality. Yet the sacred is identified as the source of significance, meaning, power and being, and its manifestations as hierophanies, cratophanies, or ontophanies accordingly (appearances of the holy, of power, or of being). Corresponding to the suggested ambiguity of the sacred itself is the ambiguity of its manifestations.

Eliade does state that believers for whom the hierophany is a revelation of the sacred must be prepared by their experience, including their traditional religious background, before they can apprehend it. To others the sacred tree, for example, remains simply a tree. It is an indispensable element of Eliade's analysis that any phenomenal entity could be apprehended as an hierophany with the appropriate preparation. The conclusion must be that all beings reveal, and at the same time conceal, the nature of Being. A reprise of Nicholas of Cusa's Coincidentia Oppositorum is evident here, as is a possible explanation of the systematic ambiguity of Eliade's writings.

Finally religion, systematically understood as the apprehension of relative worth conferred through non-historical realities (including all abstract and imaginary entities) but revealed and confirmed through historical phenomena is seen as a unifying human universal. It is characteristic of Eliade's style of writing, both in his fictional and in his academic work, that this conclusion is nowhere clearly stated. Leading assertions are scattered throughout his publications on the history of religions, alchemy, symbolism, initiation, myth, etc. inviting his readers either to make an immediate interpretation or to pursue the question further into the thicket of his oeuvre.

Sighisoara Festival

Each year Sighisoara holds a medieval festival in perfect harmony with the town's profile. I have been attending it for 2 years now and can say it's one of the most beautiful moments for me in the summer. In the citadel you can always see people dressed in medieval costumes, wearing clothes with the dust of time upon them, acting as if they have just left their house, 500 years ago. During the 3 days festival you may attend the plays with medieval profile in the most important squares and also can be a part of Sighisoara at night when movies -Dracula related mostly- are projected in the citadel. You can stroll in the citadel and at sudden you may hear some jester's screams or the citadel's representant communicating any important news for the different branches of workers in which the population was divided at those times.(ironsmiths, tins, tanners, tailors or goldsmiths). Actually in the citadel there are towers for each branch of workers. At first the clock tower was the symbol of justice in the municipal hall of the town and once served as jail. (usually those with death sentences were carried there). It suffered also an arson but was rebuilt in the same medieval spirit. The covered wooden stairs that lead to the gothic church and the german graveyard consist of around 121 steps (if I remember it well). So you see it was rather difficult to carry the dead to be buried, but also that graveyard was for the rich people in the citadel. I have seen it and it's a real beauty. I also took a nap there, in an afternoon, beside a cold gravestone and I woke up rather fresh. It's a rather strange cemetery since it's on a hill and it's more like a park with graves...and you really have a feeling of warmth and you may also feel you belong there...Just like it happened to me when I woke up :) . Concerts are always present during the festival, concerts with specific music that deals with the same cultural heritage. Every year an ammount of foreign tourists come here especially during the festival along with thousands (around 20000-30000) romanian teenagers, to express freely their feelings , to play the guitar in open air and to breath the air of history and its unwrapped mysteries.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Romanian forest 'could be voted one of the Seven Wonders of Nature'

An ancient European forest is among the contenders for accreditation as one of the world's most amazing spectacles, those looking at the Romanian forestry industry may be interested to discover.The Retezat National Park in Romania has reached the second phase of voting in New7Wonders New Seven Wonders of Nature contest.It is competing in the forests, national parks and nature reserves category and the public will determine which of the contenders is named the most amazing site of its type.The other categories, which may interest those involved in the Romanian forestry industry, are landscapes and ice formations, islands and mountains and volcanoes.In addition, the most spectacular instances of caves, rock formations and valleys, lakes, rivers and waterfalls and seascapes will be democratically selected in an online vote.The Retezat National Park's website reveals that there are 1,190 species of plants in its confines, more than a third of those found in Romania.Of these, 90 are endemic plants which can only be found within the forest.

In Romania, bribery is a health problem

Alina Lungu, 30, says she did everything necessary to ensure a healthy pregnancy in Romania: She ate organic food, swam daily and bribed her gynecologist with an extra €200 in cash, paid in monthly increments of €25 handed over discreetly in white envelopes.
Another bribe of €25, or about $32, went to a nurse to guarantee an epidural. Even the orderly reaped an extra €10 to make sure he didn't drop her from the stretcher.
But on the day of her delivery, she says, her gynecologist never arrived. Twelve hours into labor, she was left alone in her room for an hour. When a doctor appeared, the umbilical cord was wrapped twice around her baby's head and had nearly suffocated him. He was blind and deaf and had suffered severe brain damage.
Now, Alina and her husband, Ionut, despair that if they had paid a larger bribe to the doctor, then Sebastian would perhaps be a healthy baby. "Doctors are so used to getting bribes in Romania that you now have to pay more in order to even get their attention," she said.
Romania, a poor Balkan country of 22 million that joined the European Union two years ago, is struggling to shed a culture of corruption honed during decades of communism - and stretching back beyond that. The European Commission, the EU's executive body, published a damning report Thursday criticizing Romania for backtracking on key judicial changes necessary to fight corruption. Sanctions could follow, including losing some of the €32 billion in EU aid it is due to receive between 2007 and 2013.
Transparency International, the Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog, last year ranked Romania as the second most corrupt country in the 27-member bloc behind neighboring Bulgaria. Those who have faced corruption allegations have included a former prime minister, more than 1,100 doctors and teachers, 170 police officers and 3 generals, according to Romanian anti-corruption investigators.
While alarm grows in Brussels that the EU's newest entrants are undermining the bloc's rule of law, Romanians complain that everyday graft and bribery blight their lives. One patient here recently offered his doctor a free shopping trip to Dubai. The doctor politely declined.
Dr. Vasile Astarastoae, a biomedical ethicist who is president of the Romanian College of Physicians, representing 47,000 doctors, blamed the black healthcare economy on a pitifully low average monthly wage of €400 for doctors, which he said was forcing them to rely on supplementary income.
"Patients don't want to go to a doctor who is distracted thinking, 'How will I feed my kids or pay the rent?"' Astarastoae said. "So there is a conspiracy between the doctor and the patient to pay a bribe."
"If salaries were higher, then the practice would disappear," he said.
A study conducted by the World Bank for the Romanian Ministry of Health concluded that so-called informal payments amounted to $360 million annually. When an illness requires hospitalization, the Romanian patient typically pays three or four bribes equivalent to three-quarters of a family's monthly income, the study showed.
The Ministry of Health is trying to root out the practice, and recently set up a free phone line for patients to report abuses. Within an hour, it was jammed. Hospital here are plastered with anti-bribery posters. One shows a man hiding a gift behind his back, with the words "You Shouldn't Have" above his head.
The issue gained national attention last month when a 63-year-old man, Mihai Constantinescu, died of a massive heart attack in the waiting room of a hospital in Slatina, in southern Romania, after doctors refused to treat him. Mihaela Ionita, the nurse who wheeled him fruitlessly from room to room, said in an interview she believed he had been refused care "because he appeared poor and could not afford a bribe." The hospital said Constantinescu did not appear to have been an emergency case.
Victor Alistar, director of Transparency International's Romanian branch, said the culture of bribery was a hangover from communism, when Romanians endured long lines just to get basics like eggs and milk and used bribes to acquire scarce products and services.
Physicians lament that bribery is so endemic in the healthcare system that if a doctor refuses a bribe, patients typically become anxious and distraught, believing this to be a sign that their illness is incurable and death is imminent. Doctors then take the bribe to try to allay their anxiety.
Doctors and patients say bribery in the health-care system follows a set of unwritten rules. The cost of bribes depends on the treatment, ranging from €100 for a straightforward appendix-removal operation to up to €5,000 for brain surgery. The suggested bribery prices are passed on by word of mouth, and are publicized on blogs and Internet sites. Alistar said public hospitals routinely exchanged "supplementary payment" lists to ensure they had the same rates.
Dr. Adela Salceanu, a psychiatrist and anti-bribery advocate, said doctors used different and sometimes subtle methods to make it clear they expected a money-laden envelope.
She recalled that one friend, a 42-year-old lawyer, recently broke two legs in a basketball game and was taken to hospital for surgery. When he did not offer money to the orthopedic surgeon on duty, his procedure was postponed for a week; he was finally operated on, but only after paying the doctor an extra €400.
Salceanu lamented that young doctors who refused to accept bribes were routinely chastised or threatened with dismissal by senior colleagues for subverting the black market.
Mugur Ciumageanu, a psychiatrist who has practiced in public hospitals in Bucharest, recalled that when he was a young doctor, he was shocked when the senior physician on the ward took him aside and forbade him to talk with patients for three months. Her explanation, he recalled, was that he was spending more time with patients than she was and, by appearing more caring, was denting her bribery earnings.
Marilena Tiron, 26, a recent graduate of medical school in Bucharest, said the bribery culture among doctors started early because residents were also poorly paid - about €200 a month. She said the issue of bribery did not come up in her optional medical ethics class at the University of Bucharest's Medical School "since the teachers were taking bribes themselves."
Astarastoae, of the Romanian College of Physicians, acknowledged that bribery needed to be rooted out, but he argued that the media exaggerated the practice.
While doctors are god-like figures in most Western countries, respected and handsomely rewarded for years of hard study, Astarastoae said that in Romania, the medical profession was denigrated because workers in factories had been made heroes under communism, while doctors and intellectuals were treated as unproductive "parasites."
Astarastoae, who helped write Romania's code of medical ethics, said that under the code, it was considered unethical to take money or a gift before treatment; after treatment, however, it was at the discretion of the patient if he or she wanted to show appreciation.
He said the college had the power to sanction bribery by revoking the licenses of doctors implicated in a bribe. Few patients, however, are willing to name and shame their doctors for fear they could be shunned by other physicians.
Liviu Manaila, Romania's secretary of state for health, said in an interview that the system of informal payments was depriving doctors of their dignity and needed to be stamped out. While the government's budget is too strained to raise doctor's wages, he proposed revamping Romania's socialized medical system so that patients took on a greater burden of the costs, which could then be translated into higher fees for doctors.
But such proposals are cold comfort for Alina Lungu and 18-month-old Sebastian, who will probably spend his life in a vegetative state.
"The problem is that all this black money absolves doctors of their moral responsibility toward their patients," she said. "It has got to be stopped."

Romanian Fashion

Never mind what the poll numbers say (our survey ranked Bucharest among the least stylish cities in Europe ). In fact, Bucharest has its own thriving fashion scene. Romania has a long design tradition dating to the interwar period, though much of it was destroyed under communism. Now, with the country's economy growing rapidly as a result of European Union membership and more of its citizens able to afford the latest styles, a small group of young designers, many trained abroad, are trying to put Bucharest back on the fashion map. Despite Bucharest's poor fashion reputation, Romanian women can take their fashion seriously. "Romanian women have an obsession for 'trendy,' for brands," says Alin Galatescu, fashion analyst, instructor and director of Avanpremiere Concept, one of the city's big annual fashion events. The same can't be said of Romanian men. Outside of the standard-issue suits worn by bankers and lawyers, most men on the street prefer the "bodyguard" style: jeans, T-shirts, buzz haircuts, sneakers, mobile phones and sunglasses (day or night).

The Romanian Film Festival in London

It’s once again that time of the year, and we’re not talking about the spring. It’s time for the Romanian Film Festival in London! As with our previous film events, we are bringing you the ‘creme de la creme’ of Romanian cinema. Special guests from Romania will be attending selected screenings: actor and director Horatiu Malaele, screen legend Victor Rebengiuc, veteran director Stere Gulea, charismatic star Andi Vasluianu, and documentary film director Andrei Dascalescu. In the programme: SILENT WEDDING by Horatiu Malaele, HOOKED and WAVES by Adrian Sitaru, THE OTHER IRENE by Andrei Gruzsniczki, CONSTANTIN & ELENA by Andrei Dascalescu, EXCHANGE by Nicolae Margineanu, MOROMETII and WEEKEND WITH MY MOTHER by Stere Gulea, ELEVATOR by George Dorobantu, TIGER DANNY by Radu Potcoava, YELLOW SMILEY FACE by Constantin Popescu, ALEXANDRA by Radu Jude For those of you who use internet social networks, our Festival’s curator, Verena von Stackelberg, created a special Facebook page. Join the group, spread the news, become our friends!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Elena Udrea

Elena Gabriela Udrea (born December 26, 1973) is a Romanian lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L), she has been a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies for Bucharest since 2008. In the Emil Boc cabinet, she has served as Tourism Minister, also since 2008.

The businessman Dorin Cocoş has been her husband since the couple married on Udrea's 30th birthday in 2003, at the Romanian Consulate in New York City.

She was born in Buzău and completed secondary studies at the city's Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu National College. She then attended the faculty of Law and Public Administration at Bucharest's Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University, graduating in 1996. Since 2005 Udrea has pursued studies at the Carol I National Defence University, receiving a master's degree in Military Science in 2007 and continuing to work on a doctorate in the same field. Udrea worked as a lawyer in Bucharest from 1997 to February 2005, resuming the practice of law that December. At Dimitrie Cantemir, she began teaching political systems in autumn 2007, and she has authored or co-authored five works on geopolitics and globalisation. Some of her activities as a lawyer have drawn criticism from the non-governmental Political Investigation Group: for instance, it has questioned the fact that while an opposition city councillor in 2004, she represented the government-run Department for State Heritage Administration (RA-APPS), at one point receiving public contracts worth 710 million lei during a single week.
Udrea began her political activity in 2002 as a legal adviser to the Social Democratic Party (PSD). She joined the National Liberal Party (PNL) that year, becoming a Bucharest city councillor in June 2004, during the period of the Justice and Truth Alliance. She held that office until the following February, and during that time was president of the council's committee on law and discipline. In October 2005 she resigned from the PNL, joining the Democratic Party (PD; precursor to today's PD-L) in February 2006. That December, she was elected the party's executive secretary, becoming a vice-president of the PD-L a year later. In these capacities, she promoted the party and spoke approvingly of the president, for instance ahead of the 2008 local election.

From February to November 2005, while away from her law practice, Udrea was a state counsellor and head of the Presidential Chancellery under President Traian Băsescu. Among her roles were summarizing secret documents addressed to the Presidency, approving lists of invitees to Cotroceni Palace and representing the Presidency at various events. During this period, she launched a series of attacks on Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, who had fallen out of favour with Băsescu; these centred on Tăriceanu's opposition to having early elections. She also drew notice for speaking during a televised interview about a "President of Norway" (which is a monarchy) and of that country as a member of the European Union (which it is not). Udrea resigned her post after eight months, citing the "profoundly unjust" attacks on her and others involved in Băsescu's anti-corruption drive, and her desire not to become a liability for her boss. These controversies centred around the RA-APPS affair and alleged links she and her husband had to the parking firm Dalli, headed by what Băsescu had termed the "personal mafia" of his 2004 election rival Adrian Năstase. Moreover, she was characterised as "the blonde from Golden Blitz"—a Cotroceni restaurant once frequented by Băsescu and the owners of which had business ties to Udrea's husband—having been photographed there with President-elect Băsescu in 2004. (Despite rumours to the contrary, she stated in an interview that her relationship with the President was "strictly professional".)Following her resignation, Udrea continued to act as a presidential surrogate, soon afterwards accusing the prime minister of placing a call to a prosecutor on behalf of his friend and business partner Dinu Patriciu on the day of Patriciu's arrest. She returned to this theme in 2007, when she alleged that Tăriceanu had written the president a note soliciting the latter's intervention in the case.

At the 2008 legislative election, Udrea won 43.4% of the vote in her district, enough to gain a seat in Parliament once redistribution took place. Three days after the legislative session opened, she was sworn in to the new office of Tourism Minister. All government employees on two floors of the Victoria Palace were evicted in order to make room for the new ministry. As minister, her goals include raising tourism's share of Romania's GDP from 3.5% in 2008 to 10% by 2012, and a renewed focus on the country's spa towns.


It was when the Greeks settled on the Western shore of the Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus), where they set up the colonies of Tomis, Histria, Callatis, Olbia and Appolonia, that the local Thracians came into contact with the Greek world. The Greek historian Herodotus was the first to mention the population North of the Danube as Getae (Getians).

In the 6th century B.C., there are records of the Geto-Dacians, an ethno-historical entity branched out from the great Thracian trunk. The first archaeological findings relate to the Basarabi culture in Dobrudja materialized in an exquisite kind of pottery. The Geto-Dacians inhabited the vast area that stretched between the Northern Carpathian chain and the Balkan mountains.

Geto-Dacian society flourished under king Burebista (ca 82-44 B.C.), a contemporary and opponent of Caesar, and a friend of Pompey. Around the year 70 B.C., external conditions being propitious and Burebista's political and military actions successful, the Geto-Dacian people had a unique and firm rule, and a strong organization.

Burebista's country, rooted in the former social and political tradition, was strengthened by the king's conquest of Greek cities, like Tomis, Histria and Callatis on the Black Sea shore, and by eliminating the threat of Celtic invasion. In this way, Burebista came to rule over the whole Thracian-Geto-Dacian world, from the Haemus Mountains (the Balkans) to the Wooded Carpathians, from Tyras (the Dnestr) to the Tisza.

Controlling both sides of the Danube, Burebista was "the first and the greatest of the Thracian kings", as he is referred to in writing by Acornion of Dyonisopolis. The unifying centre of the Geto-Dacian state lay in the Orastie mountain zone (Sureanu) - a natural Transylvanian stronghold; there, Burebista developed a whole system of fortifications, which was to be continued by his followers Dicomes, Scoryllo, Cotiso.

His successful unifying endeavour, which led to the unity of the Geto-Dacian people, language and civilisation, made the king feel stronger, a fact which led him into believing that he was capable of measuring his military strength with that of the Romans. He was supported by the great priest Daecaeneus. Intent upon taking advantage of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, he lent his support to the latter. Unfortunately, Caesar, emerging victorious, planned to take revenge on the Dacians in war. But his murder in the year 44 B.C. delayed an armed confrontation by some one hundred and twenty years. Shortly after Caesar's death, Burebista himself was overthrown by a plot of the aristocracy discontented with the king's absolute power. After his fall, the state weakened and lost part of its territory.

The Geto-Dacians were to witness a new period of cultural and political prosperity when Decebal (A.D. 87-106) acceded to the throne. Geto-Dacian civilisation was by then at its climax. In the 1st century B.C., as the Roman Empire was expanding, the Danube became the border between the Roman Empire and the Geto-Dacians. Dobrudja was already under Roman rule beginning with the reign of Augustus.

Eventually, the Romans did declare war on the Dacians, after a first confrontation (A.D. 87-89), and they waged two bloody wars (A.D. 101-102 and 105-106). The Geto-Dacians were defeated, the Empire led by Trajan extended its bounds over the Danube and turned part of Dacia into a Roman imperial province. Two monuments commemorate the events one is Trajan's Column, in Rome, the work of Apollodorus of Damascus (A.D. 113), and the other is Trophaeum Traiani, at Adamclisi (A.D. 109).

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