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Looking up in Romania


 When we toured Romania last May I spent a lot of time “looking up.”   In a way, I think it is a bit of a metaphor for the state of this country.  They’ve had a rough time, but things seem to be heading in a positive direction—up.  It’s country that  has been all but closed off to Western tourists during the years it was on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain.  It’s now open and here’s why I enjoyed “looking up.”

 Well, firstly I learned a lot about religion and the importance of religion in this Eastern European country with along and complex history.

Religion in Romania

Religion in Romania

Three main religions have populated this region for more than a thousand years and are very important to the people.  In fact, most of the guide books talk about what a religious country Romania is.  You get that sense when you see all the churches.

When we would visit a town, we learned to immediately identify the churches by their steeples. Often we’d see all three in a small town.

The Orthodox churches typically have multiple cross pieces.  The more horizontal crosses pieces there are, the more important the church.  Romania has 14,000 Orthodox churches.



 They look very different from the typical Catholic Church steeple.

Catholic Church in Romania

 The Evangelical Church came into the area around 1100s when the Saxons settled in Transylvania. Their steeples often have a ball.

Evangelical Church Romania

 Not surprising the interiors echoed these differences.  The Romanian Orthodox are very elaborate.  Gorgeous really.  The Catholics are typical of Catholic churches all over the world with the focus on  Christian Icons.



 And then the Evangelicals (we might refer to them as Reformists) preferred very plain and simple interiors, consistent with their religious philosophy.

Evangelico Church in Romania


Looking up to see the Storks

On a more light hearted topic, I loved looking up in some of the villages to see the stork nests the townspeople built.  Tourist attraction? Make life interesting? Good luck?   I don’t know.  Charming addition to the main street.



Storks in Romania

 Gorgeous Ceilings

As in many countries, decorated ceilings are a sign of great wealth.  We visited a few churches and sumptuous country houses to see  them.




What about this staircase.  It doesn’t go anywhere but up.  It’s just  for “show.”


 Eyebrow Windows

And then probably the most fun, were the eyebrow windows in the small Saxon villages, especially Sibiu.  Wow.  I loved them and really enjoyed spotting buildings with these windows.  I really do wonder how that tradition got started.

They are sometimes called, “the city’s eyes.”You gotta love people who build homes like this.









 A landmark for finding your way back to your hotel

And one last fun sight to share:  the deer with the antlers on the side of a building in Sighisoara—a town that is a history book in living color.  This is a hotel right in the center of town.  Great because you won’t have trouble finding your hotel if you get lost.






 Romanian Travel Agency

Our trip to Romania was organized by Atlantic Tours.   We were particularly pleased with Mr. Alin Belini, our online agent, at Atlantic.   He did a great job meeting our needs and interests.  We particularly enjoyed our guide: Mr. Sorin Bucsa who was extremely knowledgable, fun to be with and a good driver.




Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Meegan Holland
    Sep 5, 2014 Reply

    Love the storks and eyebrow windows! Thanks for these photos.

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Sep 5, 2014 Reply

      Aren’t they fun.

  2. posted by
    peggy depersia
    Sep 5, 2014 Reply

    Somehow the proliferation of eyebrow windows in roofs of some villages seems eerily appropriate for a country that embraces a region known as Transylvania and the associations that it conjures.

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Sep 5, 2014 Reply

      I’ll be posting about Dracula and the whole Transylvania myth soon. Did you know that some people don’t know that Transylvania really exists?

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Sep 8, 2014 Reply

      Stay tuned. Will be writing about Dracula myth soon.

  3. posted by
    Marie Preston
    Sep 5, 2014 Reply

    Great photos as always….looking up pays off! It must have felt like you were both the observer and the observed!

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Sep 8, 2014 Reply

      Thanks, Marie,
      I appreciate your comment.

  4. posted by
    Sep 6, 2014 Reply

    Love how you tie in “looking up” in several ways within your blog…interesting, and great photos, as always.

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Sep 8, 2014 Reply

      Thanks, Margaret,
      I appreciate your comment.

  5. posted by
    Kati Boland
    Sep 7, 2014 Reply

    Hi, Great shots, love the eyebrow windows and the storks. What a fun trip. Look forward to Transylvania. Kati

  6. posted by
    Sep 13, 2014 Reply

    You did a great job illustrating the differences in the religions with your pictures of the churches! The eyebrow windows are simply amazing!!

  7. posted by
    Romania: Land of the Dracula Myth | DesignDestinations
    Oct 27, 2014 Reply

    […] see more photos and read about Romania click on  Looking up in Romania or Bucharest: Drum Bun or Romania: Why […]

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    Dec 2, 2014 Reply

    […] have posted several blogs about Romania—Dracula, Bucharest, Looking up and Romania: Why Go?   Here’s one last go at describing my experience. The following are a few […]

  9. posted by
    Why I Travel! | DesignDestinations
    Feb 11, 2015 Reply

    […] gorgeous coast line of Croatia.  The fortified churches of Romania. Gorgeous Cinque Terre in Italy.  I want to see it all and when I cross one item off the bucket […]

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