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Customs and Traditions

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Techirghiol monastery (Romania)

The wooden church of the monastery was constructed by the devout villagers of good will living in Maioresti (which is situated in the county of Mures) in 1750. Local painters adorned it with naïve paintings and with watercolors on wood. The icons date back to 1730 and the Holy Doors were painted by Master Andrei of Sunfalu (the Village of Cornesti).

In 1934, King Carol II had this wooden church removed to Saint Anna sheepfold, in the Bucegi Mountains. In 1951, His Beatitude, the Patriarch Justinian, had it removed once again to Techirghiol, within the resort area to which the priests and the staff of the Patriarchy customarily go for treatment.

The resort was set up by the Patriarch Miron Cristea in 1928. Within 1965 and 1967 and subsequently during the period 1974-1977, the church underwent vast repairs and restoration works under the earnest care of the Patriarch Justinian; at that time, the church was also re-dimensioned.

After 1990, the following structures have been accommodated within the monastery: a retreat for hierarchs, a health resort, the Great Martyr and Healer Pantelimon fountain that is adorned with a bronze statue of the saint (which was executed by Ion Jalea, the famous sculptor from Dobrogea), as well as a museum that has been called "Testimonies of Christian life in Dobrogea".

Exact location

Driving directions from Bucharest to Techirghiol, Romania


Suggested route: E81 - 225 km, 2 hours 7 mins

Bucharest, Romania
1. Head toward Strada Ion Câmpineanu south on Calea Victoriei Pass by Ing (on the left)    - 350 m
2. Turn left at Pizza Hut onto Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta Pass by Banca Comercială Română (on the right) - 350 m
3. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Bulevardul Carol I/DN2/E60/E85 Pass by Agenţia de Plăţi și Intervenţie pentru Agricultură (on the left) - 300 m
4. Turn right at Gold Reserve Invest IFN onto Bulevardul Hristo Botev Pass by Satya Com. Srl  (on the right) - 650 m
5. At Maelstrom Entertainment Web Design Bucuresti, continue onto Strada Matei Basarab Pass by SC MC MUSIC BOX S.R.L (on the right) -180m
6. Turn right at Panco Sa onto Bulevardul Mircea Vodă Pass by Swedish Trade Council (on the right) - 500m
7. Turn left onto Bulevardul Unirii/E81 Continue to follow E81 Go through 1 roundabout Pass by Alpha Bank Romania Sa (on the right in 650 m) - 1.8 km
8. Turn left onto Calea Dudeşti/E81 Continue to follow E81
Go through 2 roundabouts
Pass by OMV (on the right in 108 km) - 157 km
9. Continue onto A2
Go through 1 roundabout - 51.0 km
10. Keep right at the fork and merge onto A4 - 6.8km
11. Take the exit on the left toward DN39/E87 - 230m
12. Keep right at the fork and merge onto DN39/E87 - 2.1km
13.  At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto DN38/E675 - 3.1km
14. Slight left onto Strada Ecaterina Teodoroiu    450m
15. Take the 1st right  onto Strada Oltului - 500m
16. Slight right onto Strada Ecaterina Varga - 95m
Techirghiol, Romania

Info for tourists

Video about Techirghiol, Romania:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LARTFkqYHKU


Dervent Monastery/ St. Andrew cave (Romania)

Hermitage beginnings are lost in the mists of time at Dervent. The oldest monastic place in our country is recorded in the south of Scythia Minor, between Tomis and Durostorum. Dervent corresponding to the position, but the first reliable historical information about the establishment of hermitages near the old city dates only from the ninth century. Strong local monks hermitage were founded here, under the influence of the local ancient monastic settlement, dependent on Tomis and Durostorum diocese and had links with both spiritual hermitage cave monastery from Bessarabia and of the Danube area, the Studion monastery in Constantinople and Athos monastic settlements in the other area of the Balkans.

Despite financial difficulties, the church was recently renovated. In August 1993 started the construction of a building that would house the priory, cells and refectory. Pending completion, people who stay overnight will sleep in chapel, near the Holy Cross, or in church on makeshift bedding and lived in the old monastery's cells. Currently, the cells have been rearranged and consolidated, being used for housing workers.

Coming from Ostrov, accompanied by a hot spot just staring serene flow of the Danube, the traveler sees a hill at a time that ends close to the sun with bright towers of a church. Approaching this place, which defies the grandeur surrounding desert, the traveler will be pleasantly surprised to observe a monastic complex that binds in a harmonious blending past and present, history and spirituality, tradition and contemporaneity.

On the west side is a massive wall of stone, decorated on top with a parapet, frieze, reminiscent of the old fortress that existed on the site IX-XI centuries. At one point, the wall is interrupted to make way for a monument carved in stone, with ancient Christian symbol that stands victorious over the entire valley, as if wishing to discover the amazing journey that there is not a normal city, but a fortress Christianity that Apostle Andrew planted on these lands since the early centuries. The monument is a replica built in 1909 in Lipnita village. At the top is the inscription: "Nothing without God" and hosts based on a well, a symbol of living water which springs from the words of the Holy Gospel.

Exact location

Driving directions from Bucharest, Romania to Dervent Monastery, Romania 

Suggested routes
1. E81 and DN3 - 144 km, 1 hour 57 mins
2. E81 - 160 km, 1 hour 57 mins
3. DN4 - 147 km, 2 hours 20 mins      

 

1. E81 and DN3 - 144 km, 1 hour 57 mins 

Bucharest, Romania
1. Head toward Strada Ion Câmpineanu  south on Calea Victoriei Pass by Ing  (on the left) - 350 m
2. Turn left at Pizza Hut  onto Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta Pass by Banca Comercială Română  (on the right) - 350 m
3. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit  onto Bulevardul Carol I/DN2/E60/E85 Pass by Agenţia de Plăţi și Intervenţie pentru Agricultură  (on the left) - 300 m
4. Turn right at Gold Reserve Invest IFN  onto Bulevardul Hristo Botev Pass by Satya Com. Srl  (on the right) - 650 m
5. At Maelstrom Entertainment Web Design Bucuresti, continue onto Strada Matei Basarab Pass by SC MC MUSIC BOX S.R.L  (on the right) - 180 m
6. Turn right at Panco Sa  onto Bulevardul Mircea Vodă Pass by Swedish Trade Council (on the right) - 500 m
7. Turn left onto Bulevardul Unirii/E81 Continue to follow E81 Go through 1 roundabout Pass by Alpha Bank Romania Sa  (on the right in 650 m) - 1.8 km
8. Turn left onto Calea Dudeşti/E81 Continue to follow E81 Go through 2 roundabouts Pass by OMV  (on the right in 45.5 km) - 60.4 km
9. Take the exit toward DN3 - 1.2 km
10. Turn right onto DN3 Pass by LukOil  (on the right in 41.8 km) - 44.9 km
11. Slight right onto Centura Călăraşi Vest/DN3 Continue to follow DN3 - 9.0 km
12. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit  to stay on DN3 - 5.2 km
13. Turn left to stay on DN3 - 4.0 km
14. Turn left to stay on DN3 Destination will be on the left - 15.4 km
Dervent Monastery, Romania

 

2. E81 - 160 km, 1 hour 57 mins

Bucharest, Romania    
1. Head toward Strada Ion Câmpineanu  south on Calea Victoriei Pass by Ing  (on the left) - 350 m 
2. Turn left at Pizza Hut  onto Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta Pass by Banca Comercială Română  (on the right) - 350 m 
3. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit  onto Bulevardul Carol I/DN2/E60/E85 Pass by Agenţia de Plăţi și Intervenţie pentru Agricultură  (on the left) - 300 m 
4. Turn right at Gold Reserve Invest IFN  onto Bulevardul Hristo Botev Pass by Satya Com. Srl  (on the right) - 650 m 
5. At Maelstrom Entertainment Web Design Bucuresti, continue onto Strada Matei Basarab Pass by SC MC MUSIC BOX S.R.L  (on the right) - 180 m 
6. Turn right at Panco Sa  onto Bulevardul Mircea Vodă Pass by Swedish Trade Council  (on the right) - 500 m 
7. Turn left onto Bulevardul Unirii/E81 Continue to follow E81 Go through 1 roundabout Pass by Alpha Bank Romania Sa  (on the right in 650 m) - 1.8 km 
8. Turn left onto Calea Dudeşti/E81 Continue to follow E81 Go through 2 roundabouts Pass by Petrom (on the right in 63.2 km) - 102 km 
9. Take the exit toward DN21 - 1.0 km 
10. Turn left onto DN21 Pass by The Gallery Social Club  (on the right in 22.9 km) - 23.2 km 
11. Continue onto Prelungirea Sloboziei - 550 m 
12. Continue onto Strada Sloboziei - 750 m 
13. Turn right onto Strada Griviţa Pass by Adimex S.R.L.  (on the right) - 350 m 
14. Take the 2nd left  onto Strada Eroilor - 1.0 km 
15. Continue onto DN3B - 3.1 km 
16. Slight right onto DN3 - 5.2 km 
17. Turn left to stay on DN3 - 4.0 km 
18. Turn left to stay on DN3 Destination will be on the left - 15.4 km 
Dervent Monastery, Romania

 

3. DN4 - 147 km, 2 hours 20 mins

Bucharest, Romania    
1. Head toward Strada Ion Câmpineanu  south on Calea Victoriei Pass by Ing  (on the left) - 350 m 
2. Turn left at Pizza Hut  onto Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta Pass by Banca Comercială Română  (on the right) - 350 m 
3. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit  onto Bulevardul Ion C. Brătianu/DN5/E85 Continue to follow DN5/E85 Pass by Bulgarian Church (on the right) - 2.3 km 
4. Slight left onto Bulevardul Dimitrie Cantemir/DN5/E85 - 49 m 
5. Continue onto Bulevardul Tineretului Pass by Segment Consulting (Romania)  (on the left) - 1.4 km 
6. Continue onto Calea Văcăreşti Pass by Alpha Bank  (on the right) - 1.6 km 
7. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit  onto Şoseaua Olteniţei/DN4 Continue to follow DN4 Pass by Petrom (on the left in 2.5 km) - 40.8 km 
8. Turn left onto DJ403  - 29.8 km 
9. Turn left onto DN31 Pass by Sfinţii Dumitru şi Nestor  (on the right in 2.6 km) - 33.4 km 
10. Slight right onto DN3  - 3.0 km 
11. Slight right onto Centura Călăraşi Vest/DN3 Continue to follow DN3 - 9.0 km
12. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit  to stay on DN3 - 5.2 km 
13. Turn left to stay on DN3 - 4.0 km 
14. Turn left to stay on DN3 Destination will be on the left
Dervent Monastery, Romania

Info for tourists

Related video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_AKB9uYIGk&feature=related


July Morning Tradition (Bulgaria)

Each year, on the last day of June, one could see the way young and adult emotionally minded people head to the Black Sea coast. Real native followers of the hippie movement in America from the 60s of XX-century middle-aged, but keeping alive their young spirit, boys and girls looking for short adventures or simply curious to learn what is happening there on the first July morning, as well as many rock music fans - they all arrive at the sea to become part of the next July Morning. Along with big bonfires, guitars and beer, a symbol of the hippie festival has become the title track song "July Morning" of the British group "Uriah Heep".

The July Morning is unique for Bulgaria because of the nature of its origin and could not be seen in any other European countries. It is believed that it started in 1986 in Varna as a protest against the communistic authority, represented in the symbolic of the song of Uriah Heep. The symbolic greeting of the sunrise was like a greeting of a new beginning and a better future for the first participants. Some say that the idea has already lost its original meaning, and that the young people are not always aware of the conditions, at which the celebration originated or even who the author of the song is. Despite this, the feeling of excitement from the first sun rays as a symbol of the new beginning is still the main reason why the people decide to be a part of this celebration. There are stories about the relationship with the cult of the sun (as well as the teacher Petar Danov) and the marking of the Midsummer, which is grounded in the pagan traditions from ancient times.

Among the popular places for greeting the July Morning in Bulgaria is the region Ogancheto near Kamen Bryag, where the sun first shines over Bulgaria.

Exact location

Driving directions from Sofia to Kavarna, Bulgaria

Suggested routes
1.    Route 4 and A2- 505 km, 6 hours 40 mins
2.    A1- 608 km, 7 hours 14 mins
3.    A2- 524 km, 7 hours 15 mins

1.    Route 4 and A2-  520 km, 6 hours 59 mins

Sofia, Bulgaria    
1. Head northwest on bulevard Tsar Osvoboditel/булевард Цар Освободител toward ulitsa Knyaz Aleksandar I/улица Княз Александър І - 180 m
2. Turn right toward bulevard Knyaz Aleksandar Dondukov/булевард Княз Александър Дондуков - 34 m
3. Turn right onto bulevard Knyaz Aleksandar Dondukov/булевард Княз Александър Дондуков - 1.7 km
4. Continue onto ulitsa Chereshovo topche/улица Черешово топче - 500 m
5. Continue onto bulevard Vladimir Vazov/булевард Владимир Вазов - 4.9 km
6. Take the ramp to bulevard Botevgradsko shose/булевард Ботевградско шосе - 290 m
7. Slight right onto bulevard Botevgradsko shose/булевард Ботевградско шосе - 3.4 km
8. Continue onto E79 - 8.0 km
9. Continue onto Route 1 - 550 m
10. Continue onto A2 (signs for Варна/Varna) - 73.1 km
11. Continue straight onto Route 3 (signs for Pyce/Ruse/Варна/Varna) - 1.4 km
12. Merge onto Route 4/E772 via the ramp to Sevlievo - 9.6 km
13. Slight right toward Route 4/E772 - 2.4 km
14. Continue straight onto Route 4/E772
Go through 3 roundabouts - 246 km
15. Turn right onto Route 2/E70 (signs for Варна/Varna) - 10.3 km
16. Continue onto A2 - 74.1 km
17. Take the exit - 400 m
18. At the roundabout, take the 4th exit onto Route 29 - 7.1 km
19. Slight right toward Route 902 - 13.3 km
20. Turn left onto Route 902 - 16.4 km
21. Turn left onto Route 9
Go through 1 roundabout - 28.4 km
22. Slight right (signs for Каварна/Kavarna/Русалско/Rusalsko) - 2.8 km
23. Turn right at Route 296 - 110 m
Kavarna, Bulgaria

 

2.    A1- 608 km, 7 hours 14 mins

Sofia, Bulgaria   
1. Head southeast on bulevard Tsar Osvoboditel/булевард Цар Освободител toward ulitsa Dyakon Ignatiy/улица Дякон Игнатий - 1.1 km
2. Continue onto ploshtad Orlov most/площад Орлов мост - 51 m
3. Continue onto bulevard Tsarigradsko shose/булевард Цариградско шосе - 11.4 km
4. Continue onto Route 8 - 400 m
5. Continue onto A1     207 km
6. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Route 5 heading to Стара Загора/Stara Zagora - 6.2 km
7. Take the 66/E773 ramp to Богомилово/Чирпан  -  210 m
8. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Бургас/Burgas and merge onto Route 5/Route 66/E773   
Continue to follow Route 5- 9.4 km
9. Take the ramp to Казанлък/Габрово/Pyce/Ruse - 500 m
10. Merge onto Route 5 - 11.7 km
11. Take the exit toward Ягода/Yagoda - 350 m
12. Continue straight - 14.2 km
13. Turn right toward Route 6 - 9.0 km
14. Turn left onto the ramp to Route 6 - 83 m
15. Turn right onto Route 6 - 75.3 km
16. Continue straight onto Route 6/E773 (signs for Бургас/Burgas) - 51 m
17. Turn right onto Route 7 - 100 m
18. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Градец/Gradets/Котел/Kotel/7/Шумен/Shumen - 15.5 km
19. Turn right to stay on Route 7 (signs for Бероново/Beronovo) - 102 km
20. Merge onto Route 2 via the ramp to Варна - 500 m
21. Continue onto A2 - 74.1 km
22. Take the exit - 400 m
23. At the roundabout, take the 4th exit onto Route 29 - 7.1 km
24. Slight right toward Route 902 - 13.3 km
25. Turn left onto Route 902 - 16.4 km
26. Turn left onto Route 9
      Go through 1 roundabout - 28.4 km
27. Slight right (signs for Каварна/Kavarna/Русалско/Rusalsko) - 2.8 km
28. Turn right at Route 296 - 110 m
Kavarna, Bulgaria

 

3.    A2- 524 km, 7 hours 15 mins

Sofia, Bulgaria   
1. Head northwest on bulevard Tsar Osvoboditel/булевард Цар Освободител toward ulitsa Knyaz Aleksandar I/улица Княз Александър І - 180 m
2. Turn right toward bulevard Knyaz Aleksandar Dondukov/булевард Княз Александър Дондуков - 34 m
3. Turn right onto bulevard Knyaz Aleksandar Dondukov/булевард Княз Александър Дондуков - 1.7 km
4. Continue onto ulitsa Chereshovo topche/улица Черешово топче - 500 m
5. Continue onto bulevard Vladimir Vazov/булевард Владимир Вазов - 4.9 km
6. Take the ramp to bulevard Botevgradsko shose/булевард Ботевградско шосе - 290 m
7. Slight right onto bulevard Botevgradsko shose/булевард Ботевградско шосе - 3.4 km
8. Continue onto E79 - 8.0 km
9. Continue onto Route 1 - 550 m
10. Continue onto A2 (signs for Варна/Varna) - 73.1 km
11. Continue straight onto Route 3 (signs for Pyce/Ruse/Варна/Varna) - 1.4 km
12. Merge onto Route 4/E772 via the ramp to Sevlievo - 9.2 km
13. Turn left onto Route 305 (signs for Плевен/Pleven) - 20.4 km
14. Continue straight to stay on Route 305 - 31.4 km
15. Continue onto Route 3 - 97.3 km
16. Turn left onto Route 5 (signs for Ruse) - 7.1 km
17. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Route 51 - 49.1 km
18. Turn left to stay on Route 51 - 650 m
19. Turn right to stay on Route 51 - 1.7 km
20. Take the 1st right to stay on Route 51 - 48.5 km
21. Turn right onto Route 2 - 22.2 km
22. Continue onto A2 - 74.1 km
23. Take the exit - 400 m
24. At the roundabout, take the 4th exit onto Route 29 - 7.1 km
25. Slight right toward Route 902 - 13.3 km
26. Turn left onto Route 902 - 16.4 km
27. Turn left onto Route 9   
Go through 1 roundabout  - 28.4 km
28. Slight right (signs for Каварна/Kavarna/Русалско/Rusalsko) - 2.8 km
29. Turn right at Route 296 - 110m
Kavarna, Bulgaria   



Driving directions from Kavarna to Kamen Bryag

Suggested routes
1. Route 901 - 20.2 km, 20 mins
2. Route 9 - 26.3 km, 26 mins


1. Route 901 - 20.2 km, 20 mins

 

Kavarna, Bulgaria
1. Head north  - 110 m
2. Take the 1st right toward Route 901 - 1.1 km
3. Continue straight onto Route 901 - 96 m
4. Turn right to stay on Route 901- 6.2 km
5. Turn left to stay on Route 901 - 12.7 km
Kamen Bryag

 

Route 9 - 26.3 km, 26 mins


Kavarna, Bulgaria
1. Head north - 110 m
2. Take the 1st right toward Route 901 - 1.1 km
3. Continue straight onto Route 901 - 1.8 km
4. Turn right onto Route 9 - 10.4 km
5. Slight right toward Route 901 (signs for Тюленово/Tyulenovo) - 8.2 km
6. Turn right onto Route 901 - 4.8 km   
Kamen Bryag

 

Info for tourists

Related videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjLWci6ZAtk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD8-XXKXEYc


Fire Dancing Ritual "Nestinari" (Bulgaria)

In its full custom, this tradition is common only in some villages between Strandzha Mountain and the Black Sea, Burgas region, even though the fire dancing has become a popular tourist attraction and could be seen on specially organized touristic events. In its traditional custom it is practiced also in some regions of Greece. According to the tradition, the custom is made on the holiday of St. Constantine and Elena, and sometimes also during village fairs and church holidays. The main event in the custom is the play in the fire (live coals). The whole village participates in the festivity, but the ritual play is done only by the fire-dancers. According to the beliefs, the fire-dancers are chosen by the saint, patron of the holiday. They "see" his image, "hear" his voice, his soul instils in them and in his name they see in the future, tell fortunes, they advise and scold.

The fire-dancing is hereditary. The main fire-dancer could be only the son or daughter of the current one, and only after he is too old or after his death. The house of the main fire-dancer is holy, because it has inside a place like a small chapel with the icons of St. Constantine and Elena, and around them are the icons of St. Mother of God, St. George, St. Panteleimonos, prints from the Holy Sepulcher and red handkerchiefs with drawn sun. In the chapel is kept the holy drum, which measures the rhythm of the dance. It is believed that it has a magical power and it could heal the one who carries it, if he is ill and this drum is not used on any other occasion.

On the day of the holiday, after the church service, everyone heads to the chapel, lead by the main fire-dancer and the priest. There, the main fire-dancer incenses the icons and the other fire-dancers and gives them the spiritual strength and the inspiration of St. Constantine. They beat the drum and with a bagpipe they play a special fire-dancing melody. Some of the fire-dancers are instilled (religious extreme condition, trance) and start playing with the icon of the saint in their hand. After this everyone heads to a spring, bearing the name of the saint, and there they make a common feast with brought traditional food. After sunset they come back to the square and there they make a big fire, around which they play a dance under the sound of the bagpipe and the drum. When the fire gets down and becomes live coals, the fire-dancers start their dance on the coals. The fire-dancer plays his dance barefoot on the live coal and while he dances he can see and tell the future, and after the dance his skin is untouched by the fire.

Exact location

Info for tourists

Related videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx1EELWF9_Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBQrCb6XRRU&feature=related


Edirne Bazaars (Turkey)

Edirne located at 225 km from Istanbul is one of the oldest settlements of both Thrace and Anatolia. Dating back to the neolithic age 7.000-6.000 B.C. with last excavations, examples of prehistoric monuments - dolmens, menhirs and tumulus - can be seen from its outskirts, notably in the Çardakaltı prehistoric settlement and in Lalapasa.

The various historical names Edirne has had indicate the many historical periods it has been through. From Odrisia - founded by the Thracian civilisation Odryses in the 5th century B.C. - to Hadrianopolis - after Roman Emperor Hadrian who re-founded the city in the 2nd (123-124) century A.C., it was named Edrine by Sultan Murad I upon his conquest of the city in 1361. It kept this name until the 18th century when it became known as Edirne.

As the second largest capital of the Ottoman Empire, the city has a rich cultural heritage. The tradition of wrestling is big in Edirne and dates as far back as 1361 and the mosques, religious centres, bridges, bazaars, caravanserais and palaces, all make Edirne a living museum.

Edirne is a city of rivers - the Meriç, Arda and Tunca rivers all meet at Edirne and join the Ergene river in the south. Edirne has become famous for the historical bridges on these many rivers - Gazi Mihal bridge built in 1420 is the oldest and Uzunköprü bridge the longest (1 392 m long) with 174 arches.

As an economic and commercial centre, life in Edirne was rich and colourful and bazaars and caravanserais spread around the city. Four ancient bazaars are worth seeing: Bedesten, a covered bazaar where valuable goods and jewellery were sold, Arasta Bazaar, Ali Pasa Bazaar, the centre of commercial life in the 16-17th centuries with 129 shops, and Rüstempasa Caravanserai which was converted into a hotel in 1972. The last two buildings were built by the architect Sinan.

Exact location

Driving directions from  Ankara to Edirne, Turkey

Suggested route
O-4 and O-3 685 km, 6 hours 42 mins
This route has tolls.

Ankara, Turkey   
1. Head north on Kızılay Myd toward Ziya Gökalp Cd - 9 m
2. Continue onto Atatürk Blv - 1.9 km
3. Turn left onto İstanbul Cd - 850 m
4. Keep left at the fork - 1.2 km
5. Keep left at the fork - 270 m
6. Keep left at the fork and merge onto Fatih Sultan Mehmet Blv - 3.6 km
7. Continue onto Atatürk Orman Çiftliği Köprüsü (Fatih Sultan Mehmet Blv.)     550 m
8. Continue onto Fatih Sultan Mehmet Blv - 6.4 km
9. Continue onto Fatih Sultan Mehmet Blv (İstanbul Yolu) - 3.8 km
10. Continue onto Fatih Sultan Mehmet Blv - 5.5 km
11. Continue onto İstanbul Yolu - 2.1 km
12. Take the ramp on the left onto Ankara Çevre Yolu (Kuzey Çevre Yolu)/O-20/E90 - 1.6 km
13. Keep right at the fork and merge onto O-4
Partial toll road - 399 km
14. Continue onto İstanbul Çevre Yolu/E-80 - 3.3 km
15. Continue straight onto O1-O2 Çamlıca Bağlantısı - 3.2 km
16. Continue onto Çamlıca Girişi-K13 (İstanbul Çevre Yolu) - 3.6 km
17. Merge onto O-1 - 16.6 km
18. Continue onto O-3 - 9.1 km
19. Merge onto E-80
Partial toll road - 167 km
20. Slight left to stay on E-80
Partial toll road - 51.9 km
21. Exit onto Lalapaşa Yolu/D535 Continue to follow D535 - 2.7 km
22. Turn right onto Büyük Fırın Sk - 450 m
23. Turn left onto Muradiye Bayırı - 190 m
24. Slight left onto Mimar Sinan Cd - 69 m
25. Take the 1st right onto Saray Yolu - 40 m
Edirne/Edirne Province, Turkey

Info for tourists

Videos about Edirne, Turkey:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_CSAHoviq0
http://www.mojoscooters.com/videos/video/vkNx6tS3IO0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-et8vxTy9f0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piNakxDNfxg


Polyphony and Dance (Georgia)

Polyphony - the unifying feature of folk songs from all regions of country and peculiar for both religious chorals and secular music is one of the most remarkable expressions of Georgian culture. It is one of the rarest phenomenas with the history of at least 5000 years.

The different artifacts discovered during the archeological excavations serve as an evidence for the ancient roots of Georgian music and dance tradition. Amongst these are the artifacts of metalwork, including a silver bowl from Trialeti (3rd millennium BC), which depicts Perkhuli - the round-dance, dedicated to the ancient Goddess of fertility. The traces of such rituals have reached us through a number of perkhuli songs, regarded as one of the most archaic forms of Georgian music. Another example is bronze belt from Samtavro (8th-7th centuries BC), depicting dance of hunters, performed during the new Moon and bronze sculptures known as Kazbegi Treasure (7th-6th centuries BC). The drawings of ancient instruments bobghani, knari and changi, dating to 11th-10th centuries BC, were discovered in Kazbegi. Another evidence is the 7th-6th centuries BC clay figure playing the changi (Georgian harp) found in Uplistsikhe (Kartli). The earliest, 15th-14th centuries BC musical instrument - salamuri, the tongueless flute carved from swan's bone, was found together with other items in ancient burials of Samtavro in Mtskheta.

According to literary sources in Georgia the polyphonic chants were performed in the 8th-9th centuries, if not earlier. Alongside many other indirect sources, which mention the advanced level of musical culture in Georgia, the record of 11th century Georgian Philosopher Ioane (John) Petritsi can be regarded of remarkable significance. Here, the unity of three voices is compared to the Holy Trinity and their Georgian names - mzakhr, zhir and bam are mentioned for the first time.

Folk music of Georgia consists of fifteen regional styles or "musical dialects". These fifteen regions are traditionally grouped into two, eastern and western Georgian groups. Both east and west Georgian polyphony is based on wide use of sharp dissonant harmonies (seconds, fourths, sevenths, ninths). In comparison with the homophonic songs of eastern Georgia, western ones are characterized by the contrasting opposition of voices which create colorful consonances.

In general there are three kinds of polyphony in Georgian songs: 1) Complex polyphony, which is characterized by unified rhythmic movement of voices, giving rise to complex chord progressions. This type of polyphony is found in the high-mountains of Svaneti 2) Polyphonic dialogue between two upper voices over moving bass drone, typical of eastern Georgia 3) Contrast polyphony with tree uniquely developed and independent voices, found in western Georgian songs. Four-voiced polyphony is also found in some songs from Guria and Ajara. In this respect, the Gurian musical dialect, distinct for its surprisingly high voice - krimanchuli, is most interesting and is regarded as the crown of folk polyphony.

Amongst Georgian Folk songs the foremost examples are Chakrulo and Mravalzhamieri. Both belong to the family of long Kakhetian table songs, which are meant to lift the spirits and create a festive mood. Besides table songs, Georgian folk music is rich with numerous farming and work songs, such as Gutnuri, Orovela, Urmuli, Kalouri, as well as martial and funeral songs.

Georgian traditional dance is another important part of Georgian intangible heritage. Drawing upon the tradition of different ritual dances, they were transformed into war-dances or heroic dances, while others became dances of lyrical-courting character or of free improvisation. Georgian folklore dances vary from region to region. Developed over the centuries, the traditions and styles of performance have been handed down from generation to generation.

The vigorous, leaping male dances, with clashing swords, flying sparks and daggers quivering in the floor combine elegantly with the graceful, gliding female dances. The dance Kartuli, performed by a couple, incorporates the softness and gracefulness of a woman with the dignity and love of a man. The dance follows the rule that man must not touch the woman. The utmost skill, which is necessary to perform Kartuli, has earned the dance a reputation of one of the most difficult dances. The same softness of movement is typical to the Osetian simdi and khonga dances. In contrast, the mtiuluri and khevsuruli dances from the mountains are characterized by the vigor and strictness of the movements. Khorumi -the war dance and adjaruli, which are distinct for their rhythm and colorful costumes, originated from southwestern region Adjara. Kintauri the dance of merchants and karachogeli that of artisans belong to old Tbilisian dances performed in 18th -19th century multinational capital. Altogether, colorful costumes, wild drumming, and pipe and accordion music combine to create the overall unforgettable effect of Georgian national dances.

Text: Anna Shaniashvili, Art Historian

 

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Georgian Table Traditions

Table culture known as supra has a deeper implication than an ordinary meal in Georgia. Manifesting profound age-old relationships, it brings together many different aspects of Georgian culture from the ancient wine-related customs and local cuisine to polyphonic music, spontaneous poetry reading, dance and finally, the traditions of hospitality, which is a particular local feature.

Georgian national cuisine is remarkable for its use of assorted kinds of meat, fish, vegetables, cheeses, pickles and pungent seasonings. Various historical regions of Georgia are known for their particular dishes. In western Georgia the corn flour flat cakes - mchadi are especially widespread, while in the eastern Georgia there are white bent breads baked in huge clay jugs. Georgian cuisine makes extensive use of walnuts. Both western and eastern Georgians are famous for their special sauce from walnuts, garlic and spices. Amongst the most famous Georgian dishes are Khinkali - dumplings (the pastry rounds filled with forcemeat), which originated from the eastern mountainous Georgia and khachapuri - baked pastry with cheese, which varies from region to region, namely in Imereti, Adjara and Samegrelo. The latter is especially distinguished for its spicy, hot food. Georgian desserts amongst others include gozinaki - walnuts coated in honey specially prepared for Christmas and New Year celebrations and churchkhela, in which walnut pieces are threaded on a string, dipped in thickened, sweetened grape juice and subsequently dried out.

Yet the most important part of Georgian table is connected with the age-old tradition of winemaking, the roots of which can be traced back to the early sixth millennium BC. As it's widely known, Georgia is often referred to as "The cradle of wine making". In fact, many scholars argue that the generic word "wine" stems from the Georgian word "gvino". There are 525 indigenous grape varieties in Georgia. In several parts of Georgia today, but especially in the Kakheti region of eastern Georgia wine is still made in the traditional way. It is fermented and stored in large ceramic vessels qvevri, lined with beeswax and buried under the ground for temperature control in wine cellars, called marani. The living culture of wine production extends into virtually every Georgian family. Due to its ancient traditions, wine assumes the crucial role on Georgian table. Alongside the different wine styles varied from region to region, from light body whites to heavy bodied reds and sweet wines, Georgian table is extremely rich in tableware designated for serving and drinking wine, these are: chapi, khelada, karkara, azarfesha, doki, sura, chinchila, deda-khelada, marani, dzhami, tasi, piala and kantsi (horn vessel).

However, what makes Georgian feast exceptional are the traditional relationships manifested through the set structure of toasting, where the essential leading role is assumed by the Tamada (Toastmaster). The toasts offered by the tamada in a set sequence are interpreted individually by each table member before drinking it. Georgian toasts amongst others include those wishing happiness, joy, health and peaceful long lives to guests, friends and family members, wishing unity and peace to the country and eternal life to those who passed away. Ladies, treated with the special respect by the male representatives, are usually toasted with specials gratitude. Despite generally established order of toasts, there's always a room for individual creativity and spontaneous interpretation, which makes Georgian table especially interactive, vibrant and fascinating.

Georgian table culture is also tightly linked with different important elements of Georgian folklore. Amongst them are the polyphonic songs (two, three or four voiced songs), which are considered as one the most remarkable expressions of Georgian intangible culture. The foremost examples of table songs are Chakrulo and Mravalzhamieri, which belong to the family of long Kakhetian table songs and are meant to lift the spirits and create a festive mood. In comparison with the homophonic songs of eastern Georgia, western ones are characterized by the contrasting opposition of voices which create colorful consonances. In this respect, the Gurian musical dialect, distinct for its surprisingly high voice - krimanchuli is most interesting and is regarded as the crown of folk polyphony.

Georgian feasts are usually accompanied with dances. The Georgian folk dances the vigorous, leaping male dances, with clashing swords, flying sparks and daggers quivering in the floor combine elegantly with the graceful, gliding female dances. The dance Kartuli, performed by a couple, incorporates the softness and gracefulness of a woman with the dignity and love.

Sometimes the toasts go along with the spontaneous verse readings, which especially in the mountainous regions have the form of competition between two or more persons, making the celebration especially joyful and lively.

Ancient traditions connected with the table culture are also reflected on the imagery of the traditional Georgian blue table-cloth widespread in the 18th-19th centuries and used for special occasions. With its white dye "negative" ornamental and figurative image-symbols it echoes with the age-old beliefs rooted and preserved for centuries in folk memory.

Despite the difference in local cuisine, wine types, songs or other table-related customs, which distinguish various Georgian provinces from each other, a trait common to all is the unprecedented and long established tradition of hospitality. The indisputability of the notion that "the guest comes from god" is evident to everyone who has ever visited the country. Implying many different aspects of Georgian culture supra is one of the most vivid expressions of Georgian character, which offers a diverse blend of age-old, though still living relationships, customs and traditions.

Text: Anna Shaniashvili, Art Historian

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Wine festival in Areni (Armenia)

The Vayots Dzor region is known for its grapes and wines. Throughout most of the year, those travelling through the region on their way to points further on, will see local residents selling their wines and other vegetables along the road.

In January 2011 archaeologists announced the discovery of the earliest known winery, the Areni-1 winery, seven months after the world's oldest leather shoe, the Areni-1 winery, was discovered in the same cave. The winery, which is over six-thousand years old, contains a wine press, fermentation vats, jars, and cups. Archaeologists also found grape seeds and vines of the species Vitis vinifera.

The Areni village was an old and famous village in Vayots Dzor district. The historical location of the village was to the west of present day Areni, on top of the hill (the ruins were preserved). In the 13th century the Syunik's ruler Orbelyan Tarsaitch moved his palace from Yeghegis to Areni.

On the eastern edge of the Areni village, is the St.Astvatzatzin (Holy Virgin) church. According to the inscriptions it was built by architect and painter Momik in 1321. In the center of the western entrance of the church there is a barelief of St.Mary embracing The Holy Child. The Holy Mother is portrayed realistically in contemporary attire.

Close to the church are the ruins of the Tarsaitch ruler's palace. 1km to the north-eastern section of Areni are the ruins of the bridge (13thc.), which was built by bishop Sargis in 1265-1287. In the same location the ruins of the older bridge can be seen.

The village has been known since the 3rd century A.D. Over two dozens of grape sorts have been developed here. Areni wine is famous not only in Armenia. The community has 150 vineyards and produces 300 tons of wine every year.

Established in 2004, the Areni Wine Festival is not only a showcase for great wine, the festival is a major event for traditional food making and tasting. In addition to pure wine, there are also Armenian national meals and several ways of preparing wine presented at the festival.

Participants taste wine and cheese, squeeze grapes, prepare lavash, gata and the traditional rshta, view an exhibition of paintings, prepare canisters and participate in several contests. The festival features Armenian song and dance, as well as folk and national games.

Villagers sell home-made products - cream, honey, nuts and walnuts, vegetables, fruits, dried fruits, baked goods, lavash, home-made jams and jellies, sweet sujukh, herbal teas and all the other products that a typical Armenian household usually prepares for its members.

A lot of tourists from different nationalities and from different parts of the world come to Areni to take part in annual wine festival. Besides the festival there are also other sightseeing in Areni which are valuable to see.

 

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Location: Areni, Vayots Dzor, Armenia


Driving directions from Yerevan, Armenia  to Areni, Armenia

Suggested route
E117/M2 -  111 km, 1 hour 27 mins


Yerevan, Armenia   
1. Head southeast on Tumanyan St toward Abovyan St - 110 m
2. Take the 1st right onto Abovyan St - 650 m
3. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Vazgen Sargsian St - 450 m
4. Continue onto Beirut St - 400 m
5. Sharp left onto Argishti St - 160 m
6. Turn right onto Grigor Lusavorich Street - 400 m
7. Turn right onto Arshakuniats Avenue     3.4 km
8. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto E117/M2 - 2.1 km
9. Turn right to stay on E117/M2 - 3.8 km
10. Slight right to stay on E117/M2 - 56.2 km
11. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit and stay on E117/M2 - 42.3 km
12. Take the exit toward H40 - 80 m
13. Turn right onto H40 - 850 m
Areni, Armenia

 

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Related video:
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