Friday, 17 September 2010

Cluj Central Park (parcul central)

Cluj Central Park (parcul central)

Cluj has not too many green spots inside the city center so usually if people want to take a rest they rush over to the central park. Inside the Park there is a really interesting looking building which is abandoned right, now. Still 20 years after communism there are quite some abandoned buildings in Cluj (and Romania). Sometimes people do not have financial resources to renovate buildings or at least to conserve the current state but more often claims and property rights are still disputed. This occurred because after the revolution documents about property rights were destroyed or forged, allowing people with access to those documents to get rich at the expense of others.

Chios and the central park pond

Not far away from the abandoned building you can find a small pond and a restaurant (Chios). In the Summer this is a very popular spot also for weddings and and other kind of festivities. Of course you can also take a trip on the lake.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Romania 2006 in Film

The first time I came to Romania was in November 2006 and on this occasion I also visited Cluj for the first time. Back then I wasn't so well equipped and I had only a 20€ film camera. Nevertheless I tried of course back then to take my very first panorama of Cluj. Taking into consideration the poor quality of the camera and the lack of controls I find the results quite pleasing though it can't be compared to HDR version of course ;).

Sibiu in the preparation for the European cultural Capital 2007
At the time of my visit, Sibiu was in the preparation for the European cultural Capital 2007. The city saw a huge investment program prior to the event. As result it is now one of the most beautifulest city centers in Romania but it was also said that older people could not afford to live in the city center anylonger.

A cemetary in Rasinari
Close to Sibiu is the small town / village Rasinari and I really liked it lot. For me it felt in a very positive way like in a real Open Air Museum something that is difficult to find in Western Europe.

Rasinari "Downtown"

Oldtown Sighisoara
Sighisoara is a major tourist spot because of its fine medieval old town.

A walk around Bucharest
I finished my trip back than with Bucharest. It was once called Paris of the East but unfortunately if you stroll around the city center there is not much left of it due to the destructions in the communist times. Nowadays, the capital is major recipient of financial aids for conservation and reconstruction. If you take a proper walking tour you might recall the spirit of the "interbelic" period (the period between the two wars).

Cluj Film Panorama

Monday, 23 August 2010

Hiking in the Ceahlău Massif (Eastern Carpathians)

During my farewell vacation we also hit one day the Ceahlău Massif in the Eastern Carpathians in Romania.

Ceahlău Massif Trees II

This part of the mountains is already situated in Moldova, though the majority of the Romanian Carpathians is within Transylvania. The beauty of this section is that you can mange to climb and descend the massif in one day including reaching both peaks Toaca (1904 m altitude) and Ocolaşul Mare (1907 m altitude).

Ceahlău Massif Moss

This particular day unfortunately was very cloudy so the view was limited by fog almost all day. Nevertheless it was a splendid hike also because the trails are very well marked and you can even find additional signposts with explanations about the surrounding nature.

Ceahlău Massif Trees I

The forest is left untouched for most parts as the area forms the Ceahlău National Park - fallen trees are not removed.

Ceahlău Massif Mosaic

Ceahlău Massif Trail I

Ceahlău Massif Grass / Flowers

Ceahlău Massif Fog

Ceahlău Massif Antena Station

The last (first) picture was taken right from the plateau right before the ascend to the peaks. You can spot also a small wooden Orthodox church there. For other episodes from my farewell vacation just hit the "Farewell Holiday" Tag.

Ceahlău Massif Plateau I

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Munich as seen from St. Peter chruch - Panorama view

Last week I went to Munich to visit friends and of course the city as well. Munich is actually a beautiful German city despite the hordes of tourists and there is really a lot to see and to do. There is a couple of possibilities to get a panorama view over the city and one of the best ones is probably St. Peter church right in the center. From there you have a beautiful view to the fascinating New Town Hall and the Frauenkirche, Munich's landmark. As you can see the Frauenkirche is right now in the process of restoration. If you have a look down you can spot Mary's Column right in the center of Marienplatz.

A short reminder: As always you can scroll around the panorama and of course you can also enter full screen mode and stop the auto rotation by pressing the button on the lower right. This time I decided to start something new and I am publishing the original pictures as well. They can be accessed via flickr and reused under cc license.

Munich as seen from St. Peter chruch

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Horse Racing: Henkel - Race Day 2010 Düsseldorf Grafenberg

Last weekend the Henkel Race Day 2010 took place here in Düsseldorf Grafenberg. I've never been at a horse race before and I always expected the atmosphere to be a little bit posh or boring at most. Eventually it turned out that the crowd was very mixed from young families to the super rich.

In my opinion the races were a little bit short - basically all races were only one lap and that only every half an hour. Almost anyone there seemed to be betting (I didn't dare) and I quite liked the relaxed atmosphere at the race. The speed of the horses and the skills of the jockeys were amazing (full-screen here).


Henkel - Race Day 2010 Düsseldorf Grafenberg

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Rostock as seen over the Warnow river before / after twilight

Recently, I attended the wedding of friends in Rostock, Germany. For the party they choose an incredible nice site where you could see the city from the other side of its Warnow river right at a boat club. Right at dusk there was a beautiful atmosphere perfect for a panorama picture, of course (full-screen here).

Right after dusk then all the lights began to sparkle on the lake. Rostock is the largest city in northeast Germany right at the Baltic Sea.

Rostock as seen over the Warnow river after twilight

Especially with the B&W picture I realized the limitations of this presentation as the picture looks best in full screen resolution. If anyone knows how to achieve that in a simple way with blogger I appreciate suggestions very much.

Rostock as seen over the Warnow river before dusk

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Sâmbăta de Sus Monastery / Mânastirea Sâmbăta de Sus

In the midst of the summer heat another winter shot: Sâmbăta de Sus Monastery is one of the oldest orthodox monasteries in Transylvania being build in the 17th century. As a result of a conflict between the (catholic) Habsburg empire and the orthodox church the monastery was demolished in the 18th century and consecutively rebuilt later. Till today it remains a strong place of worship for the Orthodox community in Transylvania.

Sâmbăta de Sus Monastery / Mânastirea Sâmbăta de Sus

This HDR shot was taken last December with early snow.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Deva in December

Thought it is very hot outside right now here is a shot from Deva, Romania from December 2009. That particular day was very cold and the grey of the sky revealed the grey of the city's housing blocks (full-screen here).

Besides the ruin of the royal castle there's is not too much to see here - but it is worth a short stop when you pass through the city. Deva is known in Romania to host the famous Romanian national gymnastics team.

Deva in December

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Waterfall at the Bicaz Gorge

The Bicaz Canyon is situated in the northeast of Romania created by the Bicaz River. It offers a stunning scenery when passing from the Harghita county in Transylvania to he Neamt county in Moldova. I shot this when I passed through the canyon on my farewell holiday.

Waterfall at the Bicaz Gorge

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Saxon fortified church of Biertan

One of my most famous places in Romania is the Saxon village Biertan (Birthälm in German). The center spot of the 13th century village is a massive Saxon fortified church recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Approaching Biertan which is situated between Mediaş and Sighişoara is already a pleasure as you go some seven kilometers of the main road through a valley where you can spot the already after some time its church.

Saxon fortified church of Biertan

The church in late Gothic style itself was finished in the 15th century and is certainly one the highlights of the Saxon fortified churches in Transylvania. The village has some 1500 inhabitants today and only a tiny fraction of its original Saxon population remained in the village since 1990 when the majority left.

View on the village Biertan

Unfortunately, I was extremely unlucky the two times I visited the place. The first time the winter break started (from November on) and the first time I arrived on a Christian holiday for which the church is closed. But nevertheless also scenery around is breathtaking enough! The surrounding area is also very nice and worth to explore.

Side tower at the Saxon fortified church of Biertan

Among all the fortified churches in Transylvania (there are many of them) this is certainly one of the most visited ones, though compared to western standards tourism is still little. A major share of the tourists visiting is also Saxons who now live in Germany.

View on the village Biertan

One of the features I specifically like about the architecture of the Transylvanian fortified churches is the combination of wood and bricks creating a unique and beautiful style.

Saxon fortified church of Biertan

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Sibiu Spring: Piata Mica and Lutheran Cathedral

Sibiu is fine destination for every season but particularly nice in Spring. On one of my last trips to Sibiu I took some night shots which turned out to quite nice.

Piata Mica / Ghosts

One of the city's nicest church is the Lutheran Cathedral which used to serve the German Saxons. The gothic church was finished in 1520 being one of the cities most prominent landmarks.

The Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary

The Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary

The Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary

And again the church as seen from the other side. Both shots of the cathedral are HDR panoramas from three or respectively four HDR shots.

The Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary


Sunday, 4 July 2010

Cluj: Views from the hallway

These were some initial experiments on HDR / Panorama views from my hallway.

Hall Entry


Hall 2

Abyss / Handle

Stitching them together was particularly difficult because shots were taken from a regular tripod introducing paralax artifacts.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Düsseldorf Aaperwald

My new hometown Düsseldorf has some really nice advantages one of them being that it is particularly green and has many recreation areas within short reach.


Aaperwald is a nice small forest ideal for jogging or picking strawberries at a small farm inside. And yes you can see the difference between Romania and Germany here with paved rural roads ;)


Saturday, 12 June 2010

Sibiu International Theater Festival 2010 (FITS)

One of Sibiu's remarkable cultural events is the annual International Theater Festival (28.5. -6.6.2010). Unfortunately I had only the chance to attend the festival on its last day but the play I saw was really amazing. I attended a Chinese adaption of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" theater performance: Aspiration Sky High performed by the Hangzhou Yue Opera Troupe from China.


In a nutshell the play is about (romantic) relations and how time changes them. Ibsen's original setting from the turn of the 19th century is transfered into an ancient Chinese one.


All the characters (including male) were performed by woman.


The play included beautiful dresses and splendid songs, performances and dances.



All the music was performed also live on stage. It was especially remarkable since you I couldn't see the musician initially and thought that it was prerecorded. The play was actually presented in Chinese with English subtitles at the side of the stage.


Thanks to the ensemble and FIT for this magnificent play!

Flat hunting in Düsseldorf (no commercial ;)

I recently moved to Düsseldorf, Germany and it was a major challenge to find an apartment from Romania without having the chance to actually see the apartment. Of course hunting for a flat nowadays happens on the Internet with again some sites being more helpful than others. There are portals for the whole of Germany such as Immobilienscout 24 or regional ones such as Kalaydo (in cooperation with local newspapers) with a very wide offer for Düsseldorf. The problem with these is that the majority of the flats are being offered by agents .

They usually charge the rent of two months as commission (!) on behalf of the landlord. Oddly enought, Immobilienscout 24 doesn't allow you to exclude commercial offers relsulting in a time consuming manual search for the word "provisionsfrei" (without commission). Another problem is that many private offers on Kalaydo lack pictures which is essential if you search from the distance.

In the end I found two pages which were useful: and Both are targeted to students (flat shares, small apartments) but they are equally good offers if you look for a budget offer or an interim solution ("Zwischenmiete" in German). Ads often have pictures or if not landlords are willing to help out.
If you have some extra cash to spend I'd recommend the Zweitwohnagentur agency with a wide amount of offers and very good descriptions.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Time to say goodbye... Cluj by night!

After more than 3 years the moment arrived where I have to say goodbye to Cluj as I am currently in the process of relocating to Germany. I had an excellent time here and with this panorama I'd like to say servus Cluj/Klausenburg/Kolosvar and to all the people who made this stay here so enjoyable! The shot was taken from the Feleacu hill - this is usually the first place where you spot the city when you approach the city from the south. In the center you can spot for example the Orthodox church or the Hotel Bellvedere. Unfortunately I messed the settings a little bit up so that not everything is clear in the image - apparently this setting showed the limits of my equipment ;)

One more time... time to say goodbye... perla de pe somes.

Cluj by night!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Turda Salt Mine

I was very surprised when I went last weekend to the Turda Salt Mine. I expected just like in some other Romanian museums to see something in a bad condition. Instead, everything was renovated (for a whopping 5 million euros) there and it got just reopened in 2010. This is a view from the top of into the main Hall.


The place was quite packed with tourists (also to my suprise) and it takes quite some time till you reach the main hall. Inside there I was really exited about the light installations. It was only then that I realized that I had forgotten my tripod :( which is very bad when you plan to take pictures under these light conditions.



Salt mining in this area has a history that goes back till Roman times. In modern times mining startet at the end of the 17th century. The main hall has the shape of a bell and that's exactly the shape that was created by mining. For the museum it was extended with a gallery.


You can choose weather you like to use the newly installed lifts or to climb the stairs. The main hall is roughly 90m high.

Bottom - Top


As you can see there is even salt lake in the mine on which you can take a trip by rowing boat.

Tuda Salt Mine: Lake

So there is plenty of stuff to see but what the mine actually lacks is a bit the museum side you don't get too much of the history of the mine nor how the salt was mined. There are some paper sheets at the entrance but in rest you'll probably need a guide or web research before ;)