A spiritual place which binds the past with the present on an axe of more than one thousand years, lies today under the sun of Austria, where the European monastic Christianity embodies an earthly kingdom. Melk Abbey, which is a Benedictine abbey, watches over the town of Melk from a rocky outcrop overlooking the Wachau Valley of the Danube river. Dating from 1089, the abbey was at first the residence of Leopold I, until 113 years later, his descendent, Leopold II, also Margrave of Austria, gave the castle to Benedictine monks from Lambach. Ever since, the monks have lived and worked here without interruption, thus Melk Abbey being one of the very few places which has continuously performed its function. A peculiarity that increases the value of this place is the double role it had in time, history registering it as both a secular and a theological site.
A friendly handshake and a large smile set the tone for a new adventure, breaking the cloudy weather and the rainy mood with the positive vibration of optimism. I have O. by my side, a genuine tourist and a charming French woman with an overflowing refinement, in front of who any gloomy hint on my face dodges, clearly affected by the early waking in the morning, in combination with the gray tones of the weather. It was not the first city break in Iasi, but this time it was fair to call it my first “séjour en ville”. I started walking with shriveled steps, and with my hands clutching the umbrella, alongside cheerful O. She seemed to carry a bit of the French sun. Her attitude reminded me of a famous slogan: “London. Rain. Strong wind. Hairstyle lasts.”Only that in this context, what was lasting was the enthusiasm in our historical Iasi.
It’s nice to visit. It’s nice to take a walk on a joyful summer day. It’s nice to let your hair caressed by playful rays and blue eyes get lost in the blue sky. But these beautiful ideas crumble within hours, being replaced with more plastic expressions, when you feel like the sun beat your head as Doroftei beats his opponent. And that`s the way everything loses its charm, no matter how wonderful it is, because your eyes burdened with fatigue can`t perceive as beautiful anything but a soft bed next to an clock without alarm. The plan was to visit all the tourist attractions in Targu Neamt, and leave for the end the cherry on the cake. Situated somehow on the way home, at the end of the day Popa Museum from Tarpesti seemed to be placed there only to lengthen the agony. But how can you miss such a special place?, said a voice, urging us to revive our enthusiasm. Well, you wholeheartedly miss it out of ignorance, for you do not know and you have never heard of it. Placed deep in the heart of the village, it`s not too alluring to deviate from the road for it. But if you take a closer look, you’ll see the road is full of signs that indicate the same thing: Popa Museum. And then you acknowledge that it is given so much attention to it that it is shameful for you to still ignore it and treat it with indifference. Even if you’re tired and even if “museum” is not the most cheerful and refreshing word…
Here we are, again in Iasi, sprinkling steps on historical streets that take us into the heart of culture. There’s a saying according to which all roads lead to Rome, but in the capital of Moldova somehow all roads lead to the Palace. Especially now, that everyone has heard about the reopening. Lured by the treasure locked until recently, we rushed in like the brave hero rushes into the cave when the seven-headed monster goes for a walk. But instead of “one chest” we have encountered many more, one more beautiful than the other. But let me take each at a time…
On top of the list of museums within the Palace of Culture was “Stefan Procopiu” Museum of Science and Technology. Or in other words sort of a “knock-knock, who’s there”, because we expected one thing and we found something totally different. Although the first section of the museum was the energy department, founded in 1961, instead of being presented the main forms of energy that were used, we entered the world of music. Currently arranged for the renovation project of the Palace of Culture, what greets us at the entrance of the museum is the department of recording sounds and playback, opened in February 1966. It includes a song performance, featuring the chronological evolution of sounds recording and playback. All the instruments it includes delight the eye and capture the viewer’s full attention, even without being put into action. When they`re turned on to do a demonstration, these musical hybrids became real beings that move gracefully and “voice” in hypnotic rhythms.
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi is the oldest public university in Romania and one of the advanced research and education institutions in the country. It was founded a year after the establishment of the Romanian state, by a decree given in 1860 by Alexandru Ioan Cuza, under whom the former Academia Mihăileană was converted into a university. Known at first as the University of Iasi, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University became the first student-centered university in Romania, once the Bologna Process was implemented.
The holiday atmosphere, the sand fragrance and the desire of feeling the sea- all these brought home from Bulgaria. But here we arrived again, engaged in an office chair, continuously struggling to grip our minds full of fleeting thoughts and make it stand motionless in front of the computer. The little imp… it would not stand still, moreover it would bring grief to the heart reminding it of what has been left behind. It passes like this a day, two days… Friday is still to come and also the long-expected weekend. And what is there to see!? The weekend had been missing us too, so it thought of canceling the last of the working days, so as to let the mind go for a walk, the same as you would take out the dog on a leash, for a walk around the house. Luckily, at just a stone’s throw, a magnificent fortress lies…
Back in the days when, for me, even the opposite end of town seemed a distant place, I had to go on a trip along with my perky classmates in Northern Moldavia. At that time I perceived my being away from home even in terms of feelings ; not only the fact that I had to leave the street on which I was living, but also the fact that I was going to visit a place… up high. A citadel discovered in Romanian language and Romanian history textbooks, a legendary place sealed between the pages of a book. I was little, and the ruins big and I was wandering about, driven by curiosity. This was the picture of the famous fortress of Neamt, which was unfolding before our eyes a few years ago. Built in the late XIVth century in Moldavia, this fortress belonged to the system of fortifications which was meant to defend the country against the Ottomans. Having high stone walls, deep trenches, narrow windows, the citadel was visibly designed for defense.
Writers are bleeding wounds of culture. (Costel Zăgan)
Today, on the 3rd of March, is globally celebrated the Writers’ Day – an extremely beautiful holiday in the international culture, for literature has no borders, and its role in the development of human society is essential.
Celebrated since 1986, The International Writers’ Day has been proposed by the International Congress of PEN Club. This organization formed of poets, essayists, and fictionists was founded in London in 1921 and it includes writers that approach every literary genre, from translators and journalists to historians, and its purpose is to promote mutual support among writers from all over the world. The idea of founding this association came from the English writer C. A. Dawson Scott, and its first president was John Galsworthy.
It is a cold Thursday evening, embraced by the welcoming warmth of “Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre, which seems derived from a painting and placed near the “Stefan cel Mare” (Stephan the Great), a street for pedestrians which is also decorated with lots of little, colorful lights. Such an evening we have spent, along with other people who were holding their breath for one of the great theatre representations of “The Visit”, by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, a Swiss writer who has brought to the fore in his literary work the problematic of justice and endurance.
A merry smile welcomed us at the entrance! It was the bright face of the lady who was in charge with checking our tickets. I was rejoicing over the beauty that slowly surrounded me, taking me away from reality. A few minutes after, we were all sitting impatiently, awaiting the show to begin.
Men have built themselves societies, developing on every aspect of life. After centuries of continuous evolution, we have come to improve our settlements by equipping cities with all forms of comfort. Today we can easily have access to both work and entertainment sources. An example worth to be mentioned is a symbol for good taste and culture: the philharmonic.
The city of Iasi, which is the cultural capital of Romania’s region, Moldavia, concentrates a full package of elements that represent art in all its forms. Among valuable examples such as the Romanian National Theatre or the Romanian National Opera, Moldova State Philharmonic comes to complete a long number of important entertainment sources that the inhabitants of Iasi are right to take pride in. This institution with permanent artistic activity emerged in 1918, wearing the name of the illustrious Romanian musician, George Enescu. Its inaugural concert took place on the 9th of October, 1942, and it had as first director Radu Constantinescu. During its first decade, the symphonic orchestra of Iasi has built its rich repertoire as a basis of its future personal interpretative style. 1953 is another year that marks an important moment in the Philharmonic’s evolution, being the time when the choir was created. Is wears the name of the great Romanian composer and bandmaster Gavriil Musicescu, and it made possible the interpretation of famous works of Mozart, Haydn, and Carl Orff, which were performed in the city of Iasi for the first time due to this talented group.
Let’s talk about what turns the abstract into something concrete. What is it that makes a dream palpable and a feeling come to life? What has the power of not only freezing an instant, but of transposing us back in time, merging the present with whatever moment in the past? Such unique greatness is what God has given us hearing for. Just as rain infiltrates into the dry ground to reach the root of a flower, so does music caress our senses to make its way to our soul. This is why among the altars raised in the world of men one is dedicated to this immortal goddess, strongly anchored to eternity under an illustrious name: The National Opera.