The famous tables are inscribed with symbols that, at the time of their discovery, were considered to be samples of Sumerian proto-writing. Newest methods of dating them entitled some researchers to state that the tablets could represent the oldest writing in the world. Subsequent radiocarbon dating on the Tãrtãria finds pushed the date of the tablets much further back, to as long ago as 5500 BC, more than 1000 years before the first Sumerian form of writing.
Tărtăria is a rural village from Romania of 5,000 inhabitants. It is located in Transylvania in the Western area of Romania famous in roman times for its gold mines.
The tablets were found in 1961 at about 30 km from the city of Alba Iulia by Nicolae Vlassa, an archaeologist at the Cluj Museum. At the bottom of a hill in a pit filled with ash he found three inscribed but unbaked clay tablets, together with 26 clay and stone figurines and a shell bracelet, accompanied by the burnt, broken, and disarticulated bones of an adult male.
The real size of the tablets can be observed in the following photography:
The tablets can be found now at the National Transylvanian History Museum from Cluj-Napoca.
If the symbols are indeed a form of writing, then the writing in the Danubian culture would far predate the earliest Sumerian cuneiform script or Egyptian hieroglyphs. They would thus be the world's earliest known form of writing. This mind blowing hypothesis would revolutionize the ancient history as we know it now.
Situated 18km away from Gura Humorului, the Cacica salt mine represents an important tourist attraction of the region.
The access road is pretty good with only a few minor tricky parts.
In the village lives also an important Polish community (more than 20% of the population).
Cacica has an impressive history, for a small village. Because it is located at the boundary between the mountains and hills regions, the climate made possible the formation of salt deposits many thousands years ago.
The name of "Cacica" has its origins in the Polish "kaczika", meaning "duck", because there used to be many lakes with wild ducks in the region.
The salt extraction was not a mystery in these regions even from the prehistoric ages (many primitive objects used for salt extraction were found by archaeologists).
Cacica Salt Mine is one of the oldest exploitations of salt recrystallized from brine from Europe.
Salt extraction dates back from the period of Cris culture from early Neolithic (5th millennium, before Christ).
Begun by the order of Empress Maria Theresa, the salt mine was manually dug out and opened in 1791.
The salt mine is open to tourist visits. The ticket costs 10 Lei (around 2.5 €) for an adult.
The temperature inside the mine is a constant 10°C.
In the first room, 25-29 meters deep, a Roman-Catholic chapel was built in 1806 from the initiative of the Polish priest Jakub Bogdanowicz. It’s called the Church St. Barbara (Varvara), and was a praying site for all the miners who worked there, and even today service is held. To reach the chapel, you have to go down a ladder with almost 200 steps.
The orthodox chapelsituated 35 meters deep was built in a gallery dug directly into the salt.
Sculptures carvedin the salty rock were created by young artists. The sculptures have religious themes, some being similar models with the ones from Wieliczkasalt minenearKrakow.
On the right side there is the icon of St. Daniel the Hermit
Adam and Eve, biblical scene.
Further below, more steps… and another gallery (35 meters deep) that leads to a small salty lake manually dug by miners. The Brine Lake is located 42m underground, its dimensions being 10 x 6m and 1,5 - 2,5 m deep. The saturated brine in which salt crystals formed throughout time can be seen in the poor light.
There is a wooden raft on the lake, which used to carry guests invited at the parties organized in the Ball Room.
King Carol I had a row on this raft in 1902.
The young people who were about to get married publicly confirmed their intentions with a row on the lake.
Next comes the Ball room, or festivities room.
The dimensions on the hall are 24x12x6 m. It is manually sculptured and the dowels, which once supported the lightening chandeliers can be seen on the ceiling.
There are 8200 galleries that were all manually dug out, reinforced with wood and in a perfect condition today.
In 1886 the underground transport facilities were modernized. At that time the mine was one of the modern mines of Europe. The productions of salt in 1886 was of around 5500 tones.
At the bottom of the mine there is a sport field with a wooden floor used for volleyball, football or handball.
The giant salt mountain in Cacica can provide enough salt for the entire Europe for the next 400 years!
This is great place to spent a few days in relaxation and cure at the salt mine which treats a lot of pulmonary and rheumatism diseases.
While the Voronet Monastery is well known for its frescoes dominated by a distinctive blue color, the Humor Monastery is renowned for the reddish color (obtained from oriental madder pigment) used to paint the biblical scenes on its outer walls.
The master painter responsible for Humor's frescoes, which were painted in 1535, is one Toma of Suceava.
Humor Monastery is located in the village with the same name, Mănăstirea Humorului, about 5 km north of the town of Gura Humorului. It is a monastery for nuns dedicated to the Dormition of Virgin Mary. It was constructed in 1530 by Voievod Petru Rareş.
Petru Rares and his wife are both buried in the monastery church as well.
The monastery was built over the foundation of a previous monastery that dated from around 1415. The ruins of the first church of Humor can be found at a distance of 500 meters from the new one.
The monastery, located on the Humor river, is surrounded by hills with forests. The beautiful site attracts thousands of tourists every year. There are numerous accommodation possibilities in the village or even in the Gura Humorului town. The accomodation prices start from 20€ for a double room.
This is a great spot from which you can visit all the famous monasteries from the north of Moldova region of Romania.
The small church, with a wide open porch arched on three sides, has a vault which is similar to the one at Moldovita except that the one at Humor seems to be floating, a sample of Byzantine art highly appreciated by architect experts. The open porch is separated from the nave by three columns connected through broken arches which have crossed vaults. The windows frames are Gothic. The open porch with arcades was the first of its kind to be built in Bucovina, an innovation influenced by both the local building tradition (veranda, terrace) and the foreign Renaissance (the lodge found later in the Brancovan style). Another innovation is the tainiţa (a hidden place) above the burial-vault, precious objects were kept there, especially in difficult times.
The defense tower was built by Vasile Lupu in 1641.
Humor was one of the first of Bucovina's painted monasteries to be frescoed and, along with Voronet is probably the best preserved.
The Last Judgment, placed on the wall beneath the unusual open porch, is similar to the Voronet one, but, unfortunately, the Tree of Jesse has been effaced by erosion. The significant difference is that the Devil is portrayed as the Scarlet Woman, though this patch is now so faint, that it has become nearly invisible. Such misogyny had its counterpart in the peasant conception of Hell, assumed to be a cavern upheld by seven old women who had surpassed Satan in wickedness during their lifetimes. Since the women are mortal, the legend goes, the Devil (Dracul) must constantly search the world for replacements - and he never fails to find them.
Another famous exterior painting, Hymn to the Virgin, has been inspired by the poem written by Patriarch Serghei of Constantinople, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is reputed to have saved the city during the attack of the Persians in 626. The Persians are, however, depicted as Turks which is a common device in these monasteries, their paintings being used in part for political propaganda in addition to their spiritual meaning. The Siege of Constantinople, displayed on a large surface, in a central position, also suggests Moldavians’ wish to defeat their enemies, the Turks.
If you pay a visit to the monastery you can also admire or even buy the handicraft objects sold by the locals just outside the monastery walls. Wooden carved icons, colorful carpets, regional costumes, wooden kitchen cutlery and many more handmade objects can be purchased as a memory of this beautiful place.
This old map depicts Romanian territories and cities in the period between the first and the second World War. The beautiful cities icons show what was the most representative fact about those places. From the wooden churches in Maramures (north-west side) to the seaside resorts at the Black Sea, the country is full of touristic attractions. Considering the year, 1938, this is an extraordinary fact. You can also observe by looking on the map different customs and traditions of people from different regions of the country. A country with so old touristic sites, of course, worths some visits.