Countries Visited:

Flag of Romania

Flag of Ukraine

Dates of visit:
August 13, 2001 -
August 28, 2001

We rate this trip a:

Trip Highlights:
 Meet family
 Tour Bucharest
 Visit museums
 See Sweet Bukovina
 Visit monasteries
 Ancestral villages
 Visit village of birth
 Walk Old Lviv
 Drive back roads
 Different cultures

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        Bucharest, Romania
        Sighisoara, Romania
        The Monastic Archipelago ... Made by man, created by God
        Chernivtsi, Ukraine
        Lviv, Ukraine
        Ancestral Villages of Ukraine
        The Ancestral Village of Muzylovice (A German Colony)
        Folklore Museums of Romania and Ukraine
Romania and Ukraine … two countries that are a puzzle and a contradiction. Caught in a time warp … they have one foot in the 21st century … their other foot in the 19th. Based on our limited but direct experiences in both countries, we have come to understand their similarities as well as their particular differences. Our views encompass the breadth of exposures … from customs at the airport and passport control … to the people on the street, in the shops, and in the countryside.

Romania pushes onward and has as its goal joining the family of nations embracing democracy and a free market economy. Romania is progressive … while retaining its heritage and cultural values, its seeks out and adopts the best of the West. Foreigners are readily welcomed and, although not treated preferentially, are accorded courtesies that state, “…welcome to Romania.”

Ukraine, on the other hand, is still mired in a Soviet-style mentality where mistrust of the West is pervasive and, with exceptions, is reflected in the views of its citizens. Border crossings are tense and inconsistent … “fees” are arbitrary and unpredictable. Foreigners are routinely singled out for “delay of entry or exit ”, resulting in “small tokens ($) of appreciation” being suggested. On the average, the common people of Ukraine are neutral in their acceptance of foreigners. Cost of living in Ukraine is high … but the income level is low by Western standards.

Having said the above … both countries are trying to move ahead within the limits of their abilities, politically and economically. The people are resilient and for the most part hard working. They are innovative and have one eye on the future. The older generations are accepting their current lot in life while the younger generations are keenly aware of what life is like outside their respective countries and look to the future with optimism. We traveled to this part of Europe without any preconceived opinions or mindsets and have returned with a deeper understanding … that we are truly blessed to live in the United States and have the freedom and the opportunities denied others.

Any visitor that desires to read the full 18-page summary of this trip may visit the "Newsletter" page. The trip notes are extensive and include numerous images to support the writeup.
Romania - A land of contrasts
Crest of RomaniaBucharest is not a single city. Putting it another way, there are several cities in Bucharest, each of them living in the complete ignorance of the others -- mismatched neighborhoods.

People adapted to the western metropolis, educated by a city craving for every inch of space, people accustomed to a geometrically erected skyline based on a long conditioned rigorousness, Bucharest may appear as a bizarre if not disquieting place. A city of paradoxes and contrasts, born in a seemingly limitless plain, Bucharest is, architecturally at least, a superb chaos.

Jumbled, built regardless of the most elementary criteria of urban planning, the city appears as the miraculous aftermath of an aesthetical storm; almost no house, no buildings, not even blocks of flats are alike. However, what might seem an anomaly, even impossibly to most, the refuse of any norm, is, in Bucharest, the very definition of normality.

Bucharest is a strange city. You may love it or hate it, despise or dispute it, but Bucharest never leaves you unbiased. Everyone can have a Bucharest of his or her own.

Trip Gallery - Bucharest
Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest trolley National Theatre The University (1857)
The Old Palace Central University Library Romanian Anthenaeum
Palace of Savings Bank Boulvard of Fountains Parliament Square
Panoramic view of Parliament Square, Bucharest, Romania
Romania - A land of contrasts
Approaching the CitadelSighisoara is situated in the center of Romania, 154-mi northwest of Bucharest. Long before you reach this enchanting place, you can see Sighisoara's towers and spires from a distance. Towering above the modern town is a medieval citadel that must be among the loveliest and least spoiled in Europe. Walking up from the city center of Sighisoara, one enters the citadel through the 60-meter-tall clock tower, which dates from the 14th century.

Opposite the clock tower is a small ocher-colored house where the father of Vlad Tepes, better known as Dracula, once lived. Walking uphill form the home of Dracula's father, along narrow, cobbled streets lined with faded pink, green, and ocher houses, you'll come to a covered staircase. This leads to a 14th-century Gothic church and a German cemetery.

In Eastern Europe Sighisoara is one of the few and in Romania the only fortified town that is still inhabited. Its aspect, characteristic for the German towns of the late Middle Ages has brought her the name of "Pearl of Transylvania". Beginning with the second half of the 12th century German settlers were brought to Transylvania by the Hungarian kings.

An early settlement was most likely a village with a fortified refuge on the Castle Hill of today; it was destroyed by a Tatar invasion in 1241, rebuilt, and in 1280 documented as Castrum Sex. Under the threat of the Otoman invasions the town was fortified wall and towers were raised to surround the whole town, about the year 1490.

The 15th and 16th centuries are the time of the town's great prosperity. Sighisoara was to be the first of the settlements in Transylvania to gain the status of a town in 1517, and even legal autonomy.

Besides having a history of their own, the townspeople of Sighisoara were involved in the major events concerning Transylvania and Romania. Thus they gave shelter (1431-1435) and support to Vlad Dracul in his attempt to get to the Romanian throne. Later the town supports the great Romanian Prince Viteazuul (the Brave) to conquer Transylvania. The citizens of Sighisoara were also involved in the Peasant's Rising of 1514, and in 1849 they are witnesses of the Hungarian revolutionary army's defeat in the battle of Albesti, a place in the neighborhood of the town.

The town itself had several times been besieged, for the last time in 1704, but never taken in. There were other hardships that affected the citizens, recorded as "the worst" in the town's history: a flood (1777), an earthquake (1738), the plague (1709), causing the death of 1300 out of 3000 inhabitants, a fire (1676) destroying 3/4 of the houses, later rebuilt of brick and stone.

Trip Gallery - Sighisoara
City of Sighisoara, Romania
Medieval Sighisoara Medieval Sighisoara Medieval Sighisoara
Medieval Sighisoara Medieval Sighisoara Medieval Sighisoara
Sighisoara Slide Show
The Monastic Archipelago
Made by man, created by God
The Monastic ArchipelagoIn the north-eastern part of Romania, by the frontier with the Herza land (Ukraine), there lies the Highland of Moldava, an historic-geographic region called Bucovina – a land gently undulated into long hills covered with forests, with fast creeks and fertile fields, ever since there is human life in these parts. And traces of habitation have remained here since the dawn of mankind. There already existed well-established, steady settlements there by the Middle Ages (Baia, 1335, Siret, 1340, Radauti, 1350), and around the year 1360 the independent Romanian state of Moldavia came into being, under the rule of Prince Bogdan.

Those were troubled times, marked by inner controversies, religious included, as Catholicism was seeking an infiltration, the times of frequent attacks by the Tartars from the east and, soon, also by the Ottoman Empire from the south. The precautions taken by the first Romanian rulers naturally including the building of fortifications (Siret, Suceava) and of Orthodox establishments (Siret, Radauti, Baia, Botosami, Secueava). And in this respect, brilliant was the age of rulers Stephan the Great and Petru Rares, followed by the Movilas (1466), when Bucovina was adorned with fortified churches and monasteries that make its fame today.

Vogorous nuclei of culture and artistic creation since the onset, the worship places in Bucovina carry on their mission, thanks to the restoration experts and to the monastic communities that administer them. That is why the exterior frescoes of the churches of Humor (1535), Moldovita (1537), Voronet (1547), Sucevita (1596), the architecture and painting of the monastery of Putna, were responsible for the awarding on Bucovina a listing in the UNESCO catalogue of Great Monuments of the World.

Here it is, still alive, the doing of the meritorious creators, anonymous most of them, the sum-total of their faith, courage and modesty that bespeaks genius.

Made by man … created by God.

Trip Gallery - The Monastic Archipelago
The Monasteries of Bucovina
Monastery of Putna
Monastery of Putna Monastery of Putna Monastery of Putna
Putna Monastery Slide Show
Monastery of Sucevita
Monastery of Sucevita Monastery of Sucevita Monastery of Sucevita
Sucevita Monastery Slide Show
Monastery of Moldovita
Monastery of Moldovita Monastery of Moldovita Monastery of Moldovita
Moldovita Monastery Slide Show
Monastery of Humor
Monastery of Humor Monastery of Humor Monastery of Humor
Humor Monastery Slide Show
Monastery of Voronet
Monastery of Voronet Monastery of Voronet Monastery of Voronet
Voronet Monastery Slide Show
Chernivtsi, Ukraine
Crest of ChernivtsiChernivtsi ... German - Czernowitz, Romanian, - Cernauti, Russian - Chernovtsy, city (1989 pop. 257,000), the administrative center of Chernivtsi Province (ethnographers refer to it as Bukovina or, rather, northern Bukovina), SW Ukraine, on the Prut River and in the Carpathian foothills. The area of the province - 8,100 sq.km. The population of the province - 944,000 (considerable percentage of Romanians and Moldavians).

The first mention of the city of Chernivtsi dates back to the 12th century. It was founded on the river Prut as a fortress to protect the Slavic territories from steppe nomads’ raids. Lasting periods of foreign domination and the multi-national ethnic structure of the population determined the peculiar architectural image of the city, folk art and cuisine. The city has a university (est. 1875), a 13th-century-fortified castle, a 17th-century wooden church, and a 19th-century Orthodox Eastern cathedral.

One of Ukraine's oldest towns, Chernivtsi was part of Kievan Rus. in the 10th-12th centuries; in the 12th-13th - of Galicia-Volyn Principality; then it fell under the Tartar control. In 1345 Bukovina went under the Hungarian reign, but shortly it became a part of the Moldavian state; in 1514 Turkey conquered it. In the second half of the 18th century in the course of the war between Russia and Turkey it was annexed to Austria in 1775 and became the capital of Bukovina in 1849 and remained a part of it till 1918, when it was annexed to Romania. Northern Bukovina united with the rest of Ukraine in 1940.

Trip Gallery - Chernivtsi
Chernivtsi, Ukraine
Church of the Holy Spirit Oblast Administration Building Drama Theatre built by Austria
University of Chernivchi Entrance to Chernivchi Cemetery At Chernivchi cemetery
Chernivchi Post Office Chernivchi Train Depot Chernivchi Train Depot
Lviv, Ukraine
City Map of LvivAccording to the ancient chronicles Lviv was founded in 1256 by the Prince of Galicia and Volyn Danylo Romanovych, who named the town in honour of his son Lev. The center of old Lviv was on the site of today's Old Rynok Square. Situated on the crossroads of trade routes, Lviv grew fast, and soon became an important center of commerce and crafts. Its location in the middle of Galicia-Volyn principality gave the town a considerable strategic value. In 1272 Prince Lev transferred the capital of the principality from Galych to Lviv. In 1349 the Polish King Kazimierz III, who ordered it to be moved more to the south, captured Lviv. The new town was built to the plan of a traditional European settlement: a central square surrounded by living quarters and fortifications.

Not only merchants were attracted by the wealth of Lviv. In those days Tatars, Moldavians, Turks, rebellious Polish nobility were attacking Lviv, and the defenses were a vital matter. Basically the system of fortifications was completed in 1445; it comprised the Higher and Lower Defense Walls with a ditch between them; a deep moat filled with water, which protected the town on the northern, eastern and southern sides; a defense rampart, 16 meters high; the High and Low Castles. The river and impassable swamps shielded Lviv from the west. However, with the advent of firearms, such fortifications could afford little protection, and they underwent drastic alterations.

The High Castle, built by the Polish King Kazimierz III, heavily fortified and located on a steep hill, 300 meters high, remained inaccessible for more than 300 years. It was only in 1648 that the Cossacks of Maxym Kryvonis seized the High Castle for the first time. In 1672 Turks captured it almost without a fight. Later, little was done to save the Castle from decay, and in the 1870s it was dismantled, with a segment of its southern wall being preserved.

The Lower Castle, famous for its beauty, rebuilt after 1565 to replace earlier wooden ones, was located on the site presently occupied by the National Museum and Maria Zankovetska Theatre. Here in 1537 King Sigismund I the Old signed the Order, which put an end to the absolute monarchy in Poland. The Swedish King Karl XII stayed in the Lower Castle in 1704 after capturing the city. A royal residence, the Castle also served as a prison for Polish nobility.

The devastating fire of 1527 razed Lviv to the ground, leaving only two structures: the Town Hall and one other building; the survival of the latter was attributed to the protection of the Holy Virgin. So intense was the fire, that it destroyed even stone structures and melted church bells and artillery guns.

Although the ban imposed on wooden construction in 1540 was not too strictly observed, the buildings which appeared later were largely built of stone. The most common type of building was a three-storied one, with three windows on each floor. The walls were covered with carpets, which later gave way to plaster. Furniture, mostly made of oak, solid, intricately carved and lavishly decorated; oriental carpets on the floor; kitchenware of silver and tin (which used to be almost as expensive as silver); glassware, often of colored glass; clocks in bronze or gilded wood - these were to show the wealth of a house-owner. Paintings and books were not scarce in the town.

Trip Gallery - Lviv
Lviv, Ukraine
Overooking Lviv George Hotel Former French Hotel
Along Svoboda Boulevard Trolley near City hall On Archduke Ferdinard Square
A Florentine Courtyard on Rynok Square Kings Church The Four Seasons Building
Inside St. George Cathedral Boims Chapel Church of the Snowy Mary
An open-air market Opera House Former St. Mary Magdalene Church
Wave of National Revival University of Lviv Former St. Mary Magdalene Church
Family Ancestral Villages of Ukraine
Visiting the place of birthAmong the many reasons this trip was undertaken was to visit the ancestral villages of the Rozylowicz Family. Although little was expected in terms of actually discovering or uncovering tangible information, the numerous side-trips were spiritually rewarding.

Archival research dictated which villages were on the agenda for visitation. Additionally, villages of this author's birth and that of his immediate family (siblings) were included. No supporting information will be provided here as to the historical significance of any of these villages nor any time-specific background. The gallery should speak for itself.

Trip Gallery - Ancestral Villages of Ukraine
Ancestral Villages of Ukraine
Torhovycja, Ukraine
Panoramic view of approach to Torhovycja
Main street of Tohovycja Pastoral vistas Catholic Church in Otynja
Kalusz, Ukraine
Catholic Church in Kalusz Drama Theatre in Kalusz Greek Church in Kalusz
Zimna Voda, Ukraine
Zimna Voda house Walking the streets of Zimna Voda A local and a visitor discussing map of town
Horokok, Ukraine
(Grodek Jagiellonski)
Grodek Church Podhaju Power Distribution plant Grodek railway depot (new)
The Ancestral Village of Muzylovice
Village of MuzyloviceThe German Colony Village of Muzylovice is a confirmed ancestral home of a Rozylowicz, dating back to 1851. Much may be said about this village but it can best be described by the following, extracted from the "Newsletter"

... It’s time to see Muzylovice! … It’s noon and we are anxious to drive to Muzylovice … 30 kilometers East of Lviv. Taking the Northern high road through Ivano-Frankova we traverse the countryside encountering the same level of poverty and dilapidation as seen coming into Lviv. A few kilometers down the road we make a left turn into the Javorin Rayon (district) and head for the villages of Prylbychi and Muzylovichi (Ukrainian spelling). The road is adequate and the foot traffic of humanity and livestock requires attention to driving. Open fields on both sides of the road are tended by workers wielding scythes and rake … corn at full height … alfalfa drying in neat rows … not a car in sight.

Finally we arrive at Muzylovice … to find and tour the reason for our being there … the “church”. Climbing the rutted dirt road, we see it for the first time … a sad and lonely red sentinel. We park … take out the camera and start the walk-about. The church is in an incredibly sad state of abandonment. Roof gone, the top portion of the walls deteriorating with every passing rain, the inside dirt floor overgrown with weeds and saplings, windows and doors long gone … we ask, “was this a place of worship at one time?”

We walked around this edifice many times … watching the geese and turkeys scurry away from us … and with each circuit we saw the “church” for what it was. A solid structure, standing straight and rigid, walls plumb, many bricks missing here and there … and in our mind’s eye, restored to its former glory. Steeples replaced, roof made of tin, windows and doors enclosing an inside that is welcoming. Any disrepair or damage, neglect or vandalism could be erased quickly if only we take the initiative to save the remaining elements. Hope and inspiration was rekindled after the initial flush of disappointment. There is hope for “this lady in red”.

Taking our leave of the “church” we head back. In the distance we see the “church” … it sits high and majestic at the edge of an open field. How better it would look with a steeple pointing to the sky … its walls plastered in white shimmering in the late afternoon sun. Can wishing make it happen?

Trip Gallery - The Ancestral Village of Muzylovice
Village of Muzylovice
On the way to Muzylovice A Muzylovice Street End of day
The Muzylovice Church The Muzylovice Church The Muzylovice Church
The Muzylovice Church The Muzylovice Church The Muzylovice Church
Typical homestead Typical snack provided by the hosts Owner and visitor
Panoramic view of Village of Muzylovice
Folklore Museums of Romania and Ukraine
Founded in the 1930s on the western shore of Lake Herastrau in Bucharest, Romania, the open air Village Museum brought together significant examples of peasant architecture in Romania, from the plains region, the Black Sea and the Carpathian Mountains.

Collected in time, the picturesque peasant households from old times - furnished and adorned according to the oldest traditions - reveal a remarkable creativity (and you should know that in Romania dozens and dozens of areas evolved as autonomous cultures of outstanding diversity).

In Lviv, Ukraine, the Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life was formed under the open air in 1971. It encompasses 120 relics of folk architecture from the western regions of Ukraine. Twenty thousand objects of everyday life and works of art are displayed in the area of 50 hectares.

Situated in the north-eastern part of the city in the picturesque Shevchenko Hai (grove), the exhibition is organized according to ethnographic principles. It displays a number of miniature villages and includes two wooden churches from the Kryvka Village (1763) and the Tysovets' Village (1863). The church from the Kryvka Village is a folk architecture masterpiece of all-European significance.

Trip Gallery - Folklore Museums of Romania and Ukraine
Folklore Museums
Satulei Museum of Romania
Village of Dumitra Village of Stanesti - Shed Village of Rusetu
Village of Ceauru Village of Borlova - Corncrib Village of Zapodeni
Village of Audia Village of Audia - interior Village of Straja
Lviv Museum of Folk Architecture
Hut with shed - 1792 Church - 1763 Watermill
Farmstead - 19th century School - 1880 Farmstead - 1900
Church - 1831 (Poland) House - 1887 Church - 1863
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