The recently launched Explorer in Baragan is the first tourist guide dedicated exclusively to this region in southeastern Romania
The recently launched Explorer in Baragan is the first tourist guide dedicated exclusively to this region in southeastern Romania. Tourists now have access to a single complete source that helps them discover the material and cultural heritage of the region. The platform also includes the first audio guide for it, the first 3D museum of Baragan, and virtual tours of famous people from the area, such as Ionel Perlea, composer and conductor with the Rome Opera, the Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Connecticut Symphony Orchestra. Another famous person showcased here is sculptor Nicapetre, who built some monumental works of art in Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany, the United States, and especially Canada, his adoptive country.
So, until we are able to actually visit the area, you are invited to a fascinating virtual trip with Cristian Curus, project manager, who told us how the idea emerged:
“I was born in the city of Slobozia, considered the heart of Baragan. My whole childhood and adolescence, we heard that tourists don't visit us, and that no one is doing anything. Then we decided to make a move ourselves. We have a seven strong team, and the idea of the project started from a need to promote Baragan, which has objectives that are part of our cultural heritage, buildings and monuments, we have a natural patrimony too. There are stories about Baragan that are worth telling, and many things that are worth discovering, and which right now do not appear in any of the elaborate tourist guides, national or local, or international. For example, the most important world guide, Lonely Planet, in the chapter dedicated to the Baragan region, barely has half a page about the city of Braila.”
For the Itinerama Explorer in Baragan project, one hundred potential tourist objectives were initially identified:
“Some of them are already available, such as museums in the territory, archaeology sites which tourists can visit for a very small fee. There are still many objectives that are not in the tourist circuit. They are considered heritage objectives, they are on the list of monuments in Romania, but they are not available to visit. Many or them are mansions, churches, even archaeology sites that are not accessible. For instance, the site of Popina Bordusani, in Ialomita County, has been closed to tourists for the last two years, but part of this project will be to try next year to have a few organized tours, together with Ialomita County Museum, for tourists to have access. The Baragan guide proposes four kinds of tours: we have the Upper Baragan, with the most important objectives in the counties of Calarasi and Ialomita. We have Baragan South to North, where we included a number of objectives along the Danube, between Calarasi and Braila, a tour of mansions and churches. These are tours that tourists can organize for themselves too. In order to meet their needs, the website of the project, itinerama.ro will make available a number of interactive maps that let you calculate distances between objectives, and the time they take. We hope that the pandemic will end in 2021, so we plan a number of guided tours, with local guides, which can tell you much more than we can provide with the project.”
Initially the guided tours will be in Romanian and English. Then depending on demand, there are plans to also have Italian, German, and Spanish. Also, the website itself, itinerama.ro also has an English section, with text and audio descriptions. Here is project manager Cristian Curus, describing two of the objectives:
“I would start with Popina Bordusani, one of the archaeology sites that impressed me the most. It is next to the village of Bordusani, in Ialomita County. The site is surrounded by a number of lakes. Once you get there, beyond the history of the place, it has an astounding scenery. It is an experience that Romanians actually go abroad for. It is a complete experience, where history blends with nature, and we think that, for a foreigner coming to Romania, it could be the quintessence of our project. It is an interesting place because here they find the first prehistoric village that was researched in Romania, going back 6,500 years. Two civilizations called this region home: Boian and Gumelnita. These two civilizations have been described socially and economically as being as developed as the Egyptian or Mesopotamian civilizations. And, getting closer to our time, the mansions in Baragan are a major attraction. I would recommend the Marghiloman mansion in Hagiesti, which is a dilapidated heritage building, dating back to the beginning of last century. It was recently put into a restoration program, coordinated by National Heritage Institute. The project is complex, it will take three years, but it will result in creating the Marghiloman Mansion Center for Culture and Education.”
Another objective is Ivanesti Church, abandoned in the middle of a field, with a strange history. The inhabitants of the village that used to be here started believing the church had been cursed, so they abandoned the area altogether. You can find many more stories by visiting the virtual museum. Here is Cristian Curus:
“The virtual part is in two sections. You can see the first Baragan 3D Museum, which at first will feature 40 objects, most of them dug up in archaeology sites in Baragan. The aim of the project is to draw attention to the civilizations that inhabited this area. The second component includes virtual tours, inviting you to visit places that we are very fond of. We propose the Ionel Perlea Memorial House, the birthplace of the famous Romanian conductor and composer, born on December 13, 1900. he is famous all over the world for his work of the Scala of Milan and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The second place would be the Nicapetre museum in Braila. You can see there some of the artist's best known cultures. Unfortunately, he is similarly better known abroad, in countries like the US, Canada, and Japan, than he is in Romania.”
The project itinerama.ro Explorer in Baragan has most of its financing coming from the National Heritage Management Fund, and it also has its own sources of financing.