500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Arsenal Park and a 2,000 year old ruins site

Interesting day yesterday as we first went to a Soviet military theme park, and then up into the mountains to the remains of a Dacian settlement from 2,000 years ago.

Had to put fuel in the car for the first time. This car is a diesel, and the onboard trip computer said that we were averaging 4.2 l/100 kms. That's 56 mpg! Wow! We had already driven over 800 kms (500 miles) and still had a quarter tank. It cost 150 lei ($49.50 CAD, $36 USD) to fill it up.

We had been told about a theme park called Arsenal Park that had a bunch of old Soviet military equipment scattered through the forest. I did some research, and it seemed you could go for a walk in the forest while paying only a basic entrance price. Seemed like a different thing, and it was.

We got there and paid 10 lei ($3.30 CAD, $2.50 USD) basic entrance fee.

The place is huge. It has a ton of activities including a big new water park. During the week, they host team building events for groups. It was built on the grounds of a WWII munitions factory.

And it's all centered around the military.

A 1980 Romanian IAR 93 Vultur. Only 88 ever built.

8 wheel drive armoured personal carrier from 1971.

Made in Czechoslovakia in 1962.

T-55 Soviet tank made in 1963.

These people look like they're having fun doing their basic training exercises!

Soviet rocket launcher from 1974.

Anyhow, interesting stuff and we probably did 5 kms (3 miles) walking around!

From there, we headed south into the mountains to find the 2,000 year old ruins of a Dacian settlement. The Dacians were the people who lived in this area before the Romans came.

The settlement is called Sarmizegetusa Regia, and it contained a citadel and residential areas with dwellings and workshops as well as a sacred zone. 

The road 20 km (12 mile) road leading up the archaeological site was only paved this year, so the area hasn't seen many visitors until recently.

Only paved a few months ago! 
They had a storm go through recently and have only just cut the damage out to make it passable.

We arrived at the parking area, and there was only one other car. The benefits of exploring during low season. We had a steep uphill walk on a section with paving stones...maybe 1 km (0.6 miles) to the ticket booth where we paid 5 lei ($1.65 CAD, $1.25 USD) each for the entrance fee. They also wanted 30 lei ($10 CAD, $7.50 USD) photography fee that we refuse to pay. 

We're finding this "photography fee" at quite a few things that we go to. It's ridiculous. Almost everybody takes photos, and with cell phone cameras it's impossible to fully control. And of course there are photos all over the internet. Why not get rid of that ridiculous photography fee, and increase the entrance fee by another few lei to cover everybody? We don't get it...

So we almost had the place to ourselves, but there was always a guard of some kind around, and I was afraid of him asking for our non existent photography permit. So I only snuck a few photos!

The sacred area on one of the 11 plateaus on the side of the hill.

A 2,000 year old road was uncovered.

What's left of the wall of the citadel.

The Dacians lived here for about 200 years from the first century BC until the first century AD when most of this settlement was destroyed by the Romans.

Photo borrowed from the internet.

This was the main part of the sacred area. They say that the round stone you see on the far right had something to do with astrology because the section where those people are sitting is pointing exactly due north.

There is so much we don't know about these ancient civilizations.

Today looks like it might be our last day of great weather, so we're going out for a hike to make the most of it!

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It's on deal of the day today at Amazon.com...fantastic, and you can't go wrong at this price! Great Christmas present...


It's still on at a great price in Canada as well...





16 comments:

  1. There was a "photography fee" when we visited Prague Castle. I wasn't paying it. Now I have to read up a bit on the Dacians.

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    1. They had that photography fee when we were at Prague Castle as well, just another money grab!

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  2. Interesting Dacian site. It reminds me of la Cañada de la Virgen near San Miguel.

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    1. I was interesting! They also had a few other sites around the area but we unfortunately didn't have time to go and visit them. One was a 4.5km hike. We would have loved to have seen that one. This particular one, the archaeologists feel was the most important one.

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  3. There is so much more to Romania than I thought!

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    1. Yep, they have a very interesting history that even we are learning more about.

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  4. Very interesting especially the military vehicles! Enjoy the nice weather while you can!

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    1. It was an interesting day! Hoping that the nice weather will last just a little be longer. :-)

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  5. Well I think I want a car like that if it gets 56 mph. What kind is it? The ancient site is really interesting. Were those the indigenous people of this area or some who came later. Reminds me of the Celtic sacred sites in SW England and in Ireland. Would love to see that and be in the space.

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    1. The car is a Logan by Dacia and is not available to buy in the USA.

      Difficult to say if they were "indigenous" because they are considered to be Indo-European people and were ancient inhabitants of the area. There's more info on them if you go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dacians.

      Actually that is one of the reasons I wanted to go to this site. I had seen a picture posted on the internet about it and it sort of reminded me a bit of Stonehenge for some reason. I love the history of Stonehenge so this piqued my interest.

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  6. I gasped when I opened you blog today because all I saw was Ruth perched on a ledge and buildings way below her. I hope it wasn't as far down as it looked. You two should have been given wings to make all your ascensions to the mountain tops easier.

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    1. Yep, we were well above the buildings below and even up fairly high above the actual ground below but now scary high, plus the wall was very thick so I was actually very comfortable. If I didn't feel comfortable I wouldn't have been sitting there, I'm a little nervous like that.

      Nope don't need wings, that would take the feeling of accomplishment away from us then. However, it would be neat to soar above and get a great bird's eye view of everything. ;-)

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  7. The 2000 year old ruins are amazing. We love visiting those kind of sites.

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    1. So do we! There is still so much to learn about the people from so long ago. We can't understand how they made this stuff with such basic tools and how they knew so much about astrology and so many other things back then. It is something we will probably never truly know.

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  8. Great mileage on the car. I wish we would have more than German cars imported from Europe - we drove a Citroen in France and loved the car (and the mileage). We would buy one in Canada if it was at all possible.

    Interesting sites - from very old history to almost contemporary relics... thanks for sharing your findings with us.

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    1. We are loving the gas mileage! We have a nice small car in Canada but it still doesn't get gas mileage like this one.

      Yep, it was almost at both ends of the spectrum for this post. We had a fun day!

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