Romanian ruling party chief says plans to move Israel embassy to Jerusalem

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OR REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

 

Romanian ruling party chief says plans to move Israel embassy to Jerusalem

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – The leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democrats said the government had approved a memorandum to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, one of the first countries to do so following the United States.

FILE PHOTO: Social Democrat Party leader Liviu Dragnea gestures after leaving the Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, November 13, 2017. Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea/via REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump in December recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, infuriating Washington’s Arab allies and dismaying Palestinians who want the eastern part of the city as their capital.

Under Romanian legislation, a final embassy relocation decision belongs to centrist President Klaus Iohannis, who said he had not been consulted. The Romanian government and foreign ministry did not immediately confirm the information.

“Yesterday, the government adopted a memorandum deciding to start the procedure to effectively move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Social Democrat leader and lower house speaker Liviu Dragnea told private television station Antena3 late on Thursday.

Dragnea keeps a tight grip on his party and is seen as effectively in charge of the cabinet.

Romanian President Iohannis said in a statement on Friday that he had not been informed or consulted about the decision and urged all government and political actors to show “responsibility and discernment regarding major foreign policy decisions that have strategic effects including on national security.”

“Such a decision must be taken only after consulting and securing the approval of all foreign policy and national security institutions, with a final decision belonging to the President, according to the constitution.”

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “at least half a dozen” countries were considering moving their embassies to Jerusalem. The U.S. Embassy is due to relocate on May 14.

“Our gesture has a huge symbolic value … for Israel, a state with an unbelievably large influence in the world and with which we have had a special relationship for many years,” Social Democrat leader Dragnea said.

“Moving the embassy to Jerusalem can and I believe will bring short, medium and long-term benefits for Romania and we must use this huge chance and opportunity.”

Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Toby Chopra

Bucharest, a hostile city?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘DILEMA VECHE’)

 

Bucharest, a hostile city?

October 4, 1996: With my fingers tightly seated on the handle of the wooden suitcase, I present myself at the gate of the unit for the satisfaction of the military service. The plutonier Potrichnich, responsible for the “accommodating” of the recruits, has revealed each of us. In our platoon of Terriers * there are only two Bucharest, philologists both (Happens!): Gabi and I, the stalk of stature. Pumpkin rejoiced: “These two tiny linguists! You are buccaneers, yes ?! Let me give you sectors! That close-up bald bar, the piglet in the pigs! I said, “I made you the trick of my head!” And he made: all the “period” (the first month of the army) I washed the closes of the unit, and Gabi guarded the pigs’ cages (brackets: our unity, from the boiler, and the pigs had to be guarded day and night so as not to steal the villagers who used to jump over the fence. Years before, he had robbed the pigs with all the coins, it was a huge scandal). Being merciful, a Christian soul, Potrirniche was changing our sectors every week: I was guarding my swine, Gabi giggled dry feces. I was wrong, but the other was the problem.

He was like Potrichiche, he was a platoon of trade; but our platoon colleagues treated us like “Bucharest tricks,” though Gabi and I were hitting us, I do not know how, the worst people anyone can imagine. Two nations, two wretched, and small, and poor, and poor, and habarni in battle, and without resistance to alcohol. However, we have always been part of this “ass of the donkey,” that is, we have been given a certain attribute of the city, which we two were completely deprived of. The “trick” actually meant “the typical Bucharest hostility,” at least I understand it. In order to understand better (and because I admire Svetlana Aleksievici), I have gathered several answers from friends, to whom they give their first names (followed by their place of origin and current residence). I have a request: if the editorial publishes this text, I ask readers to briefly comment on their own experiences. Thank you!

“I got off the train in North Train Station, in the ’94, student, and as I got out of the station, a stray dog ​​bit me. From behind, he manages: he torn his big muscles. I asked the taxi drivers to take me to the hospital, he did not want one, because he was dirtying the bloodbath, and the one who took me pity asked me a triple fare to the Colentina hospital. There I went into the yard, I asked where he was, “the goalkeeper made a nod of his head, but he broke down a word on me. I’m going through the hospital yard, a pack of dogs running past me, more likely to hurt myself, and it probably had the smell of blood flowing from my leg. Painted and vaccinated, I went to the home with my hand; there they gave me a room that had nothing: no door, no windows, no cabinet, just the metal skeleton of a military bed. I left, I slept at the hotel, gave the next few days, almost all my money, I managed to get a room in another dorm. “(Mirel, Braila, Bucharest)

“For the first time, putting aside the idea of ​​a hostile city, closing my eyes and thinking of the first sensations of” Bucharest “I remember the Buzea family, which I invariably visited when I came. And it is a very pleasant memory … now, if I think about the fact that Bucharest is perceived as a hostile city, I tell you some of the memories that have built me ​​this picture: it was absolutely inconceivable for me to pass by a man and not to greet him or not to be greeted; here, as in any city, this is not practiced, and it hurts me to see indifferent people; the first time I went with the subway in ’83 when I came out and a young man from the subway told me: ‘Get out of hand, peasants, you’ve stepped on my feet’, free of charge with striking aggressiveness; when I came as a mature student, that is to college, in Bucharest there were all pockets of thieves (we were going a lot with the bus and going out clearly); there would be aggression in traffic felt when I started driving; communist districts and the perception of grayness. To be fair, I can say that I also have positive opinions from that time, but that’s on another occasion. “(Costica, Gura Teghii, Bucharest)

“Michael, you got me thinking about this problem … I was still thinking if I felt Bucharest hostile … and the answer is complicated. I came to college for 18 years, but I stayed at home, so many others like me. Indeed, at school, there was a separate group of Bucharest, but they were in the minority. I may have felt a hostile city when I looked for work. I did not have knowledge, I had no Bucharest friends to recommend, and so it was quite difficult for me to do first. Driving seemed a problem to you if you had provincial numbers: from the first I received horns, even though I was not wrong with anything, but I could just go slower. Otherwise, in the workplace, wherever I worked, my colleagues were mostly provincial like me, so there is no animosity. And I have to admit that besides Amalia, I have no other friend in Bucharest. But if I take after my husband, Bucharest, the locals are very much against the provinces. They have crowded the city, are uncivilized, uneducated … and the list can continue. I am the exception, of course! And here in Prague, at a distance, to see talks! The Bucharesters are overwhelmed, those in the province are peasants! Undoubtedly, however, the Provincials fought more for their position in Bucharest, and they learned more quickly to do it on their own, not being with their parents. That’s how much I had to say. “(Andreea, Braila, Prague) at a distance, see talks! The Bucharesters are overwhelmed, those in the province are peasants! Undoubtedly, however, the Provincials fought more for their position in Bucharest, and they learned more quickly to do it on their own, not being with their parents. That’s how much I had to say. “(Andreea, Braila, Prague) at a distance, see talks! The Bucharesters are overwhelmed, those in the province are peasants! Undoubtedly, however, the Provincials fought more for their position in Bucharest, and they learned more quickly to do it on their own, not being with their parents. That’s how much I had to say. “(Andreea, Braila, Prague)

“I know Bucharest has not been sympathetic from the beginning, but I preferred this. I came here for college; I passed the exam, got into the subway and went to the station. The stupid subway that left the Heroes has reached the Polytechnic. During this time I asked the people and tried to find my way to the station. I know I’m the most unlucky, I’ve got a train going in another direction, that the wagon I went to was without the speakers … I finally got fixed to buy another ticket, for the train after. We were coming from Constanta, a beautiful, peaceful city. It took me years to get used to the air in the capital and the noise. As long as I was in college, I had free subscription to the surface, I was worry-free everywhere; I have not found a place where I can hear my thoughts. The log is big, but he has no hidden colts; Behind the blocks there are more screams than I could imagine, and I was hardly approaching the central areas. Even in the area that is now a natural reserve I have not been able to find a place where I can say I do not hear the cars. I was saying I came for college. We got the scholarship. There was no home in the first year that there were no places, but I got room, we had a big average. They gave me a breakdown in Polygraphy. I was, I picked up the room and ran away. It was a luxurious room, because it had two shelves of eight possible. There was no door, no mattresses, the bed was more a metal frame, it had no window frames, no more painting, water or heat. We then found a high school home, a home separated by boys to the girls, the door locked at 22 o’clock, you were obligatory paying the table card, which was about the entire scholarship. I did, that I was among the few who woke up in the morning, and had a few cards to me; in the evenings there were smaller portions to get ladies with bigger bags. The list could continue well and well. But I realized with time that the city itself has no blame, I could go home anytime, that is, give up. Not in the city, not in college, but in challenges. It did not happen. Years have passed and I have come to see many cities, many countries. I found out that there is no place where milk and honey flow. I faced exactly the same challenges just on a much larger scale. It’s not too late to turn the globe and choose any city in the world, but today Constanza is not exactly what it once was. I think the hostility is not Bucharest. It is the hostility of the people who are in a position and who look at them from above all who want to be like them or above. It is about man’s resolve to make progress. Bucharest is a big city, still desirable for many. Qualifies for the hostile call. But I also talked to the Romanians who worked right in Italy and then felt the hostility of the locals because they were a threat as a number. I found people in Bristol who did not want to talk to me in principle. I found in Seattle people who did not let me venture from a road drawn on the carpet. I found people in Kuala Lumpur with whom I struck my hand and who then announced me in the 12th hour that they gave up the deal. You have caused me to remember the unpleasant events, but they are just one face of the coin.

 

“Question with closed answer, I forgot that this is what she says. In Chinese, there are sentences with ” ma”  in the queue … a new world may seem hostile, that is, the Doors: ” People are strange when you’re a stranger, faces look ugly when you’re alone.” .. OK, I answer, but I’d disappoint you deeply: I felt that the city welcomed me with open arms. It was love from the first, especially because I had been warned what a nasty thing to live among myths. Nope . It was extraordinary. I came after college, pushed by my mother, that in Sibiu I was unlikely to find decent decent service (“guanxi”, “in Chinese), mys did not have such a thing, so my sister and I were packed and sent to Bucharest. Here I got into one of the first corporations of the mid-1990s where we all were about the same age and we were from all corners of the country. If I did not come to Bucharest, I would have no idea what kind of people there are and other areas, very sympathetic and very open people. No trace of hostility on the contrary. In Sibiu I met people who lived there for 20 years and were still seen as Oltenians … in Bucharest I did not see this thing. And even if we were concerned that the Oleten or Transylvanian was a purely geographical thing, it did not involve hostility. Bucharest has opened my appetite for large, energy-rich cities, so we have arrived in a city with 25 million inhabitants. Big cities are indulgent with the Venetians, accepts it more easily than small towns. My opinion. “(Rosana, Sibiu, Shanghai)

“You want to make money for us, and you do not even give a beer call, as if you do not drink with these people anymore, since you’re famous. Well, I did not feel hostility when I arrived in the capital on my own in the 11th grade in 1990. It was through May, before the mining. I really liked people, they were friendly and nice. I did not know Bucharest at all, I landed myself by train, but people helped me get where I needed it. It may have been the euphoria after the Revolution. Instead, I noticed the hostility of those who wanted to take advantage of you, janitors, taxi drivers, currency changers, etc., which were very many to what I knew. And the sellers in the shops, who looked ugly and abhorrent to you, I suspect that they also behaved with the locals. In college I felt perfect, I stayed in the dorm, and there the inhabitants of Bucharest were minorities or were not at all. And our colleagues from Bucharest did not interfere with us, the provinces. They were staring up at us. But not all, with some I understood well. They were cheering in Regie, but the Bucharest people did not really participate. So did they just talk between them. Of course I was struggling with the corruption in the dorms, I think the administrator of a home earns thousands of dollars in the 90s. No hostility on this side, if you were making much money. The hostility of the locals is felt from time to time, but not from those who are from Bucharest, but from those who came here from Pantelimon or Adunatii Copaceni, looking at you from above, you, the provincial. Many do not realize that they still smell the cow and the sheep, they, the big city people. A sort of perceived hostility throughout the time would be to make sure the locals do not mix with the newcomers and keep a certain distance. But this is probably the case in any bigger city. That’s how it comes, we talk, we drink beer, we laugh, jokes, then everyone at his house. Some people do not even want to go out with you … “(Cristian, Reghin, Bucharest)

“I came in ’93. I did not feel hostility then. I felt hostile to him, but after the school years, when things became serious. But no taxi drivers or stray dogs have upset me, but the trick. And the trick is the mother of all hostilities. Otherwise, in Bucharest he laughs like nowhere else. And I’m not referring to the stupid laugh, the slum, you know what I mean; otherwise, Michael, I do not think I am the “witness” you need; the city did not seem to me like that, nor did it look like that. I was looking at the buildings, walking a lot. I liked the world, it seemed to me that people have style and that they can do and live a lot. Many of my books, theater, music, great concerns, seemed to be able to lead a life of intellect, whether veil or not. The city itself was the Capital. He could not think in terms of hostility, hospitality, facility, difficulty. Bucharest meant more than the inconveniences that you could meet, these were part of the life of any big city, I did not see anything bad or good in that. I liked the buildings, the air of the old houses, the private libraries, the long walks, the reveries … ergo, my testimony has no value, being too sentimental “(Andrei, Focşani, Bucharest)

* TR, that is, Reduced Term. Graduates of the faculty did only six months of military service.

Mihai Buzea is a journalist at Caţavencii.

A Romanian in the UK: ‘Undesirable Migrant’ Or ‘Welcomed Contributor’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

A Romanian in the UK: On the Thin Line Between ‘Undesirable Migrant’ and ‘Welcomed Contributor’

Alexandra Bulat, photo from her official page at UCL, used with her permission.

What is the human side of the Brexit, the UK ‘divorce’ from the EU? Numerous controversies remain, as well as the need to fix the system in order to avoid further suffering for millions of people caught in a bureaucratic uncertainty or facing arbitrary and unjust rules and regulations.

According to the newspaper The Sun, around 3.6 million EU nationals currently live in the UK, including nearly 600,000 children. Among them, eastern Europeans have been specially branded by Leavers (those who support UK’s separation from Europe) as “unwanted” immigrants. They often are tagged as “benefit scroungers, here to steal jobs”. This sentiment is not new, as they already felt like second-class citizens because of working restrictions initially put on migrants from central and eastern Europe when they joined the EU. Arguably, UK’s decision to open its labor market to these countries is what led the voters to become so opposed to migration from the EU.

Photographer Deividas Buivydas shared some captivating images from Boston, Lincolnshire, where tension against eastern Europeans is evident and post-Brexit anxiety is bubbling. This town registered the highest Leave vote in Britain, at 75.6 per cent and was dubbed “the capital of Brexit”. It also is home of the largest proportion of Eastern Europeans in the country.

The life story of Alexandra Bulat, a young scholar from Romania who made a career at top UK academic institutions also offers a telling example, as she referred to a famous phrase by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, uttered in January 2017:

I am a Romanian PhD student, teaching assistant & researcher. One of @theresa_may‘s praised “brightest and the best” whose “contributions are welcome”.

This I want to share my story. Until I got to this point, I was in many ways an “undesirable migrant” ⬇️

Ms. Bulat shared her story in a series of much-retweeted tweets which are summarized bellow.

My first experience in the UK was in 1997. My father got a temporary [National Health Service] contract as there was a skill shortage. I attended the hospital’s nursery for 7 months but my family chose to return to Romania. My mum was unemployed and my father had limited rights to work.

Meanwhile my parents got divorced. I attended a free school and skipped many classes in the last college years. Grew up mainly with “working class kids” sometimes doing dangerous things. But I achieved the highest grade in the Romanian Baccalaureate and this opened many doors.

I returned to the UK at 18 to study. I passed an IELTS exam but this was not enough to understand even half of what my British colleagues were saying. Should I have been “sent back” then as I could not properly engage in English conversations in my first few months?

Three years later I graduated with a first class degree from . It was a fun but difficult time. My mum came looking for work when I was in my second year and we shared a studio room at some point. I worked various part time jobs. Met my British partner.

In 2015 I received offers from both  and  to do my Masters. In the summer I worked as an intern in London to save money. We had no savings and definitely not enough to pay the 10,000 pounds tuition fee. Should I have given up my dreams?

I borrowed money from the bank for my fee and accepted my Master of Philosophy (MPhil) offer at Cambridge. I had barely enough to cover the first term of college accommodation and no idea what to do next. My mum was made redundant and things were not going well.

Meanwhile one of my colleagues was shocked to hear my experience of college – “So you did not have prep classes for Oxbridge interviews???”. Nope. This is maybe why I failed my Oxford interview for undergrad despite passing the written test. Oh, also my poor English.

I read my MPhil handbook saying we should not do any paid work. I did paid work throughout my MPhil and finished with 72% overall. Meanwhile mum got a job and things got back to normal around graduation time, after a year of familiarizing myself with Sainsbury’s Basic [a supermarket chain offering low cost produce].

Should me and my mum have been deported due to insufficient resources in those times? “If you do not make a net contribution you should be sent home”, some claim. Life is not a tick-box as the immigration categories are.

Alexandra Bulat. Courtesy photo used with her permission.

In 2016 after a summer of work on a temp contract I accepted my fully funded PhD at . This was the best thing that happened to me. I was sad to leave Cambridge uni but I could not have afforded a PhD with no funding. Funding is very competitive in social sciences.

My mum’s job was again subject to restructuring in 2017. After a few months of job searching she decided to leave to Germany. She also was concerned about  after Brexit. They are not guaranteed yet. She is working in Germany now, the UK lost a skilled professional.

In 2018 all things go well. I speak fluent English, have a lovely British partner and I am halfway through my PhD. But I, like all  and  are still . Our reduced  are not secured in case of no deal.

In the mind of many people rudely commenting on  posts such as the stories shared in ‘s articles, we should be sent back home unless we are a constantly producing tax payment machine. It is important to realize the complexity of migrant stories. According to these people’s logic, my mum should have been deported every time she lost her job and I should not have been allowed in with little English or “insufficient resources”. We have not claimed a single benefit all these years, not even job-seeker’s allowance.

To everyone that tells me to stop criticizing settled status because “I will be fine, cos I am a PhD student and skilled migrant”, I am saying: no. I will not close the gate behind me just because I managed to become a “desirable migrant”.  were promised for all.

On 1 June 2016, few weeks ahead of the Brexit Referendum, the “Vote Leave” campaign issued a statement by Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, and Gisela Stuart, claiming that:

Second, there will be no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK. These EU citizens will automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and will be treated no less favourably than they are at present.

In October of the same year, David Davis, Brexit Secretary tried to downplay the concerns of people like Ms. Bulat’s mother, by claiming that “Five out of six migrants who are here either already have indefinite leave to remain or ​will have it by the time we depart the [EU].” However, the UK fact-checking service FullFact concluded:

This is not fully substantiated by the evidence and will depend on the arrangements we make upon leaving the EU. Whatever happens, EU citizens are not going to be forced to leave en masse.

FullFact also noted other points of uncertainty, which depend on the outcome of the UK-EU negotiations which are still in the works, and are supposed to end by March 2019. For instance, the right to permanent residence under EU law may or may not survive Brexit and might depend on meeting criteria for permanent residence such as “whether they’re working, looking for work, self-employed, studying or self-sufficient…”

Instead, automatic grant of all existing rights promised by Vote Leave is still uncertainty for both EU migrants in UK and British in EU27. Many areas remain unclear and are under negotiations such as some family reunification rights and political rights (EU migrants can vote in local elections only)…

recent protest by the group Highly Skilled Migrants, which says it represents over 600 doctors, engineers, IT professionals, teachers and their families in Britain attempted to raise profile of ‘discriminatory’ Home Office rules. The ‘harsh migration policy’ affects both immigrants from ‘overseas’, and those coming from the EU member countries. Latest data indicates large drop in the number of EU nationals seeking jobs in the UK due to Brexit uncertainty.

Ms. Bulat concluded her story with the following tweet:

We need a solution to protect all , just as promised by Vote Leave. No more “bad migrant”-“good migrant” division games. People’s lives do not fit in a tickbox. Politicians should listen to more real migrant stories to understand.

Slavery in today’s MENA and in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF MENA-FORUM)

 

THE GLOBAL SLAVERY INDEX 2016 published this information page “as violent conflict escalates and political, economic, social and security spill overs destabilise many countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the profile of victims vulnerable to modern slavery has shifted. Though MENA continues to act as a destination for men and women from Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa who are attracted to the region with promises of well-paying jobs, increasingly Middle Easterners themselves faced exploitation and slavery in 2016. Victims were identified as forced recruits in state and non-state armed groups, as victims of forced marriage and victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Foreign and local citizens were subject to forced labour and debt bondage in service sectors such as domestic work, cleaning, and as drivers and restaurant workers, as well as in construction, agriculture and mechanics.” Slavery in today’s MENA and in the world generally still escapes the media’s radar.

 

In effect, this sort of affairs is not restricted to the MENA region only as per today the Construction Index of the United Kingdom published this short but significant article on the same but sad subject.

A Romanian man has been arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offences relating to labour abuse on London construction sites.

Above: One man has been arrested

The government’s Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), supported by police, carried out simultaneous swoops on five homes in Barking, Walthamstow, Forest Gate, Ilford and Newham as part of an investigation into the exploitation of eastern European workers.

One man is in custody on suspicion of modern slavery offences and more than 50 people are being treated as ‘vulnerable’ following the early morning raids yesterday (21st February).

The GLAA raids were in response to allegations of labour abuse on construction sites across the capital, threats of violence and false identities being used.

A number of people, all believed to be Romanian or Moldovan nationals, were found to be living at the five addresses that were raided. In one terraced house 23 people were found to be living in cramped conditions, including six women and two young children. Ten have been taken to a reception centre, including two 15-year-old boys.

The arrested man, a Romanian national in his 20s, is being held at Forest Gate Police Station for questioning.

GLAA senior investigating officer Tony Byrne said: “Our capability to investigate and take action to disrupt alleged criminality and labour abuse is increasing. Our priority is to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation and today’s action demonstrates we will act when our intelligence suspects labour offences are being committed.”

The Crown Prosecution Service is this week hosting a three-day summit on modern slavery and human trafficking, with representatives from 15 countries.

The History of Dracula’s Castle

(I GOT THIS ARTICLE FROM GOOGLE +, FROM THE POST OF STANLEY OUL)

 

The History of Dracula’s Castle

Everyone knows something about Dracula, the famous character from Bram Stocker’s book that had such a great resonance. What not everyone knows is that Bran Castle is the place that inspired the writer. The truth is that Bram Stocker had never been to Romania, and he built the entire story by inspiring from books and pictures that described Vlad III Dracul, (c. 1431 – 1476), and the Bran Castles’ stories. His character is built following the stories about Vlad Tepes and his cruelty.

Bran Castle was first mentioned in documents in 1377 when it was built by the Saxons of Kronstadt at their own expense and labor force. But this beautiful medieval castle is older than that. Initially, it was built as a wooden castle guarding an important mountain pass by the Teutonic Knights in 1212, when King Andrew II of Hungary invited them into the small but strategically sensitive Burzenland in return for guarding the southeastern border of the Kingdom of Hungary against the Kipchak-Cuman confederation.

The Teutonic Knights had quite a different point of view and planned to establish their own, independent state in the area. King Andrew II, (1175 – 1235, king of Hungary from 1205 until his death), quickly realized what was going on, and in 1225 he expelled the Teutonic Order from his realm, before it managed to grow powerful enough to oppose him. In this tim, this wooden fortified settlement was called Dietrichstein, and it was destroyed by the Mongols in 1242 during the Mongol Invasion.

As time passed, and military conflicts intensified, the castle was heavily fortified and was used over the ages as a defensive position against the invading Ottoman Empire. Despite popular belief, Vlad III Dracul had little to do with the castle, although he passed through the area occasionally. In fact, it has never been the property of Wallachian prince. He may have stayed at Bran for a few days (not even that is so certain, though), but it was definitely not his castle.

Besides playing an important military role, Bran Castle also had a commercial purpose. Being placed at the border of two important regions, it provided safe passage from one location to another, thus improving the relations and economic development of both Wallachia and Transylvania. Bran remained a key military strategic position at the crossroads of the Kingdom of Hungary, the Principality of Moldavia and the Principality of Wallachia up until the 18th century.

In 1917, the town of Brasov donated the castle to the Emperor of Austro-Hungary, Franz Joseph I, (1830 – 1916). After the end of World War I, the castle has been donated once again by the city of Brasov, but this time to Queen Mary Of Romania (1875 – 1938; Marie of Edinburgh). After her death, the castle passed to Princess Ileana’s property, (1909 -1991), Queen Mary’s daughter, and the archduke Anton of Habsburg’s wife, (1901 – 1987).

After the forced abdication of Romania’s Royal Family in 1947, the castle passed into Romanian state property, and in 1950 was granted as National Monument. In 2005, the Romanian government passed a special law allowing restitution claims on properties illegally expropriated, such as Bran, and thus a year later the castle was awarded ownership to Dominic von Habsburg, (born in 1937), the son and heir of Princess Ileana. Nowadays, it is a museum.

The castle has 57 rooms and a secret passageway leading up to the watch towers. It is situated on a cliff at an elevation of 762 meters (2500 feet), and is surrounded by valleys and hills. Much of the furniture and the artwork that hangs from the castle’s walls today belonged to the Queen Marie.

Photo: The Bran Castle, situated near Bran and in the immediate vicinity of Braşov in Romania.

http://www.bran-castle.com/

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Bran_Castle

Photo
Damian Daily

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