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Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Postcard Hunt in Targu Mures, Romania

Since we only had til early afternoon to visit Targu (sometimes spelled Tirgu) Mures before taking the bus to the nearby town of  Sighisoara, we made good use of the map, labeled all over 'Free' the pension wanted to charge us for. Our initial stop was at the Wooden Church, high up on the hill above town.

What colorful steps to climb; somehow they didn't feel so steep looking like this

St. Michael Orthodox Church, but better known simply as the Wooden Church, is the oldest Orthodox church in town, built in 1793. It was closed but lovely in its simplicity from the outside.

Then walked down the hill to the gigantic Medieval Fortress, built at the end of the 15th C; it has 7 towers which have been connected by 10m high walls. We went in by the 70 step Rakoczi Stairs, built in 1902. The fortress is undergoing a massive renovation; sure when it’s completed, it’ll be fantastic.

The Reformed Church in the castle was also closed. Built by the Franciscan order, it's the oldest church in the city.
Hoping we'd have better luck at being able to see inside a church, we walked a few minutes to the main square so we could see the Ascension Orthodox Church, known as the Great Cathedral, built between 1925 and 1934. Because of its monumental dimensions and very large inner surface of mural paintings, it’s seen as one of the most important buildings of worship in Romania. Hard not to be spellbound here because of its size and beauty.

Decided to walk down the street from the church and look at some of the places listed in the guide we'd gotten from Tourist Information. Just across the street was the enormous Palace of Culture built just before WWI. 

I loved its gaily tiled roof.

Never heard of such a building before so curious to walk inside for a few moments. How beautiful! Turns out the building hosts the Prefecture and Mures County Council.

Walked a couple of blocks to the Synagogue which was constructed at the end of the 19th C. We were very fortunate being spotted by a man as we were wandering around it who asked if we were tourists and then, speaking a few words in Hebrew to Steven, went in search of a key and opened the doors only for us.

I asked the man why there were a number of English names in front of the seats; they weren't English names, he said, but rather Scottish people who had had Jewish family members in Targu Mures and had therefore contributed to the synagogue's upkeep.

From the synagogue
The Holocaust Memorial was located several blocks away.

Search for a postcard: From the memorial, we went on a hunt for a postcard to bring home for a friend's granddaughter. Finding postcards in any city has always been an easy thing although the prices have varied widely from city to city. Even though we only spent about 4 hours seeing the lovely town/city, we had not seen a single store selling souvenirs or postcards which was so surprising given how there are a number of sights of interest to tourists. In the end, with time running out before having to catch a bus to our next stop, I asked the fellow at the Tourist Information Office. 

Surprisingly, they are ONLY sold at the Post Office (above); that was nonsense, he agreed, but t'was the case. So off we went searching for it, only to lose our way a few times. Got there and hallelujah, I thought, now it'll be easy - hah, not so much. I was finally able to speak to a clerk in English who came out from behind his tiny window and escorted me to another window speaking to a clerk there. She then went into another room and came back with a pack of about 10 cards for me to choose from! Got one and scrambled to get back to the Pension Tempo to collect our bags for the bus ride to Sighisoara, an hour or so away. Pat: please know we just consider the postcard hunt to have been another one of our adventures on the trip and a good tale to tell!