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Visiting museums is one of the best ways to get to know most destinations on your travel list. Visiting open-air museums is even a better option if you prefer spending the day outside while discovering more about the history and culture of a new country or region. Our guide to the top open-air museums in Romania sums up the finest locations of this kind, from the capital to the border with Ukraine. You can visit at least one of them during your next vacation in Romania.
It’s the largest museum in Bucharest and one of the first open-air ethnographic museums in the world. Opened in 1936, after 10 years of field research, the Village Museum exhibits traditional peasant houses and installations brought from all over Romania, rebuilt here by craftsmen using old techniques.
Simply by walking around the museum, you’ll easily notice different regional architectural styles, influenced by landscape, owners’ occupation and local culture. This is why visiting the Village Museum from Bucharest is one of the best ways to uncover the diversity of factors that shaped the Romanian peasant identity across the past centuries.
Location: 28-30 Kiseleff Boulevard, Bucharest
More on www.muzeul-satului.ro
From the largest open-air ethnographic museum in Bucharest, we go to the largest in Romania. Located in Dumbrava forest, a short bike ride from Sibiu, Astra Museum surely is a must-see landmark and one of the most beautiful open-air museums in Romania. Just be sure to save at least half-day for it as the park extends on 96 hectares.
Founded in 1905, in the complicated political climate before the First World War, the museum was destined to represent the Romanian cultural identity in a time when Transylvania was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Its open-air section was inaugurated in 1967, and besides walking, you can explore it on bike, by boat or even horse riding.
Location: 16-20, Padurea Dumbrava Street, Sibiu, Sibiu County
More on www.muzeulastra.ro
If you’re planning to add more attractions to your list besides the spectacular painted churches while visiting Bucovina, try the Village Museum from Suceava. Focused on the peasant culture of the region, it combines traditional installations with typical houses, recreating the atmosphere of an authentic village from Bucovina and even locals’ perception on the key events of rural life: birth, marriage and death. For a complete day, add a visit to the large 14th-century fortress from Suceava.
Photo source http://muzeulbucovinei.ro
Location: Cetatii Street, Suceava, Suceava County
More on muzeulbucovinei.ro
We move north, to Maramures, the land of wooden churches and wooden architecture. If you feel the modernized villages lost much of their traditional touch, stop in Sighetu Marmatiei for a visit to the Village Museum. Opened in 1981, the museum presents an impressive collection of typical peasant houses representative for the wooden architecture of the region, the oldest church dating back to the 17th century. It’s a rare chance to see how a typical Maramures village looked like until a few decades ago.
Photo by Basesteanu
Location: 1 Museum Street, Sighetu Marmatiei, Maramures County
More on www.muzeulmaramuresului.ro
Watermills and windmills were once a typical sight in the traditional village as in the absence of electricity, wind and water were the natural resources used for energy. Today, you can barely see these installations outside a museum, and this makes the village of Eftimie Murgu a rare attraction in Romania. The 22 water mills located just outside the village, in Rudaria Gorges from Almajului Mountains, are still used for grinding cereals, a strong tradition in the village where 51 installations of this kind were documented in the 15th century.
Location: Eftimie Murgu, Caras-Severin County
Cluj-Napoca is right now the trendiest city in Romania. Plenty of concerts, festivals and a dynamic young population make it the place to be. The city is, nonetheless, also outstanding when it comes to its museums, and the open-air Ethnographic Park should definitely be on your to see list. To begin with, it was opened in 1929 which makes it the first open-air museum in Romania. Named after its founder, the museum managed to survive through the critical years of the Second World War when many of its houses were destroyed. It stands today as one of the best places to discover the traditional peasant life of Transylvania.
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Cluj County
More on www.muzeul-etnografic.ro
We hope that our top open-air museums in Romania guide we’ll make you curious to visit as many as possible as each and single one of them is a must-see. Even better, except for the watermills from Eftimie Murgu, all the other museums are located close to the city centers. You can easily include them in your city tours.
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