Jan '05 - Jan '07
We actually went to Sinaia for a reason: to study the ski resort, draw some conclusions and make some proposals for the highway that will be built there in the near future.
Sinaia is the most important of 4 ski resorts, all situated in the Prahova Valley, on the road that makes the link between Bucharest and Brasov. The road is a very important one (since always), as it connects Transilvania and the south part of the country (split by the Carpathians). Romania used to be split 3 regions, the unification of all 3 happened in 1918. So the Prahova Valley was a major connection between 2 of these regions.
In 1695 there was built an orthodox monastery (which still exists today). This was for a long time the only construction in the Valley, as the area was considered very dangerous(because of the mountains) and difficult. In time the road through the Valley (though there was no real road) was used more and more. Travellers used to sleep over at ”˜motels' (very few, along the valley) or at the monastery. After 1865 the monastery was too crowded during summer, so they decided to build a hotel nearby.Only poor people could sleep at the monastery from then on. King Carol I used to spend his summer at the same monastery. After several years he decided to build his own place, the Peles Castle(finished 1883). The whole area (today's Sinaia) belonged to a non-profit organization called ”˜the association for hospitals'. After building the first hotel, they saw the interest people had in this valley so they decided to sell land for building holiday residences and they also gave free land to peasants who wanted to settle there. The only condition was to finish their constructions in less then 2 years. The initial intention was to create a wellness resort. The King's Castle was a big attraction for the wealthy, so soon Sinaia was formed by summer residences of the arisocracy and by people actually living there.
Soon they finished the railroad from Bucharest to Brasov, they also had canalization, electrical light. Sinaia developed extremely quickly into a luxury resort.
Around 1900 there were already 451 constructions in Sinaia.
Things flourished, sports like ski got more and more popular. The best period were the 30s (the actual peak 1938... what a year...), Sinaia grew beautiful. The main attraction was the parc with two fountains, surrounded by 2 major Hotels and a Casino. From there on, the main street was going up the montain, first to the monastery and from there on to the Peles assembly.
It was highly animated and a nice view.
Hotel Caraiman in front, Hotel Palace in the right
inside the castle
Sinaia had a special status because of the Castle and the King's residence. Carol I died in Sinaia, the prime minister (1933) was shot dead in Sinaia train station... so a lot of history was taking place there.
a place for the princess... unfortunately it burned down, so this is one of the few images of it.
In the next ”˜chapter' I'll talk about the comunist period and what it ment for this small but important resort.