Sinaia is a beautiful town in Prahova county situated at an elevation of 798 – 971 m on the superior course of the Prahova Valley, and at the South - East foothills of Bucegi Mountains and South - West of Baiului Mountains’. At approximately 50 km North - West of Sinaia lies Ploiesti, the closest major city.
Being one of the most important and most frequented mountains in Romania, Sinaia provides the best year long resting, treatment and tourism facilities. The climate is specific to the mountain areas, with cool summers (average temperature in July is 14-16oC) and not too cold winters (average temperatures in January reach -3.5oC).
The excellent naturals factors in Sinaia, such as the invigorating and refreshing climate characterized by low atmospheric pressure with clean, rich and strongly ionized air free of dust and allergen agents, recommend this resort, also called “The Carpathians’ Pearl”, for the treatment of neurasthenia, digestive tract, respiratory, liver and endocrine conditions, as well as for relaxation and physical and mental recovery.
Sinaia was mentioned for the first time in 1690, when several house holdings were built around Sinaia Monastery (1690 – 1695) to serve for its protection. Those people were called “scutelnici” and they were peasant servants exempted from state taxes in exchange for various duties, who, later, formed a local stable population.
Initially, the village was called “Izvorul” (The Brook), and since 1874 it bears the present name of Sinaia. It was declared town in 1880, when it became the summer residence of King Carol I.Currently, Sinaia is a focal touristic point and center of numerous national and international conferences, where visitors can find a large variety of modern hotels (Alpin, New Montana, Sinaia etc), villas with mountain town specific architecture, and inns, stop-overs, boarding houses etc. They can also find special facilities for winter sports, such as: a 1500 m bobsleigh track, 13 turns, and 132m altitude difference; ski runs of various difficulty rankings (Carp – 2500m, difficult, but the most spectacular slope in Romania), very modern and fast cable transportation: 2 cable cars, 1 gondola, 2 ski lifts. Sinaia is also the starting point for several hiking trails to Bucegi and Baiului Mountains.
There are several major touristic attractions is Sinaia and one of them is Sinaia Monastery which was built between 1690 – 1695 at the initiative and efforts of great sword bearer Mihail Cantacuzino, son of the yeoman Constantin Cantacuzino, and brother of Lord Șerban Cantacuzino. The monastery architecture was inspired by “St. Helen” Monastery from Mount Sinai, which sword bearer Mihail Cantacuzino had visited, and it has also an old church bearing the Dormition of the Mother of God as titular saint (15 m long and 6 m wide).
The Peleș Castle was built between 1873 and 1883 (1st floor), and between 1896 and 1914 (2nd floor), in a German Renaissance style following the plans of Viennese architect Wilhem von Doderer, and German Johann Schultz from Lemberg, with transformations and gothic add-ins built by the Czech architect Karel Liman between 1896 – 1914. The Castle has 160 rooms and a central tower of 66 m tall. It was the royal family summer residence until 1947, and today it is a museum that hosts painting, sculpture, armor, carpet, furniture, and tapestry collections. The Pelișor Castle, initially designed for Prince Ferdinand I, was built in the vicinity of Peleș Castle, and today, it is also a museum.
The Sinaia Casino was built 1912 according to the plans developed by architect Petre Antonescu.
On the left side of Prahova river, there is Cumpătu district, where there is also the research facility of the Biology Faculty of Bucharest. At the foothill of the Western flank of Tufa peak (Cumpatu massif), there is a very complex reservation of alders, known as “Aninișul de la Sinaia”, covering 1.4 hectares, where the broadleaf forest is preserved, while alders (Alnus Incana) are abundant. Besides alders, there are also: sycamore trees (Acer Pseudoplatanus), hornbeams (Carpinus Betulus) and, rarely, pines (Pinus Sylvestris), larches (Larix Decidua), firs (Abiaes Alba) and pine spruces (Picea Abies).
Sinaia is the only resort in Romania with
ski runs located at altitudes of 2000 m. Ski season can last until May.
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