Astra Museum – architecture, traditions, fresh air

You probably already hate us because we write so many posts about Sibiu. But we can’t help it. This city and its surroundings are extremely beautiful and we have a lot to write about! 🙂 This time we’ll write about the open air ASTRA Museum, near Sibiu. This is the most beautiful and entertaining open air museum we’ve been to in Romania. It’s really close to the city and you can get here by car, by public transport or with your bike since there is a beautiful cycling route which also passes this museum. It is totally well worth it coming here and spending a couple of hours here.
So what’s so special about this place you might ask? Well, this museum holds a large collection of traditional Romanian houses with tens of architectural styles from all over Romania. All the regions in our country are represented here. These houses are very well maintained and are functional. You’ll even see chickens, ducks or geese in some of the courtyards. Some of them even have people in traditional clothes living inside!

You’ll need a couple of hours to visit this huge open air museum. It has 42 hectares of visitable areas and 96 hectares in total. It has over 10 km of alleys on which you can walk calmly and admire the very beautiful houses here. You also have many places to rest and other facilities such as: play grounds, restaurants, a lake and even guest houses where you can stay overnight. You also have 4 parking lots and a touristic information centre.
The first buildings that attract you are the wind mills. You can see them in the pictures above. They are pretty awesome! You can see them from far away since they’re quite massive. These wind mills were used especially in Dobrogea, a region in South – Eastern Romania, near the Black Sea. They’re used to take advantage of the wind energy to grind grains. Since Dobrogea is quite a windy place and water is scarce, wind energy is the most used unconventional energy resource. We stayed and admired them and took many pictures. They’re fascinating! 🙂

While walking on the shadowy alleys we see tens of traditional houses and dependencies from all over Romania. Some have thatched roofs and tiny windows with wattle fences. Others have tall rock foundations which house the basement where grains, food and wine are kept in a cooling atmosphere. You can also see houses with beautiful wooden verandas with clinging vines.

There are also houses with water mills in their courtyard so that you can see for yourself the entire mechanism of grinding grains. This museum is a really special place and we honestly fell in love with it. You must visit it if you ever go to Sibiu! Adults as well as children have a lot to see here: learn about Romanian traditions, architectural styles and different tools.

While walking and admiring the surroundings we noticed quite a few people gathering in front of a house. At first we didn’t get it why so many people gathered here but we soon realised that most of them had a 10 RON bill in their hand. We took one out of our wallet and concluded that this house was the one present on the back of the Romanian 10 RON bill 😀 We were pretty surprised to see it! 🙂

We had no idea that it is present here. It is called The House with Escutcheons and we find out some time later that the original is still standing the village of Chiojdu in Buzău county. You can see it in the pictures above. You can also see the comparison with the bill. What do you say? Do they look alike? 🙂
Our favourite house in this open air museum is the one shown in the pictures above. I think it’s so simple and beautiful! I love everything from the wood used for the roof, to the green shutters and the rounded tower with a beautiful veranda. Really beautiful!

We continue our walk through this amazing museum and we  see many beautiful houses and a lot of visitors that are amazed of what they see. This open air museum has over 100.000 visitors each year! We want to congratulate the administrators and the employees of the museum for the remarkable maintenance work they do!

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