Monday, July 07, 2008

Financiarul: Transylvania, among first five tourist destinations in Europe recommended by USA Today

Tourist attractions in Transylvania, center of Romania, are among the top holiday destinations in Europe that the renowned site USA Today recommends to American tourists. With all prices going up, and the dollar down, USA Today has intended to make a classification of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Europe accessible to American commoners.

Unlike Romanians, who believe their country has become expensive for tourists, the Americans say in their analysis that Transylvania, at least, offers reasonable prices to its visitors. Tourist attractions in Transylvania would be wild landscapes, probably the last rural areas in the continent with a medieval life style and with old traditions, cities and towns full of the culture and civilization of South-Eastern Europe.

Tourists are advised to start from the city of Brasov, full of history and medieval buildings, including churches and strongholds, to go by cabin to Tampa, wherefrom they have a splendid view of the city and of the mountains. The next location could be Bran Castle, known as the Castle of Dracula. It perfectly suits the Hollywood ideal of the castle of vampires, it has even been filmed for movies about Dracula.

Tourists can also go to Sighisoara. One of the best conserved medieval cities in Europe, it is part of UNESCO World Heritage. Visitors can also go to Sibiu, which was the European Capital of Culture in 2007.

Transylvania is presented fourth in the tourist attractions in USA Today, the other four are, in this order, attractions from Bulgaria, Berlin, Turquoise Coast in Turkey, and Moravia region in the Czech Republic.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 Dwarf dinos once roamed Count Dracula's domain

Washington, June 14 : New evidence has confirmed that dwarf dinosaurs existed in Transylvania, the land of the mythical, blood-drinking Count Dracula.

According to a report in Discovery News, the sister of an eccentric Austro-Hungarian aristocrat named Baron von Nopsca found a tiny bone on the baron's family estate in Transylvania in 1900.
The baron, who was a dinosaur buff, identified the bone as belonging to a dwarf dino that likely once lived on an island in the region.Though his theories were ridiculed and dismissed at that time, now new evidence suggests that his proposed island of dwarf dinosaurs did indeed exist in Transylvania.

"Brian Stoker's (Dracula) tale is without a very sustainable historical background, but that is not the case here," lead researcher Vlad Codrea told Discovery News.Codrea, a professor of biology and geology at University Babes-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and colleague Pascal Godefroit recently found several bones belonging to Zalmoxes shqiperorum, an herbivorous dinosaur with forelimbs that were much shorter than its hindlimbs.Codrea and Godefroit unearthed the newly found bones in a red clay deposit at the Jibou Formation in Somes Odorhei, Romania."Obviously it was a dwarf dinosaur," said Codrea, who compared the dinosaur to its Rhabdodon relatives from southern France and northern Spain. Rhabdodon, meaning "fluted tooth," measured just over 14 feet long, which, in itself, is a relatively small size for a dinosaur. Zalmoxes, on the other hand, was only 7 to 10 feet long.

The dwarf dinosaur has been classified as belonging to the iguanodont dinosaur group. These Mid Jurassic to Late Cretaceous animals included duck-billed dinos. Some members of the group could weigh up to eight tons and reach 50 feet in length.The small Romanian dinosaur was apparently not a loner."Zalmoxes had in Transylvania select dinosaur company," said Codrea. "All were dwarves," he added.According to Codrea, after the initial discovery on Nopsca's estate, the baron set off on his motorcycle to excavate various parts of his homeland. Over the years, he found bones belonging to multiple dwarfed species.These included a sauropod named Magyarosaurus dacus, which looked like a tiny version of a brontosaurus or diplodocus, and the ankylosaur Strutiosaurus transilvanicus, whose body was covered by many tiny bones that formed a protective shield.

A duck-billed dinosaur called Telmatosaurus transylvanicus was also excavated in the area, along with several carnivorous dinos, such as Velociraptorinae indet, Euronychodon and Paronychodon.
--- ANI