December 5, 2012

0404 ROMANIA (Suceava) - Tales set in stone

The Călimani Mountains, the largest volcanic complex of the Carpathian Mountains, which lining the internal side of the Eastern Carpathians, are surrounded by Călimani National Park, a protected area situated in the territory of counties Mureş (45%), Suceava (35%), Harghita (15%) and Bistriţa-Năsăud, and covering three areas: Scientific Reserve of juniper trees with Pinus cembra, Reserve Lake Iezer, and Geological Reserve 12 Apostles.

For hundreds of years Călimani Mountains were a refuge for hajduks, some of them famous for Romanians, like Pintea the Brave, or other less known, as Pohonţu, Pleşca, Miu and Haralambie Niculiţă. Legends even talk about treasures hidden in caves guarded by ştime (mythical characters, usually pictured as beautiful women, endowed with supernatural powers, who protects the waters, forests or treasures). The Pintea's Palma is engraved in stone to Apa Rece (Cold Water).

Geological reserve 12 Apostles (in the picture) is distinguished by a ruiniform relief, like some statues from a fairytale world, bearing names like Moşul (The Old Man), Godzila, Mareşalul (the Marshall), Mucenicul (the Martyr), Ramses, Dragonii (the Dragons) or Guşterul (the Green Lizard). Both, the 12 Apostles complex and Lucaciu Peak, located nearby, retain the testimony of magical and mythical events, descended  from the Dacian culture and shaped over time in form of Romanian Orthodox faith.

The ceremonial events organized on this plateau during the summer solstice, known in local language as Moşii de la Călimani or Moşii de Sânpetru, originated in the ancient Dacian cult of the sun, tree and fire, with the cult to the ancestors as central element. After the Christianization of the locals, the pagan ceremonies became the Celebration of the 12 Apostles, that in time has gained a strong patriotic character, manifested through Nedeea din Călimani.

I received this postcard from Marius Vasiliu, who is the author of the photography. He says on the back of the postcard: "A month ago I spent a weekend in Călimani. I have seen before the Iezer Lake, but not the 12 Apostles, and the surprise of the place's spectacularity overwhelmed me. That is why I rushed to issue this postcard, in hopes that many will be convinced to try the joy of visiting this place." I hope also the same thing. Mulţumesc, Marius.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Live Healthy!, an invitation to a healthy alimentation, issued on May 3, 2012. This set comprise 3 stamps, depicting fruits and vegetables:
• tomatoes, grapes, peach and garlic (0.50 RON) - it's on the postcard, but also here
• apples (1.60 RON)
• green peppers and hot peppers (2.10 RON)

Parcul Naţional Călimani - Official website of the Park
Parcul Naţional Călimani - Info pensiuni
Rezervaţia 12 Apostoli -
Live Healthy! - Romfilatelia official website

sender: Marius Vasiliu (direct swap)
sent from Fălticeni (Suceava / Romania), on 03.08.2012
photo: Marius Vasiliu / 30.06.2012

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