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Let us pause for a while and take a peek at the fascinating wonders of nature, the majesty and the glory of God's creation and the spectacle of human engineering. Unfortunately, I cannot go to these places in as much as I want to so, I’m just taking this virtual expedition. I hope you can join me in this online adventure.

-Arnel S. Oroceo, the Author

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Principality of Transylvania

Brasov, Transylvania
As a child, I have been terrified by the story of the lord of the vampires- Count Dracula. It’s funny because while I want to watch Dracula films, my eyes are close most of the time. However, as a Sesame Street kid, I also remember Count Dracula teaching us to count from 1 to 10.  Ha-ha...

In my younger years, I’ve always thought that Transylvania is just a mythical place until I’ve heard that it’s actually a region in central Romania. I guess, if anybody would pay Romania a visit, it’s impossible not to visit Transylvania.

Lake in Carpathians
Transylvania is said to be the heart of the kingdom of Dacia, which ruled the region from 82 BC until the Roman Empire conquered the territory in 106 AD. By 271 AD, the Romans started to withdraw from the region and several tribes gained power and influence over it successively. Toward the end of 900 AD, the Hungarians took control of the region and became an administrative division of the kingdom of Hungary by 1003 AD up to 1526.

In 1526, the Ottoman Empire defeated the Hungarians in the Battle of Mohacs, which divided the kingdom of Hungary between the Ottoman Empire and Habsburg (Austrian) Monarchy. In 1571, Transylvania was declared an independent principality. While enjoying relative autonomy, the region was under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire.

Transylvania landscape
However, the Ottomans lost the region to the Habsburgs in 1683 after the battle of Vienna. The Habsburgs began to establish its rule over the region and in 1711; the Hungarian princes that governed the region were replaced by Habsburg Imperial governors.

Some say that this mixture of influences from the Muslim Ottomans and the Catholic Habsburgs including perhaps the Calvinist Hungarian princes’ influence might have caused considerable effect on Romanian culture, which made them eccentric in the eyes of Victorians (British). This perception might have influenced Bram Stroker’s novel, Dracula, which was first published in 1897, but of course I’m not writing that as a matter of fact.

Transylvania is a great place to visit especially for its fascinating landscape and scenery.

For information about traveling to Transylvania, you may visit:

Photos: "Brasov" and "landscape" from
"lake in Carpathians" from
Info: wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Whitby Abbey Ruins

The Ruins of Whitby Abbey from Whitby.Co.UK

While I was surfing the net, I noticed a photo of what seemed like an old ruins of a castle or an age old, basilica or monastery perhaps. It intrigued me so much and I noticed the name Whitby Abbey Pond at the caption. It was something I thought, I would like to see in person.

So, I tried googling for Whitby Abbey.

Well, I found out that Whitby is a town in Yorkshire, Northern England UK. It is where Whitby Abbey had stood. It was one of the twelve monasteries that the king of Northumbria, the medieval kingdom of the Angles during the post Roman period (presently northern England to southeast Scotland), had built in 656 AD after defeating the pagan king of Mercia, (one of the kingdoms of the Anglo Saxon Heptarchy). He even consecrated his daughter to serve God and became an abbess.

The first abbess of Whitby Abbey, Hilda, became a saint. Whitby became a center for Anglo-Saxon literature, a royal nunnery and burial place for the royal family. One important historical stamp of Northumbria was the Synod of Whitby in 664, which established the date of easter in the Catholic faith.

In 867, the Vikings destroyed the monastery. It was rebuilt by William de Percy in 1078 in honor of St Hilda. It was then called St Hilda Abbey but in 1540, Henry VIII destroyed it again and left it in ruins until today.

As a trivia, did you know that Bram Stoker wrote his famous book while at the churchyard of Mt. Mary’s parish church, which is on Whitby’s east cliff? The famous book- Dracula. I wonder how such a place with a holy background had born a vampire story; seems absurd. Haha... 

Whitby Abbey had a colorful story and had etched its place in the annals of English history. How I wish I can visit it in the future.

Image and Info Sources:

Whitby Tourist Accommodation and Travel Information, Whitby.Co.UK, No Update data; Available at: Accessed October 16, 2010.

Wikipedia contributors. Whitby. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. October 10, 2010, 00:49 UTC. Available at: Accessed October 16, 2010.

Wikipedia contributors. Northumbria. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. September 11, 2010, 13:21 UTC. Available at: Accessed October 16, 2010.

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