Sinaia also called The Pearl of the Carpathians, because it is considered the most beautiful mountain resort in Romania and it has attractions for all the seasons.
Sinaia is a pretty new settlement, situated 100 km north of Bucharest in the Carpathian Mountains. Initially, the first construction was the Sinaia Monastery, designed in the 17th century AD. Once the Austrians built the road along the Prahova valley, so they could traverse the mountains from Transylvania to Wallachia in order to attack the Ottomans, a settlement began to develop here.
The interest in Sinaia started to increase during the 2nd half of the 19th century AD after King Charles I of Romania, visited the small mountain community and delighted by the mountain scenery, chose to build a royal residence there, the famous Peleș Castle.
Initially, Sinaia developed around a religious settlement founded at the end of the 17th century by a boyar named Mikhail Cantacuzino, after his pilgrimage to Sinai Mountain.
At the beginning, the monastery held twelve monks, but in time their number increased, and this lead to the construction in the middle of the 19th century, of a new church called Curtea Noua (the New Court) in a style considered characteristic to the architecture of Wallachia. Also, this monastery was the first electric lighted place of worship in Romania.
The monastery bell was brought from Bucharest and it weights 1,700 kilograms.
In the monastery’s courtyard is the museum of Sinaia Monastery built in 1895 and considered the first Romanian religious museum. The value of this monastery and the museum is great because here you can find invaluable worship objects, such as a piece of work included in the UNESCO heritage list, an epitaph made by Ana Roth one of Queen Elisabeth’s court ladies, sewed in colored silk and gold and the first Bible ever written in Romanian language.
The Casino was built in only one year (1912-1913), on the terrain where once was the first villa of the resort, built by Prince Dimitrie Ghica. The main shareholder of the Casino was Baron Marçay also a shareholder of a casino in Monte Carlo, which is the reason why it has been speculated that the building should be a faithful copy of the French building. In reality, there are only a few elements of interior architecture that could confirm the similarity of the two casinos.
The inauguration of the Casino was an important event, for which the authorities demanded a high-class performance, attended by the royal family and Titu Maiorescu, the Prime Minister of the country. The memorable evening continued with a concert held by George Enescu and ended with fireworks.
Considered a social magnet, the Casino of Sinaia attracted people with roulette, card games, rummy, and chess. Now, the elegant Casino includes an international conference centre.