Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.

[Footnote 12:  Sinaia may be visited either from Bucarest or Transylvania.  If from Bucarest, the traveller may go by the railway from Vienna to that city in about thirty hours, and forward to Sinaia in about four hours more, or he may land at Giurgevo either on his way from Constantinople by Varna and Rustchuk, or from the steamer down the Danube from Pesth.  If he approaches by Transylvania, it is from Kronstadt, which is only a couple of hours from Sinaia.  Although a visit to Sinaia only is here described, as being the most easily accessible to ordinary travellers, there are many beautiful tours to be made in the Carpathians, and some of the more hardy of the young Roumanians who have visited Western Europe assured the author that the outlying districts of the Carpathians afford features of interest to pedestrians which are not to be found in any of our known mountain districts.]

[Footnote 13:  The monastery of Sinaia was founded by the Grand Spathar Michael Cantacuzene, brother of Voivode Sherban Cantacuzene, in the year 1695.]

[Footnote 14:  It is curious to note, in passing, that of about 400 men who were at work on this palace last year, 150 were Germans, and nearly all the rest were Italians.]

IV.

In speaking of the appearance of the surface it has been mentioned that it is sandy or clayey, and it may be useful now to say a few words concerning the geological formations of the country.  Little has been done by the native geologists in this direction, and the knowledge which we possess is derived from the observations of a few foreigners who have published works dealing incidentally with this region.[15] The whole of Roumania may be said to form the northern portion of the basin of the Lower Danube.  In Bulgaria, on the southern side of the river, where the banks often rise to a height of 300 or 400 feet, there are distinct traces of the miocene formation; but there, as on the northern banks, before the hills are reached, there is a wide plain of loess, tertiary alluvial deposit.  On the northern or Roumanian bank, beginning close to the Iron Gates in the west, and extending to the eastern embouchures of the Danube, in fact over the whole zone of the plain already referred to, this alluvial deposit is found, and at the foot of the Carpathians it sometimes attains the depth of from 150 to 300 feet, and imparts to the country a neglected desert appearance where the surface is not richly wooded or agriculturally clothed in green.  The second zone—­that is to say, the lower hills and mountains—­is chiefly of miocene formation; but beneath this, and showing itself at the surface in various parts, are strata of what Lyell calls ’a subordinate member of that vast deposit of sandstone and shale which is provincially called “flysch,” and which is believed to form part of the Eocene series.’[16] In this region, which is called by the Roumanians the region of vines, are to be found marl, sandstone, chalk, and gypsum, with rock-salt, petroleum, and lignite.  The last-named is an important product of the country, being used along with wood on the railways, and in brick and lime kilns.

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Roumania Past and Present from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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