-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design Florin Alexandru Stancu-

In the town of Braila
I always feel I find:

Cars and buses becoming ships,
Superb buildings becoming islands

And astral lights charming my mind.

In February 15-19,
benefiting by a rich sky,
I tried an ample tour of the beautiful Danubian town of Braila.

Knowing my intentions, the sky welcomed me
adorning the Sun with a blue atmospheric aura.

Then the Sun exploded in the Viziru quarter
(where my mother’s sister, Tanti Sila, hosted me),
and later I went by bus to the old centre of the town.

The sunset left a violet sky,
under which I lowered to the magnificent river,
passing near the Railroad Palace,
the Navigation Palace
and the Violatos Mill (made by the genial engineer Anghel Saligny,
the largest Danubian mill in Europe at its time).

The appearance of the planet Venus
directed me (I was happy to follow it) to
the Roman-Catholic Church,
the Maria Filotti Theater,
the Saint Mihail and Gavril Church (which was initially a mosque),
the Greek Church,
the Saints Constantin and Elena Church,
the Lutheran Church,
plus a few other fine old buildings.

I ended the first day with the tower of the Saint Nicolae Church
(an Orthodox one made in the 1840s in the Neo-Gothic style!)
and the planet Sirius near it.

Archeological researches found traces of human life in the Braila zone
since around 5,000 BC.

In the Middle Ages
this zone became an important commercial halt.

The Ottoman Empire conquered it and made it a ‘raya”,
an enclave in the territory of Wallachia since the 1500s.

In 1829, after a Russian-Ottoman war,
the Tsarist Empire (“protector” of Eastern Christianity),
liberated Braila (this was not quite a compensation for
the annexation of Bessarabia, another Romanian territory, in 1812,
but rather the intention to reduce from the Ottoman power),
and installed in Wallachia and Moldova for a few years
an administration led by General Pavel Kisselef,
a bright man who helped the Romanian states to progress.

In the particular case of Braila,
he named his adjunct, Colonel Arnold von Aronson
(who had a German origin),
to modernize the town.

And von Aronson began remaking the street architecture of Braila,
using the model of the brilliant town of Odessa
(placed in Novorussia, at almost 300 km distance).

After him, Braila became a multicultural and flourishing town,
and the second economical contributor to the budget of the Romanian Kingdom
until World War I.

So that during the first part of the second day,
I watched the planet Jupiter swimming on a ray of the Moon
and the sunrise over the Viziru quarter,
and I went to the new centre,
placed between the Agriculture Palace
(made in the 1920s to crown the fact that Braila was
the stock exchange of the cereals in Europe)
and the current city hall
(made by the communist regime in the form of a ship).

Then, directed by the Sun,
I lowered again to the Danube River,
after which I caught from the distance
a vision of the tower of the Lutheran Church,
seat of the tomb of Arnold von Aronson.

During the second part of the day
I followed the sunset near the Military Church in the Viziru quarter,
then from the window of the bus,
and finally with the vision of the Saint Constantin Church.

During the dusk I walked through the historical zone,
near the Saint Nicolae Church,
the Palace of Justice,
the Greek Church,
the Royal Street
and the Saints Petru and Pavel Church
(a splendid edifice in the Neo-Byzantine style),
where, among the tree branches, on the right,
I remarked the planet Venus.

I crossed again the Royal Street
and I moved to Dr. Schwalb’s Memorial House,
the Synagogue and the Bulgarian Church,
following the same Evening Star,
before ending the day in Viziru,
with Sirius and even the Winter Triangle
(hardly visible through the tree branches).

The third day began in Viziru with
the Moon and Jupiter, plus Arcturus and Spica, and the sunrise,
and continued with my long walk with many astral points:
the Roman-Catholic Church,
the Armenian Church (with the Sun and the Moon sculpted on its door),
the Lipovans’ Metropolitanate
(banished by Emperor Peter the Great,
the Russian believers on the old style
moved their international metropolitanate or mitropoly right to Braila),
the new Baptist Church,
the Pentecostal Church (using an old local house as seat),
the Maria Filotti Theater,
the Mihail and Gavril Church,
the statue of Emperor Trajan,
the Royal Street, the Lyre Palace,
the Petru and Pavel Church,
the Bulgarian Church...

Later I followed the sunset with a thin solar halo and a sun pillar,
I crossed the Monument Park
(where I saw a tram passing through the forest),
I remarked Venus over the new Orthodox Cathedral
and, returned to Viziru, I saw the Crowned Venus…

During the fourth day
I saw the Moon and the sunrise,
and I started a new ample tour with astral stops:
the Saint George Church
(where my parents brought me to be baptized in 1960),
the Nicolae Balcescu College (one of the best in Romania,
named after a great revolutionary from 1848),
the Calvinist Church (with a star as cross),
the Saint Maria Church,
the Saint Trinity Church,
the Railroad Station (with an old demonstrative locomotive)
and finally a strange sunset stimulating the flight of the birds.

To never forget that special time,
the last day in Braila spoilt me with
the Crowned Moon and the sun rising...

…and wished me “bon voyage”
through the same blue aura around the Sun.


© 2019 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)