Transylvania, the grand land beyond the forests

Transylvania is a natural stronghold, with dense forests, defended by mountains . The region enjoys a mild nature, a fertile plateau and a multiethnic, hardworking and creative people.

Nothing compares to the feeling you get when you drive through the villages of Transylvania, in the summer evenings, when the air smells of hay and old villages, when the sun prepares to slide across hills and the childrens runs to their houses . Maybe, only the feeling of time which stops at the midnight beating of a medieval fortress still inhabited. And both sensations can be experienced in one stay in Transylvania.

As a tourist with map in hand and little attention to the places that you go through, you find that Transylvania resembles a fortress protected by the Carpathian Mountains. In turn, houses ancient fortresses and churches.

Here you will find one of the best preserved medieval centers in Europe with Saxon architecture: Brasov, Sibiu (European Capital of Culture in 2007) or Sighisoara (one of the few cities in the world with inhabited citadel). The fortified churches that are scattered through Transylvanian villages, which will surely attract your attention: Biertan, Saschiz, Prejmer, one of the largest fortified churches in southeastern Europe. Seven of the 150 fortified churches are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Brasov, historic centre
Brasov, historic centre
Sibiu, historic centre
Sibiu, historic centre
Sighisoara (one of the few cities in the world with inhabited citadel)
Sighisoara (one of the few cities in the world with inhabited citadel)
Biertan fortified churche
Biertan fortified church
Prejmer fortified churche
Prejmer fortified church

Transylvania is a multiethnic space, known thanks to the writer Bram Stoker and the famous Count Dracula. The Hollywood’s movies which directed a vampire films emphasized on confusion between fictional and the real Vlad Tepes, who would be inspired Stoker in the Dracula’s description. This confusion is very useful for Transylvania, where the foreigners come and want to know more about this story. Also the name of Dracula binds one of the most famous castles in Transylvania, the Bran Castle, near Brasov.

Transylvanian Mountains are home to treasures of the Middle Ages, and natural treasures: the glacial lakes in Retezat, the glacier cave in Scarisoara, the Piatra Craiului National Park, where bears are numerous, the Orastiei Mountains, which have the highest concentration of Dacian settlements and the Sambata de Jos, which has the largest herd of horses in Romania.

Piatra Craiului National Park

The massif is located in the Carpathians, on the west side and north-west of Rucar-Bran. These mountains shows the longest limestone ridge in Carpathians, about 25 kilometers. Maximum altitude: 2238 meters in Omu Peak. Piatra Craiului hasn’t many springs of water, so, it is necessary to take water reserves. The local Flora exceeds 1,170 plant species, of which 180 are protected. The garofita is a plant that grows only in this mountain range. Here you will find 41 species of mountain orchids.

Piatra Craiului National Park
Piatra Craiului National Park
The garofita in Piatra Craiului masif
The garofita in Piatra Craiului massif

Bran Castle – in the footsteps of Dracula

Built in the fourteenth century by merchants from Brasov, on the site of a fortress of the Teutonic Knights, a key point, strategically, on an ancient trade route Transcarpathian, Bran Castle became famous for its association with the legend of Count Dracula. The story goes that the wife of a prince who fighting with the Turks, being convinced that her husband died in battle, she suicides. Furious about God, the prince made a pact with the devil, becoming an immortal vampire, forever searching women like his wife, who was dead. The legend is inspired by the historical figure of the Wallachian prince, Vlad (1456-1462), nicknamed Dracula because he executed his enemies by impaling. The historical truth is that Vlad was just passing by the Bran Castle. The building is currently museum.

Bran Castle
Bran Castle
Figure of Dracula, Vlad the impaler.
Figure of Dracula, Vlad the impaler.

Bear Sanctuary

The reserve of bears in Zarnesti, houses on an area of about 60 hectares, animals saved from a humiliating captivity. Among them Mura, a bear star, who danced most of his life in the circus. Another case, Miro, a bear cub wandering through the woods, near Brasov. Reservation can be visited by appointment only on weekends.

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Viscri village

The Viscri village is listed by UNESCO, due his fortified church, which is said to be the most picturesque in Transylvania. So splendid is the place, that enchanted the heir to the throne of Great Britain. Prince Charles, often visits Transylvania, where patronize a foundation and where he’s withdraw to its properties, especially the guest house in Viscri. I find that in Transylvania is a combination of natural ecosystem and human cultural system. People crave that feeling of belonging and identity. In Transylvania, there is a close connection between nature and people. This unique relationship is extremely important, says convinced, who’s became the defender of the Transylvanian heritage.

Viscri fortified church
Viscri fortified church

Salina Turda

The Salina Turda is a real museum in salt mining history. The mining ensemble is excellent and preserved for visitors. A panoramic elevator descends to the Rudolf Mine, where there is a huge wheel with six gondolas. You may find a minigolf tracks, biliard tables, sports fields, playground for children, bowling and an amphitheater with 200 seats, electric heated seats, an ideal place for concerts. The Joseph mine has great acoustics, known as room of echoes due to the special resonance of the salt walls. From the Rudolf mine, down the stairs or take the elevator to the Terezia Mine, where there is a lake where you can rent a boat. The Salina Turda is an important treatment center, its used the technique called speleotherapy. You can visit Crivac room, where exposed a rare piece and still functional for extracting salt, used for vertical lifting of sal in the extraction well.

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Corvin Castle

The most important monument of Gothic architecture in Transylvania. The King Sigismund of Luxembourg, gave to the Romanian prince Voicu, the feudal royal city of Hunedoara. His son, the famous fighter against the Ottomans, Hunyadi, built a fortified city and turned it into a noble residence. From old buildings stand out: Knights Hall, Room Diet, Neboisa Tower. In Matthew wing, is drawn the legend of raven, located at the origin of the name borne by his descendants Hunyadi (Corvinestii). Read more about  Corvin Castle.

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There is not an export product better for Romania, than Transylvania. Neither Britain hasn’t such a treasure like this. Prince Charles, heir to the British throne.
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