TRANSYLVANIA

A Legendary Land

Transylvania is by far the most romantic and inspiring of Romania's provinces. Its very name brings to mind visions of mountain peaks rising up to the sky above wooded valleys and sparkling streams, visions of high-roofed wooden churches, legendary castles and a troubled history.

But there is much more to it: ski resorts and health spas, hiking trails and the Retezat National Park, fascinating medieval towns, art museums and good hotels.

In Transylvania new vistas and leisure activities appear wherever you go.

 

 
 

Where Exactly is Transylvania

The answer is: it lies in the central part of the country, surrounded by the Carpathians which cross Romania. One of the main cities, Cluj-Napoca, stands on the plateau, while Brasov and Sibiu are at the foothills of the southern Carpathians.

The shepherd is honoured as a guardian of an ancestral rural heritage.

Brasov and Romania's Mountain Resorts

This medieval city, picturesquely situated nearby the Postavaru Mountain, is both fascinating in itself and is close to Transylvania's major mountain resort area, with first class hotels (see the page on the Mountains).

Look for its old Saxon architecture around the 14th century Black Church, the ruins of the citadel, and the 18th century Old Town Hall.

The Bran Castle and the Royal Resort of Sinaia

A trip to take from Brasov is to the castle of Bran, supposed to have been the home of Prince Vlad Tepes, who inspired Dracula's legend.

Beginning with the stark contours of the Bran Castle, where Prince Vlad Tepes, the legendary Dracula, is said to have lived

Also, don't miss the castle of Peles, fancifully built in 1883 at the foot of a mountain side for King Carol I, in Sinaia.

This resort was first made popular by the King and it is worth a stay either in summer for its glorious mountain scenery, hiking and riding, or in winter for skiing, not to mention health cures.

Sibiu

Sibiu, also Saxon in origin, is a very pretty town, with cobbled streets and pastel colored houses. The open air Museum of Folk Technology in woodland by a lake is a "must" to visit, just as the Brukenthal Art Museum.

The town is well placed for excursions to mountain villages, such as Sibiel, where there is a fascinating museum of icons.

Further away near Deva stands the Corvin Castle, rebuilt in the 15th century in Gothic style by Prince Iancu Corvin, who gave it a sumptuous Knights Hall and towers and buttresses that remind one of the Chateaux de la Loire.

Banat

This south-western corner of the country has a drier, more Mediterranean climate than most of Romania and is also slightly different from the cultural point of view.

Habsburg rule until 1918 gave it an Art Nouveau architecture, while almost 1,900 years earlier the Romans had established a spa at Baile Herculane that is still one of Romania's most fashionable ones.

Nearby Mount Domogled is a 60,000 ha protected area, while the Semenic Mountains have a few small ski resorts. Finally, the capital of Banat, Timisoara, is the city where the 1989 Revolution started.

 

 

Medieval Sighisoara

Originally a Roman town, Sighisoara is one of the greatest medieval cities left in the world.

Sighisoara, one of the great medieval cities of Europe

The city has a walled citadel on the hilltop, secret gateways and passages, a 14th century Clock Tower and the house where Prince Vlad Tepes lived.

Festivals and Folklore

Wherever you go in Transylvania, you will discover rural traditions that are a real part of everyday life. Shepherds produce large round cheese which you will see for sale by the roadside.

The house doors are intricately carved. Colourful traditional costumes are worn on Sundays and for weddings and festivals because they have special meaning.

As to festivals, you will find them in full swing from Easter on.

An Ideal Place to Get Away

To sum it up, both in summer and winter, the valleys and mountains of Transylvania are refreshingly unspoilt and welcoming, an area where you can genuinely get away.

 

Timisoara a city famous throughout the world since the dramatic days of the December 89 revolution

 

 
 

Timisoara

Known as "the city of parks and gardens" and Romania's third biggest city, Timisoara became the symbol of freedom during the 1989 revolution. Local inhabitants are immensly proud of belonging to "Primul Oras Liber" (the first free city).

This distinction adds to a history that has brought it ancient ramparts and a castle, a baroque town architecture, and famous University.

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