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Nedeea Valceana – Brutally Beautiful

There is a place in Romania where nature has managed to stay unspoiled by civilization, where a whirling river is flowing through spectacular gorges, and its banks boast with centuries-old churches and many spas. The Olt Valley is one of the most spectacular and beautiful areas in Romania, between Căpăţânii, Lotru and Făgăraş mountains. Not far from Olt River there is a medieval village called Odai (Chambers) –  where you can only walk or ride. In the Early Middle Ages because of the many invaders, and also because the narrow valley of the Olt did not allow enough agricultural land for the people, the locals from this region climbed into the Lotru mountains. Here, in the heart of the mountain, at over 800 meters altitude, on all the slopes that had a southern opening to the sunlight, people established the small village called Odai. The village’s name identifies with his…

Corund | The village of old crafts

The third day of our Romanian Road Trip came up and found us in western Harghita County, in the city of Praid, famous for its salt mine. After a morning visit in the salt mine, we went 11 km away, to Corund village. It is a national treasure and we were so impressed with the place and with the old crafts that we saw here. I discovered this place by coincidence when I was looking for interesting places to see close to Praid city.Anyway, once I found out about the village I called Zoltan Pal, which is the representative of Corund-Praid Protected Areas Custody, to help us visit the village and discover everything that it has to offer. And it offers a lot. You can find more things and tours in Corund here: https://www.korpa.ro/ro/ecoturism/promenada-la-corund/ and here: www.slowtours.travel.com There are many ways to discover the treasures of this amazing village but the…

Barsana | The beautiful wooden Monastery from Maramures

After we visited the Merry Cemetery, we continued our road trip to one of the most beautiful monasteries in Romania: Barsana Monastery. The Barsana village is situated in the valley of the Iza River in Maramures. It is well known for the Monastery that incorporates a wooden church that dates back to 1391. The Barsana Monastery church is one of the tallest wooden churches in Romania, having 57m in height, and it is a Unesco World Heritage site. In 1717, during a Tatar invasion, the old church was destroyed, and it was rebuilt later, in 1720. We climbed the hill in front of the parking lot up to the Monastery. After about 100m we arrived at the main entrance of the Monastery, at the tower-Bell. We entered the place from under the tower, beyond which, on the right side, the church appeared like sprawling towards the sky. Until recently it was…

Discovering the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta

On the second day of our Romanian Road Trip, after we had an awesome train ride in Mocanita, we drove about 80 km to Sapanta village to see this surprising, Merry Cemetery. When I say “cemetery,” what do you picture? Is your picture fairly dark; morose; depressing? Especially because, in Western culture, death is usually a dark, morose, and depressing subject… well, not the Merry Cemetery. It has a very unique claim to fame. This cemetery is unlike any I have ever seen; in fact, it’s unlike any other cemetery in the world. Here, instead of the usual boring stone grave markers and marble mausoleums that populate just about every other graveyard in the world, each plot is adorned with a colorfully-painted wooden cross, with a poem for a epitaph. The cemetery is just behind the Church of the Assumption in this small town of 5,000 (living) souls in northern Romania. It is…

Mocanita | A ride on the last steam forestry train in Europe

On the second day of our Road Trip, we went to Viseu de Sus, which is a small village in Maramures area to ride the Mocanita train. “Wood” and “water” are two words that best define Maramureş. The history, traditions and life of the people in Maramures are carved in the wood of the churches and gates, and numerous rivers and streams are spread along the land like a cobweb, forming famous valleys: Mara, Iza, Viseu, and Vaser. Among these, the Vaser Valley is of special interest for tourists. It crosses the Maramures Mountains in the middle of one of the wildest and most beautiful landscapes in Romania. The Vaser River is about 60 kilometers long, forming a spectacular canyon-like valley, where precipitous cliffs alternate with dense forests, beautiful clearings and mineral water springs. Here you can find a steam train called Mocanita that climbs the beautiful roadless Vaser valley…

Best 9 Things to do in Sighisoara | Romania

Sighisoara is a medieval town in the heart of Transylvania, Romania, with a history dating back to the 1100s. Split in two parts: Old Town is home to all major tourist attractions within the medieval city wall, versus Lower Town where is the everyday hustle and bustle of Sighisoara. With cobbled streets, colorful buildings, and a pedestrian-friendly Old Town, it is not difficult to fall in love with Sighisoara. Just walk around the citadel and you will love the atmosphere. The historical center of Sighisoara is small enough to wander and walk around within an hour. There’s no place like Sighisoara if you wish to step back in time to the medieval ages. This walking tour will cover up to 3 km in total, most of them on traditional cobbled streets on the citadel hill. For this reason, I recommend you to wear comfortable sports shoes. Eat traditional Transylvanian dishes When…