What to see in Transylvania: cities and attractions not to be missed

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Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

It is no secret that Transylvania is one of the most evocative regions of Romania, visited by many tourists attracted by its mysterious charm and then conquered by its authentic beauty. Inexorably linked to the vampire legends that, thanks to the novel by the Irish author Bram Stoker, made the figure of Count Vlad Tepes, aka Dracula, famous, Transylvania is surrounded by an aura of mystery. Its woods and majestic forests, hamlets and villages where time seems to have stopped and the imposing castles, however, make this region a much richer and more interesting destination.

Here what to see in Transylvania, cities and attractions not to be missed.



Index

  1. Sighisoara
  2. Brasov
  3. Bran and its Castle
  4. Sibiu
  5. Fortified church of Prejmer
  6. Turda salt mines
  7. Transfăgărăşan
  8. Biertan
  9. Corvino Castle
  10. Biserica Neagra
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Sighisoara

Sighisoara is one of the most visited tourist resorts in Romania. He is not alone the hometown of the alleged Count Dracula, or Vlad Tepes III of Wallachia. It is in fact considered as the most romantic and colorful city in Transylvania, thanks to its charming old town, surrounded by high walls and made up of picturesque medieval streets and traditional houses with high and sloping roofs. In fact, we recommend a city tour with a visit to the Dracula House.

Here it takes place every year, during the last weekend of July, a great and famous medieval festival, with music, dances, traditional costumes and specialties of the typical Romanian gastronomy.



2 - Brasov

Brasov, 170 kilometers from Bucharest and located almost in the center of Romania, is one of the most important centers of Transylvania. Do not miss a tour of the city with its fortified citadel, with its thick walls that served to protect an enchanting historic center characterized by wonderful streets.

The city skyline is unmistakable, in fact you can see the medieval watchtowers and the typical spiers of its Gothic churches. The city is also immersed in an enviable natural context, surrounded by a majestic forest that lends itself well to excursions and explorations.

3 - Bran and its Castle

Bran is a small town in the Brasov district and possibly the most visited place of interest in Transylvania. The reason is simple: Bran Castle, better known as Dracula's Castle, is the fortress identified precisely as the home of the most famous prince of Wallachia. We therefore recommend that you book the fast-track ticket to be combined with a very interesting guided tour of the castle.

Built in the fourteenth century by Ludovico I D'Angiò, the building stands in a narrow gorge, perched on a rocky wall. The particularly scenic context that surrounds the castle has done nothing but fuel, over time, the outline of mystery and legend that surrounds it. Its architecture includes Gothic characters, narrow and winding stairways and imposing towers, giving it a truly fascinating aspect. The castle, which now houses a museum of medieval art, actually has little to do with the infamous Count Dracula!



4 - Sibiu

Sibiu represents the heart of Romania, thanks also to its central position, overlooking the Carpathian mountains. It was founded by the Saxons in 1190 and is one of the most touristic cities of Transylvania thanks to a historic center with a unique architectural heritage of its kind.

A city tour will be surprising: made up of narrow and characteristic alleys, it preserves many 3th century buildings with traditional gable roofs. It is also full of squares, there are 2007 of them: the Piata Mare (or Piazza Grande) which houses a beautiful Roman-Catholic Baroque church, the Council Tower and the Brukenthal Palace; the Piata Mica (or Piazza Piccola) with many shops and cafes; Piaaza Huet with its Gothic buildings and the Evangelical Cathedral. In , Sibiu was declared European Capital of Culture.

5 - Fortified church of Prejmer

Also included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Prejmer Fortress Church is located 18 km northwest of Braşov. It is about an extraordinary monumental complex which includes a church, its fortification walls, a defense road, two towers, two bastions (the only remaining of the four originals) and an entrance tower.

Its construction was begun by the Teutonic knights in the th century and later finished by the Saxons. It represents one of the fortified medieval churches more resistant and better preserved in Eastern Europe and it is truly wonderful.


6 - Turda salt mines

Not only the Turda salt mines they are the oldest in the world but they represent a unique theme park, where visitors can descend to a depth of up to 80 meters underground and discover how the salt was extracted. Day trips are generally organized from Cluj (about € 50,00 with round trip transfer and entrance included).

The largest room in this underground saline is called Rudolf, it is located 40 meters underground and is divided over 13 levels. At this depth it is possible to have a coffee at the leisure center complete with a bar, play billiards or sail on a delightful pond. On display in the other rooms that make up the itinerary there is also one series of machines from the medieval era that were once used for the extraction of rock salt.


7 - Transfăgărăşan

È one of the most beautiful streets in the world, certainly the highest and most characteristic of all Romania. It was built in the s at the behest of Ceausescu, with the aim of allowing Romanian troops to cross the Carpathians quickly in the event of a Soviet invasion.

The road is 112 km long, it starts from Pitesti and, crossing wonderful landscapes between mountains, green valleys, tunnels, viaducts and numerous hairpin bends, it reaches Lake Balea, of glacial origin. Due to climatic conditions, the Transfagarasan is only open during the 4 summer months.

8 - Biertan

It is part of the heritage of nearly 300 fortified villages and churches in Romania. Biertan's is one of the most important villages in the country, which became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.

Its conformation has a high value not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also from a historical point of view. It is, in fact, of one of the best preserved architectural complexes dating back to the 35th - th centuries. Its defensive walls stand out in three concentric levels and are meters high, they are connected through doors and towers and defend the heart of the complex, making the church a real stronghold.

9 - Corvino Castle

The Corvino castle is located in Hunedoara and represents the most important monument of Gothic architecture of Romania. Day trips and tours are usually organized from Cluj-Napoca to Corvin Castle and Alba Iulia Fortress.

It stands on the site of an ancient Roman castrum, is imposing in appearance and dominates the valley. In the past it was used as a fortress and hosted the Voivodes of Transylvania. Today the prisons and torture chambers, the large courtyard, several interior rooms with period furnishings and the drawbridge can also be visited.

There are several legends related to this castle, it is said that Count Dracula was held prisoner here for seven years and that the well in the courtyard was built by some Turkish prisoners, who were promised freedom if they found water. After 15 years and more than 30 meters of depth reached, the promise was not kept.

10 - Biserica Neagra

È one of the most photographed attractions from Transylvania and Romania, it is located in Brasov and attracts around 250.000 tourists every year. It is a unique place of worship, the largest church in the country, built in the Gothic style 500 years ago. Its name refers to the blackened walls, evidence of a ferocious fire that partially destroyed the church in 1689.

Also at this place I am linked several legends, the most famous is that of a statue of a child who seems to be about to fall. Legend has it that the child represents a very skilled apprentice who was killed out of envy by the master master, who pushed him off the roof. After some time, the murderer discovered that the apprentice had great admiration for him and, destroyed by a sense of guilt, he dedicated this statue to him.

Travel informed: useful information and necessary documents

  • Inhabitants: 6.789.000
  • Capital: Cluj-Napoca
  • Languages: Romanian, Hungarian, German, Romani, Ruthenian, Slovak, Croatian, Serbian, Czech, Bulgarian
  • Local currency: Romanian leu (€ 1,00 = 4,83 Romanian lei)
  • Weather: moderately continental, with cold winters and cool summers. Average temperatures range from -9 ° C minimum in January to maximum 26 ° C in July and August.
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where it is

    Transylvania is located in the central western part of Romania, at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. Its territory is made up of 16 counties that cover approximately 103.600 sq km of the country's total area.

    Tours and excursions in Transylvania


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