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10 places to see in Romania
10. THE SPHINX AND BABELE
The Sphinx is a large block of stone, 8 m high and 12 m wide. The name comes from its resemblance to a human head. The station is located in Busteni mountain resort. If you travel by car you should be very careful to look for the signs that say „TELECABINA”. On the way from Bucharest to Busteni you should make a left to get to the station. If you can’t find it, ask the locals on the road. This is what I did. You ask the locals for „TELECABINA”. They will most definitely show you the way.
On the other hand, you can arrive in Busteni mountain resort by train. After you exit the railway station you have to make a left and then cross the road. You will have to walk a little until you get close to the exit from Busteni. Then you will make a right and find the mountain elevator station. There are many guesthouses in Busteni and if you want to spend the night there feel free to choose. Just enter the word „Busteni” on any accommodation finding website.
Going up with the mountain elevator is a beautiful experience. And also fast.
Babele are rock formations located in Bucegi Southern Carpathians, at an altitude of 2292 m.
Around the Sphinx and Babele were born a lot of legends, some say they are natural, others say it would be a creation of man; these stones placed in these mountaintop exudes positive energy they defended the country from invaders. Also, there are some assumptions that the Sphinx would be a megalithic rock.
9. SAPANTA-THE HAPPY CEMETERY IN MARAMURES
The Merry Cemetery in Sapinta, Maramures County, is famous for tombs crosses colorful and naive paintings representing scenes from the lives of people buried. On some crosses, there are humorous lyrics with related persons. The original character of the cemetery is first of all suggested by its name: Cimitirul Vesel that means The Merry Cemetery. This paradoxical name is due to the vivid colours of the crosses and the amusing or satirical epitaphs carved on them. It is said that this joyful attitude towards death is a legacy of the Dacians who believed in the immortality of the soul and that death was only a passage to a better life. They did not see death as a tragic end, but as a chance to meet with the supreme god, Zalmoxis.
8. VASER VALLEY
Valea Vaerului is measuring 50 km from Viseu de Sus to Comanu and is part of the National Park "Maramures Mountains'. If you want a day of story it deserves to take a trip to the Vaser Valley with Mocanita. The access point to the Vaser Valley is the town of Vişeu de Sus, which is also the starting point for Mocăniţa, a narrow gauge steam train, the only means of transportation in the valley. The railway runs along the Vaser River and is one of the last remaining steam rails still in active use in Europe, and the only one in Romania still used for hauling logs down from the mountains. Built after the First World War for the express task of transporting wood, it is still – surprisingly – used for the original purpose.
Transalpina road is the highest road in Romania and the Carpathian Mountains. Urdele reaches maximum altitude (2145 m). Many legends about Transalpina. There is saying that this have been built for the first time by the Roman armies on the way to Sarmisegetuza. The area surrounding the lake - which is a natural reservation - and the lake itself are considered monuments of nature, being protected by law.
According to some sources, the first road here was built by the Romans during the wars against the Dacians, which is why it is marked on historical maps as the fourth strategic Roman corridor. Later on, the road was used by the shepherds from Mărginimea Sibiului to take their flocks to the meadows of Oltenia and it was just a steep path, appropriately named ‘The Devil’s Pathway”. Apart from this, there is another local legend which says that, towards the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, each local family participated in the building of a portion the road, using all the physical and financial resources they had.
In 1930 the paving of the road began, and the inauguration took place in 1938, in Poiana Sibiului, in the presence of King Carol al II-lea (Charles the Second) of Romania, hence the name ‘The King’s Road’. At that time, the road was considered a great technical accomplishment, having a considerable economic, strategic and military importance.
6. THE CAVE SCARISOARA
Cave Scarisoara houses the largest underground glacier in Romania. Is in Garda de Sus village, Alba county. The Scarisoara Cave is a true natural wonder, a giant ice block hidden deep in the forests of the Apuseni Mountains, standing, at 22 meters width and 700 meters length, as the largest glacier in Europe and second largest in the world. Two of the most astonishing caves inside the glacier are the Grand Hall and the Church, a chamber decked with ice stalagmites a few meters long.
5. TURDA SALT MINE
Turda Salt Mine is located in the Salt Valley Durgau Turda. Salina is in the list of historical monuments in the Cluj county. LOCATED more than 100 metres underground in an old salt mine in Romania is an amusement park that looks like something out of space.
Salina Turda sits in the Romanian region of Transylvania and is one of the world’s oldest salt mines, dating back to the Middle Ages.
Now a defunct salt mine, the area has been transformed into an amazing underground theme park with a ferris wheel, mini golf course, bowling lane, boating on the underground lake and a sports arena.
4. DANUBE CANYON
This is a sector of the Danube Gorge that passes through the Carpathian Mountains. Cazanele Dunarii/ Danube’s Depressions represent an exquisite nine-kilometer sector of the Danube Gorge, located near Carpathian Mountains’ pass in southern Banat. Danube is narrowing here amid rocky upright cliffs, making navigation difficult, and yet crossing the most sublime area of narrow pass. There are two depressions in fact, ‘Cazanele Mari’ and ‘Cazanele Mici’, both sharing the natural beauty of the landscape. Close by Cazanele Mici, the Danube has the largest width – 120 meters.
Cazanele Dunarii, Ciucaru Mare and Ciucaru Mic massifs belong to the Iron Gates Natural Park where the tripper can find unique sights such as 2,000 year-old Tabula Traiana memorial plague, ruins of Tricule citadel, Ponicova and Veterani caves and the statue of the last Dacian king Decebal, carved inside the massive rocks.
Having 55 meters in height and 25 meters in width, the famous rock-hewed face of the Dacian iconic forerunner imposingly stands among mountains as if defying time and keeping a close look-out for potential invaders.
3. NERA’S CANYON-BEUSNITA
They form a protected area included in the National Park Nera - Beusnita, located in Caras-Severin. They stretch over about 20 k m, along the river Nera. The most important sights are Beusnitei Falls, Ochiul Beiului, Devil's Lake and Canyon Rea Valley. Nera Park has a total area of 367 km2 and it extends for a distance of 22 km, between Anina and Locvei Mountains and along the river Nera. It includes seven nature reserves and here you can find the largest old-growth beech forests in Europe.
2. THE MONASTERIES IN MOLDOVA
The monasteries of Moldova are some of the most beautiful and most visited tourist attractions in our country. Among the most outstanding are: Agapia, Neamt, Voronet, Humor, Dragomirna, Sucevita, Moldova and Putna. There is Indeed no other place in the world than Bucovina in Northern Moldavia, where a group of Orthodox monasteries with their exterior mural paintings are to be seen. These Painted Monasteries are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage for their rarity and beauty. Another group are the Wooden Churches of Maramures, unique examples that combine Gothic style with traditional timber construction.
Delta is classified as a Biosphere Reserve. It houses over 360 species of birds and 45 species of fish, freshwater. The unique ecosystems of the Danube Delta, consisting of a labyrinthine network of river channels, shallow bays and hundreds of lakes, interspersed with extensive marshes, reed-beds, islands and floodplains, form a valuable natural buffer zone, filtering out pollutants from the River Danube, and helping to improve water quality in the vulnerable waters of the north-western Black Sea.
Ecological changes in the Delta itself, including the creation of a network of canals through the delta to improve access and water circulation, and the reduction of the wetland area by the construction of agricultural polders and fishponds have reduced biodiversity, altered natural flow and sedimentation patterns, and diminished the ability of the delta to retain nutrients. This is because more of the nutrient-rich water are now washed directly through the main canals rather than being distributed through the wetlands and reed beds.