Transylvania is easily the most romantic
and scenically inspiring of Romania's provinces. To most foreign
people, the name Transylvania conjures up images of haunted
castles, werewolves and vampires. Definitely is more than
that!! Transylvania forms the central region of Romania, bordered
to the east, south and west by the Carpathian Mountains. Southeastern
Transylvania is dominated by Prahova Valley, with Romania's
best ski resorts, Sinaia royal castle, Bran and Rasnov fortresses.
The southwest of the region is home to many Dacian and Roman
citadels, including the fantastic remains of the Dacian capital
Sarmizegetusa. The Transylvanian east side is the cradle of
Magyar culture, the region of Szekely, well known as Szekely
Land. Transylvania charms through the medieval atmosphere
that can be found in the old Saxon places - remote castles,
old fortified churches, houses with castle gates and interior
gardens, massive walls and windows with huge shutters
In this land guarded by the Carpathians Mountains is the birthplace
of the legendary vampire Dracula. Here the largest gold reserves
in Europe are to be found, deep inside Apuseni Mountains.
And here too can be seen different ethnic groups - Romanians,
Hungarians, Germans, Romas - living side by side for centuries.
Alongside castles full of mystery and monument churches, some
of which are included in the UNESCO patrimony, everything
invites the traveler to one of the most picturesque places
Explore the beauty of Transylvania
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Surrounded by the
natural fortress on the Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania has
remained a place of mystery till nowadays. It is easily the
most romantic and scenically inspiring of Romania's provinces,
and one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
With its variety of landscapes, the richness of the relief forms,
antique remnants, the historical art feudal art monuments and
the ethno-folk elements, Transylvania is one-third of the territory
of Romania and it holds one of the largest concentration of
different types of attractions in Europe. Transylvania means
snowy mountains peaks heaved upon the sky from ancient forests,
foggy valleys and fast streams; rich wildlife, varied flora
and fauna; antique remnants, medieval cities, fortress, castles,
fortified churches, memories of a turbulent, and ancient history.
The Dacians, its former inhabitants, have left behind traces
of their civilization throughout the province. At the beginning
of the 2nd century, Emperor Trajan turned Dacia into a Roman
province for more than 160 years. After the Roman withdrew below
the line of the Danube, to the south, the territory of Dacia
Felix was left as prey for the invading barbarians.
Vestiges of the Dacian -Roman antiquity can be admired today
in the Blidaru, Costesti, Cibinum fortess remains, as long as
at Sarmisegetuza, the capital city of the Dacian Kingdom.
A huge civilization gap was thus created for centuries, a period
of invasions, destructions, and darkness. In the 11th-13th century
the first Romanian feudal states submitted to the Hungarian
Kingdom and formed Transylvanian Principality. At the beginning
of the 12th century , King Geza II brought here German colonists.
Later known under the name of Saxons and which had a great influence
on the culture of Transylvania. When the Ottoman Empire threatened
Vienna, Iancu Corvin Of Hunedoara, a nobleman from Hateg County,
fought at the Danube and earned himself the title " Ban
of Severin". He later became Prince of Transylvania and
his son, Matei Corvin, one of the greatest Hungarian Kings.
Around 1600, Mihai Viteazu ( the Brave), then Pince of Valachia,
succeeded to create a short-lived union of the three Romanian
principalities. During the period that followed, Transylvania
was subdued by the Habsburg Empire and it wasn't until December
1st, 1918 that the unification of the Romanian provinces that
make up today's Romania took place in an event that has become
known as "The Great Union".
As a result of centuries of colored history, Transylvanian cities
are old settlements which hosts great monuments in the form
of buildings, churches and castles. This is part of why these
cities have such a charm of their own. Settled in the South
of Transylvania at the beginning of the 12th century, Transylvanian
Saxons repeatedly witnessed their cities being destroyed by
Tartars. Hence they decided to fortify them by building protective
walls and towers, which led to the replacement of the old burgs.
Do not hesitate to visit Sibiu, Cluj-Napoca, Sighisoara, Brasov,
Deva sau Targu Mures-small medieval jewelries that will take
by surprise with their urban ambiance, local museums, and cultural
Medieval towns were not alone in fortifying their churches,
small village communities, too, followed this example. The entire
region of Southern Transylvania abounds in such churches, unique
in all Europe. Built in the 13th and 14th centuries, they are
true Gothic-style works of art and a testimony of Christian
spirituality. As both religious and military edifices, these
churches have complex construction mechanism which include additional
walls, water ditches, counter pillars, bastions, towers, withdrawal
galleries and provision chambers.
Equaling the spectacular beauty of the Evangelical fortified
churches, monasteries and cathedrals, Orthodox and Catholic,
can be found all over Transylvania, most of them dating since
Middle Age. In the Hunedoara county, you will find the Strei
Church. Here, the blend of early Gothic elements and Roman architecture
make up one of the most valuable fourteenth century
Alongside castles full of mystery and monument churches, some
of which are included in the UNESCO patrimony, everything invites
the traveler to one of the most picturesque adventures of this
The people of Transylvania belong to a large number of ethnic
groups (such as Romanian, Hungarian, German, Gypsy, and Jewish)
so they have different customs, folk dresses, foods, and languages.
But this ethnic diversity makes it only natural for Transylvanian
traditions and customs to be rich and diverse and the cultural
heritage of this region unique. Traditional customs relating
to family life -births, weddings, funerals-and concerning religious
holidays are a true folklore spectacle. Spring customs are linked
to working in the field or pastoral activities.
Fusing the cooking methods of many different ethnic groups provides
for a cuisine of large variety in dishes and excellence in taste.
Transylvanian cuisine can meet any requirements. Soup, made
of vegetables and meat, is usually served at lunch following
the appetizers. For the main course " sarmale" are
traditional. Sarmale are a Romanian specialty with ground meat
rice and rolled into cabbage, vine , lime leaves or even into
pumpkin flowers. They are served with sour cream.
Dairy products are also prominent in Romanian gastronomy. A
Romanian cheese specialty is called " bulz" and it's
made with polenta ( corn flour boiled with water and salt) and
many sorts of cheese and sour cream.
As for the dinks, a typical Transylvanian refreshment is made
from the flower of a tree and called " socata". It
tastes slightly sour and has a strong flavour. Wines from Tranavei
Valley are the most famous in this region. They are white, dry,
and are served with white meat. It is quite common for strong
, fruit-distilled drinks to be served with the appetizer. The
most renowned are "tuica" which is made from plums,
and the so-called "Schnapes" prepared by the Transylvanian
Saxons. In the Apuseni area, a sweet beverage called "
afinata" is preferred , made of wild berries, sugar and
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perfect vacation for you. Whether you are contacting us on-line
or via the phone you will be guaranteed personal quality service,
valuable knowledge and good value.
Retro Travel - your travel partner in Transylvania!