Transylvania, land of charm and mystery

In latin Transylvania it means "land beyond the forest." It is a really beautiful landscape of mountains and forests. His name has passed into popular culture by the Bloody Earl of Bram Stoker, but although this part of Romania Literature and cinema today help tourism.

So let's see Transylvania and its tourist offer.

Transylvania

It is a part of Romania that It is in the center of the country, surrounded by an arch of the Cárpatros mountain range. It is inhabited by about five million people and it has several major cities, although some are more so than others for the occasional visitor.

Vlad Tepes, the Impaler, was a Wallachian nobleman who lived in the XV century and that, according to legend, impaled some 80 thousand enemies. He was undoubtedly a local hero since then the principality had fallen into the hands of the Turkish Empire. He still had autonomy, but sometimes the relationship was conflictive, a situation that worsened when the sultans began to choose the prince without consulting with the Romanian nobility.

In this situation Vlad Tepes lived and gained his bloody fame, a fame that later made the Irish writer Bram Stoker write a literary work inspired by him in 1897. Ultimately he continues to serve his land, but already in the XNUMXst century attracting tourists .

We said that in Transylvania there are many interesting cities or towns but that some are more so than others. For example, Brasov it is a destination not to be avoided. Here is one of the best preserved medieval villages in all of Transylvania.

Brasov is southeast of Transylvania, 166 kilometers from the national capital, Bucharest and at the hand of other destinations in the country. You can visit several museums, history, art, ethnography, the city and some very beautiful fortified buildings such as the Bran castle. There are also several medieval churches. Bran Castle is near Brasov and is a gothic building It looks like something out of a fairy tale. The connection with the count is quite tenuous worse yet it is sold as the Dracula's castle.

Not far away you are fortified churches of Harman, with its huge thirteenth-century Saxon towers, and the fortified church of Prejmer, the largest in Southeast Europe. Also close, in Hunedoara, there is the Corvinilor Castle from the XNUMXth century with its sumptuous Hall of the Knight.

If you like medieval military buildings there is also the Rasnov fortress from the XNUMXth century, built by the Teutonic Knights to protect the people of Transylvania from the Turks and Tatars.

The ruins of the citadel of Poienari They are also a good destination, really tied to Vlad. The Peles Castle Built by King Carol I in the mid-XNUMXth century it is another charm, easier to access by bus or train from Brasov.

Another destination in Transylvania is Sibiu, with its cobbled streets and pastel colored houses. It was founded by the Saxons in the 1918th century and has been a part of Romania since XNUMX. It is a city with ethnic diversity and that is reflected in its architecture.

Su urban center is a charm and one of the best preserved in the country. The Cibin river crosses it and it is surrounded by mountains. If you are not going to rent a car to move you can always do it by train from city to city, very efficient transport.

So in Sibiu you have to walk through the historic center and its system of squares, three, its Upper City and its Lower City. In the Lower City the streets are long and wide and there are small squares and even though almost all the medieval fortifications have lost the battle to urbanization, there are still a couple of towers and a XNUMXth century church. The three squares that we named before are in the Upper City and it extends up the hill.

A museum that you have to know here is the Bruckenthal Palace Museum, and move a little northwest to know Marginimea Sibiului, the handful of 19 traditional villages. Another city on the tourist route is Sighisoarawith its beautiful hilltop citadel, XNUMXth century clock tower and secret passageways.

It is in the Carpathians and it is beautifully medieval. Its historic center is a World Heritage Site since 1999 and is here where Vlad Tepes was born.Other charming but more remote villages are in the Ariesi Valley and are known as Moti Land.

Beyond the medieval towns and villages there are other things that Transylvania offers us. For example, thermal waters. For that we can go to the Lake Bar in Sovata, which they say cures infertility. Or enjoy the warm waters of Ocna Sibiului, near Sibiu, with as much salt as the Dead Sea or almost. To try a volcanic gas sauna we can go to Cosvana. 20 minutes there under medical supervision.

With such forests and mountains the region invites hiking and camping, so this is another option. The Carpathians are beautiful and inhabited by wolves and lynx and also contain the largest European population of Brown bears.

It is estimated that there are about 5 thousand bears in the oak and maple forests and it seems that the population exploded in the time of the communist dictator Ceausesco who prohibited their hunting (only he could do it). There are several bear observation points proposed by the local administration, so it is best to sign up for a tour.

Do you want to rent a car and move more freely? Then you can follow the Transfagarasan Route, a military route built in the 70s of the XNUMXth century, in communist times, it traverses the Fagaras Mountains and zigzags to the Bâlea Lake Valley, crosses a 900-meter tunnel and descends into the Wallachian forests.

If you are going to spend time in Transylvania then in this list of attractions and destinations I would include Alba-Iulia, with its beautiful citadel that is a window to the past, the Turda Salt Mine, absolutely wonderful and Mamamurs and their cemetery, protected by UNESCO. Everything, of course, seasoned with white wines and local food.

If you like Old Europe, mountain villages, castles, starry nights, forests, folklore full of beings and legends ... then Transylvania is not going to let you down.

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