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Romania

Main attractions

Râșnov Citadel, Romania
Râșnov Citadel / Neighbor's goat, Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

This large country has very diverse landscape and has been a cradle for several prehistoric and ancient cultures. People in Romania have created distinct styles of architecture and built many amazing structures. Most impressive and unusual landmarks here are:

The extensive Brașov Old City, Romania
The extensive Brașov Old City / pozek, / CC BY 2.0
  • Historical cities and towns. Many towns and cities in Romania have well preserved historical centres with hundreds of valuable buildings. Especially beautiful are Brașov, Sibiu and Sighişoara which belong to most impressive old cities in Europe.
  • "Painted" monasteries - group of very unusual medieval monasteries whose walls have been covered with beautiful frescoes... outside (and also inside)!
  • Castles - Romania has the famous Bran Castle - in pop culture seen as Dracula palace. Even more impressive is the giant Corvin Castle and there are other great castles and castle ruins.

Natural landmarks

La Zaplaz karst formations, Romania
La Zaplaz karst formations / Amorphisman, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Rock formations

  • Cerdacul Stanciului - Argeş. Impressive natural arch which has been formed by karst processes.
  • Detunatele - Alba. Extensive formations of columnar basalt, forming two tall peaks - Detunata Goala and Detunata Flocoasa.
  • Iron Gates - Mehedinți and Serbia, Braničevo. Magnificent gorge of Danube River where the river is squeezed and is just 150 m narrow but very deep - up to 82 m (Gospođin vir).
  • Izvorul Bigăr - Caraș-Severin. Unusual travertine formation and waterfall.
  • La Zaplaz karst formations (Deubel Holes) - Argeş. Group of amazing karst arches - holes.
  • Turda Gorge - Cluj. Spectacular gorge with up to 300 m tall vertical walls, 2.9 km long. Gorge contains huge wealth of plant and animal life.

Caves

  • Movile Cave - Constanţa. Unique cave ecosystem consisting of 48 species. 33 species are found only in this cave. Ecosystem of this cave was isolated from the outer world for 5.5 million years and air inside the cave has a different chemical composition.
  • Peştera Urşilor (Bears' Cave) - Bihor. Beautiful cave with remnants of some 143 cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) trapped by rock slide more than 15,000 years ago.
  • Peștera Vântului - Bihor. Longest known cave in Romania, almost 52 km long.

Other natural landmarks

  • Berca Mud Volcanoes - Buzău. Two groups of mud volcanoes - several metres high cones which erupt cold, liquid mud.
  • Sânpetru Formation - Hunedoara. Rich find of Mesosoic fossils - diverse dinosaurs.

Man made landmarks

Caves with prehistoric human heritage

  • Coliboaia Cave - Bihor. Some of the oldest cave paintings in this part of Europe are located in this cave. Drawings were made in the time period between 32,000 and 35,000 years before present. Some of the drawings show animals - rhinos, bisons, bears.
  • Cuciulat Cave - Sălaj. This cave contains prehistoric cave paintings in one of its rooms. Drawings show two horses, feline, bird and a figure resembling human. It is possible that drawings were made in the Upper Paleolithic period some 12,000 years ago.
  • Peștera cu Oase - Caraș-Severin. In this cave were found some of the oldest human remains in Europe (38,700 years old) together with the remnants of Neanderthals and, amazingly, a human which seems to have also Neanderthal ancestors. Cave contains also rich collection of the remnants of other creatures including cave bears.
Dacian shrines in Sarmizegetusa Regia, Romania
Dacian shrines in Sarmizegetusa Regia / Oroles, / public domain

Remnants of ancient cities

  • Sarmizegetusa Regia - Hunedoara. Ruins of the former capital of Dacia which was built on the top of 1,200 m high hill. Capital was protected with a system of six fortresses around it. The megalithic walls of fortifications are built from enormous stone blocks. Here are located also remnants of Dacian shrines inclluding an enormous platform - sundial. City was inhabited in the 1st century BC - 1st century AD.
  • Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa - Hunedoara. Remnants of the main city of Romans in Dacia province. In the 2nd - 3rd century AD here lived some 20 - 25 thousand people. Remnants of the city include numerous temples, public buildings, forum, thermae and others.

Historical cities and towns

Rimetea town, Romania
Rimetea town / Pumeks, / CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Brașov Old City - Brașov. One of the most beautiful historical cities in this part of Europe: a medieval city which was built by Saxons of Transilvania. Beautiful views open to the city from the surrounding mountains.
  • Rimetea - Alba. Well preserved historical (13th century) mining town - village with numerous whitewashed houses lined along the streets with tall mountains in the background. Town contains 170 valuable historical buildings.
  • Sibiu Old City - Sibiu. Beautiful medieval city which was built by Saxons of Transilvania. Much of city walls have been preserved. Impressive is the enormous Grand Square and other squares with ornate buildings around them.
  • Sighişoara Old City - Mureș. Exceptionally well preserved fortified medieval city with city walls and numerous watchtowers. Sighişoara was founded by German craftsmen who lived in this region until the middle of the 20th century. This fortified settlement was founded in the late 12th century and was an important trade center in the following centuries. It was rich city and many great structures were built here.
Bran Castle, Romania
Bran Castle / Mennowijnen, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Castles and palaces

  • Bran Castle - Brașov. Legendary and very impressive castle. Although it is not linked to Vlad the Impaler or any known legends about vampires, since the issuing of Bram Stoker's book "Dracula" it is announced to be the legendary abode of Count Dracula. This is well preserved and picturesque castle on the top of mountain. Constructed in the 14th century.
  • Câlnic Citadel - Alba. Castle with rather primitive planning - a residential tower which is surrounded by double walls. Built around 1270.
  • Corvin Castle (Hunedoara Castle) - Hunedoara. One of the largest castles in Europe, well preserved and visually very impressive. Castle was constructed in many phases in 1440 - 19th century. Site of legends with purported sightings of paranormal phenomena.
  • Mogoșoaia Palace - Ilfov. Ornate palace in the local, Romanian architecture style - Brâncovenesc style. Built in 1698 - 1702. Around the palace are beautiful gardens.
  • Peleș Castle - Prahova. Magnificent palace in mountain setting. Built in 1873 - 1914 in Neo-Renaissance style.
  • Poenari Castle ruins - Argeș. Ruins of impressive castle on the top of mountain. This castle was built in the early 13th century and in the 15th century it was extended by Vlad III the Impaler - the prototype of Count Dracula.
  • Râșnov Citadel - Brașov. Medieval fortification and settlement, built for the protection of local people. Fortifications on the top of this hill have been built since the prehistoric times.
  • Rupea Citadel - Brașov. Massive hilltop fortification which was built in the Middle Ages over the site which has been inhabited since the Paleolithic and fortified by Dacians.

"Painted" monasteries and churches

Annunciation Church in Moldovița Monastery, Romania
Annunciation Church in Moldovița Monastery / Alex Moise, / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Annunciation Church in Moldovița Monastery - Suceava. Beautiful painted church, built in 1532.
  • Arbore Church - Suceava. Church in an Orthodox monastery. This church is covered with frescoes and constructed in 1502.
  • Church of the Holy Cross in Pătrăuți - Suceava. Old church with traditional architecture, built in 1487. Part of its frescoes on the outer walls is still visible.
  • Humor Monastery - Suceava. One of the so called "painted monasteries", covered with beautiful frescoes. Constructed in 1530.
  • Resurrection Church in Sucevița Monastery - Suceava. Beautiful, very impressive "painted" church which was built in 1585. Church is covered with frescoes inside and outside. Sucevița Monastery itself is an impressive complex of buildings with fortification wall and four watchtowers.
  • St. Nicholas Church in Probota Monastery - Suceava. Gorgeous church which was built in 1530 and covered with colourful frescoes.
  • St. George Church in Saint John the New Monastery - Suceava. Beautiful church with frescoes covering its walls. Built in 1514 - 1522.
  • Voroneţ Monastery and Saint George Church - Suceava. One of the best so called "painted monasteries" of region, built in 1488. Sometimes the painted Church of Saint George here is nicknamed the "Sistine Chapel of the East".

Maramureş wooden churches

Portal of Sârbi Susani Church, Romania
Portal of Sârbi Susani Church / Alexandru Baboş, / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel in Șurdești - Maramureş. Impressive wooden church with 54 m tall tower. Constructed in 1721 - 1724.
  • Church of the Holy Archangels in Rogoz - Maramureş. One of the most impressive examples of the traditional wooden churches of Maramureş region. This beautiful church was built in 1633 and is adorned with the traditional wood carvings. Interior is adorned with beautiful paintings which were made in 1785.
  • Church of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple in Bârsana - Maramureş. One of the most beautiful wooden churches in Maramureş, built in 1720. Interior is adorned with fine frescoes in baroque style.
  • Sârbi Susani Church - Maramureş. Representative of traditional wooden churches of region, built around 1639. It was built by using conservative construction methods, with ancient ornamentation. One of the portals of the church is adorned with interesting symbols whose meaning is not deciphered.

Other churches

Biserica Neagră, Romania
Biserica Neagră / Troy, / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Alba Iulia St. Michael's Cathedral - Alba. Old cathedral with many elements in Romanesque style. Constructed in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 13th century in Romanesque and Gothic styles.
  • Biertan fortified church - Sibiu. Impressive complex of buildings - a church in Late Gothic - Renaissance style which was built in 1486 - 1524. Church has sophisticated vaults. Later around the church were built several fortification walls and part of these walls persist up to this day.
  • Biserica Neagră (Black Church of Brașov) - Brașov. The largest Gothic structure in Romania which was constructed sometimes around 1380ies - 1470ies.
  • Curtea de Argeş Cathedral - Argeş. Unusual, large cathedral from the 1512 - 1517. The structure resembles a mausoleum in Byzantine style, it is adorned with Moorish arabesques.
  • Dârjiu fortified church - Harghita. Impressive church, built in Romanesque - Gothic styles in the 14th - late 15th century. Fortifications around the church were built in 1400. Interior of the church is adorned with frescoes in Renaissance style.
  • Densuș Church, Romania
    Densuș Church - the first church in the lands of Dacians / Grigore Roibu, / CC BY-SA 3.0
    Densuș Church - Hunedoara. Very old church building, constructed in the 7th century in the site of an ancient Roman temple and even possible Dacian temple. This is the first church in the lands of Dacians. Interior is adorned with frescoes made in the 15th century.
  • Mălâncrav church - Sibiu. Historical church of Transylvanian Saxons, built in Gothic style in the early 14th century. Interior of the church is very impressive as it is covered with frescoes and adorned with a multitude of artworks.
  • Prejmer fortified church - Brașov. Old Gothic church, built in 1211 - 1240. In the 15th - 16th century around the church were built massive walls - almost 12 m tall and 5 m wide, with 5 towers. Inside the walls are more than 270 rooms which could provide shelter for some 1600 people.
  • St. Nicholas Church in Bogdana Monastery - Suceava. Oldest standing church in Romania, built around 1360. Church is adorned with frescoes which were created in different time periods.
  • Trei Ierarhi Monastery Church - Iași. Church with impressive, unusual architecture. Constructed in 1637 - 1639. Facades and other parts of the church are adorned with stone lacery of very diverse ornamentation.
Horeza Monastery, Romania
Horeza Monastery / Victor Modorani, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Other monasteries

  • Dragomirna Monastery - Suceava. Fortified monastery with intact fortification walls. Construction started in 1602. Beautiful is the church tower - the stone of the tower is covered with intricate carvings. Interior of the church - altar and nave - is adorned with frescoes.
  • Horeza Monastery (Hurezi Monastery) - Vâlcea. Monastery in the specific Romanian style of architecture - Brâncovenesc style, a fusion of Byzantine and Renaissance style. Monastery was founded in 1690 and its buildings have unusual, ornate architecture. Interior is adorned with frescoes.
  • Murfatlar Cave Monastery - Constanţa. Group of rock-cut cave dwellings, churches, crypts, tombs. It was used in the 9th - 11th century and walls of these rock-cut chambers contain many inscriptions in Turanic or Proto-Bulgarian language. Here have been used several interesting ancient writings including Turkic runes.
  • Neamț Monastery - Neamț. One of the oldest monasteries in Romania where the first structures were built around 1371-175. Especially beautiful is the church which was constructed in 1497.
  • Putna Monastery - Suceava. Fortified monastery with fortification walls and watchtowers. Constructed in 1466 - 1470, the ornate church was built in 1653-1662.

Bridges

Trajan's Bridge across the Danube, Romania and Serbia
Trajan's Bridge across the Danube, modern reconstruction / E. Duperrex, / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Anghel Saligny Bridge - Constanţa and Ialomiţa. Unusual and impressive railroad bridge across Danube. Built in 1890 - 1895: then it was the third longest bridge in the world. Bridge is 4,087.95 m long.
  • Trajan's Bridge - Mehedinți and Serbia, Bor. Remnants of a giant bridge which was built in the time of Emperor Trajan in 103 - 105 AD. This arched bridge crossed Danube and was 1,135 m long. It had stone supports - 20 pillars and wooden superstructure.

Other man made landmarks

Iași Palace of Culture, Romania
Iași Palace of Culture / Danmariciuc, / public domain
  • Hoia Forest - Cluj. This forest is famous as a site of different paranormal phenomena, here have been made authentic images of weird light phenomena.
  • Iași Palace of Culture - Iași. Very ornate public building which was built in Neo-Gothic style in 1906 - 1925. Palace has 298 rooms and here are located four museums.
  • Palace of the Parliament - Bucharest. Largest parliament building in the world, second largest administrative building in the world after The Pentagon (United States) and the third largest building in the world by volume and largest - by weight. This giant structure was built in Neo-Classical style in 1984 - 1997.
  • Sighișoara Clock Tower - Mureș. Massive and ornate fortification tower, 64 m tall. Constructed in the 14th century and rebuilt in the 16th century. Tower has a clock with moving puppets.

List of described attractions by counties

Romania is divided into 41 counties and the capital - Bucharest.

Alba
Arad
Argeș
Bacău
Bihor
Bistrița-Năsăud
Botoșani
Brăila
Brașov
Bucharest
Buzău
Călărași
Caraș-Severin
Cluj
Constanța
Covasna
Dâmbovița
Dolj
Galați
Giurgiu
Gorj
Harghita
Hunedoara
Ialomița
Iași
Ilfov
Maramureș
Mehedinți
Mureș
Neamț
Olt
Prahova
Sălaj
Satu Mare
Sibiu
Suceava
ArrowVoroneţ Monastery and Saint George ChurchChristian monasteries, Churches
Teleorman
Timiș
Tulcea
Vâlcea
Vaslui
Vrancea

Map of Romania

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