Romania’s Top Tourist Attractions

Rethink your assumptions if you believe Romania is solely home to vampires who wait to attack gullible travelers from the shadows of their creepy castles. Naturally, Transylvanian vampires are very prominent, but Romania is much more than the Brukenthal Palace and the Count Dracula from Bram Stoker’s novel. Although Romania has a fair share of medieval castles, the country also boasts beautiful mountain landscapes, with hiking and skiing available in the summer and winter. It features amazing painted cathedrals and charming villages. The millions of birds that inhabit the Danube Delta, where the river drains into the Black Sea, are equally amazing. An outline of Romania’s most popular tourism destinations:

The Maramures’ Wooden Churches

The people of Maramures turned to wood when their foreign overlords forbade them from erecting sturdy stone churches. Over the course of 200 years, they constructed over 300 wood churches, just about 100 of which are still in service today. While there are a few Greek Catholic churches among these Gothic buildings, the majority are Orthodox. The churches have a high level of carpentry, as seen by their often tall and narrow bell towers. They are simultaneously elegant and basic. Many churches have interior decorations made of hand-painted murals.

Vaser Valley Forestry Railway

Travel through time aboard a steam-powered train as you pass through the Carpathian Mountains’ woods. The Vaser Valley Forestry Railway, which stretches beside the Vaser River, was put into service in 1932 to transport logs from the forest to the mill. These days, it also transports visitors who enjoy the nostalgia of vintage, narrow gauge trains passing through picturesque, forested settings. After the journey comes to an end at Paltin, you get two hours to take in the views and have a picnic.

Delta of the Danube

The Danube Delta, the biggest protected river delta in Europe, with the majority of its territory in Romania, is a haven for nature lovers. You should definitely bring binoculars because this is an excellent place to observe wildlife, particularly birds. From as far away as Egypt and China, birds gather here to breed or spend the winter. The 300 bird species that call these canals home are well-nourished by the willow-lined surroundings. Along with wildlife, there are wolves, wildcats, and occasionally boars.

Poiana Brasov

If you’re sick of looking for vampires, Poiana Brasov might be a nice change of pace. The most well-known ski resort in Romania is also a popular destination for skiers from throughout Europe. Situated in the Carpathian Mountains, the ski resort boasts seven slopes with a cumulative skiing distance of 25 kilometers (15 miles). Events for competitive figure skating and alpine skiing are also held at the resort. Warm up with a classic mulled wine or sample some tuică, a plum-based, pepper-spiced beverage, after a day of skiing.

Corvin Castle

Corvin Castle is an imposing medieval, Gothic structure, considered the most impressive medieval castle in Romania. It also is known as Hunyad Castle after the high-ranking official who built it. Corvin Castle is a fairytale castle that is accessed by a wooden bridge that bears a statue of St. John of Nepomuk, the patron saint of bridges. A raven wearing a gold ring is a symbol of the 15th century castle. See, too, the bear pit and the dungeon where people were tortured.

Sucevita Monastery

There is no denying the Sucevita Monastery’s unique architectural style. Somehow, Moldavia’s painted churches and the Gothic and Byzantine architectural styles combine to create a magnificent structure. The rear is rectangular with a little tower on top, while the front is cylindrical with a conical roof. There are early 1600s painted paintings and silver thread-embroidered tomb covers inside. One of the most significant painted churches in Moldavia is the monastery, which is situated in northeastern Romania.

Turda Salina

You ought to feel at ease at Salina Turda if your home office makes you feel like you’re working in a salt mine. Dating back to the 17th century, the salt mine saw several uses during its history, including that of a bomb shelter during World War II and a center for storing cheese. Excavations ceased in 1932. It has been turned into a fantastic science fiction theme park today. Salina Turda, in Ciuj County, has been dubbed one of the world’s most awesome underground locations. You will descend roughly 120 meters (400 feet) when you visit the submerged wonderland. Once inside, there’s a ferris wheel, an underground lake with prow boats, an amphitheater, and a bowling alley.

The Transylvanian Alps

The Transylvanian Alps, also known as the Southern Carpathians, aren’t as high as the Rockies or the Himalayas, usually under 2,000 meters in elevation. The exception is Mount Moldoveanu, at 2,544 meters (8,346 feet), the highest point in Romania. The rugged mountains, dotted with sheep-filled meadows with wildflowers, offer some pretty good hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. Couch potatoes can visit a mist-shrouded Gothic castle instead as they hunt for legendary vampires on their own turf.

The Fortified Church of Biertan

Built as a Catholic church during the time the area was a part of Hungary, the Biertan Fortified Church towers over all other structures in the neighborhood. After the Reformation, it changed its name to the Lutheran church. Instead of constructing a stronghold to repel Ottoman incursions, the villagers strengthened the church. It is one of the biggest fortified churches in Romania, constructed in the Late Gothic style. The church is famous for its towers, one of which was used to hold husbands who desired a divorce captive and the other to store food during sieges.

Piata Mare

The Plata Mare, sometimes referred to as Big Square in English, is surrounded by historic structures and is a must-see location in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu. In the early 1500s, the square was first used as a market for cereal. After several decades, the Tailors’ Guild building was constructed. Brukenthal Palace, a Jesuit church, and homes came after it. Big Square served as a venue for public events like festivals and executions. It was a site where troublemakers were kept on display, like in a “lunatic’s cage.”

Merry Cemetery

Merry Cemetery in the town of Sapanta isn’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill cemetery. It’s more like a folk art gallery, with colorful tombstones, crosses and statuary celebrating the lives of the deceased. This colorful tradition began with a 14-year-old boy who began carving crosses in 1908. He added poems and painted a portrait of the deceased on the cross; sometimes he even painted how they died. And thus a tradition was born. The background on everything is deep blue, with other colors symbolizing life, death and fertility.

Peles Castle

Peles Castle doesn’t have a history of sieges and warfare but it does have something other European castles don’t: spectacular beauty, sitting as it does on a Carpathian hillside. This Neo-Renaissance castle was built by King Carol I who vacationed here in the 1860s. Fairytale-like in appearance, it’s considered one of the most stunning castles in Europe. A 4,000-piece weapons collection reflects the king’s military interests, while a movie room decorated with frescoes reflects the queen’s artistic interests. The first movie shown in Romania aired here.

Parliamentary Palace

The Palace of Parliament in the nation’s capital, Bucharest, is not a medieval structure, even if medieval structures are common throughout the nation. It is a completely contemporary edifice that holds the title of largest administrative building globally. It took thirteen years, and twenty thousand workers, nonstop, to construct. 700 architects and design experts worked on this architectural marvel. Because it was constructed by the despised leader of Romania, Nicolae Ceaușescu, the palace is a famous tourist destination for visitors from abroad but not so much for the local population.

The Historic Center of Sighisoara

Sighisoara Historic Center will undoubtedly confirm your preconceptions about what medieval life was like. Old Town Sighisoara embodies the best of the Middle Ages. Sighisoara, which was founded by Transylvanian Saxons in the twelfth century, is a prime example of a medieval fortified town. It features the typical small streets with vibrant stone buildings on either side. Vlad the Impaler, the model for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, was born there. Every July, Rock Bands honor Sighisoara’s medieval heritage with a festival.

Bran Castle

Though there is no proof that author Bram Stoker was aware of this mediaeval fortress, Bran fortress is frequently identified as the residence of Dracula. Reminiscent of a fairy tale, the castle stands sentinel amid the forests on a mountainside close to Brasov in Transylvania. This mediaeval fortress, which has origins in the thirteenth century, is now a museum featuring artwork and furnishings that Queen Maria gathered. It is also the location of an outdoor museum showcasing rural Romanian houses from all throughout the nation.

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