I’m a tour guide in Romania for over 13 years now. I have conducted hundreds of tours in all regions of Romania. We usually include in our tours the most known attractions in Romania but sometimes we have more time than what we planned. This is when we throw in the best unknown tourist attractions. We want our customers to experience the real Romania off the beaten path, so we take them to these secret places.
I narrowed down the list to 5 most impressive places that I realized have a WOW effect on the tourists that I take their. So here we go
Prejmer fortified church
This is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site one of the best medieval forts in Transylvania. This rich land was desired by several empires and nomadic nations. Therefore the the indigenous population was so often attacked And their homes and crops destroyed women raped children kidnapped and men take into slavery that they decided to take faith into their hands. They started building fortifications where they would take shelter when their village was attacked.
Most often the villagers build defensive walls around their churches then they added towers,they brought in ammunition, weapons, supplies, and had everything ready, to withstand the attacks. In Prejmer, the villagers even built private rooms, for every family in the village. The 270 rooms, are stacked on 4 floors against the defence wall with Hundreds of wooden stairs, to get to them.
At the very top of the the defence wall there is a patrol corridor with dozens of shooting windows pointing out. Among the shooting windows you will notice 4 “toilets” pointing outside of the fortress. This way they kept the fortress cleaner and they could show their enemies what they think of them.
In the very center of the structure is the church. Much older than the rest of the fortress, being established some 800 years ago by the Cistercian Monks.
Even though from outside it doesn’t look like much once you step into this 15 century fortress you step into a different world. you just have to close your eyes and imagine what went on within these walls 500 years ago.
The superbly preserved Castle is still surrounded by its original moats. A secret tunnel channels water from the nearby Olt river into the moat making the fortress so well defended that was virtually never taken.
Under the communist regime the castle became a political prison, where where opponents were thrown for life sentences.
Nowadays Fagaras Castle is guarded by beautiful graciously floating swans instead of armed angry guards
The fortress is open
summer (June – Sept) Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 6pm,
in winter (Oct – May) 9 am – 5 pm
Turda salt mine
Salt was one of prime resource in the middle ages, sometimes just as valuable as gold. Transylvania was one of the richest salt areas in Europe, salt mining at Turda started over two millennia ago. The last block of salt was extracted in 1932, and in 2010 after 5 years of preparation the mine was opened for visitors.
The place is absolutely stunning, with impressive dimensions. Theresia mine is is so tall that you can put the Statue of Liberty in it with the pedestal and foundation included. You really feel minuscule down there. Glossy black salt walls are decorated by unearthly white salt patterns and complemented with an ingenious lighting system that makes you feel like you are on a Star Trek space ship. Just about nothing looks like you are on Earth – well.. a bit under.
The place is open every day from 9am – 5pm, but you should enter at 3 pm the latest to have enough time to see it.
The most peculiar church in Romania – near Hateg in Hunedoara county.
Built in the 4th century from stone blocks from a nearby Roman ruin, it’s the oldest church in Romania. The random use of stone blocks gives the church it’s unicity.
Stone lions that probably used to decorate the entrance to a Roman edifice are now sitting on the roof of Densus Church or Roman temple columns support the northern side of the church. And all this surrounded by superb countryside.
A couple of minutes west from the church you will find the “house of volcanoes”, a place where you learn that you are sitting on a 65 million years old, tropical, volcanic island inhabited by dwarf dinosaurs. Mind boggling isn’t it?
The largest fortress in Romania. 3 successive fortresses are overlaid in the historic center of Alba Iulia. The 2000 years old Roman city ruins, the 1500 medieval fortress and the more recent (and most spectacular) Vauban style fort.
You need at least 3 hours to get an idea about Alba Iulia. I would definitely recommend the southern itinerary, and the “3 fortifications” itinerary. If you plan having lunch or dinner here, check our “Pub 13” located inside the old gunpowder warehouse. You will love it. http://www.pub13.ro/index.php/galerie-foto
A fantastic experience is the Medieval Hotel for those who want to spend the night in Alba Iulia. http://www.hotel-medieval.ro/