In 1932, the Turda Saltworks officially went out of business, mainly because of obsolete technologies and low salt yield, but also because of increasing competition. In 1992, the Turda Saltworks was opened once again as a tourist destination, and it can currently be visited all year round. Attractions include the old Rudolf, Tereza and Iosif salt mines as well as a great deal of perfectly preserved medieval tools.
In 2009, the Turda Saltworks was the subject of a massive restoration project that was completed in January 2010. Nowadays, this place flaunts its own amphitheatre, treatment rooms and a fantastic salty lake that has extraordinary curative properties.
The Babele are rocky formations placed in close proximity to the Baba Mare peak, which boasts an elevation of 7,519 feet. The stones were shaped by erosion over vast amounts of time, and they now feature a distinct mushroom-like shape. The origins of the rocky formations are still subject to controversy, especially since no scientific evidence can fully explain the phenomenon. The nearby Babele Cabin is definitely the most popular in the region accommodation-wise, since it provides a perfect base for visiting these fantastic landmarks as well as the famous Sphinx.
The Bucegi Sphinx was also formed by erosion, and it can be found just 10 minutes away from Babele. This important landmark was photographed for the first time during the 1900s, but the picture was taken from the front rather than from the side. Consequently, it wasn’t until 1936 that the rocky formation got its Sphinx name, since its distinct silhouette can only be observed clearly if it is viewed from a specific angle.
The building served as John Hunyadi’s home but was also used extensively for defensive purposes, which is why it gradually received multiple towers and extra fortifications. Some of the towers were meant to be used as prisons, especially the Deserted Tower and the Capistrano Tower, while defensive towers such as the Buzdugan Tower featured large openings that would house imposing weapons. Notable improvements were made during the 17th century, including the addition of a new Large Palace and the construction of 2 towers named the Artillery Tower and the White Tower. Sadly, the building fell into ruin after numerous years of neglect, and it even caught fire at some point, which caused extensive damage.
The present version of the Corvin Castle is actually the result of a successful restoration. Due to its incredible history and long lifespan, this majestic building is still shrouded in mystery and legend to this day. One of the most popular Places To Visit In Romania.
Nowadays, the Peles Castle is a very important museum that houses a vast collection of arms, armour and art pieces. Some of the most notable rooms in the castle are called The Honor Hall, The Imperial Suite, The Arsenal, The Playhouse and the Florentine Room, each housing its own unique treasures.
The Arsenal, for example, displays 1,600 examples of armour and weapons, including a 15th century German decapitation broadsword and a full Maximilian armour for rider and horse. The Florentine room features a more artful approach, boasting Italian Renaissance elements such as a Grand Marble Fireplace by Paunazio and massive solid bronze doors made in Rome. One of the most interesting Places To Visit In Romania.
Visitors of the Peles Castle are greeted upon entry by a beautiful statue of King Carol I that was made by Raffaello Romanelli. There are also numerous other statues scattered across the surrounding terrace gardens, most of them being attributed to Romanelli as well.
The castle can be explored only via a guided tour. There are 3 tours available, the first being limited to the ground floor only, while the last offers a complete exploration of the landmark. There is an admission charge as well as an extra charge for those that wish to bring their cameras along (around 20€ per total). The Peles Castle can be visited all year round except for November, when it is closed for maintenance.
To give you an idea, here is a funny epitaph:
"Here I rest.
Stefan is my name.
As long as I lived, I liked to drink.
When my wife left me,
I drank because I was sad.
Then I drank more
to make me happy.
So, it wasn't so bad
that my wife left me,
Because I got to drink
with my friends.
I drank a lot,
and now, I'm still thirsty.
So you who come
to my resting place,
Leave a little wine here."
Palace of the Parliament
Finished in 1997, the Palace of the Parliament is a fine example of neoclassic architecture, but it does feature multiple design elements borrowed from other sources. The construction costs for this massive landmark soared to $4.1 billion, and so the palace currently holds the record for the “most expensive administrative building ” while other records include “heaviest building” and the largest civilian building with an administrative function”, all 3 titles being acknowledged by the World Records Academy. As surface, The Palace of the Parliament is the second biggest building in the world after the Pentagon.
During his days as Romania’s leader, Nicolae Ceausescu named the building “The People’s House”, which is why the Palace of the Parliament is more commonly known in English as the “Palace of the People”.
The construction of the colossal building has been ordered by Ceausescu in 1980, after the tragic earthquake in '77 where more then 1.500 people lost their lives, 11.000 people were left injured and 35.000 homes were completely destroyed.
Approximately 20.000 people had worked 24h/day in 3 shifts to bring up the massive building. Unfortunately, is also often considered a grave stone for what was before a beautiful neighbourhood filled up with history. About 9000 other buildings and homes were demolished to make space for the building bearing the imprint of the country's former dictator.
There are also many myths: the building is haunted by the people who died during the construction or that there is a secret metro line who cross the entire Bucharest.
The cave is more than 1.5 km (0.9 mi) long and has galleries on two levels. The upper gallery, which is 488 m (1,601 ft) long, is open to tourists, while the lower gallery, with a length of 521 m (~1,709 ft), is designated for scientific research.
In The Bears’ Gallery (also known as the Bones Gallery) and the Emil Racovita Gallery, visitors can view the skeletal remains of the cave bears (Ursus Spelaeus) that died here, as well as fossils of other animals such as a black goat, cave lion and cave hyena. Some of the skeletons and indeed the walls of the caves still bear the marks of bears’ teeth and claws as they devoured each other and attempted to escape.
The final gallery, The Lights Gallery, contains some of the fascinating stalactites and stalagmites, which resemble wax statues and have been given such names as The Mastodon, The Curtains from The Bears Gallery and The Pagodas.
Statue of Decebal
The Statue of Decebal can only be reached by a boat ride but it can be seen from the road (there is even some kind of parking lot in which you stop and view the danube and the monument from a far.) The Statue of Decebalus took 10 years to carve and even though it looks like it is as old as the ruler of Dacia it self it is pretty new to this world (sculptured from 1994 till 2004) – Twelve sculptors worked on it. The entire project was proposed and funded by one of the wealthiest Romanians ever lived, businessman Iosif Constantin Drăgan (1917 – 2008), it is believed that daragan spent one million u.s dollars over this project. There is an inscription (in Latin) right under the carved face, it says: “DECEBALUS REX—DRAGAN FECIT” (or in English -“King Decebal—Made by Drăgan”).
Bran Castle - Dracula
Nowadays, the Bran Castle operates as a museum that houses a large collection of art pieces and furniture that used to belong to Queen Marie. Visitors can choose to explore the halls themselves or under the guidance of a professional.
The Dacians are the first known tribe to inhabit the current territory of Romania, their actual origins being obscure. The Dacian Kingdom proves to be a very powerful actor in Easter Europe 2000 years ago as at its might was covering the territory of Romania and significant parts of current Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Ukraine. Sarmisegetuza Regia was placed strategically at 1200 meters altitude and it was protected by a chain of fortresses. The site is an outstanding example of Late Iron Agedevelopment and includes a fortress, a sacred and a civilian area proving the spirituality and strength of this nation.
At the beginning of the 2nd century Dacia was conquered by the Roman Empire, changing the destiny of the country and of Sarmisegetuza Regia. Having been partly destroyed during the conflict, a replica of it was made 40 kilometers away which served as a capital for the Roman occupied territory and it was called Ulpia Traiana Sarmisegetuza. Nevertheless significant parts are left for us to see, the site being under strict conservation, together with the chain of protecting fortress are under UNESCO world heritage.
While most words in Romanian language are of Latin origin, Sarmizegetusa is an example of how the ancient Dacian language sounded.
A visit to Sarmisegetuza Regia is possible only by private car,as there is no public transportation to take you there being in an isolated area in the mountains, but there can be arranged private day trips.