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|About the name||Transylvania or Transilvania (from Latin – “the land beyond the forest”)|
|Location||Central Romania - surrounded by the arc of the Carpathian mountain chain|
|Area||34.177 sq miles|
|Population||Approximately 5 million|
|Main cities||Alba Iulia, Bistrita, Brasov, Cluj Napoca, Medias, Miercurea Ciuc, Sebes, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Targu Mures|
Transylvania is home to some of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns, most notably Brasov, featuring Old Saxon architecture and citadel ruins; Sibiu with its cobblestone streets and pastel-colored houses, and Sighisoara, adorned with a hilltop citadel, secret passageways and a 14th century clock tower. Tiny shops offer antiques and fine hand-made products by local artisans and artists.
Visitors will also encounter stunning castles such Bran, near Brasov, - a Gothic fairy-tale structure, often associated with 15th century Walachian Prince Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. While the connection with Vlad is tenuous the deep bond of local villagers with the legend is not.
In close proximity to Brasov and Bran are the fortified churches at Harman, with its massive 13th Saxon towers, and Prejmer, the largest fortified church in Southeastern Europe. The 15th-century Corvinesti Castle, located 15 miles away from Hunedoara, has a sumptuous Knights Hall – that can be used for functions or parties as well as towers and buttresses reminiscent of the medieval times.
Transylvania’s multi-ethnic heritage (including German and Hungarian ) is delightfully apparent in the folk costumes, architecture, cuisine, music and festivals.
Colorful centuries-old traditions are alive and well in the small villages of Transylvania. People here still make a living at such time-honored occupations as shepherds, weavers, blacksmiths and carpenters.
The Apuseni Mountain range, in the western Carpathians, is a landscape of exquisite beauty and mystery. Here, you’ll find ancient legends of mountain spirits and rare species of wildlife, along with 4,000 caves, many of which can be explored. Scarisoara Glacier, a national monument, shelters the second largest underground glacier on the continent.
Activities: Biking, Camping, Caving, Climbing, Fishing, Hiking, Nature walks, Rafting, Skiing, Wildlife and Bird Watching
» Traditional food
Local cuisine displays a variety of flavors with dishes spiced with thyme, red pepper or tarragon. Meats, such as pork, mutton, veal, are among the most popular ingredient in Transylvania’s cuisine. The soups, to which sour cream and egg yolk are ofted added, also include flour dumplings or homemade pasta.
Romania is one the world’s leading producers of cabbage (varza). Make sure you don’t leave the region without trying the delicious “Varza a la Cluj” – the Romanian version of lasagna - prepared from several layers of finely shredded cabbage (fresh or sour) and minced pork or veal mixed with rice and bacon and baked in the oven.
Transylvanians - among whom the Saxons make their particular contribution - are not only artisans in producing fragrant, pleasant and light wines, but also sophisticated double-distilled liquors: palinca, horinca and rachie (varieties of brandy). These are made of fruits, particularly plums, apples, and pears, aged in mulberry tree barrels, acquiring a golden color and a taste often rivaling whisky.
The vineyards in Tarnave area: Blaj, Jidvei, Medias, Tarnaveni, Zagar and Valea Nirajului are known for their excellent white wine producers. With its cool climate and vineyards on slopes that stretch from the Tarnava Mare to the Tarnava Mica rivers, Tarnave is ideal for fruity white grapes with a very good acidity. The area has a long tradition of producing excellent dry, and medium-dry flavored wines such as Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Ottonel, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Traminer.
Even if wooden tools have been replaced by modern winepresses and state of the art technology, grape picking, the control of fermentation, clarity, stability, the storage and maturation of wine are all carried out according to a special set of rules handed down from generation to generation. There are also traditions of wine making in some of the Saxon villages in this region, with small vineyards producing must for the larger wineries.
For more information please visit: www.jidvei.ro
Other local vineyards: Aiud, Alba Iulia, Lechinta, Sebes-Apold
Wine tasting is offered at the 16th century Bethlen Castle in Cetatea de Balta, located between Tarnaveni and Blaj.
Address: Str. Unirii 9, Jidvei, Alba County
Telephone: (258) 881.881
Main train stations: Alba Iulia, Bistrita, Brasov, Cluj Napoca, Medias, Miercurea Ciuc, Sebes, Sfantu Gheorghe, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Targu Mures
There are daily trains from/to Bucharest to the main cities in the region.
To check the latest train schedules for domestic routes please visit the website of the Romanian Railways: www.cfrcalatori.ro
The site has complete information about domestic train schedules and fares.
Note: For departures from/to Bucharest please select Bucuresti Nord
For the list of international trains with service to/from Romania please visit:
Alba Iulia Tourist Information Centre (Centrul de Informare Turistica)
Address: Bd. Ferdinand I nr. 14
Telephone: (258) 813.736
Open: Mon. – Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Closed Sat. & Sun.
Brasov Tourist Information Centre (Centrul de Informare Turistica)
Address: Piata Sfatului 30 (located inside the History Museum)
Telephone: (268) 419.078
Open: Mon. – Sun. 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sibiu Tourist Information Centre (Centrul de Informare Turistica)
Address: Str. Samuel Brukental 2
Telephone: (269) 208.913
Open: Mon. – Fri. 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sat. 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; Sun. Closed
Targu Mures Tourist Information Centre (Centrul de Informare Turistica)
Address: Str. Enescu 2
Telephone: (365) 404.934
Open: Mon. – Sat. 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Closed Sun/
Miercurea Ciuc Tourist Information Centre (Centrul de Informare Turistica)
Address: Piata Cetatii 1
Telephone: (266) 317.007
Open: Mon. – Fri. 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Closed Sat. & Sun.
- Regions Map - www.RomaniaTourism.com/.../Historical-Regions-Map.html
- Romania - Detail Map - www.RomaniaTourism.com/.../Romania-Detail-Map.html