The amazing places on Via Transilvanica. From the Palm of God, to the ancient capitals VIDEO

In the two years since the inauguration of Via Transilvanica in Hunedoara (video), the tourist route has become increasingly popular, offering the chance to promote some spectacular, but little-known places, and the opportunity for locals to invest in tourism.

Ponorului Animal Breeder. Photo: Daniel Guță. TRUTH

Via Transilvanica, a popular tourist route for hiking enthusiasts, 1,400 kilometers long, starts from Putna, crosses Transylvania and ends at Drobeta – Turnu Severin.

In Hunedoara, Via Transilvanica was inaugurated in the summer of 2022. The route covers 150 kilometers passing through the Natural Park Grădiștea Muncelului – Cioclovina (Șureanu Mountains) and at the foot of the Retezat.

Inaugurated in the summer of 2022, Via Transilvanica in Hunedoara starts from the area of ​​Cugir (Alba) – Romoșel, goes up to the village of Ciungu Mare, continues on forest roads to the hamlet of Măgureni, descends to the foot of Vârfului Godeanu, to Sarmizegetusa Regia, then to the valley of Grădisti, it climbs again to the Luncanilor Plateau, to Târsa and Poiana Omului and continues through the Ponorului End in the Șureanu Mountains.

After passing through the communes of Romos, Beriu, Orăștioara de Sus, Boșorod, Pui, the route reaches the foothills of Retezatu, crossing the communes of Sălașu de Sus and Râu de Mori, then descends to Șara Hațegului, to Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa and leaves the county through Portile de Iron of Transylvania, towards Bucova (Caraș-Severin).

Romanian and international artists have transformed the kilometer markers into works of art, sculpted in andesite.

Adevă presents the main attractions of the route of about 150 kilometers of Via Transilvanica in Hunedoara.

The village built on the ridges of the hills

Crossed by a forest road marked by Via Transilvanica, the village of Ciungu Mare in Hunedoara (video) is among the picturesque settlements in the Orăștiei Mountains. About a hundred people live in its archaic-looking households, surrounded by forests, orchards and pastures, which occupy the ridges of the hills below the peak of Ciungilor, which is 900 meters above sea level.

As in other hamlets in the Orăștiei Mountains (Urșici, Măgureni, Cioclovina and others), the locals built their houses a few hundred meters from their neighbors, so that it takes travelers more good time The village of Ciungu Mare has become more and more sought after by tourists, especially by those traveling the Via Transilvanica.

“There are still about 20 families in the village of Ciungu Mare. People here are engaged in animal husbandry and also work in the forest. With less agriculture. We drew water ourselves in the households, from the nearby springs. We have electricity, there is telephone signal and internet in some places, only the road, being dirt and steep, is more difficult, especially in winter. But the village is picturesque, it is very beautiful, seen from the hills that surround it”says one of the locals.

There are several viewpoints on the hills of the village. “From Stâna Frăsinelinor you can see the entire Mureș Valley, including the towns of Alba Iulia, Cugir, Orăștie and Deva. And nearby is Stâna Tomnatec, built with European funds and equipped with all the usual utilities in Europe. If necessary, you can spend the night here”, informs the Town Hall of the Romos commune, to which the village of Ciungu Mare belongs.

From the village of Ciungu Mare, the forest road descends into the valley of Sibișel in Hunedoara, in the past a land of centuries-old forests. Via Transilvanica continues up the river Sibișel, a mountain water with an abundant flow, which has outlined a spectacular bed, digging over time in the clayey ground, mixed with sandstone and gravel.

The village at the foot of the holy mountain of the Dacians

The Sibișel Valley from Hunedoara (video) was also in the past an attractive place for tourists, even if people had to take the hard-to-reach and easily lost roads from its vast forests that covered the ruins of Dacian and medieval settlements.

Located on Via Transilvanica, about 15 kilometers away on the Sibișel valley from Hunedoara, the Măgureni hamlet (video) is among the highest settlements in Romania. The village of shepherds and foresters was established in the 19th century at 1,100 – 1,300 meters above sea level, close to Godeanu Peak (1,659 meters).

“If Sibişelul, for those from Orăştie, is a suitable place for light excursions, for tourists it is a place of departure in the beautiful mountains of Sebeşul. Starting on mountain roads, which lead along the Râuşor, on the path that goes up to the ridge of Delutu (1,119 meters), we arrive at Măgureni, a small specific mountain settlement, composed mainly of sheep. Located 24 kilometers from Orăştie, in the middle of mountains over 1,000 meters high, it is often explored for recreation. From Măgureni to the south we can take the road to Vârful Godeanu, but not the easiest. We recommend guides among the peasants from Sibişel or Măgureni, from whom we can also rent horses”the historian Octavian Floca presented it, in the Hunedoara County Guide (Deva, 1969).

At the beginning of the 20th century, more than 100 people lived in the difficult-to-reach mountain village. Now, the settlement is almost completely abandoned, but tourists find a hermitage of nuns here. On the neighboring hills, there are a few old, uninhabited houses from the village, surrounded by vast forests that occupy the land dominated by the Godeanu peak.

From Măgureni, Via Transilvanica heads towards Sarmziegetusa Regia, passing near the peak of Godeanu, also called “the holy mountain of the Dacians”.

Godeanu Peak was surrounded by the largest concentration of civilian, military and religious settlements discovered and researched in all of Dacia, and at its foot are the most sanctuaries in all of Dacia. It is also the only peak visible from the tops of the Dacian fortresses in the area.

The land of the Dacian fortresses

In Sarmizegetusa Regia, the capital of the Dacians at the time of King Decebalus, located on the hiking route, travelers find traces of a thriving ancient settlement and the remains of the great temples and sanctuaries of the Dacians.

The route then goes down the valley of Grădisti in Hunedoara, at the foot of other famous Dacian fortresses, such as Fețele Albe, Costești and Blidaru, and climbs to the village of Târsa in Hunedoara, located on the Luncanilor Plateau, at about 900 meters above sea level.

In recent years, with the modernization of the two access roads to the village of Târsa from Hunedoara (video) pastoral settlement has become a tourist landmark of the area.

It is crossed by Via Transilvanica, towards Poiana Omului, while other mountain routes connect it to the archaic hamlets of Urșici, Cioclovina, Alunu, Ponorici, inhabited by several families.

“Some have opened small businesses and are waiting for visitors with pies and traditional products. People are delighted by the view of the guarded settlement from the distance of Retezat, and every weekend the village is full of tourists“, says a local.

Located an hour’s walk, through the forest, from the village of Târsa in Hunedoara, Poiana Omului is an old meeting place for shepherds who are transhumance on the plain roads of the Carpathians.

Its picturesque appearance, the stables and houses in the surroundings, as well as the legend that says that the Dacian king Decebal met his end here, have made it increasingly popular in recent years.

The end of Ponor, also called God’s Palm

From the Man’s Glade (video), the paths continue on hills studded with traditional sheepfolds, towards the peaks of the Șureanu and Sarmizegetusa Regia Mountains. Via Transilvanica follows the path to Fundătura Ponorului – two to three hours’ walk from the shepherds’ resting place. The place is also known as “God’s Palm”.

The huts of Fundătura Ponorului – summer residences for animal breeders – are in a picturesque setting, scattered on the hills surrounding the smooth meadow of Ponorului, adorned with its many loops.

For most of the dead-end guests, the view is spectacular, even more so in the summer, when the animals left free by the locals enliven the atmosphere and soundtrack of the valley.

Under the rocks bordering the dead end, the Ponor stream is lost under a rock wall, exiting a few kilometers into the valley, through the spectacular opening of the Șura Mare cave.

“A lot of tourists come here on weekends. Both Romanians and foreigners. Some pitch their tents on the hills, others seek accommodation with the locals. However, many are passing by, because Fundătura Ponorului is on Via Transilvanica. For several years, Funătura Ponorului has been increasingly sought after, especially in summer. People like the air, beauty and cleanliness here. And they say that here they find what they don’t have in the places where they live”, says Eleonora, a local from Federi, who has a small household in Fundătura Ponorului (video).

The tourist trail crosses the forests, descending from the Șureanu Mountains in the Pui commune, located in the Streiului valley in Hunedoara.

From here, following the Via Transilvanica, travelers reach the foothills of the Retezat, where the Mălăiesti Medieval Citadel (Sălașu de Sus commune) and the Colț Medieval Citadel (Râu de Mori commune) are among the tourist attractions of the land.

The Romanian capital, stop on Via Transilvanica

The last historical complex crossed by Via Transilvanica before leaving Hunedoara county is Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa – the colony established by Emperor Trajan, in the first years after the wars of conquest of Dacia at the beginning of the second century.

The ruins of the Roman capital (video), located about 15 kilometers from the city of Hațeg, reveal a former cosmopolitan and flourishing city from Antiquity.

Then, the colony built for the veterans of the Roman army developed as a luxurious settlement, where more than 20,000 people lived, with a lot of administrative buildings and imposing palaces, with temples dedicated to the Roman deities and with an amphitheater that could accommodate more than 5,000 viewers – under restoration.

The remains of ancient monuments, now interspersed among the farmlands and households of the locals, give visitors to the place an insight into the importance that the settlement had in Antiquity.

From Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, Via Transilvanica overlaps, for the next kilometers, with the route of the former Hațeg – Caransebeș railway, built in the early 1900s.

Before continuing to Caraș Severin county, the tourist route crosses the Iron Gates of Transylvania – the pass between Banat and Transylvania, where ancient Tapae would have been. Here, the Dacians and the Romans fought the fiercest battles. And in the Middle Ages, the pass was the site of other Crancen battles, between the Turkish and Transylvanian armies led by Ioan de Hunedoara and the knights from Șara Hațegului.

The Iron Gates of Transylvania (video) are crossed by the Hațeg – Caransebeș national road, but in the past they were the site of the most spectacular section of the Subcetate – Caransebeș railway.

Due to the high slope of the route, on a section of almost 10 kilometers, which starts near the village of Bouţari (Caraş-Severin), crosses the Iron Gates of Transylvania and descends into the Haţeg depression, at Sarmizegetusa, the railway was equipped with a rack, a complex installation that helps the locomotives to climb the slopes.

The cogwheel section was closed in 1978, seven decades after its inauguration, and the special locomotives were withdrawn to the depots in Petroşani and Subcetate, some disappearing over time.