Stories, people and places from Remarkable Romania

Closer to us than we think, there are places and histories waiting to be discovered. If you don't know where to start, we invite you to start hiking through our communes

The Wooden Church, Bârsana

Dating back to 1711, the wooden church of the old monastery of Bârsana is today located in historic Maramureș, in the Iza Valley, where it was moved around 1739. Priest Ioan Ștefanca, helped by his family and the village community, erected the old wooden church as a sign of thanks for the protection he received during the great plague that had taken many lives the year before.

Built of beams assembled in the ” Blockbau ” system, one of the oldest building systems, the church was included in the UNESCO heritage in 1999. The modest wooden exterior is complemented by the old interior paintings, restored in 1806 by the painter Toader Hodor, which, contrary to the custom of the time, were more inspired by the Baroque and Rococo styles.

Bánffy Castle, Bonțida

A town made famous by the Electric Castle & TIFF festivals, Bonțida was the residence of the Bánffy family who took possession of the Bonțida estate in the 14th century by royal donation. The ensemble was built gradually from the 16th century onwards. The final appearance dates from the 19th century and includes elements of Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Classicist, and Neo-Gothic styles.

The last inhabitant was Count Miklós Bánffy, an avant-garde intellectual, politician, writer, graphic artist, and opera director. It was he who negotiated the surrender of Cluj without a fight by German and Hungarian troops, saving the lives of the townspeople and the city’s heritage. But he left the castle in Bonțida in October 1944, fleeing the German troops who looted and burned the building. The Transylvania Trust began restoring the castle in 1999.

The Daffodil Glade at Negrileasa, Bucium

The Daffodil Glade at Negrileasa is one of the places with history in Bucium commune. The daffodil is protected by law and is spread over an area of 45 hectares.

According to legend, the daffodils on the meadows here were planted by a majestic bluebird. Trying to escape the shepherds who wanted to catch it for its plumage, the bird spoke to them, telling them that if they left it alone, it would make its beautiful feathers appear in the meadow every year. That way, generations in a row could enjoy their beauty.

The nature reserve is located in the Metaliferi Mountains, on the eastern side of Vâlcoi Peak (1,348 m), in the stretch between the valleys of Negrileasa and Groaza.

Urmanczy Church, Beliș

1000 meters altitude. 10 square kilometres of water. 96 meters deep in the dam area. Yet in dry summers the ruins of the stone church appear. It is the only evidence of the existence of the village of Belis in the old hearth.

Between 1970 and 1974, the villagers were forced to leave the village and the surrounding hamlets because of the authorities’ decision to build the Fântânele dam there and turn the whole region into an artificial reservoir for hydroelectric power. After the construction was completed, the water gradually began to swallow up the walls of the Urmanczy church and all the village buildings in hamlets such as Milioan, Pleș, Dădești, Bolojești, and Giurcuța de Jos. There are various legends that accompany the story of Beliș Lake and its church today, legends that we invite you to learn about at a walk, from the villagers who know best how to share them.

Ciurila Lakes​

Lakes Pădureni and Sutu, also known as Lakes Ciurila, are located at a distance of about 20 kilometers from the city of Cluj-Napoca. Populated with sturgeon, carp, carp, catfish, red mullet, perch and pike, they are a great place to visit for anglers or those looking for a quiet afternoon spent near the water.

The lakes were artificially created on the Hășdate river after the meadow was drained in the 1970s. This has created a micro-delta where, in addition to fish species, dozens of bird species live or roost here, including the tern, wren, sylvatic, green-winged godwit, finch and wren.

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