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APUSENI Tourist Area



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Bed & Breakfast Pensions in Apuseni:

  • Poiana Verde Pension
  • Shanti Pension

  • Other tourist areas:

  • Apuseni Area
  • Braşov Area
  • Bucharest Area
  • Bucovina Area
  • Danube Delta Area
  • Haţeg Area
  • Maramureş Area
  • Mehedinţi Area
  • Moldova Area
  • Mureş Area
  • Prahova Area
  • Seaside Area
  • Sibiu Area
  • Timişoara Area
  • Vâlcea Area


    The Apuseni Country
      Beyond the beautiful Mureş Valley, lies the Apuseni massif, shaped like a palm with spreaded fingers. It is so vast, that, if lifted, it could cover the entire Transilvania. The highest altitude is about 1850 metres and among the mountain ranges, there are densely populated depression areas.
       A land of great variety, an ever changing appearance - the Apuseni Mountains. When contemplated from the Mureş Valley, the slopes seem the giant tides of a stormy sea. The illusion is created by a limestone ridge, which rises on this side and, from a distance, looks like a silvery and azure fender. In the centre, the volcanic rocks stand out and the famous Detunata - with its bent basalt crags - is one of the most attractive sights. Onto the west, there is a calciferous area with fantastic caves such as the ice cave of Scărişoara.
      Otherwise, the general curves of the Apuseni massif are smooth; on heights there are larger fields than anywhere else in the Carpathian Mountains and the villages of the moti people can reach altitudes of up to 1600m in altitude (Tomnatec). Some valleys are so narrow and steep, that nobody can cross them. Still, once you've reached the top, you find yourself on a large meadow.
      It is impossible to describe Ţara Moţilor in a few words and we shouldn't even try. This land must be seen first hand, not imagined by offered stories.


      The oldest pieces of archeology uncovered on this territory date from the Paleolithic, but the most abundant source of information dates from the Neolithic. The discoveries made prove the existence of one of the most important Neolithic culture in Transylvania, entitled the Petresti Culture.
      At the beginning of the IInd century, a part of Dacia goes under Roman rule by the Emperor Traian and turns into a Roman province. The settlement of Apulum - nowadays Alba-Iulia - , was one of the most important in the county of Alba.
      On November 1st 1599, Alba-Iulia was the town that welcomed Ruler Mihai Viteazul, the first to have ever unified the Romanian Principalities and the town turns into the the capital city. The most crucial moments during the XVIIIth-XIXth centuries, concerning the social and national fight of the Romanian people has always involved Alba-Iulia. The leaders of the popular uprising in 1784 - Horea, Closca and Crisan were all incarcerated and later met their tragic end here in November 1785.
      The people's determination to fight and defend their primordial right to freedom found its essence expressed within the series of events developed during 1848-1849, under the leadership of the national hero - Avram Iancu. The end of the First World War (1918) also meant the end of the last of the multinational empires - the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Consequently, the peoples under its rule found their way to freedom and turned Alba-Iulia into a space of complete freedom.
      On December 1918, this was confirmed once again, when the Great National Gathering proclaimed the absolute and final decision of unification of Romania to Transylvania.


      Brought up in these rough lands, the moti are strong, stoutly, courageous people, quiet and godly. They have the tenacity of Horia or Avram Iancu, who started riots and reorganized the land in a matter of days. The local people are well-known for their household appliances - ciubar, doniţe de lemn (wooden pails). The workhouses of Patrahaiteşti are also famous for the handmade alpenhorns.

    The Maiden Fair on Mount Găina
      Within the different traditions across the world, there are special places where legends placed the gods. Such a symbolic place is Mount Găina, situated at the heart of the Apuseni Mountains. The Maiden Fair takes place annually, on the closest Sunday to 20th of July, at an altitude of 1467 meters, on the flat top of the mountain.
       Tourists can reach Mount Găina by car, on the main road or they can take the old foot paths which start from the town Avram Iancu, cross the Dobrani Hill, the Stone Hill, over the Pârâul Rece River and Muncelului Hill and reach the top in an hour and a half.
      The people who lived on the valleys of Apuseni - Crişului or Arieşului Valley - and in the Bihor region, came here to trade local products. Because of the long distances between villages and the rough mountain roads, the fair had a social importance as well, allowing men to meet young women from other communities.
      It is said that the girls brought their dower on the horses' back and the marriage ceremony was performed on the spot by the priests who came here especially for this purpose. There was singing and dancing, and the girls were asked, not bought.
      Ion Rusu Ardeleanu has dedicated a passage to the Maiden Fair on Mount Găina, in his book "Motii": "Two delegates from Vidra de Sus (moti people) and two from Bulzeşti (crişeni people), meet, change a few words and draw a line between moti (who are on the west side) and criseni (on the east side). Everybody is busy with the trade until 10 o'clock. At lunchtime they eat on the grass and gather around the musicians who sing near a barrel of cherry brandy (locally-ţuica). Then suddenly, the dancing starts and you see groups of moti and criseni singing and dancing together."
      Nowadays, the Maiden Fair on Mount Găina has become a folkloric celebration, which gathers people from the entire Apuseni region, from nearby counties and even from more distant places of the country. The preparations for the fair are made several days in advance and people set off to Mount Găina at 4 a.m. The opening is made by the tulnic (alphorns) chorus from Avram Iancu, followed by the artistic programs of the participants, which last until night fall.
      For tourists, the fair offers handicrafts such as: tulnics, wooden pots engraved with fire, Bihor and Zarand pottery, wooden tools, home weaved fabrics with traditional motifs. The girls are not sold on Mount Găina and perhaps they never were. It is actually a celebration of all the moti highlanders, where lots of boys and girls dance and sing, accompanied by the beauty of the landscapes, which capture and melt even frozen hearts.



      To those who dare explore Ţara Moţilor, we suggest starting from the Arieş Valley, onto the Crişul Repede Valley and going through the Bihor and Pădurea Craiului Mountains, from south to north, where the limestone relief offers wild and spectacular sceneries:

    • the Arieş Valley - where gold has been exploited since Roman times;
    • Bihor Peak;
    • The Complex of "Scărişoara Ice Cave";
    • Padiş karst Plateau;
    • the Meziad Area;
    • Crişul Repede Gorge
      The variety of landscapes is surprising even to locals; not even they have been able to wander through the entire region: valleys, surface and subterranean running waters, caves, forests and meadows. The numerous geological formations, which have been declared reservations and monuments of nature, are of great interest to the hiking lovers:
    • Dealul cu melci(The Snail Hill) - a real archive bearing the fingerprints of long extinct fossils ;
    • The massif column basalt "Detunatele";
    • The limestone forms of relief along the Ampoiului Valley;
    • Ursilor Cave (Bears' Cave);
    • Gheţarul de la Focul Viu Cave;
    • Scărişoara Cave - which hosts Europe's second greatest subterranean glacier;
    • Măgura Cave in Sighiştel Gorges.

       Those searching for remote, thrilling underground natural sites must visit the Padiş Plateau and the huge cave systems that lie beneath the plateau:

    • Cetăţile Ponorului (The Citadels of Ponor)
    • Cetăţile Rădesii (Rădesii's Citadels)
    • The Lost World

      As reward - the fabulous scenery of rivers and waterfalls below ground level, stalactites and stalagmites - a dramatical journey! And what would speleology be without the legends created around these caves?
      If you go along the crests, you will see, on all the fields, summer shelters of villagers who live here, shepherding the flocks, until autumn; they are called the "hodăi". Most of the times, it is them who guide the tourists toward the hidden caves, or warn them not to enter the endless ones. The villagers have created stories and myths about every one of the caves, involving the treasures of Dacians, or the ones about outlaws.
      In the evening, around the fire you will get the chance to listen to the legends of the region. Perhaps the most popular is the legend of Mount Găina, about the hen that laid golden eggs or about the maiden fair.

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