Bihor County, with its seat in the city of Oradea, a multicultural and multiethnic county, is the ideal destination for any kind of tourist. Starting from Oradea, situated at equal distance between Vienna, Prague, and Bucharest, we head towards a legacy spa region and the mountains.
Our guide today, Adrian Dubere, is the coordinator of the Bihor County National Center for Tourism Promotion and Information. He told us that once we get to Oradea, we cannot miss visiting the historic center:
“We start in Union Square, at the Black Eagle Palace, built in Art Nouveau style, and the churches there, such as the Moon Church, which shows the phases of the moon. It is a beautiful square, newly refurbished, with statues with the people who freed the city a century ago, when Romania united. We have a new statue of King Ferdinand I. We cross the newly refurbished bridge to the pedestrian area of the city, where we have newly made over mansions, historic buildings, each with its unique style. We can then visit the Cris Country Museum, where we can see the exhibits, from history to traditional arts and crafts. Passing the Black Eagle Palace, the Mayor's Palace, the Greek-Catholic Bishopric Palace, we get to Oradea Fortress, newly made over too, which hosts an event every weekend. From there we get to the Baroque Complex, where we have the Canons' Row. The Baroque Palace in Oradea has 365 windows, as many as there are days in a year. Close by we have the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the largest in Eastern Europe after Hungary. Lovers of culture can visit the Queen Marie Theater.”
Oradea Fortress is still the representative monument of the city. Much of the city's history has gravitated around this ensemble, both in its early centuries, when it was a spiritual and religious center, but in the more recent centuries, when it was a Renaissance cultural center. In these centuries, it was a major Transylvanian military fortification. Now it can visited, especially since it hosts a plethora of events. Here is Adrian Dubere:
“In July we will have an ample event. It is the Medieval Festival hosted by Oradea Fotress, expected to be one of the most ample in the country. We will have 50 troupes of knights and ladies. We will have jousts and exhibitions on the art of war in centuries gone by. It will be one of the most beautiful festivals we hold in Oradea, in addition to the Short Drama Festival, the International Folklore Festival, the Film Festival, the Big Picnic Festival, and the Transylvania International Film Festival. Many cultures will be represented, Jewish, Slovak, and Hungarian.
Exiting Oradea, close by we have two spas. Adrian Dubere, coordinator of the Bihor County National Center for Tourism Promotion and Information, told us about them:
“These are Felix Spa and the May Day resort, where we have aquaparks, and lots of accommodation space, so tourists can relax and undergo various kinds of treatment In our hot springs, indoors and outdoors. Going up the mountains, we have five caves to visit, which don't require special equipment: Bear Cave, the Farcu Crystal Cave, Meziad, Unguru Mare, and Vadul Crisului. We have guides that our tourists can hire. If you don't feel comfortable in caves, we can go to the Padis Karst area, a wild nature area, in Padurea Craiului, which is part of the Apuseni Nature Park, which is a protected area. We have easy, medium, or high difficulty trails to explore the Apuseni Mountains. We have cycling tourism trails, and the Vartop vacation village. After a few days in Oradea and in the surrounding resorts, tourists can spend two or three days in the mountains. Here they can taste traditional food. In the north part of the county you can visit the vineyards. As a piece of trivia, we have a locality with 1,000 wine cellars, which have wine tastings.”
All of Bihor County is a great destination for people who want to witness a true multiethnic area. The communities of Hungarians, Germans, Italians, and Slovaks live in harmony. We present to tourists historic sites, but we also expose them to traditions and customs through annual events in towns and villages. In villages you will find the true traditional craftsmen, according to Adrian Dubere.
“Right now in Vadul Crisului we are building a center for tourists and children who want to learn the secrets of pottery, and are invited to buy souvenirs. We still have a few traditional craftsmen specializing in old school dowry chests, and want to pass on their craft, and sell miniature chests. We also have traditional garb makers, which can be visited at their homes, to witness the way they work and purchase their fares.”
Before you set about paying any visit to Bihor County whatsoever, make sure you don’t miss a visit to the National Tourism Promotion and Information Center. Here you can create all your tourist routes, depending on what you would like to do.
”Once they get here, tourists can get hold of the tourist guide of Oradea and all tourist destinations across the county. We also have a specific guide for caves, for Felix Spa resort, for the Padurea Craiului Nature Park. We have a more comprehensive guide for Bihor County. We have created general and specific guides, tailored for a specific tourist destination. They are presented in 12 languages, among which Hebrew, Italian, French, English, Polish and German. A group of Polish tourists, at the end of their visit, following our recommendations and having taken a selfie with a totem pole depicting a typical traditional peasant house in the county, were pleasantly surprised when we offered them a tourist guide in the Polish language.”
Our invitation has been launched. We are waiting for you next time as well, with a fresh tourist destination.