Gorj County welcomes its visitors around the year, with adventure tourism, rural tourism, mountaineering, religious and cultural sites, and, during the winter, ski tracks. As the spokesperson for the Gorj County Council Oana Paloș told us, the first thing to know about Gorj County is that, while the county is rather small in terms of surface area, the tourist offer is as rich as it is diverse.
Oana Paloş: “Tourists need not waste a lot of time moving from one point of interest to another. Apart from the already famous sites, which include the works of sculptor Constantin Brâncuși in Târgu Jiu, Tismana Monastery and the mountain resort of Rânca, on the Transalpina, the lower Jiu area at the feet of Parâng and Vulcan mountains offer tourists countless new things to discover, from tourist sites to outdoor activities. All you have to do as a tourist when you reach Gorj County is relax and go with the flow of the locals’ life, and take in the energy of this place. This will give you the holiday of your dreams.”
Gorj County has something for everybody, and it can cater to any tastes, says Oana Paloș, from the Gorj County Council.
Oana Paloş: “If what you are looking for is a holiday in the countryside, to relax and taste traditional, home-made food, you can choose one of the many boarding houses at the feet of the mountains, coming from Vâlcea and Bucharest, in Polovragi, Baia de Fier, Mușetești. From here, you can go down towards the heart of the county, also in the mountains, in Runcu, on the Sohodol Gorges, in Peștișani, all the way up to the other side of the county, towards Mehedinți and Herculane, in Tismana and Padeș. First of all, these are places to relax in, to breathe in fresh air, to eat healthy food and to go trekking on blazed trails, be it winter or summer. Safety is always important, and the Gorj mountain rescue service and Gorj County Council are very active and easy to contact.”
If what you seek is an adrenaline-filled holiday, but one which does not require physical and technical training and is suitable for all ages, Gorj County’s qualified guides are waiting to offer you an unforgettable experience. The mounts of Vâlcan, Mehedinți and Godeanu, with heights up to 2,500 metres, are home to mountain climbing programmes, off-trail skiing and snow racket hiking. During the winter, the frozen waterfalls in Gorj County are an additional attraction to climbers.
Oana Paloș: “I would also like to tell adrenaline seekers that adventure tourism is at home in Gorj County. We have a hillclimbing championship in Rânca, an off-road championship in Runcu, bike routes on the highest-altitude highway in Romania, the Transalpina, and huge, deep caves to explore.”
While in Gorj, you can also visit several Orthodox monasteries, some of them built hundreds of years ago. Polovragi Monastery is located in the east of the county, and its building started in 1505 and ended in 1700, under the rule of Constantin Brâncoveanu. Also worth mentioning is Tismana Monastery, whose construction works started in the 14th Century. The building stands out thanks to the colour of its walls, made using a recipe that has been lost over the years, but which is still known as “Tismana red”. Oana Paloș, spokesperson with the Gorj County Council, tells us more:
Oana Paloș:“Tourists would be well advised to carry their cameras with them, because the landscape and the views are truly fabulous. Especially now, in autumn, forests put up a breath-taking show. And they also enrich the experience provided by the adventure parks in Rânca, Mușetești, Drăguțești, designed for adults and children alike.”
If tourists are interested in staying in a hotel, the 3 and 4-star hotels in the region provide high-quality services, says Oana Paloș.
Oana Paloș:“They can also get familiar with the urban vibe in Târgu Jiu, which hosts national music, theatre and literature festivals. For instance, the country’s biggest folk music festival takes place every year in Târgu Jiu, and we continued to organise it even during the pandemic. For those who want something different, we have the option of glamping, which is high-end, luxury camping amid wonderful landscapes. There are also holiday villages, in scenic locations, with 100% rustic-style wooden houses. Tourists may observe the local traditions and culinary customs passed down from one generation to the next. These are actually family businesses that help tourists spend their winter holidays in a genuinely Romanian way, with people going carolling and nobody staying alone. Very old holiday traditions can be seen here, which are preserved in few other places in the country. As for the tourism infrastructure, we are improving it by the year, and new offers appear every day, especially in the entrepreneurial field. I should say the hospitality industry fits the Gorj locals like a glove.”
Gorj County is also the birthplace of the celebrated sculptor Constantin Brâncuși, whose works had a major impact on modern art. The town of Târgu Jiu is home to some of his monumental pieces, such as the Endless Column, the Gate of the Kiss, and the Table of Silence. (tr. A.M. Popescu)