Today's installment in our regular Traveler's Guide series is devoted to the prize-winning contest "Alba Iulia - the city of the Union
The commune of
Arieseni is one of the entrance points to the Apuseni Nature Park. The active
tourism offer is very diversified, ranging from summer-time hiking to ski
touring in winter, along established tourist routes. One can also practice
climbing, cyclo-tourism, and alpine skiing on the Vartop ski slope during the
cold season. Also, one shouldn't miss the opportunity to visit the caves where
the access of tourists is allowed, and, weather permitting, people can enjoy
canyoning, rafting and kayaking in fast waters. Also, the area boasts important
cultural and heritage assets.
installment in our regular Traveler's Guide series is devoted to the
prize-winning contest "Alba Iulia - the city of the Union. " Our contest marks
100 years since the territories predominantly inhabited by Romanians got united
in a national state. As for the area we're heading towards today, Arieseni in
the Apuseni Mountains, traditions have not been altered by modernity there.
Customs and traditions make a fascinating show for each tourist, but
traditional cuisine should not be ignored either. All dishes are prepared with
ingredients from the farms of the local guesthouses. And you shouldn't worry
about your silhouette either, according to Carmen Preja, a tourism advisor with
Alba Iulia' s National Tourism Information and Promotion Center.
Carmen Preja: "You
can burn all the excess calories you stored by visiting all sorts of tourist
sites, especially the natural ones, such as Dealu cu Melci ( the Snake Hill),
the Pisoaia Waterfall, Detunata Cheala and Detunata Flocoasa, which are
botanical and geological reserves, and extraordinary karstic formations. There
is a Nature Park of the Apuseni Mountains, and we have been working very well
with the rangers in the area, who have very beautiful headquarters and can
offer additional information about tracks and routes. Summer is perfect for
hiking and a growing number of tracks has been homologated and marked as such.
The Mountain rescue Service - Salvamont - takes care of them and we hope we can
live up to the standards that are normal for our times. As regards winter
activities, there are ski slopes, and lots of facilities. Tourists have access
to little wooden chalets with modest amenities, but also to four or five-star
units, which can provide sauna, Jacuzzi and other special services."
Dealul cu Melci -
the Snake Hill - is more than just a simple curiosity. It is a palaeontological
nature reserve of national interest. From a geological point of view, It is a
unique area, approximately 60-70 million years old, and traces of 35 mollusk
species have been found there. Back in the day, the territory was covered in
the warm waters of a sea, the Tethys Sea, providing the necessary conditions
for such creatures to live. It was only the sediments that were left, which got
petrified in time. However, one should not miss another two important sites.
Speaking about that, here is Carmen Preja once again.
Carmen Preja: "The Scarisoara Cave is home to Europe's
second largest glacier. It is a special karst phenomenon nobody should miss.
Also, we should not forget about the Avram Iancu Memorial House, where the
items on display remind us of various objects that our grandparents had in
their homes. The area is very picturesque, and the hosts' hospitality is
extraordinary. I strongly recommend that you come and visit these places."
Ioan Mocan is the
owner of the 'Casa Motului' guesthouse, and one of the sponsors of our
prize-winning contest. He will help us learn more about the Arieseni area.
Ioan Mocan: "The area is rich in cultural, historical
and natural sites and assets: caves, waterfall glaciers, churches, monasteries.
For instance, Rosia Montana is more than, 2,000 years old. It hosts an
underground mining museum, unique in the world. We also recommend that you
visit the town of Abrud, which, again, is more than 2,000 years old. The young
can also hike all their way to various sites and can go rock climbing. For instance, they can climb the gorges
known as 'Cheile Galbenei' or 'Cetatile Ponorului' (the Ponor Fortress),
towards 'Groapa Ruginoasa'. Groapa Ruginoasa
is a natural phenomenon, actually an erosion of the land, which grows by 2
meters every year. It is spectacular and it resembles the Grand Canyon in the
US. I would also recommend the Vartop Glacier. It is natural and it is not lit,
so visitors need flashlights to enter. The glacier is home to some insects that
cannot be found anywhere on the surface. It's extremely interesting."
Mountains area is well-known for its crafts, wood carving in particular. In
Tara Motilor, for instance, there are 200 years old houses. The locals speak of
an ancient secret: correlating the phases of the moon with wood carving. But
there are also other things that are of interest in the area, as Ioan Mocan,
the owner of the 'Casa Motului' guesthouse told us.
Ioan Mocan: "Even
here, in Arieseni, there are two museums and also there are ladies who work at
home and make various items. Their husbands, too, make traditional wooden
objects, using old carving techniques. So, visitors can watch the items
displayed in museums, but they can also learn how to make such items, in
people's homes. And this is valid for other places too, such as Avram Iancu,
Vidra, Tarsa or Poiana Vadului. The largest event in the area is the rural
tourism fair in Albac. Craftspeople from Transylvania and from all over the
country come to the fair. Also, we have the wood carver's day hosted by the
commune of Horea around August 15th."
Ioan Mocan has
also told us that tourists come from all over the world:
guesthouse is a 4-star facility, with 30 rooms, all equipped with wireless
internet. Upon request we organize traditional evenings, with traditional songs
and dances. We also organize mountain trips and we provide transportation in
8-seat vans. Tourists can also play table tennis and we also have a conference
room. We've had tourists from Japan, Brazil, Costa Rica, South Africa, from all
the countries in Europe, and also from Iraq, Iran, Israel, the US and Canada.
We are also organizing events to celebrate the Union Centennial. For instance,
we invited the Alba Iulia Philharmonics and they gave an one-hour concert.
People had tears in their eyes, they could not believe that something like that
was happening on top of the mountains in Romania. So, I warmly invite all the
RRI listeners to come to Romania, come to Alba Iulia, and of course,
participate in the contest."
To end, let us
remind you that the deadline for the participation in our contest is June 30th,
2018. Good luck to you all!