The Apuseni Nature Park

the apuseni nature park Western Romania's unique karstic outcroppings

The Nature Park in the Apuseni Mountains stretches on a surface area of more than 75,000 hectares. The Apuseni Nature park practically covers the Apuseni mountains' most important karstic surface area, as well as Romania's most important such surface. Among the activities the Apuseni Nature Park offers, there are trekking, adventure tourism, cultural tourism, but also programmes combining several options. Added to that are the culinary offers, as well as the no less generous offers regarding accommodation, so the outcome of all that is a perfect holiday in the middle of nature. Alin Mos is the director of the Apuseni Nature Park Administration. Mr Mos emphasized the fact that the park is a one-of-a-kind surface area, lying in the western part of Romania. 

"The area stretches on three counties, Bihor, Cluj, Alba, practically covering the Apuseni mountains' most important karstic surface area, as well as Romania's most important such surface. It mostly stretches over Bihor Mountains, and we can also say that as we speak, it has gained its recognition around the world as a destination, as a nature park, particularly because of the karstic assets it is home to. And here, the Scarisoara Glacier cave is by far the most important and the most renowned asset worldwide, since here you can find the world's biggest subterranean fossil block." 

In the spring of 2020, The Apuseni Nature Park Administration was assigned the organisation of events by the National Forestry Division, by means of which the European Day of the Parks is celebrated at national level. Because of the pandemic, several changes occurred in the events' schedule, but the administration provided weekly info on such topics as water, air, landscape, traditions and biodiversity, while on May 24, on the very day when the European Day of the Parks was celebrated, the administration launched the interactive map of the Apuseni Nature Park. Some of the special spots, lying along the trekking routes, have been put to good use by the park rangers, who set up stopover areas, where you can just sit down and admire the beauties of nature. Some of the logs that were found along the trekking routes have been carved out and turned into benches, and next to them, info boards have been placed, with messages tailored for each and every spot. The director of the Apuseni Nature Park Administration, Alin Mos, believes such a measure is like an invitation for everybody to reconnect with nature. 

"All these pieces of information have been included on those boards, placed in the stopovers inviting people to reconnect with nature, while for each topic displayed on the board, apart from the name of the location, the tourist, the traveler, is sure to find a message. And as they read the message, they will practically integrate in what that spot wishes for them. Let me give you a few examples! On the banks of a river, in an absolutely breathtaking spot, the message runs something like :'Allow your thoughts to slide along the waterwaves, downstream, and make sure you are there all by yourself, you and nature alone!' Another message, to be found in a location where a stopover was placed and which can seat no more than one, maybe two persons that can rest in such a place set up between the roots of a centuries-old beech tree, the message runs something like: 'Sit between the arms of the old tree, so that it may tell you the tale of the forest!'."

For the time being, 39 such stopover spots have been set up, but there will be more than a hundred of them, in the future. In the Apuseni Nature Park a wide range of holiday programmes can be mounted, including ecotourism activities. Gabriel Bonaciu is the organizer of such ecotourism activities, for five, maybe seven days. Gabriel invites us to view everything from the perspective of the tourist so far as to delve into the Apuseni Nature Park. 

"During the laid-back outings, along the Padis Belvedere spots, you can cross alpine plain fields, and, as they climb up towards the peak of the mountain, once they got up high, tourists can have the opportunity to admire the natural landscape unfolding at their feet, We also organize adventure trekking in the Galbena Gorges and the Pont Fortresses. There are routes along the circuit that can only be taken by those who are extremely fit. Part of the hiking routes have chains, while hikers need to be very careful in some areas. Tourists are impressed with the wild nature, with the great stone bridges, dozens of meters long, by the boisterous waterfalls and the glaciers that for thousands of years have been concealed by the densely forested mountains."

Such a glacier can be admired in the Undying Fire Cave, lying at an altitude of almost 1,200 meters. The quite uncanny association between a glacier and the fire can be explained by the fact that the sunrays are reflected in the stalagmite conglomerates in the cave, thus creating the illusion of the firelight. Using securing cables as they take the difficult hiking routes or as they cycle up there, tourists can discover the beauties of nature, the local cuisine and cultural attractions. 

"As they take the via ferrata routes along the Black Stones itinerary, nearby  the Vartop holiday village, from the steep rocks, tourists are being presented with fairy-tale landscapes. Via ferrata is an attraction for those who are into climbing, along routes that have been especially set up for them, mainly for those who want to be safe as they admire nature from up high, from the panoramic viewpoints. During cyclo-tourism tours, tourists cycle towards waterfalls and mountain peaks with a very special scenery, taking mountain paths through forests and glades, which are a delight to the eye and the senses. Each cyclo-tourism route has a taste of the local cuisine included in the schedule, offered by the locals at the guest houses in the region or at the preset stopover areas.On the barrier lakes in Apuseni Mountains, from Dragan Valley or Fantanele, kayak rides can also be organised. Visits to centuries-old orthodox wooden churches are scheduled, while tourists may take that opportunity to find out more about the history of the place from the priests, they can find out more about Romanian traditional culture, about the building techniques used in the construction of religious edifices. For instance, in the Fânațe village in Bihor county, the Câmpani commune, visitors can see a wooden church whose outer walls are plastered in earth, using a traditional technique, while on the inside, which is totally made of wood, priceless religious paintings have been designed by the local painters."

Renowned scientist and explorer Emil Racovita was the first one to put forward the proposal to establish the park in 1928, but it was not util 2000 that the Apuseni Nature Park was officially established. In 2009, the Apuseni Nature Park was declared a destination of excellence by the European Commission, which included the park in the EDEN project. The project is aimed at enhancing the visibility of the non-traditional destination, highlighting the diversity of the quality of tourist offers at European level, as well as supporting sustainable tourism.

( Translation by Eugen Nasta)
Publicat: 2020-07-30 14:00:00
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