Excursions

1.Direction Deva, Alba Iulia or Cluj Napoca

Găina Mountain (Muntele Găina)

This is a mountain group that is part of the Apuseni Mountains (1486 m, Găina Peak) place where the famous Girl Fair is held. Here on the 20th of July this fair is attended by girls ready to get marryed or at least that are ready to be courted by boys. Preparations can take up to years fot the girls who bring trousseau. Everyting begins at dawn when the girls families come in tents to present the trousseu. The changing of the headdress is done when a bride is chosen, after which everyone is feasting and listening to music sung by a local band. The natives believe that just the marriages that are held on this mountain can have a long and happy life. Nowadays, the fair is a folclore manifestation, and that has spawned two similar legends.

 

The mount Găina legend:
At the top of the mountain there lived an extraordinarily beautiful fairy, in a shiny palace. She had a chicken with golden feathers and that layed daily three golden eggs, which where given to girls who where getting married and were poor.


Atracted by her wealth, three boys put on womens clothes and succeded to enter the palace and steal the chicken. But, as they hurried, they dropped the golden eggs from the basket, eggs that broke in the river Arieş. Since then, this river has gold in its sand it is also told that the golden eggs are still up in the mountain in various cracks and that’s the reason why boys and girls climb up to search for them on the 20th of july at the Girls Fair.

The girls fair legend :
Legend has it that on the peak of mount Găina there was a hen that layed golden eggs. Although her nest was never discovered, the native people started protecting and bringing gifts (even writing songs in her honor). They would do anything for their golden chicken.
On the 20th of july, the people gathered so that the young ones ca meet, fall in love and unite their destinyes. The golden chicken would approach these young ones, from the top of the mountain, and would transform into a charming fairy, which would give the newlyweds a golden egg so that they may have a long and happy life. It is from this where the mountain takes its name (muntele Găina- Chicken mountain).


This was soon stoped by a thief who followed the chicken back to her nest so that he would steal her eggs when she descends again for another celebration, so he got the eggs and disapeared with them. After ariving, the fairy was so mad she decided to leave that place forever. She lifted her arms to the sky, became a chicken again and flew on antoher mountain (Roşia Montană).


People where upset with this predicament and beggeed her to return, but that never happened. What remained was the mountain with its bald peak, haunted by rain and winds, by tears and legend. People meet with it to taim the mountain. It is said that the thief fell into an abyss and the eggs were lost in the deep becoming springs or valvs. From then on, the Apuseni mountains suffer.

The Roman Galleries (Galeriile Romane)

Alburnus Maior is the name of the roman fortress from Roşia Montană and it may well be the most authentic document that portrays the mining activities of the Roman Empire. The fortress is proof of the tehnical genious of 2000 years ago. The galleries now have electrical power and remind visitors of old gold mines.

 

 

 

The Hill with Snails (Dealul cu melci)

This is a reservation that is located on the left side of the river Arieş, 15 km from Câmpeni and 10 km from Vidra. Dealul cu melci is in fact a reef of sea snail shells that lived millions of years ago in these parts, in what was then the Tethis Sea. The shells are encrusted in rock. Here you can admire the “Actaenella giganteea” a shell from a snail that lived in the waters of the Tethis over 6 million years ago. This hill is one of the richest fossil areas in all of Romania.

 


The Monastery and Musem of Lupşa (Mănăstirea şi Muzeul de la Lupşa)

The monastery dates back in the XIV century and is one of the oldest in the Arieş river valley. Before, it was a small wood building that atracted tourists with its architecture, but now it is rebuilt.
The museum has a rich collection of objects and pieces of objects dating from the year 1872. The cloaths, rare books from the XVII and XVIII cenury, wooden chains and brushes made from hedgehog hair are some of the things that can be seen here. From the history collection, the most remarcable are the principality flag from the Unirea cea Mare and the revolutionary’s table from 1848, Avram Iancu.


Turda Salt Mine

 

 

 

 

In 2010, after 2 years of renovation, an ancient salt mine was opened for turist and curative purpose in Turda Romania.
The entire complex of mines is compose of Rudolf Mine, Ghizela Mine, Terezia Mine and Gallery Franz Josef. First historical dating was in 1271, but Salt Mines of Turda existed even in the Roman period.
In Rudolf Mine now exist a concert hall, sports ground, bowling, minigolf and a Ferris Wheel. There is also a lift (elevator) for people with disabilities.
In Theresa Mine was built a dock on the lake with boats that allow tourists to navigate on the saline lake.

2. On the way to Oradea

Galbenei Canyon and Galbenei Pond (Cheile Galbenei şi Izbucul Galbenei)

Valea Galbenei is a drenage corridor of major water sources in the Padiş basin towards Depresiunea Beiuşului. This is sutuated SW and W of Bazinul Padiş – Cetaţile Ponorului and has canyon sectors houndrets of meters tall.
In the Galbenei Canyon there are numerous waterfalls because of the rocky terrain, and the most impressive one is Evantai waterfall (7 meters tall). There are tourist helpers souch as steel cables and chains for support, and the top part is the most spectacular. The track is of high dificulty, and is recommended to tourists that are in shape and have a bit of experience. It is not recommended with bad weather or during flood season.
Izbucul Galbenei is a patch of water 7 meters in diameter that can be found at the base of a rocky wall that leads to a waterfall.

Cave of the Bears (Peştera Urşilor)

Near Chişcău, Peştera urşilor was discovered by dynamiting  a marble quarry on the 17th of September 1975. It has a total length of 1,5 km (521 m were declared a scientific reservation therefore, only the top part is accessible to everyone). The name comes from the skeleton of the Cavern Bear that is estimated to have lived circa 15.000 years ago.
Here have been discovered fossils of the black goat, ibex and the cave hyena.
 The cave has three galeries: the Bear gallery, the Emil Racoviţă gallery and the Candle gallery, and 4 rooms: Candle, Spaghetti, Racoviţă and Bones that has over 1500 bones and 140 skulls. The most interesting formations are Plantele Fermecatoare, Lacul cu nuferi, Mastodonul, Căsuţa Piticilor and Statul Bătrânilor.   
Visiting hours are from 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Sunday and the ticket price is 15 lei for an adult and 10 lei for children.
Legend: It is said that in this cave, because of falling rocks on the cave entrance, there where 140 starving bears were trapped in it. Eventually they attacked each other until they all died (hence de 140 skulls in the Bone room).

Cave Of the Living Fire (Peştera Focul Viu)
On Valea Galbenei, at an altitude of 1.165 meters you can find the Focul Viu cave. According to size, this is the third glacier in the country. Access is made by a wooden ladder. It has two rooms inside.
The Big Room (with a height of 46 meters and a length of 68 meters) it has a 25.000 cubic meters glacier. On the opposite side to the entrance are groups of stalagmite, on which at a certain time of the day the rays of sunshine produce sparkling reflexions. From here we have the name Focul Viu (Living Fire).
The Little Room is the secon gallery of the cave and it is found behind the stalagmites, and is filled with stalagmite formations.

Cetăţile Ponorului
Firstly mentioned in the year 1886, Cetăţile Ponorului is Romania’s Everest. It is situated on the Padiş plateau at  the end of Cetăţilor valley, at an altitude of 950 meters. You can get to Padiş by the blue dot marking (2 hours walk) and by forest road which starts from the Pietroasa – Padiş road. The plateau is a closed basin where surface water is almost missing. It is being drained entirely underground.
The cave has a main gallery 2 km in length, active, of great dimensions in which a strong river, maybe the strongest river in the country, flowing forming waterfalls. The entrance is trough a portal 70 m high and 30 m wide. The cave is structured in 4 rooms and 14  main lakes.
Cetăţile Ponorului can be visited on the surface and in te subterranean gallery with the aid of rubber boots and light sources. The active gallery can be crossed by teams of experienced scientists and needs waterproof suits, rubber boats, boots and rope.

Coiba mare and Coiba mică

The cave is in the valley of Gârdişoare. To get to it, you must cross the forest road from the Gârda Seacă valley 12 km, and from Gârda de Sus village you must go to Casa de Piatra hamlet. From uphill the village climb down to the big cave entrance.
The first explore beyond the main entrance room dates back in 1953, and in 1978 the syphon that separates Coiba Mare(5050 m) from Coiba Mică is discovered, therefore uniting the two caves.
The main entrance in Coiba Mare is on of the most imposing cave entrances in the Apuseni mountains, the cave itself is active, and is crossed permanently by a river.
Because of two low arches, the cave presents a flood risk. That’s why you should avoid entering Coiba Mare in the strong rain season, and it is recommended to limit yourself to visiting just the entrance room.


About other local attractions you can read at Point of interest Arieseni.