Excursii la munte

 

Saxon Fortified Churches from Transylvania

 For a week we will  travel through Transylvania, the land inhabited by Transylvanian Saxons and Romanians, we will admire many of their achievements. We will also see some places related to Dracula's legend, but also to the place connected to Vallachia's ruler, Vlad Tepes, which  inspired the legend.

Transylvania is situated in the south-eastern corner of the Carpathian Basin. 

In the world it has been associated with vampires, chiefly due to the influence of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula as well its later film adaptations.

Its area is roughly 100,000 km2. The Carpathian Mountains, reaching above 2,000 meters in places, form its boundary to the east and the south, separating it from the Romanian regions of Moldavia and Wallachia. Easy to cross hill country borders it to the north, while to the west its limits are defined by the Great Hungarian Plain.

We will pass by a  lot of fortified Saxon churches, listed as historical monuments, famous for the architectural styles in which they were built: Romanesque and Gothic, and later even Baroque that will amaze you with the ingeniosity of their construction!

Transylvania still have around  150 well preserved fortified churches , with a very distinctive architectural style (from the 300 built  fortified churches). South-Eastern Transylvania, currently has one of the biggest number of existing fortified churches, built between  13th and 16th centuries.

Seven villages with fortified churches, from Transylvania, are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The villages are dominated by their fortified churches and have a specific settlement pattern, that have been preserved since the late Middle Age. 

We will cross the villages inhabited by Saxons, Romanian and Hungarian communities. We will watch  the traditional agricultural work manners (crops, pastures, meadows), hill and mountain landscapes.

We will go through areas where the main means of transport is horse-drawn carriage and will visit some traditional households and ecological farms.

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Medieval fortresses  will send  us into romantic times,  full of knights and noble adventurers, that you will be able to admire at the  medieval festivals.

Traditional foods are a treasure of Transylvania, being a melt of romanian, hungarian, german, austrian and balkanic cuisine.

We will fall asleep in traditional or local guest houses, where we can participate to traditional household works. We will get into  fairytale castles and you will better understand, what medieval art and culture means, in this part of Europe, so  full of history and legends.

We will see fairytale castles and we'll see what medieval art and culture meant in this part of Europe full of history.

A city tour of Cluj-Napoca Town will conclude our trip.

We kindly invite you to discover an important  part of the culture and traditions of this part of Europe, Transylvania!

Training requirement: beginners training- 1-2 hour/day walking on the villages roads.

There are accepted families with children over 11 years old. 

Price includes: transfer by car from airport to the objectives back, 2 meals a day (breakfast and dinner), starting with lunch on the first day and ending with lunch on the last day, guiding and all the expenses related with guiding, accommodation in hotels and in guesthouses in rooms with 2 or 3 beds and inside toilete.

Price includes also entrance fees at the churches, museums and other objectives.

English and german language guide.

Price do not include: insurance and other personal costs.

 

Length of the tour: 7 days.

Price:

-614 GBP/person or 

749 Euro/person.

We accept groups of 6-7 tourists.

 

 How to get in Romania.

Valid periods:   1st, 15th April, 12th May, 2nd, 23rd June, 5th, 26th July, 16th August, 6th, 20t September,4th, 13th and 25th October, 8th November 2014 .

On request, we can offer you tailor-made trips, according to your preferences. 

Download the Full Description Itinerary (PDF)

About Transylvania

The first state was called Dacia, conquered and annexed by the Roman Empire. Hungarian tribes occupied Transylvania, during the 9th century. Staring form year 1000 right up to year 1920, Transylvania was part of the Kingdom of Hungary and of the Habsburgic Empire.
The southern borders of Transylvania were settled in the 12th century by colonists from the Holy Roman Empire. These German settlers, known as Transylvanian Saxons created splendid fortified churches. In 1526 the Kingdom of Hungary was defeated by an invading Turkish army. The heart of the country was conquered by the Turks, while its western parts passed, together with the Hungarian crown, to the Habsburgs in Vienna. Transylvania became an independent principality, paying tribute to the Turks, but ruled by Hungarian princes. This principality, now mainly protestant, became for a time the center of Hungarian culture. At the end of the 17th century the Turks were expelled from Hungary by a coalition of Christian armies, and Hungary regained its unity. The Habsburgs kept a certain degree of autonomy for Transylvania but ruled it directly from Vienna.

Transylvanian Saxons

The Transylvanian Saxons (German: Siebenbürger Sachsen; Hungarian: Erdélyi szászok; Romanian: Saşi) are a people of German ethnicity who settled in Transylvania (German: Siebenbürgen) from the 12th century onwards. Although the colonists came mostly from the western Holy Roman Empire and generally spoke Franconian dialects, they were collectively known as Saxons because of Germans working for the Hungarian chancellery. For much of their history, these Saxons held a privileged status with the Hungarian nobles and Szeklers of Transylvania.
In 1930 there where about 300.000 Transylvanian Saxons in Romania. The population has decreased since World War II and in the year 2013 there where merely 25.000. Many Transylvanian Saxons left Hungary and Romania during and after WWII, first in Austria and then in other states, such as the United States, notably in Idaho, Ohio and Colorado and in Southern Ontario Canada. Most Transylvanian Saxons emigrated since 1970 especially in the year 1990, after the collapse of communism in Romania. They emigrated mostly to Germany, where a sizeable population resides today.

Dracula's Legend

Tales of the supernatural had been circulating in Romanian folklore for centuries when Irish writer Bram Stoker picked up the thread and spun it into a golden tale of ghoulishness that has never been out of print since its first publication in 1897. To research his immortal tale, Stoker immersed himself in the history, lore and legends of Transylvania, which he called a “whirlpool for the imagination.”
Count Dracula was inspired by Vlad Dracula, who was the ruler of Walachia between 1456-1462. Born in 1431 in Sighisoara, he resided all his adult life in Walachia. Most of the sites visited on a typical "Dracula tour" in Romania are associated with Vlad: his birthplace in Sighisoara, his palace at Tirgoviste, the ruins of his fortress at Poenari, Snagov Monastery, where he is presumed to have been buried, Bran Castle. As for Count Dracula, one must travel further north to Bistritz and the Borgo Pass. In Bistritz, one can find a Golden Krone Hotel (named after the one where Jonathan Harker stayed). And high in the Borgo Pass is the Castle Dracula Hotel, built in the early 1980s to accommodate the waves of tourists who were starting the trek to Transylvania to find the Count.

Tranditional Food

Some traditional dishes : Bean soup with smoked meat, beef Peasant soup, chicken noodle soup, polenta with cheese, cabbage rolls. In Romanian cuisine, pork meat  plays a major role. Transylvania is famous for its plum brandy and for its natural juices and jams.
The breakfast consists of homemade bread with butter, cheese, salami, boiled eggs, ham, jam. As drinks you have coffee, milk or tea. Besides these, you can serve cereals. Lunch is consisting of soup, followed by a menu of meat (pork, chicken, beef) and garnish vegetables (potatoes , rice , mushrooms). It is served with tomato salad or cabbage. Italian dishes were recently introduced, mostly pasta and pizza. If you want drinks, you can choose sparkling water, soda, beer, wine and plum brandy, natural brandy. For desert you can serve cakes, pies, ice cream.
Dinner consists of a single dish , usually meat, cooked with vegetables and salad . Those who would not eat meat will serve natural salad with cabbage , onions , lettuce , olives, cheese , known as bulgarian salad or other dishes prepared without meat. Being most of the time on the road, lunch will be very frugal, but we will compensate with a huge dinner.

Restaurant Prices

Regarding the prices in the restaurant for lunch, here are some informative prices: soup- 3 euro, steak- 6 euro, Bulgarian salads- 3 euro, cakes, ice cream- 2 euro, juice- 1 euro, mineral water- 1 euro, beer (500 ml)- 2 euro, a cup of wine- 2 euro.