Multicultural Heritage of Transylvania

* This is a suggestion for a week’s trip with arrival/departure from Transyilvania, on one of the international airports of Cluj Napoca or Sibiu!

Day 1: arrive to Cluj Napoca.

Meet the guide and transfer to the hotel.
Dinner and overnight in Cluj Napoca, in a 3* hotel.

Day 2: Cluj Napoca – Alba Iulia – Sibiu (175 km)

Start the day with a short city-tour in Cluj-Napoca, former capital and one of the most important cities in Transylvania.
University town of about 300 000 inhabitants, Cluj Napoca is also proud to be one of the few cities in Europe that has two State Theatres and Operas, one in Romanian and one in Hungarian, a testimony to the diversity and friendliness that characterise the city's cultural atmosphere.

Continue with the nearest town on the way to Sibiu, this time an underground visit to the salt mine of Turda. There has been salt mining in Transylvania since the Roman times, but the salt mine in Turda opened only in the 17th century, being at the present the most interesting attraction of its kind in the country, after major investments to renovate it!

After a quick lunch outside the mine, we continue to Alba-Iulia –  the city that has recently reborn from its ashes, the seat of Transylvania's Roman Catholic diocese since the Middle Ages! Visit the Citadel with the Union Hall with the National Honour Gallery, The National History Museum of Unification, the Princely Palace (Voivodal Palace), the Orthodox cathedral, the Roman Catholic cathedral, the Batthyaneum Library, the Roman Catholic bishop's palace, the Apor Palace, and the University of Alba Iulia.

Continue to Sibiu – one of Transylvania’s “Seven Burgs”, and also former Europen Cultural capital in 2007, together with Luxemburg.
Dinner and overnight in Sibiu, in a 3* hotel.

Day 3: Sibiu – Bran – Sinaia (190 km)

Start the morning with a guided city tour in Sibiu, to discover the beautifully renovated historic centre with all the major buildings, squares and streets… also, visit the famous Brukenthal Palace with its art galleries.
After the city-tour we are ready to go to Bran to visit the so-called “Dracula’s Castle”.

Built by the people of Brasov in late 14th cent to defend the mountain pass and the commercial road between the provinces, it was a military fortress for about 5 centuries! In the beginning of the 20th cent, the fortress was donated to the royal family which transformed it into a summer royal residence. The legend says the bloodthirsty prince Vlad the Impaler lived for a while in the castle…from here it comes the connection with Dracula…
Free time for shopping in the bazaar…

Continue across the mountain to Sinaia, the pearl of Prahova Valley.
Dinner and overnight in Sinaia, in a 3* hotel.

Day 4: Sinaia – Prejmer – Brasov (90 km)

Start the day with a visit to Peles Castle - the summer royal residence from late 19th cent., built in a German Renaissance style by the 1st Romanian King, Carol I of Hohenzolern Sigmaringen. This castle is one of the prettiest ones in Europe, a great art collection, a landmark of the Romanian culture.

Leave Sinaia and continue North, crossing back to Transylvania, to one of the strongest Saxon fortified churches in this South-East corner of Transylvania – Prejmer.
After undergoing major renovations, you can now see in Prejmer the ingenious way these fortified churches were once built: every family in the village had a correspondent room built in the interior of the defensive wall, displayed on 3-4 floors and interconnected by wooden ladders…

End the day in Brasov – the southern gate to Transylvania and vibrating city of medieval Saxon origin.
    Transylvania is a unique region, with historical, ethnic and cultural characteristics that set it apart from the other Romanian provinces. For centuries Transylvania has been inhabited by Romanians, Hungarians, Saxons and Szeklers. These different ethnic groups have succeeded over the centuries in creating a magic land. Beginning with the 13th century, Saxons came to Transylvania to defeat the Empire’s borders.

They were given land and higher prerogatives than the locals in exchange of building citadels and fortifications to guard the southern and southeastern borders of Transylvania against the Tartar and Turkish invaders, at a time when this land belonged to the Hungarian Kingdom. They have built impressive strongholds, citadels on the hilltops of their inhabited areas and they have fortified their churches, most of which still stand today and can be visited.

Brasov was one of the first very well developed Saxon towns in Transylvania, due to its location on the commercial roads between the provinces.
Overnight in a 3* hotel.

Day 5: Brasov – Zetea (120 km)

In the morning start with a city-tour of the historic centre in Brasov.
Visit the historic centre with the famous Black Church, the largest Gothic style church in this part of Europe, adorned in the interior with a beautiful collection of oriental rugs, walk around the pedestrian small roads in the centre, see the former defense walls around the medieval town, visit the First Romanian School in the Schei area of the town…

Leave Brasov to drive to the Hungariam minority’s territory – the Szekler land – Zetea, where we will have the whole day to rediscover the original local traditions of this region – the Szekeyland!
Be prepared to roll up your sleeves to make bread and traditional Szekely cake on open fire, watch the locals cut the hay or make their own horse-shoes, have a horse-and-cart ride in the nearby hills and of course, taste the local spirits and the home-made food in this beautiful corner of Transylvania!
Overnight in Zetea in a local family’s guest-house.

Day 6: Zetea – Sighisoara – Tirgu-Mures – Cluj Napoca (230 km)

Depart from the Szekler region back to the Saxon region of Transylvania, admiring on the way the local rural architecture, way of life or even division of land… Arrive to Sighisoara, another one of Transylvania’s “Seven Burgs” (the german name of Transylvania is “Siebenbürger”, based on the fact that when they settled here, the Saxons established 7 major towns and more than 200 villages…)

Visit the citadel.
Visit the famous Clock Tower with its local hisory museum and panoramic view from the top of the tower, the clock mechanism and the wooden figurines representing the days of the week, then walk around the cobbled streets to discover the charming houses – which locals still use to live in – the schools, churches and, lately, the guest houses, cafes and hotels, all built in harmony with the local architecture. The history of Sighisoara – the best preserved medieval citadel in Eastern Europe – is hidden between the walls of the citadel, waiting for you to discover them!

We can have lunchin the citadel and then continue to Cluj Napoca with one more stop on the way: Tirgu-Mures. This emblematic town for Transylvania, embraces the idea of multiculturalism, probably taking it to the highest level in the country. For centuries there have been Romanians, Hungarians, Saxons, Szekelys and gypsies living together in this town, where the most beautiful buildings to visit are the famous Art Nouveau style Palace of Culture and County Council buildings.
Continue to Cluj Napoca.
Dinner and overnight in a 3* hotel in Cluj.

Day 7: Departure

According to your flight schedule, you can havbe some more free time on your own in Cluj or leave in the morning to the airport.

Price (2014) based on 30 persons: 451 euros/pers. in double room

Single supplement: 93 eur

 

This includes:

-    accommodation in BB basis in 3* hotels
-    meals as mentioned in the program
-    all visits mentioned above
-    English speaking guide
-    transportation

TIPS:

Plan your trip:
1. to arrive in Bucharest on Friday-Saturday in order to get weekend rates...
2. in the Summertime, in order to have Transfagarasan road open (day 5)