The beautiful and wild North…
This journey is going to take us to one of the most unknown regions in
Transylvania, Sălaj County. It is a situated northern from Cluj and because of it
being unexposed to mass tourism, it is one of the most authentic and traditional
parts of the country.
Our first destination will be the small city of Jibou. Here we will see an interesting
geologic formation, made out of a specific variety of sandstones, called The
Dragons’ Garden. Each and every cliff has its own legend: from dragons who
stole the sun and were defeated by brave knights, to princesses that were cursed
and turned into stones… We will hike through this natural reserve and find out the
stories of these natural formations.
Our next destination will be Zimbor. It used to be a typical Transylvanian village
before the Second World War, with Romanian, Hungarian and Jewish
communities living together. From the main road, we will get the chance to see the
Jewish cemetery, which is still been taken care of by members of the Romanian
community, although most of the members of the Jewish community died during
World War Two. In the center of the village, we will get a picture of what this
community used to look like, hundreds of years ago. The old castle which used to
be owned by a rich nobleman called Zsombori, survived the two world wars and is
currently being restored. Legend has it that he lost all of his money playing cards
and his castle has been deserted ever since… We will then go to the Romanian
cemetery and visit the Orthodox wooden church, built in the 17th century. The only
material used here was wood and the traditional technique is really amazing. The
interior of the church still preserves some of the frescoes of the 17th century.
Leaving the church behind, we will walk to a local household and get the chance to
witness the real Transylvanian countryside life. Almost all people here rely on
agriculture as an important part of their income and each family owns a couple of
pigs, sheep, chicken and maybe even cows. They all grow fruits and vegetables in
their own garden and consume their own products.
We will get the chance to enjoy a delicious lunch with mouthwatering products,
everything homemade and prepared by the local community of Zimbor.
In the afternoon, we will make a journey into history and travel back two
millenniums. After driving for just a little while, we will reach Porolissum. It
used to be the strongest Roman fortification in the north-eastern part of the
empire. Built under the Emperor Hadrian in the second century AC, it spread on
over 37 acres with two strongholds and an urban residence. We will discover the
old fortifications and parts of the amphitheater, the temples and the Roman
necropolis. The place is filled with history, historians and archeologists still having
a lot of work to do here…
Today’s goal will be in Badacin, a village with a fantastic history, where will visit
the birth house of Iuliu Maniu, a famous Romanian politician, who died in a
communist prison after world war two. After this, a local family, who run a small
brandy distillery, will invite us to their home and tell us more about this important
and traditional occupation. We will visit the production site, as well as the
basement where the many barrels are held. After this, we will taste all of these
In the evening we will return to Cluj.