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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Dimmock

Dacian Fortresses of the Orăștie Mountains

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

On 12th August we drove from Turda to Deva (136km and about 3 hours with traffic) to check into our Airbnb owned by Alina. The Airbnb itself was clean, and had everything we needed, including a washing machine and cost £65 for 2 nights. After Turda, it was such a relief to find ourselves on the ground floor. Tiger slept in the kitchen and as it turned out it really was a great place to be based to discover the local area.

The very first evening we only went to the Penny Market (supermarket) and attempted Deva's exceedingly slow drive through MacDonalds which was a bit of a waste of time as they couldn't understand what I was saying through the intercom!

The next day we drove out to Corbin Castle which was magnificent and like something from a fairytale, with its dramatic approach over a wooden bridge across a deep gorge. It had circular towers, battlements and precipitous walls, and was in many ways far more impressive than Bran. Corbin Castle was given in 1409 by the Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxembourg to a loyal knight of his court called Voyk. Voyk's son, John Hunyadi, carried out a major expansion in a Renaissance Gothic style. The castle became Habsburg property in 1725. Following a devastating fire in 1854, it was neglected until more recent renovation work restored it to its rightful place as one of Transylvania's most important tourist attractions.

From Corbin Castle we drove onwards quite a long way (52km) to the ruined Dacian captial of Sarmizegetusa Regia, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Orăștie Mountains. This was a very magical place - and the capital of the Dacians before their defeat by the Romans. We had a 1.5km walk to the entrance itself and once past the entrance gate, we could see the ruins of many temples. The Large Circular Temple dominates the sacred area, and a smaller one near it, and very well guarded by the security - we were politely told off for sitting down on the grass near the temple ruins!

The drive back to Deva was still another 61km, just over an hour, but I was also so glad we had made it to Sarmizegetusa Regia as it was incredible!

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