Where in the World: Transylvania, Romania

Raymond Stellhorn
Columnist
rjs2091@lhup.edu
flickr.com
By fusion-of-horizons, flickr.com

We know Transylvania as being the land of vampires and the reason many tourists visit the region, but there is more to the center of Romania than legends of Vlad the Impaler, the man who was the inspiration of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. Some may ask, Pennsylvania and Transylvania sound similar, why is that? Well as you may know Pennsylvania means “Penn’s Forest” in Latin therefore Transylvania roughly means “Land Beyond the Forest”.

During this time of year, Transylvania is a hotbed for local legends and stories dating back to the darker times of the 15th century. Here you can visit “Dracula’s Castle” which is called Bran near the city of Brasov; it is open to tourists daily. This is the ideal location for pictures not only of the castle but also of the magnificent Romanian landscape.

Elsewhere in Transylvania there are many other churches, castles, fortresses and beautifully preserved medieval settlements. Among them are the towns of Sibiu and Sighisoara dating back to the 12th century and Rasnov Fortress which was built in the 1300s. The fortified churches of Biertran, Calnic, Harman, Darjiu, Prejmer, Saschiz, Valea Viilor and Viscri are all classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Other UNESCO sites in Romania include the six Dacian fortresses of the Orastie Mountains which date back to 1st centuries BC and AD.

By MarculescuEugenIancuD60Alaska, commons.wikimedia.org

Another noteworthy attraction one cannot miss when visiting Transylvania is Salina Turda, a salt mine located in the city of Turda. Salina Turda is considered the world’s coolest underground place by Business Insider. The salt mine is an underground gem with numerous chambers and shafts that have unique designs that one will not witness anywhere else on this planet. Within the salt mine is a gorgeous lake that visitors can take a boat out and enjoy the breathtaking underground rock formations.

The historic and haunting region of Transylvania will take you back in time and capture your imagination. Legends of Dracula, world heritage sites, an underground utopia and stunning scenery will be the highlights of so much on offer of in this area within Romania.

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