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Cultural tours - The Bârsa Land

View in Brasov

Capitelium of the Old Fountain in Bran Castle

Old Townhall of Brasov

The endemic carnation of Piatra Craiului

Out for a barbeque

Interior of Castle Bran

         On the other side of the thick forests of the Carpathian Mountains, no matter from where you come, lies Transylvania. The German population, known as Saxons, who came down in the 12th and 13th century, called it Siebenbuergen, "seven fortresses". They came to create a bulwark, together with Hungarians and Romanians, against the intruders from east. And, beside the seven big city-boroughs, they built many peasants-boroughs, castles and church-boroughs, all of which were erected for defending reasons.
       Transylvania is big - one could hardly know it after only one excursion. Our excursion covers its south-eastern part, the so-called Tara Barsei, the Barsa Land, which has its Capital at Brasov. We try, during this week to give you a real image of the inhabitants of its regions (Hungarian Siculi, German Saxons, and Romanians) by including in our programme towns and villages of all ethnic minorities or majorities. Where possible, direct contact with locals is facilitated.

1st day: Bucharest - Braşov
Arrival on the Otopeni Airport, transfer to our guesthouse in Zărneşti, where we shall be warmly welcome.
2nd day: The Bârsa Valley
Horse-driven cart in the Bârsa Valley. We learn of the work done here by the Carpathian Large Carnivore Project. Further, the secrets of the National Park Piatra Craiului (in English translation, "The King's Stone") will be unfolded to us. Trekking through the beautiful forests with wildlife traces. In the early evening, we shall watch the animals in the forest from a hide, specially reserved for us*. The evening closes with a barbecue up in the Bârsa Valley.
3rd day: Peştera and Măgura villages
Light mountain walk in the Piatra Craiului massive, visiting the Bats' Cave. Lunch in the village of Peştera. Through flowery meadows and the village of Magura, back to Zărneşti.
4th day: Prejmer - Ilieni - Hărman. Bears in Braşov
Drive to Prejmer and visit of the church-borough. Further to Ilieni at the Christian Centre of the Hungarians. Informal conversation with Hungarians and Germans. On the way back, visit to the church-borough in Hărman. Shopping possibilities in Braşov. Watching bears at the outskirts of Braşov. On request, we can organise a wine-tasting evening with Romanian folklore.
5th day: Bran - Poiana Braşov - Braşov
Visit to the Bran Castle, better known as the Castle of Dracula. The castle was built in 1377 as a castle of the customs on the trading route between Transylvania and Valahia, enlarged and restored a few times since then. The connections between this place and Vlad the Impeller or Dracula is still under debate, but the castle is definitely worth a visit. Further to the climatic health resort Poiana Brasov and visit to a pasture in the Carpathians (during summer time). Tour of Braşov, including the Black Church and the old Romanian sector of Brasov, the former village Şchei.
6th day: Şercaia - Fagaraş - Sâmbăta - Codlea
Through Şercaia, with a natural meadow with daffodils in April/May, to the Castle of Fagaraş. At Sâmbăta, the monastery and one of the oldest stud-farms Romania's, breeding Lipizan Horses. On the way back, we shall visit the Saxon church-borough in Codlea.
7th day: The Piatra Craiului Mountains
Mountain walk through the Gorges of Zărneşti. Pick-nick at the Curmătura chalet. Through the forest to the Curmătura Pass (1600 m high) with breathtaking view. Back to Zărneşti.
8th day: Bucharest
Our tour comes to an end. Time to say good-bye and transfer to the airport.

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