A small wooden bridge, a flock of sheep and cliffs as far as you can see… It is the simplest description of this bizarre and immense land, one that greets you with dozens of monuments and all its original food. Names like Rîmetea, Szekely’s Stone, Colteşti Stronghold, Turda Gorges, Copand Gorges, Salina Turda Salt Mine, Potaissa Roman Castrum are just a few of the touristic attractions in the area. And, for each of them, bringing your camera is a must.
Rîmetea (“Torocko” in Hungarian, “Eisenburg” in German) is one of the few monument-villages in Romania. It received this distinction 1999, through the “Our Europe” European Programme for Rural Restoration. In other words, each of the houses that were declared historical monuments, thus undergoing restoration to their initial neoclassic architectural aesthetics, was given a special emblem.
There is also an unusual local secret, tourists who often visit the place have become acquainted to. An extremely narrow cobblestone-covered old street begins its ascent from the community centre towards the top of the western slope of the village. It becomes so tight between the houses and the gardens on its sides, that walking along it becomes more like sneaking. But it’s worth the effort – once you get to the top, having left the last houses far behind you, an incredible view of the village opens up in front of your eyes, with the “mountain” – Szekely’s Stone standing out with its sleeping giant-like shape, 1.128 metres above sea level.
Back in the village, near the Unitarian church, the “vaior” – an ancient spring, rushes down its waters noisily, flowing into six basins. It is a trademark of the village, because the villagers have been using it for hundreds of years to give water to their cattle and for carpet washing.
From the main market, the white tower of the Unitarian church dominates the vista of the whole setting. Hundreds of years old and still functional, the old tower clock measures the passing of time in Rîmetea.
It appears in the corner of your eye, on the way to Rîmetea, as you enter Colţeşti. When taking a few steps into the village, a road bending to the right, almost hidden among the houses, will take you to the base of some splendid, lonely, ruined walls.
The stronghold was built in 1296, as a measure of defence after the Tartar invasion of 1241. It received the shape visible today in 1700. It was the home of the noble family Thoroczkay, the rulers of this northern part of today’s Alba county, Rîmetea and Colţeşti under their rule. The builders of the stronghold, the members of the Trascău noble families, vanished from history together with their stonghold, which was destroyed in 1713 by the general Tiege, at the order of The House of Habsburg, for their opposition towards the annexation of Transylvania.
Turda Gorges definitely represent one of the most beautiful and grandiose gorge formations in Romania: a superb karstic scenery, approximately 3 kilometres long, built by the Hăşdate river during the geologic ages.
As going out of Turda towards ClujNapoca, on the left, at the end of Copăceni village and 20 kilometres from our guesthouse, the Tureni’s Gorges lie –one more corner of heaven nature carved into stone.
Literally an exposition of cliffs, the Gorges will greet you with story-like sceneries. Copand Gorges, as the locals call them, are shorter than Turda Gorges, stretching for only 1850 metres, but the 100-150 metres tall walls are no poorer in various forms of karst: caves, ravines and waterfalls.
SALINA TURDA (TURDA SALT MINE)
Salina Turda Salt Mine is the place someone comes to visit as just another touristic objective, but leaves with much more. Apart from the wonderful view of the arranged galleries and the salt-filled air, those who come to the Salt Mine have the possibility to find out information about the past of salt mining. Salina Turda is an ABC in 3D, in which various phases in the stages of salt exploitation can be followed. Thanks to the spirit of initiative and to the competence of those who participated actively to the arranging of the Salina, in 2010 the touristic objective now known under the name of Salina Turda was inaugurated. The possibilities for relaxation and the playgrounds for children, the “huge wheel”, and the salt lake, on which visitors can sail in small row boats, are the means that can contribute to spending some nice moments in the very special microclimate of a very special place.
POTAISSA ROMAN CASTRUM
The most important historical and archaeological monument in Turda is the Potaissa Roman castrum of the Vth Legion – The “Macedonica”, the remains of which can be found on the plateau called Stronghold Hill. The castrum was built by this legion in 168.
The Potaissa Roman castrum in Turda can be found on the list of historical monuments in Cluj County, a list elaborated by the Romanian Ministry of Culture and National Patrimony in 2010.