duminică, 28 octombrie 2012

Exploring caves in Romania

Romania has a wide offer for adventurers, and an important issue for these freaks would be the caves (speology is nevertheless a Romanian discovery, thinking to Emil Racovita, one of his pioneers).
Muntii Apuseni, or the Romanian Western carpathians,  are build in a soft lime stone, which made possible an intensive water erosion resulting in many cute caves.

The best area for visiting caves in Romania is the the Western Carpathians (Muntii Apuseni) due to their soft limestone structure. One of the possible ways is leaving Oradea in Direction Deva, turning right to Remetea, and then driving to Meziad, our first target. The Meziad cave is waiting for you for visiting everyday between 9 and 17 hours, less on Mondays. Count on a little entrance fee and enjoy the 5 km long galleries of Meziad cave, discovered in 1849 by a local climber, and was among the first in Romania opened for its fantastic touristic potential. Observe carefully stalactites, stalagmites and the remainings of prehistoric bears sheltering here.
Pestera Ursilor (The Bears Cave) is very spectacular and you can't miss it.

Afterwards follow the way to Lacul Ursu. Beware if it is raining, this way is no more accessible. Lacul Ursu ( The bear lake) is a wonderful lake with a very strange form in the middle of mountains, promising adventures to every step. The lake is also famous among fishermen, and the trout captured here is very tasty. Leaving the lake to south you go through Valea Iadului (The hell valley) which is really very nice and cute, but bears this name on unknown matter. 6 km away from Lacul Ursu you must be able to find and see a water falls, namely Iadolina; if not, you are on the wrong way. Very close, Stana de Vale, a resort for winter and ski, which can act a little disappointing, despite its superb position at 1100 meters altitude. The offer on hotels is not so rich, as also the possibilities of skiing are not brillant.
Please, don't try to do that, is only for skilled trained climber

Very close, The  Monastery  of the Saints Peter and Paul, one of the newest in Romania. It lacks on any possibility of lodging, but is a good starting and orientation point for the many walking trips you can try in the neighborhood. A path leads to Pietroasa, 14 km away direction  south when you can't miss the wooden church from the XVIIth century. From there, very easy and quick to the last targets, Pestera Ursilor (The Bears' Cave) and Pestera Magura. Magura is opened mainly for specialists and experts coming in organized groups, but Pestera Ursilor is worth to a visit and your attention. You can do there a guided tour lasting 1 hour which will delight you, as the cave is very special and spectacular with many stactites, stalagmites, holes and rocks. In some areas looks like a future city, as imagined in Hollywood. Not very big and discovered by accident, has many skeletons of an extincted species of bear.
Skiing in Arieseni, on the beginners' slope

After coming back on the highway turn please left to Lunca, following the indicator to Turda. Within short time you can reach Baita, one of the oldest mining areas in Romania. Already during the Middle Age silver and copper have been gained here, but very famous became this place during the communist era: during the 50' years of the XXth century thousands of miners and soldiers exploited 30 000 tonnes of Uranium, which has been entirely send to the Soviet Union. Radiations are still an issue among the former and retired miners! Beyond the Pass Vartop you can find Arieseni, after a pleasant downhill. Arieseni is an other becoming ski resort in birth state. Amazing in Arieseni, a very unusual church from the XVIIIth century, which is not specially beautiful, but striking.

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