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Transylvanian villages are places blessed by nature, fairytale-like regions where history blends with delightful rural landscapes. Well-known foundations of Romanian folklore and ancient traditions, the dwelling places in eastern Rupea impress with their simplicity and spirituality, but also with the authenticity of the landscapes. On the alleys of Homorod, Racos, Hoghiz or Cata, you will meet hard working, friendly people, who heartily look after their beautiful households, but who don’t hesitate to interact with the curious visitor. They will speak of the citadels and the churches in the area so passionately, that you will certainly want to see them.

Casa Pastravarului


Hoghiz commune was built back in the Bronze Age, becoming later known for its thermal springs, a richness that the Romans have turned to good account, erecting a castrum nearby. Later on, the commune stood out with its architectural monuments dating back to the 16th century. The Haller Castle, raised in 1553 on the ruins of a medieval monastery, had an important role in the process of schooling the young girls in Transylvania. Kata Bethlen, the sister of Prince Gabor Bethlen, looked after the education of young girls as well as after the spiritual life of the inhabitants of Hoghiz, raising the reformed church here. From the heart of the picturesque park dominated by centennial oak trees, the edifice still recalls the support given to the community by its owners, as the building presently functions as the village’s elementary and middle school. In its immediate proximity, you will find Kalnoky Castle, built in the Neo-Renaissance style, with archaic features.

In the south of the commune, spreading over the central area of the Persani Mountains there lies the Bogata secular forest. The reservation is one of the most representative broadleaf forests in Romania, with its oaks, beeches and spruces. Throughout time, it has doubled the barrier of the Olt in protecting Dacia, afterwards it was a hiding place for the bandits robbing the passengers who were heading for Brasov, Rupea or Sighisoara. Nowadays, in accordance with its name (Bogata meaning ‘The Rich’), the forest houses geological, botanical and landscape riches.



The most recent volcanic activity on the Romanian territory has been recorded here, at Racos, approximately 10 000 years ago. There was a volcano here, from whose crater ash was exploited in the 20th century. A tour of the basaltic columns will reveal an amazing scenery, where the red soil and the green of the vegetation contrast heavily. At the end of a short walk, you will discover another one of nature’s wonders the Brazi Quarry. In the green-bluish mirror of the lake, a variety of breathtaking forms, colors and heights reflect.  Don’t miss the basaltic scoria quarry in Heghes either, an immense pit of bright red reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. With each wind blow, the underground effervescence is felt.

Racos Vulcano

The atmosphere at the Sukosd-Bethlen Castle is much quieter, in full harmony with the village at whose heart it is situated. Built in 1625 in the Transylvanian Renaissance style, the palace was the fortified nobiliary residence of the Sükösd family. Although it served as a luxurious and comfortable house where pretentious balls were held, the castle was fortified in order to resist potential Turkish invasions and especially, peasants’ uprisings. Starting with the beginning of the 20th century, the building belonged to the townsfolk, but it was used disadvantageously, gradually degrading itself. The Sukosd-Bethlen Castle deserves to recover its value and imposing posture with an adequate restoration.

Sukosd-Bethlen Castle

Sukosd-Bethlen Castle

Homorod – Mercheasa – Jimbor

Homorod is especially popular for its healing mineral water springs, mostly recommended for the treatment of post-operative conditions. The picturesque landscapes form the perfect natural environment for a relaxing holiday where you can recharge your batteries. During winter you can have fun on the Logobo ski track.

We also recommend you visit the fortified evangelical church, a Roman style halidom shaped as a hall, dating back to the 13th century.  Two centuries later, the sacred Homorod citadel was erected around it, with defense roads and a tower guarding the entrance. Although with the passing of time it went through numerous sieges, fires and robberies, the fortification was never conquered.  In the inside, the positioning of the altar and the choir in the southern area is quite surprising. This move was made in the 18th century, when the architecture of the church was modified to increase the number of places. The church preserves fragments of Gothic mural paintings portraying Christ surrounded by the symbols of the apostles or throning on a rainbow and the Transylvanian baroque furniture, decorated with peasant motifs. The Homorod halidom encapsulates the spirituality of these places, remaining a symbol of the Transylvanians’ unshakeable faith.





A layover at Mercheasa is a meeting with the harmony of nature, with fairytale-like regions, with the roots of the Romanian people and the fortified church at the centre of the village. Gothic and Renaissance elements were added to the Roman construction throughout time. You will find the Bacon Tower here as well, an old Saxon heritage to be found in mostly all citadels. In Jimbor you will also find a 15th century, Gothic style, hall-church, from which we have a painted altar that can presently be admired at the Art Museum in Cluj. The only element suggesting the defense role of the construction is the three-level bell tower with a passage way.


Cata – Drauseni

In Cata (Katzendorf meaning ‘Cats’ Village’), another fortified church tells its history. The defense walls and the three towers house a simple, yet coquettish Roman halidom, leading to reflection and meditation. If you climb one of the two visiting towers, you will have a splendid view over the entire village and the surrounding hills.

In such a place, all mundane problems disappear, being replaced by the comforting feeling of nearing divinity. At Beia, there is a medieval parochial church, where some Gothic elements have been preserved: the ogival arch, the stone baptistery, the piers, the porches in broken arches.



A Saxon legend says that when the first German colonists arrived in Cibin to build a settlement here, they chose to erect the church on the spot where their leaders swore, swords crossed, to forever defend and cultivate those lands. Then, the swords were taken to Orastie, more exactly to Drauseni, the villages situated at the extremities of their kingdom. It was also said that the moment the swords disappeared, their people would disappear as well. The two swords were eventually lost one by one, but their memory is alive on the coats of arms of Sibiu and Orastie. The Roman basilica at Drauseni, a unique monument due to its age and architectural value, still keeps its twin windows, the Saxon style rostrum, the choir furniture and the pews decorated with popular, 17-18 century motifs. Don’t forget to visit the church in Ionesti, a 16th century Gothic halidom, with few fortification elements, but with many ornaments.


The Transylvanians have kept their old work, party and handcraft traditions as authentic as possible, integrating them into contemporary life and passing them on to younger generations. The beauty of the villages is given not only by the wonderful landscapes, but also by the good spirit and the hospitability of the villagers, as they all create the atmosphere best suited for a quiet, cheerful vacation.

[An article written by Andreea Bertea]