Location: Central Romania
Enclosed by the Carpathians, Transylvania or ‘the land beyond the forests’ is the best-known travel destination of the country. The magic of its traditional villages enchanted Prince Charles and many more travelers who became true ambassadors of authentic Transylvania, the must-see region of Romania for its inestimable cultural heritage and breathtaking natural landscapes.
Short history of Transylvania
One of the historical provinces of modern-day Romania, Transylvania has a tumultuous history that influenced considerably its development. Inhabited thousands of years ago by the Dacians, ancient Transylvania was conquered by the Roman Empire who colonized partially the region. After the Romans abandoned the land, Transylvania witnessed various waves of migratory invasions. Starting with the 11th century, its territory was gradually conquered by the neighboring Magyar tribes.
In the following two centuries, the Magyar kings brought German colonists to the region to defend its borders, and their legacy is still visible today in the cultural legacy from the counties of Sibiu and Brasov. The province was under the rule of the Hungarian Kingdom until the 16th century when it became independent under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire.
In the late 18th century, the region was incorporated into the Habsburg Empire and became afterward a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During WW1, Transylvania, inhabited mainly by Romanian people, reunited with Romania on December 1st, 1918, an event celebrated as the National Day of Romania.
Centuries-old multicultural heritage
Given its history, Transylvania is today a multicultural space. If the Hungarian influence is notable in cities like Cluj-Napoca, the Saxons’ of Transylvania heritage is dominant in the southern part of the region where the German colonists settled centuries ago, in Brasov, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Medias, and Sebes.
Tourism in Transylvania
Visitors have so many options in Transylvania that one vacation just won’t be enough. You can choose from hiking on the highest peaks of the Romanian Carpathians, in Fagaras Mountains, or in the wild Retezat National Park to walking tours in the pastoral Apuseni Mountains with their scattered villages and scenic views. Not to mention the castles, fortress, ruins, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, medieval towns, and small traditional villages like Viscri or Malancrav.
Transylvania is an all-seasons destination especially if you enjoy winter sports, but May to October is perhaps the best time to discover it.
Sports: hiking, horseback riding, extreme sports, cycling