Transylvania, Romania

Romania's Transylvania region is never short on attractions: well preserved castles and fortresses, green pastures, scenic roads, cool wooden churches and the occasional vampire. My favorite places/sights: the otherworldly Turda Salt Mine (visit in the morning before the crowds arrive), the Hunedoara Castle and the delightful medieval town of Sighisoara. The cosmopolitan city of Timisoara and Sibiu (one-time cultural capital of Europe) are two of the region's nicest cities. Don't miss the fabulous Faust play while in Sibiu.

The historical region of Maramures in the northern part of the country is delightful to visit with its beautiful wooden churches and fabulous green landscapes; the Barsana Monastery is a must. While in Maramures also check out the quirky merry cemetery in Sapanta and the sombering Memorial to the victims of Communism in Sighetu Marmatiei, and take a ride on Europe's last functional steam forest train, Mocanita.

Next, visit the the fortified churches around Brasov and Sibiu - Viscri, Prejmer and Biertan among many others. While in the area, visit the nicely restored Rupea citadel and Fagaras fortress, as well as the Sinca Veche monastery cut into stone and the beautiful religious complex built on site. Another nice idea is a hike through the woods to the scenic Sapte Scari Canyon.

Other cool cites include the ancient Dacian capital of Sarmizegetusa Regia (together with its Roman counterpart, Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana), the beautifully restored Alba Iulia Citadel, the Densus stone church - one of the oldest functional churches in the country (originally built in the 7th century on the site of a 2nd century Roman temple) and the Rosia Montana gold mines dating since Roman times. Detunata, Racos, Ruginoasa pit and Scarisoara ice cave are sites of geological wonders that are also worth visiting.

Additional info:
- entry on Wikipedia
- profile on Wikivoyage

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