The making of RAWMANIA continues.

August 15, 2019

A castle, a citadel and Transalpina.

Over the next two days of our journey we covered about 400 kilometeres and uncovered four breathtaking sites: Sarmisegetuza Regia, Corvin Castle, Transalpina and the Alba Carolina Citadel.

We started with Sarmisegetuza Regia, Romania’s ancient capital and the same day we arrived at Corvin Castle, a splendid display of Gothic architecture. The day after we drove into the mountains on Transalpina to wonder at Mother Nature’s generosity to Romanians and after that we visited Alba Carolina citadel, the union capital of Romania.

Day 5 | Sarmisegetuza Regia and Corvin Castle.

Day five caught us at the meeting point of the Apuseni Mountains and the Southern Carpathians. Where we were heading to the extraordinary site of Sarmizegetusa Regia. This was the capital of the ancient empire of the Dacians over two millennia ago.

These Dacians fellas are Romanian’s forefathers. Archeological discoveries proved that the Dacian people had a rich culture and were fierce fighters.
Their banner was a mythical creature. The body of a snake and the head of a wolf. Whenever they would go fight, the banner made [magic power 😄] the howling sound of a wolf.

My crew convinced me to howl.

The result is as disastrous as you could expect, but nonetheless funny. You can see it yourselves in the video.
For all you history nerds [like myself] this place is heaven. But also a beautiful hike and a much Instagramable place.

The second magical place we got to see that day was the wonderful Corvin Castle. The castle has a dark history of double crossings, sadic murders and incestous affairs. The times usual daily activities. The first room you can visit as you enter the castle gates on the left is a torture room, in case you don’t believe me.

In pop culture, the name of Corvin was used in the Underworld film series, inspired by the Legend of Dracula, and the Corvin Castle appeared in numerous video games and TV shows, such as Age of Empires II HD The Forgotten, Most Haunted Live!, and Dragonheart: Battle of the Heartfire.

We learned though that a busy day of August it’s not the best day to visit the castle. It was packed and we did not get to film the spectacular chambers and its towers without heaps of people in the frames. Damn it. In the last five years the popularity of this place soared. Adding to that the fact that August is a popular month for the Romanians that live abroad to come home, it is fair to say:

“Avoid visiting the castle in August!”

Our visit at the castle was thus short, but even so, we managed to capture the essentials on the camera. Called it a day and headed back to the accommodation to get some rest. We were half way through this trip and tiredness began to show. Tasty food, some beers and an early night were the “doctors” prescription. That is exactly what we did!

Day 6 | Transalpina and Alba Carolina Citadel

We hit the road early morning. As we drove straight into the Carpathians their greatness left us speechless. This was a teaser of the amazing views we were about to witness. We were on our way to Transalpina. The first of the two “highways to heaven” [as I like to call them] to show you the raw beauty of our mountains.

Transalpina windy mountain road in spring

On the way there we crossed some industrial towns from the Communist era. Which are far from an architectural delight. But as we left them behind and drove deeper into the thick forest, the unbelievable sights and the stillness of the Carpathians began to unravel.

Transalpina was built around 1930 and renovated nine years ago. It’s highest point passes 2000 meters. You must note that the road is closed from October to May, pending on the snowfall. Best to say that the most enjoyable trips here will be done over the hot summer months.

Transalpina can be your road trip as you drive from the southern region into Transylvania. Or the other way around. While you are here, it is a must that you stop over for lunch at Stana Stefanu. We did and had a great time doing some shots there. Looking back this was for sure the day where we had the most fun out of all the trip. Geared up with the latest “Romanian Prada” I broadcast the weather. Did a catwalk. Shot some awfully funny bloopers with the help of my good friend Florin. What a day!

The views from Transalpina are surreal.

Driving on this “highway to heaven” my eyes couldn’t get enough of the marvelous sights we were passing. This is for sure my Raaaawmania. The time we spent up there reminded me again why I am doing this project and why I love my country so much.

We wrapped up the session round 2 p.m. and drove north to get to our second location for the day. Alba Carolina Citadel. “Alba” literally means “the white one” and with its washed white walls we can surely call it the White Citadel.

It was built in the 18th century and has a very special place in Romanians history. Why? Because Romania in its current geographical form exists after the First World War [minus a few adjustments during WWII]. 

The Great Union happened right here at Alba Carolina Citadel.

In 1918 the Romanians living in Transylvania united with the Kingdom of Romania. All delegations met in the city of Alba Iulia, at the citadel, and signed the union act. Because of this major event the city of Alba Iulia it’s often referred to as “the other capital”.

The place itself is wonderful. Architecture. History. Panoramic views. Hip food and drinks outlets. Beautiful landscaped surrounding park. All this in one location. We spent the whole afternoon shooting. It was hot. Like, extremely hot. And we were up and running for about 10 hours and drove about 200 km of mainly mountain roads. We were in need for some refreshments. Thank God for some cold beers.

Those beers went straight to my head. After a “momentary blackout” [lies 😄] I found myself doing some rather embarrassing poses with the statues at the citadel. This to my crew delight, who did not waste a second on capturing everything on camera.

Sarmisegetuza Regia, Corvin Castle, Transalpina and the Alba Carolina Citadel are just one example of how much can you see in only two days in Romania. Architecture, history, nature all covered.

And well we were almost a week into the Romania travel journey and everything had to end sooner or later…sooo this was…not the end of our trip of course. I’ve put up for spending all my savings, not that I had much, but we still had a few days to go. Vamo-nos! More adventures to come!

In case you didn’t join us from the begining here’s what we’ve been up to the first four days of the journey.




Hi my name is Radu and this is my Journey! I use this awesome blog to tell people my story. Through all the places and things I see around my beloved country, there isn't a best way to share my experience! Follow my monthly updates and discover the raw side of Romania!

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