Sarmizegetusa Regia - Dacian Capital
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There is a road directly to the fortifications but the last 1km is a bit rough if you don't have 4 wheel drive. The site is relatively easy to get to though. The altitude is about 1050m ASL.
The Dacian fortresses of the Sureanu mountains (also known as the Orastie mountains) are famous in Romania. Here was the capital of the ancient Dacian civilisation. Many of the stone structures are still well preserved and open for the public to see. The area is also popular with local hikers as the view from the hill tops is breath taking.
For more information on the archaeological sites, see the web page of the Deva Museum of Dacian and Roman Civilisation at:
Entrance to the sites is free of charge, but beyond Costesti, there are no tourist facilities. There are signs in Romanian with maps to explain the sites but if you don't read Romanian then I'd recommend printing out the web pages of the Deva museum web site and taking them with you. Alternatively, you can buy a tourist pamphlet or booklet at the kiosk near Cetatuia fortress (near to Costesti).
While you are in the area, it's worth visiting some of the other Dacian fortresses. The main fortresses to see are Sarmizegetusa Regia [N 45.622533, E 23.310329], Cetatuia [N 45.679854, E 23.154147], Blidaru [N 45.667765, E 23.162882], Fetele Albe [N 45.626096, E 23.278876] (the beginning of the path leading to Fetele Albe is at aproximately [N 45.621642, E 23.289769], and Luncani-Piatra Rosie [N 45.604908, E 23.145447]. From the main roads there are hiking trails and logging trails that lead to the fortresses. When you leave the main road, there should be a sign that says the name of the fortress, usually how many kilometres or minutes to the fortress) and a symbol. These symbols are painted on trees and rocks along the way to the destination to clearly mark the trail. For example, Cetatuia is marked with by a white square with a yellow "+" type cross on it; Blidaru is a white square with a blue line down the middle; Fetele Albe is a white triangle with a smaller blue triangle in the middle. There is also another geocache located near to Blidaru fortress. If you intend to visit a couple of fortresses, it would be best to stay the night, either camping or staying at a "pensiune". You will pass a couple of "pensiune" along the way in Costesti.
From Orastie, you can catch a bus as far as Costesti. You can usually pay the bus driver a few Lei extra to go to the end of Costesti near the place where you start the hike to Cetatuia and Blidaru. (Normal the last bus stop is in the town). You can usually hitch a ride to Gradistie de Munte or maybe almost all the way to Sarmizegetusa with a logging truck.
If you are going by car, then take note that after Gradistie de Munte, the road gets a bit rough and it might be necessary to continue by foot part of the way if you don't have a 4 wheel drive vehicle.
When you get to Costesti, continue through (by car, bus or foot) to the large arch that marks the exit of the town. From there, to go to Sarmizegetusa, continue on the main road. By foot, it will take about 4 to 5 hours. By car, 15-30 minutes. Fetele Albe is along the way. If you wish to visit Cetatuie and Blidaru, then take a right over the bridge immediately after passing through the arch. After a few hundred metres, you should see a sign post with two arrows on it at [N 45.680020, E 23.160695]. One for Blidaru (marked with a blue line) and Cetatuia (marked with a yellow cross). Cetatuia is about 30-40 minutes walk away. Blidaru is about 40-60 minutes. Both are along well marked roads or trails.
On the road to Cetatuia (within walking distance of Costesti) there is a kiosk where you can buy postcards, booklets and tourist infomation pamphlets. Usually there is no one in the kiosk but if stand around it for a few minutes and someone doesn't ask if you want something, then go to the nearby house (there's only one withing view) and ask there. The kiosk is run by the woman who lives in the house. Actually she's the official custodian of the fortress and is employed by the museum in Deva. The kiosk is located at [N 45.677864, E 23.149653].
Along the way to Sarmizegetusa Regia, you can stop at a picnic area at the following location [N 45.622174, E 23.266971]. There is also a picnic table and benches at Sarmizegetusa Regia.
I am currently making a map of the zone that you can load into a Garmin GPS before going. A copy of the current draft can be downloaded from the following site:
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