A private trip from Sibiu to Sarmisegetuza Regia (the former capital of the Dacian Kingdom)
and Sarmisegetuza Ulpia Traiana (the capital of the Roman province, after the Dacians were conquered by the Roman Empire).
The day trip usually starts from Sibiu. It takes almost 2 hours to reach the ruins of the former Dacian kingdom capital.
We will drive on a highway, but the last 20 km before reaching Sarmisegetuza Regia will be on a sinuous mountain road, taking us deep in the
heart of the Orastie Mountains. From the parking, we need to
walk around 800 m to reach the site. The visit takes around 1 hour, and after returning to the car, it will take us around 1.5 hours to reach the next touristic attraction,
Sarmisegetuza Ulpia Traiana.
As it is the lunchtime we have a few options: we can stop for a picnic on the shore of the creek which springs from the ruins, or we can stop at a good restaurant on the way. At Sarmiegetuza Ulpia Traiana we will visit the ruins of the amphitheatre, the temples and the forum. A quick visit to the local museum will be added as well. In total, we will spend around 1.5 hours at the site.
The next destination is close by, in Densus, where we will visit an, old and unique church, built mainly with funeral stones from the Roman site. After Densus, we will drive back to Sibiu, where we will arrive after another 1.5 hours of driving.
For history lovers travelling to Romania, Sarmisegetuza Regia is a must-see place. The ancient
capital of the kingdom of Dacia, erected on top of a 1200 meter high mountain deep into Orastie
mountains, Sarmizegetusa is surrounded by mystery, mainly because only 5 percent of the archeological site was revealed. You can find there temples, sanctuaries, monuments with specific astronomic
meaning and surprisingly exact calendars.
The grandeur of the former centre of power of the Dacian Kingdom is hard to be imagined now. First, the entire place was erased from the face of the earth after the Romans conquered Dacia.
They have rebuilt a smaller citadel for a Roman garrison, then the place was left deserted and nature recaptured it. What can be seen right now are the ruins of the Dacian sanctuaries and
the walls of the Roman citadel, among centuries-old trees.
Sarmiegetuza was the centre of a network of several other fortresses, laid in an area of just a few kilometres, all of them up in the mountains, with clear defensive roles. Together with them, Sarmisegetuza was received on the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
Regia means royal, and it is a term added to the name of Sarmisegetuza recently, just to differentiate it from the new capital the Romans have built on a flat area, 40 kilometres away. The Romans have built the new capital after the Dacian conquest in 106. For a century in a half, the small colony thrived and became on the of important roman cities in this part of the Roman Empire. After the Romans have left, at the end of the 3rd century, the former "metropolis" was abandoned slowly and people have forgotten it.
First, the tourists visiting the site can see the former amphitheatre, with a capacity of around 5.000 seats and the ruins of the temples, all of them being located outside of the wall of the city. Then, walking on a 2000 years old path, one can see the ruins of the administrative buildings and the new and old forums, among gardens and orchards. After walking among the historical site, one can visit the local museum, located across the street.
The church from the village of Densus is like no other in Romania. First of all, it has an unusual architecture: the nave of the church is a small square, and the altar seems to
have been added later in the eastern part. The scratches on the frescoes are a testimony of the difficult times the church has endured in its long history. Then, the construction
material is not common either: tombstones, columns, even elements from the sewer from Sarmisegetuza Ulpia Traiana were reused for the construction of the small church.
What is amazing is that the church is still in operation, for about 7 centuries, and if you visit it on Sunday you can attend the religious service.
1. Sibiu walking tour
2. Corvin Castle
3. Alba Iulia fortress
4. Bison reservation in Hateg
5. Dinosaurs geopark in Hateg
6. Deva citadel