Romania’s Transfagarasan winds through the Fagaras Mountains, part of the Carpathian Mountain Range that connects Transylvania to Wallachia via a shocking series of white-knuckle hairpin turns and sharp descents. The 56-mile path climbs to an altitude of 6,699 feet, slinking past stunning outlooks of lake, waterfalls, and a dam.
After our initial arrival and two days in Bucharest with JayWay Travel, our group of six was itching to move on to the real target of our trip: Transylvania. Putting aside all the hype and myths about “Count Dracula,” Transylvania is spilling over with some of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe – Sibiu, Sighisoara, Brasov, Rupea, Rosnov.
Best way to get there? The Transfagarasan. But it’s not just a method of transportation; it’s an epic journey unto itself, and one of the highlights of Romania.
History of the Transfagarasan
Originally called “Ceausescu’s Folly,” Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu ordered the road to be constructed in 1970 as a strategic military escape route in the event of a Soviet attack. Like many of the egomaniac’s other projects, the road made no sense, since it was only passable five months out of the year, yet he persisted. 6,000 tons of dynamite was used to blast the rock. Officially 38 workers died in the brutal conditions they were forced to work in, but that’s widely regarded to be an underestimate.
The well-known BBC car show came to Romania in 2009 and introduced the Transfăgărășan (aka DN7C and the Transylvanian Alps) to much of the world. After spending a day filming throughout the mountain road and tunnels, Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson declared it “the best road in the world” a title the presenters had previously given to the Stelvio Pass in Italy. Apparently, there was a delay in part of the shooting when a bear sow and her cubs appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the road and lingered for a while. But the Top Gear crew waited patiently without disturbing them, all-in-all enhancing the experience.
Read the rest of “The Transfagarason” in GoNOMAD.
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