A trip in Rarau Mountains offers the traveller marvelous landscapes where the pine trees and spruces bring with them the charm of the North. Rarau - Giumalau mountains and the wood monasteries from Maramures (Ieud, Rozavlea, Surdesti, Desesti, Budesti.
What to Expect
At dawn, the traveler has the opportunity to hear the symphony of nature, the song of the birds, accompanied by the rustle of pine forests. In the mists of evening, the valleys and wind-torn clouds, including emerging from time to time, silhouettes of Lady Stones, take you into the world of fairy tale.
Nights sky with moon and stars, sunrises and sunsets, summer storms and winter blizzards bring in Rarau, each in their own way, mysterious and meditative beauty, all against a landscape that combines shades of gray-white limestone with dark green of coniferous forests and alpine meadows at the open, colorful embroidered with mountain flowers.
First day : Start point Oradea , Cluj or Brasov - Vatra Dornei (we'll stay overnight in tent or chalet depending on weather conditions). Travel time around 8 hours. The road is made by bus or train.
Second Day: Vatra Dornei - Chalet Giumalau. (we'll stay overnight in tent or chalet depending on weather conditions).Travel time : around 5 hours. Level difference : around : 800 m. Altitudes :Vatra Dornei 800 m; Chalet Giumalau:1542 m.Travel distance : around 20 km. Visit the central park in Vatra Dornei where a lot of squirrels eat nuts from your hand if you call them Mariana.
Third day : Chalet Giumalau - Peak Giumalau - Grand Cross Giumalau - Rarau (we'll stay overnight in tent or chalet depending on weather conditions). Travel time : around 4 hours. Level difference: around 400 meters. Altitudes : Peak Giumalau - 1857 m; Rarau-1520 m . Trip distance : around 15 km.
Fourth Day :Rarau - The cave of the bats - Rarau Hermitage -The Lady Stones(we'll stay overnight in tent or chalet depending on weather conditions). Travel time around 6 hours. Level differnce : around 500 meters. Altitudes : 1634 m - Lady Stones; Rarau Hermitage - 1103 m. Travel distance : around 20 km.
The Rarau Monastery was founded by ruler Petru Rares, in 1541. Three years earlier, he had to seek refuge with his family on Mount Rarau because of the Turks. Therefore, he built a wooden church and a hermitage in order to thank the hermits on this mountain because they took care of his family.
The hermitage built by Petru Rares did not have adverse times until 1775, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexed the territory of Bukovina. Back then, the north of Moldavia had no less than 25 monasteries and hermitages, but the decree of 1808 only allowed four of them to remain open.
However, the hermitage in Rarau was not among them, because it was moved on the side that remained in Moldavia’s possession.Today, the monk’s monastery awaits the believers in a peaceful and picturesque place. The pilgrims may find accommodation in the monastery, since it has a capacity of 150 places. In addition to having a place to sleep, they also receive meals from the monks. Services are held daily, even at midnight – the religious schedule being inspired by that on Mount Athos.
Fifth Day : Rarau - The mill of the Devil - Cimpulung Moldovenesc .(we'll stay overnight in tent or chalet depending on weather conditions). Travel time around 6 hours. Level difference 1000 m..Travel distance : around 20 km. Altitudes :Rarau-1520 m - Campulung Moldovenesc 630 m.
Sixth day : We are visiting the wood monasteries from Maramures : Rogoz, Ieud, Barsana, Desesti , Surdesti, the merry cemeterry from Sapinta (we'll stay overnight in tent or chalet depending on weather conditions).
The Wooden Churches of Maramures are unique in shape and
ornamentation and eight of them – in Barsana, Budesti, Desesti, Ieud, Plopis, Poienile Izei,Rogoz and Surdesti, have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
The characteristic high roofs and tall, narrow, pointed steeples are often collectively described as the Gothic Style of Maramures. The primary wood material used by the artisans was local oak, which has survived the elements with sturdy elegance until today. The interior walls of the churches were painted by local artists, with biblical scenes often juxtaposed against the familiar landscape of the village. Most of these houses of worship have stood proudly since the 17th and 18th centuries – some even longer. The oldest wooden church in Maramures is the Church on the Hill in Ieud, which dates from 1364.
Seventh Day: Sapinta - Cluj , Brasov ou Oradea.Route made by bus.
The Merry Cemetery Sapinta:
The unusual feature of this cemetery is that it diverges from the prevalent belief, culturally shared within European societies – a belief that views death as something indelibly solemn. Connections with the local Dacian culture have been made, a culture whose philosophical tenets presumably vouched for the immortality of the soul and the belief that death was a moment filled with joy and anticipation for a better life.
It is famous for its colorful tombstones with naïve paintings describing, in an original and poetic manner, the persons that are buried there as well as scenes from their lives. The Merry Cemetery became an open-air museum and a national tourist attraction.
Know Before You Go
Equipment: Mountain tent, sleeping bag, waterproof boots, isolier, rucksack, food for 7 days, aluminium flask, rain cloak, thick clothes, very good physical condition