Highlights

* two picturesque 15th and 16th c. castle ruins
* Maramures traditional wooden architecture
* a wetland reserve
* Armenian, Hungarian and Romanian architecture, stories and lifestyles

Tour information

duration : 1day
validity: throughout the year (in wintertime not all visits may be possible due to the short daylight)

Rates

1 pax   147 eur / pers.
2 pax   76 eur / pers.
3 pax   57 eur / pers.
4 pax   48 eur / pers.
5 pax   38 eur / pers.
6 pax   33 eur / pers.
7 pax   29 eur / pers.
8 pax   24 eur / pers.
* For more than 8 participants, prices available upon request.

Package includes:

* transportation by car or minibus;
* gas and parking fees
* English, French or Romanian speaking guide
* meals for the guide

Package does not include:

* meals and drinks
* entry tickets
* personal expenses
 
jquery photo gallery by WOWSlider.com v8.2
This is a tour about diversity, meant to reveal you a wide range of architectural structures and their so very different stories. You will see a 15th century castle modified several times by it’s owners according to the architectural trends of the time (in Renaissance, Baroque, Neogothic styles), partially destroyed during WWII and finally mutilated by the communist regime.
Later on, a traditional Hungarian village with a tragic history will enchant you with it’s natural reserve and a baroque city will disclose stories about it’s founding Armenian settlers.
Soon after, a fairytale castle defended by unicorns will this time tell the sad story of it’s most intriguing owner who, passionate about history and natural science, had built remarkable book and stuffed animals collections famed all over Transylvania.
And finally, as if for all the destructive sins to be forgiven, the last visit will be that of a 17th century Maramures wooden church that succeeded to survive a great pagan invasion.

Tour description

Departure from Cluj in the morning in the direction of Maramures. Stop in Bontida to visit the Banffy Castle, one of the very lucky castles in Transylvania who are being restored at the moment. The castle’s last owner, before the communist nationalization, was the Hungarian nobleman Miklos Banffy, the very same who wrote the 3 volume novel ‘Transylvanian Trilogy’. In the époque, this would have been one of the most beautiful castles in the area, being often called ‘the Versailles of Transylvania’.
From Bontida we shall cross the hill up to the village of Sic. The Hungarian community from Sic preserves with great care the traditional costume, the music and dances and, last but not least, honors every year the memory of their ancestors killed during the last Tatar invasion in 1717. Apart from their sad story, we will discover and enjoy here a magnificent nature reserve and see how the reed reserve influences their lives.
Getting back on the main road to continue our journey towards Maramures, we stop in Gherla to visit the remaining of the free royal city o Armenopolis, a city built by the Armenian community starting with the end of the 17th century.
To continue the route of the stone constructions, we will make a last (before Maramures) stop at the Kornis Castle in Manastirea. Compared to Banffy Castle in Bontida, here the influence of the communist regime upon the high class architecture is even more visible. Completely abandoned and neglected even by the villagers, the castle still shelters some of the most refined decorations found among the Transylvanian castles.
Finally, in the afternoon, we arrive in Rogoz. Here we will change the register and visit a UNESCO wooden church built by the Romanian community. Lots of stories connected to mythological, religious and even pagan symbols will be revealed by the local priest. Here you will be able to understand why the traditional wooden architecture is a miniature replica of the entire universe.
Way back to Cluj in the evening.