Transfăgărășan scenic road

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Today this highway is considered one of the most beautiful roads in the world and is one of the landmarks of Romania.
Today this highway is considered one of the most beautiful roads in the world and is one of the landmarks of Romania.
Transfăgărăşan, or DN7C is a mountain road in Romania. The road connects the Argeș Valley in Great Wallachia with the Olt Valley in Transylvania, crossing the Făgăraș Mountains – a mountain range in the Transylvanian Alps. The Transfăgărăşan is part of the 151-kilometer (149.82 km ) long, south-north-running national road  DN 7C.

It reaches its highest point at an altitude of 2034 meters. This is the second highest mountain trail in Romania after the Transalpina –  Highway DN67C  reaches the highest height – 2145 meters. The Transfăgărăşan highway was built in 1970-1974 by order of Nicolae Ceausescu for military needs.

The construction was carried out mainly by the forces and means of the Romanian army . The reason for the creation of such a grandiose project was the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the troops of the Warsaw Pact countries in 1968, and Ceausescu feared such actions in relation to his regime. Like many other large-scale projects, the construction of the Transfăgărăşan highway required huge costs: only about 6,000 tons of dynamite was spent. Not without casualties – about 40 people died during the construction of the road
This road that crosses the Făgăraș Mountains, the highest mountain range in Romania, being part of the Southern Carpathians, is an asphalt road, reaching near the tunnel near Lake Bâlea at an altitude of 2042 m. Thus, Transfăgărășan is in second place as altitude in the ranking of alpine roads in Romania, after Transalpina (DN67C) in the Parâng Mountains, which rises to 2145 m.

Today this highway is considered one of the most beautiful roads in the world and is one of the landmarks of Romania. There are also other Romanian landmarks in its vicinity: the mountain lake and the Bilea waterfall and the Poenari fortress, also known as the residence of Vlad Dracula.

Access : Coordinates: 45.5981, 24.6165 / Directions can be found in the village of Curtea de Argeş and in the village of Cartisoara. Travelers can find accommodation and catering in various hotels and hostels (cabane) along the route.

Route description :
The Transfăgărăşan scenic road begins in the village of Căpățânenii Ungureni – part of the Arefu municipality – after which it reaches the Vidraru dam hydroelectric power station after around two kilometers. From here the road begins to climb steeply and curvy in the valley of the Valea lui Stan stream, partly over viaducts and through four tunnels. Two of the tunnels are around 100 meters long and are located directly in front of the dam of the Vidraru reservoir.

Here the Transfăgărăşan scenic road continues on the six meter wide and 307 meter long dam. After about 18 kilometers along the east bank of the reservoir, the road from the northern end of the reservoir runs a further 23 kilometers in the Capra Valley , initially gently, later winding and steep in a northerly direction. At an altitude of 2042 m, it crosses under the 2398 m high Paltinu,  a mountain ridge of the Carpathians. The tunnel is 887 meters long with a six-meter-wide carriageway and a meter-wide sidewalk, and four and a half meters high. The so-called Bâlea Tunnel is the highest and longest tunnel in Romania. Here at the highest point of the route, the Argeș County borders the southern part of the Sibiu County. Immediately behind the poorly lit tunnel, the road reaches Lake Bâlea, where the hut of the same name (Cabana Bâlea Lac) is located.

From Lake Bâlea, the road winds in many serpentines in the Bâlea nature reserve down to Transylvania. The “Poarta Întâlnirii” (Gate of Encounter) rock breakthrough is located at a height of around 1600 m, the place where the north and south construction team met in 1974. A little further down at approx. 1200 m there is a second rock breakthrough, called “Poarta Geniştilor” (Gate of the Pioneers). The Transfăgărăşan scenic road continues past the Bâlea waterfall (Cascada Bâlea) to the town of Cârțișoara in the Sibiu district and after another four kilometers the elevated road ends at the confluence with the national road DN 1 – part of the European route 68.

A third of the route runs on the north side of the Fagaras Mountains and was the somewhat more difficult section for their construction. Because here in the Bâlea Valley occasionally low-hanging clouds obstruct the view, the Transfăgărăşan scenic road is also known as the road in the clouds.

Highlights :

  •  On the north side of the Transfăgărăşan scenic road, this leads through the Făgăraș Nature Park, the Bâlea and Arpășel Nature Reserves.
  •  The Vidraru Dam and Lake is a major attraction in the region. Leisure activities include boat trips on the lake, fishing (also in rented boats), and bungee jumps from the 166 meter high dam.
  •  The Sibiu-Transfăgărăşan Motorsport Festival is held annually on the north side of the Transfăgărăşan.
  •  In honor of the builders from the engineering troops of the Romanian army who took part in the construction of the highway, monuments with commemorative plaques were erected in two sections – one at an altitude of 1200 meters, and the other at an altitude of 1600 meters
  •  Overall, the road runs over – according to different information,  830  or 833 bridges and 27 or 28 viaducts.
  •  In 2009, Top Gear Tv show presenters tested their sports cars on this road, and Jeremy Clarkson called it the best for driving sports cars
  •  Lake Bâlea, a glacial lake located at an altitude of about 2,000 m / Poenari Citadel: a ruined citadel built by Vlad Țepeș in the municipality of Arefu / At the top of the road, an 875 m tunnel.Several shelters. Let’s mention Cabana Capra and Cabana Bâlea.
  •  The movie Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, starring Nicolas Cage and Idris Elba, was shot on this road.

Note : Winter closure : The Transfăgărăşan scenic road is only fully passable for four months a year (July – October). In the period from November 1st to June 30th the road at the Bâlea Pass is impassable. During this winter closure, Lake Bâlea can only be reached by cable car from the north, from the Bâlea waterfall. On the south side, the Transfăgărăşan is only open to traffic up to kilometer 104 near Piscu Negru.

Activities : sightseeing / photo opportunities / Scenic Driving- Auto Touring / trekking / landscape observation ./ Mountain climbing/biking

Go next : Sibiu , a town in southern Transylvania, Romania, can be reached by the scenic Transfăgărăşan and Transalpina mountain roads./ Bâlea Lake , a glacier lake situated at 2,034 m of altitude in the Făgăraș Mountains, in central Romania.

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