Piatra Craiului National Park

Piatra Craiului Natural Park stretches from Zarnesti Village in the north to Podu Dambovitei in the south and features the longest and highest limestone ridge in Romania (over 20 kms long and 2000 meters high). The Piatra Craiului National Park covers an area od 4879 ha and stretches over the counties of Brasov and Arges, including areas belonging to the towns of Zarnesti, Moeciu (Magura and Pestera villages), Bran, Rucar and Dambovicioara. Bordered by glacial lakes, the Craiului Mountain ridge is regarded as one of the most beautiful sights in the Carpathians. The oldest traces of human presence in the area of the Magura and Pestera villages date back to the Palaeolithic, judging from the silex tools discovered here. The oldest traces of human existence within the Rucar village territory date back to the period of Roman Domination in Dacia, at Rucar being built a “castellum”, which was destroyed during the events in 117-118 A.D. The oldest document mention of the Rucar village dates back from 1377. The village witnessed the frequent passing of troops towards Transylvania, or from here to Tara Româneasca (Vlad Tepes in 1459 towards Transylvania, Stefan Bathory in 1476 towards Tara Româneasca, Mihnea III in 1658 etc.). On the village grounds Radu de la Afumati fought the Turkish troops. Sigismund of Bathory and his army spend a week at Rucar.

The two-day north–south ridge hiking trail along the Piatra Craiului Nature Park is both challenging and rewarding. Starting at either Plaiul Foii in the northwest or Curmatura in the northeast, hikers climb up to the ridge along the narrow spine of the Piatra Craiului range. The descent at the southern end leads into a karst landscape of deep gorges and pitted slopes where water penetrating the rock has carved a series of caves. The traditional villages of Magura, Pestera, Ciocanu, Sirnea, make for interesting starting points for the routes on the eastern slope and for getting in touch with the traditional Romanian way of life. The folk architecture characteristic to the Muscel area is relevant for describing the 17th century Rucar architecture. The traditional activities have been practiced for centuries and are still vivid in most parts of the Piatra Craiului Nature Park, such are livestock breeding, sheep products processing, wood harvesting and, more recently, rural tourism. Piatra Craiului Mountains are located close the to the medieval city of Braşov and even closer to the towns of Râşnov and Bran with their most visited castles.