Transfăgărășan – Cârța Abbey – Făgăraș Castle
The Transfăgărășan Road was constructed between 1970 – 74′ as a reaction of the communist regime to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968. The former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu wanted to be able to move military troops, from the south of the country to the northern border in less than 24 hours in case of a Soviet invasion.
The road was built, mainly using the romanian military personal (young conscripts), to a length of 151 km and an altitude of 2042 m (6699 ft) in Mt. Făgăraș. Due to the treacherous terrain, extreme weather conditions, lack of safety measures and the tight schedule, 40 people payed with their lives for the endeavor. As a testament to the extreme conditions, even to this day, the road is open to public acces only in summer and autumn (30th of June – 1st of November).
Cârța Abbey was built in 1202 as a three aisled basilica. Fallowing the style of the Burgundian Cistercian churches, in France, Cârța Abbey remains the only cistercian abbey in Romania. The abbey church is one of the first buildings to combine late roman and early gothic architecture. This Cistercian Monastery besides the monastic settlement, also had a great historical, political, cultural and economic influence in Transylvania. Nowadays from the whole abbey the chapel is stil used by the evangelical community from the area and is open for the curious tourists, as well as with the small ethnographic museum located in the courtyard.
Făgăraș Castle is a feudal castle built in the 14th century which was continuously modified until the middle of the 18th century. This castle-fort was preceded by an 12th century wooden fortress, surrounded by a moat and earthworks. Făgăraș Castle was the residence of the Princes of Transylvania and the political and administrative center of Comitatus Fogarasensis (the County of Făgăraș). The county was formed out of around 50 villages, which made it one of the largest and richest counties in medieval Transylvania.