Legendary Places

No matter the present time, the myths and legends of our past will always be exciting for every generation. And as they say, there’s a grain of truth in every tale.
So we went looking for it…

God's Chair -- Călimani Mountains

This chair-shaped peak rises up to the sky in the south-western part of the Kelemen/Călimani Mountains. It is called the Seat of God, as folk tradition says that God rested here after having created the beautiful mountain ranges, the valleys of the countryside, the river-bed of Mureș and after He populated this countryside. It is said that this land was also one of the favorite hunting places for King St. Ladislas.In fact, God’s Chair is a mountain glade surrounded by andesite rocks, from far similar to a chair or a coffin.It is a hard trial for nature lovers to climb onto God's Chair, but the sight that comes to us compensates for all the efforts. After Deda Bistra, to the East, beyond the Bistra river, about at 7-800 meters northwards there is a blue tourist mark, which leads to the peak. Hikers have to overcome the 900 m altitude gain during about four hours of walking. Mureș river separates the two volcanic mountain ranges: Gurghiu and Călimani Mountains. In some areas, only the river, the road and the railway lie in the valley, the mountains are covered by forests. This is a real heaven on earth for adventurous and experienced hikers, as they can discover wonderful natural sights. Climbing the hills, mountains and hiking trails of the countryside is an exciting challenge for visitors. Naming God's Chair as being a mountain peak is perhaps not the right choice, as hikers arriving there will discover an extensive glade. Its rim is steep and dangerous, but the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful. It seems as if God, who made  this countryside so enchanting really was there and even He was overwhelmed by His work.

Learn more

Bear Lake's legend - Sovata

Although the conditions of the genesis of the Bear Lake in Sovata – known also as the Dead Sea of Transylvania – were accurately explored by science, according to the folk tradition it was created as an effect of a tragic love between a fairy and a shepherd boy in the Salt Region in Szeklerland. The highlands in the area of Sovata were inhabited by fairies, and one of them –violating the laws – fell in love with a beautifully shepherd who played the whistle beautifully. But when she got down to the people, she found the boy in the arms of a girl. She became very angry and in revenge turned her love together with his sheep in stones, and being sorrowful she sank her own beautiful palace under the ground. In the site of the palace was formed a huge pit, which was filled with the tears of the unceasingly crying fairy.The Bear Lake of Sovata – with the salt mine in Praid – is one of the main tourist attractions in the Salt Region. The folkways about the fabulous lake has as background the fact that its salt content is extremely high, so bathers can easily float on the surface of the water. This unique experience should definitely be lived if we are in Sovata.The current shape of the lake, similar to a stretched bear skin, was formed between 1875 and 1881. This is how it got its name. This is the unique heliothermic lake in the world, its water surface temperature can reach 35 degrees Celsius in summer and its central water layers can be warmed up to 70 degrees Celsius. The multifaceted healing effect of water has been known for decades, but the sludge of the lake is also used to treat a variety of health problems, including anti-inflammatory treatment.The settlement lies in an exceptional natural environment. There are several smaller and larger salt and freshwater lakes around the Bear Lake, among which one can wander and easily imagine that the countryside was inhabited and shaped by fairies. Health tourism and exceptional beauties in nature attract a lot of visitors to Sovata every year, where there are a plenty of restaurants, cafés, hotels and guest houses for visitors.The built heritage of the city is also unique in Transylvania. Centuries-old houses and a number of villas have unique architectural features – some of them so spectacular that the visitor can imagine the former palace of the legendary fairy.

Learn more

Polenta Hill - Sângeorgiu de Pădure

Fairies and giants once inhabited Erdőszentgyörgy, a hill next to the village, which according to folk tradition, was named after a fairy’s act.Puliszkadomb emerges in the southeastern part of the small town. According to the story, a handsome young shepherd was grazing his sheep on this hill. His pregnant wife prepared meal for him every morning, but the boy forgot to take the food with him. The young woman noticed that the polenta remained at home, so she got up to take the meal to her husband. But an evil fairy stepped in, took a fancy to the beautiful shepherd: she opened the earth under the woman on her way to the husband, and the wife fell into the gap. The place where the food was scattered was called the Puliszkadomb (Polenta Hill).There is another unique sight in the vicinity of Erdőszentgyörgy: we can also reach the famous lake of Bözödújfalu on foot / Bezidu Nou, and beneath there is a small settlement. Not only the Polenta Hill, but also this lake keeps the memory of evil spells from the eighties of the last century: the system at that time forced hundreds of families to leave the village and flooded the town with water, washed away its past and its souvenirs. The lake visitors can see the remains of buildings here and there, while the flooded village has a lively fishing experience today.The largest tourist attraction in Erdőszentgyörgy is undoubtedly the Rhédey Castle, which adorns the center of the settlement. In this building was raised in the early 19th century Rhédey Klaudia of noble origin, the great-great grandmother of Elizabeth II Queen of England. According to Balázs Orbán, the old castle was originally an abbey.Another significant attraction of the settlement is the Calvinist Church built at the turn of the 13-14th centuries, giving place to the Unitarian synod in 1618. On the exterior wall was found a Szekler runic script.There are plenty of hiking opportunities around Erdőszentgyörgy: we can roam not only the Bözödújfalu countryside, but we can still meet friendly shepherd children grazing their sheep on Puliszkadomb and its surroundings.

Learn more

Danger Hill - Bekecs Peak

The inhabitants of Nyáradselye suffered very much due to the Tatars’ destruction at the Danger Field under the Bekecs peak, but they received as much as they gave to the dog-heads at the Tartar Pass – so do the people say, and a part of the place names preserve its memory today. The local people were hiding from the Tartar invasion in the glades at the bottom of Bekecs Hill. But once, a traitor led the enemy to the hiding people, and while most of the men went for food and firewood, they attacked the defenseless women and children. Those who were not abducted were cruelly slaughtered in the forest – the place was named the Field of Danger or Danger Field.On hearing the news, the monks living in the monastery of the Palace hill near Bekecs were also fleeing. Like the valiant soldier Csombod of Sóvárad, they hid their treasures in the bell, and they hid it in the well so that the Tartars could not find it. Although the treasure was not found, the monastery was destroyed. However, the Szeklers from Nyárád, heated by vengeance, kept their end up and went after the departing Tatars. Only few people of the hostile troops were able to flee, leaving behind the stolen treasures, the captive children and women, who finally could get free.The legend of several centuries came alive againt at the beginning of the twentieth century, during the First World War: in 1916 bloody battles took place on the Bekecs Hill and its surroundings. By getting to the peak, hikers are welcomed today by several world war memorials. After we pay tribute to the memory of warriors of the past, we should spend a few minutes to admire the unparalleled sight in front of our eyes: the hill is bordered from the northwest by the valley of the Nyárád, from the southeast by the valley of the Little Küküllő, and in good weather you can see even to the Fogarasi and Hargita Mountains. To the east, we can see the peak of Siklódkő and Firtos Mountain.Nyárádselye is the highest settlement in the region of Kisnyárád. In 1719 some of the population was destroyed by a plague epidemic.The region of the small village in the picturesque environment is not suitable for grain production, its inhabitants mainly live from animal husbandry and fruit growing.If we climb up the Bekecs through the Danger Field, we can expect our paths to be flanked by a lot of flowers: spring saffron, dog’s-tooth-violet, starry flowers, but in early spring there are even snowdrops in the higher parts. It's as if they kept every year the memory of the people lost here.

Learn more

Kata's Well - Măgherani

Centuries ago there was no village of Nyárádmagyaros along the Upper-Nyárád. According to the tradition, the Szeklers built a castle on one of the hills in the surroundings, and the Várbérc (Castle Rock) place name is also used today.One of the Tartar hordes began to besiege this small, but strong fortress. Surely they would have occupied it, and the refugees would have been captured if the Szeklers had not been courageous. There was among them a robust, tall, strong lass, Kate Csergő, who with the courage of Jeanne d'Arc, incited the men for resistance and fight. She was the leader of the troop, destroying the Tartars with sword and halberd, while a handful of defenders pushed the last „dog-head” far from the valley. In memory of the exploit of Kata Csergő, one of the local sources was named the Kata’s well, from which tourists can also quench their thirst. According to Balázs Orbán, the Tatars later destroyed the castle, so the locals left their ruins and settled at a farther place. In a picturesque valley, Magyarós is not named for the heroes of the castle but for the many hazelnuts (mogyoró = hazelnut) around it.Above the village, on the other side of the hill, the Bekecs-peak is considered a sacred place, and in former times on its glade there was a chapel, and the new building on its site can be visited today. From the peak you can see almost the whole country of Nyárád, the place of the former Szekler–Tartar battles. The place is surrounded by special oak woods and wildflower meadows, relaxing the tourists – as if the weather stopped when the visitor arrives on the peak and looks into the countryside, as in good weather one can see even to Hargita Mountains.Not only the Tartar invasion, but also the First World War affected the village. The memorial erected in the memory of Szekler heroes, has been also a local point of interest for more than a hundred years. Like their heroic predecessor, Kata Csergő of the legends, they also showed the famous courage of the Szeklers.

Learn more

Csombod’s Castle - Sărățeni, Chibed

Between Kibéd / Chibed and Sóvárad / Sărăţeni, on a height, there was once a knightly castle of Csombod, in the well of which the legendary soldier had hidden a great number of treasures. The lord of the castle, Csombod had a strong, high-pitched voice – so that when he exclaimed, "The Csombod valiant is on his way!," everyone heard it and nobody had the courage to step on the way leading out from the castle. It is believed that the valiant created a tunnel inside the hill below the castle, and he successfully defended the fortress built on the hill against the enemy for a long time. But once the Tatars arrived with the troop so large that he was forced to accept, he would not be able to fight against the numerical superiority or the starving. So he decided to leave the castle together with his soldiers, but first he hid his treasures in the stomach of the earth. They fleed to the nearby Hallgató-peak where they waited quietly for the dog-heads to retreat, but the people were entrapped by the latter. The treasure is still hidden inside the hill, waiting to be found.In the vicinity of Sóvárad – as its name also suggests –were probably built castle or castles, smaller fortifications.In Maros comitatus there were several similar fortresses in the Middle Ages, and Sóvárad could have been one of the chain links of Szekler Castle system, which, according to scientific research, may have been destroyed by a Tartar invasion. If we do not even find the treasure of the Csombod valiant, it is still worth hiking in the area and imagine the events of the legendary times, to go through the talking place names.In parallel with the supposed location of the castle of Csombod, there is another hill line running down to the riverside of Little Küküllő. The first peak is called the Joy Hill, as, according to the folkways, the leader of the troop besetting the Castle of Csombod after he had won the castle reveled there, celebrating his victory.Surrounded by forests and meadows, Sóvárad is famous for its Szekler's gates and characteristic peasant houses, its Reformed church. There is also a village museum. Near the settlement, there are several salt-water, medicinal springs. One of the springs rises from the Castle of Csombod – it is said that its water is painted red by the castellan’s treasure.

Learn more

Fickó - Magyaró, Monosfalu

In the picturesque valley of Maros / Mureş, not far from Deda, lies a small town in the direction of Szászrégen / Reghin, which, according to a folk legend, was named when the villagers made two bulls fight. A farther part of Monosfalva wanted to split away from the settlement, people almost got into a fight with each other, but for their peace the old men advised the two parties to choose a bull each and their struggle should decide on the fate of the village. It went like that: the two bulls were confronted in the field, and the fight was won by the bull of the people wanting to become independent. According to the folk tale, the stronger bull was called Fickó, and the separated settlement was named Fickó and Fickópatak out of respect for the winner bull.The Maros Valley, from Deda to Szászrégen, abounds in natural sights – not just on the surface, but also under the ground, as there are several so-called log-caves in the area. The Transylvanian basin of today was a sea ​​tens of thousands of years ago, and the Kelemen / Calimani, Görgényi/Gurghiu and Gyergyó/Gheorgheni mountains emerged due to the volcanic activity of this sea. The Gheorgheni Basin is connected to the Transylvanian Basin by the Maros Valley, and in the surrounding area were formed the lakes of Ratosnya, Palotailva, Göde.However, these catchment lakes have been filled with volcanic deposits over time, thus forming such formations as the Hétsziklák / Seven Rocks of the Ratosnya, or the Szerecsen Rock of Szalárd and the Sólyomkő. All of these are worth a trip, and we cannot miss one of the most famous caves, the Hut of Ládás, to which a marked tourist path leads.The picturesque beauty of the landscape, its history, the lives of its inhabitants inspired many Transylvanian writers and poets, such as János Kemény, Albert Wass or Lajos Áprily. At the same time, there are plenty of folk legends that tell stories about the birth of different settlements, caves and natural sights – such as the story of a bull called Fickó, the name of which is remembered by a small village.

Learn more

Treasure Hills - Livezeni

The settlement called Jedd near Marosvásárhely / Târgu Mureş was regularly robbed centuries ago by both the Turks and the Tartars. However, according to a legend, the treasures of the Turks can still be found beneath the Jedd hills.Legend says that the Turkish soldiers who devastated the village were sharing the robbed treasures, when the Jedd refugees in the forests saw that the Turks were about to escape. Because at that time the Tartars came to Jedd, and the Turkish soldiers sought to hide the treasures from them. Thus, under the Jedd forest, they dug several pits, and hid the stolen treasures in the ground, and then ran away.The Tatars who arrived in the village and its surroundings did not find anything to rob, and they burned down the homes in Jedd out of revenge.After the Tartars had left the village, the locals could finally come out. They returned to the village and rebuilt it, but all the treasures hidden beneath the hills near the woods were forgotten by all. But folk legend says that one day, one of the Jedd farmers received a letter from an unknown expeditor – in which it was exactly written where the Turkish Treasures had been buried. Supposedly the farmer found the stolen treasures and disappeared with them, but another narrative is just the opposite: a lot of gold, silver and diamonds are under the ground ever since.According to science, the interesting land hills were created in the southwest of Jedd due to a landslide. Between these hills the Turkish troops could have indeed camped in 1662, still under the leadership of Ali pasha. Hills hiding the treasures are worth visiting not only as fortune-hunters, but also as hikers, and looking at the forests which protected the locals during the attacks.Jedd's other attraction is the Calvinist Church, built in 1816, when the material of the old Gothic-style church was used. In the small settlement there are several guesthouses and boarding houses.Jedd is developing more and more, however, due to the proximity of Marosvásárhely / Târgu Mures, rather than the treasures under the land hills.

Learn more

Devil’s Ditch - Dumitreni

On the left side of Kis-Küküllő, near Balavásár, in a picturesque, narrow valley lies Szentdemeter, where there was once a castle that was similar in the reatness and beauty to the castle of Lázár in Gyergyószárhegy. Unfortunately, over the centuries the castle has been destroyed, but there are still many interesting sights and stories in the small town and its surroundings, which captivate visitors here.One of the best-known attractions is the nearby Devil's Ditch, a mysterious and old mound line that is related to the history of the Castle from Szentdemeter. From the Elek Benedek's tale, we know that three great gentlemen, Balázsi, Nyujtódi and Csáki (these names are true, some of the noble families living in the neighborhood) have built the castle for several years, while working the locals abominably and plundering those who went there. They even became friends with the devil so that they could continue to dominate the inhabitants. The devil has heard the wishes and the curses of the simple people, and he made the truth: the nobles were tied to an enormous ploughshare, forcing them to dig a long ditch near Szentdemeter, let them know what the torment is. The villagers might even hear the shout of the devil and the screams of his whip – the ditch dug by the nobles has been called the Devil's Ditch ever since.The valley of Demeter, which is a popular tourist attraction, was destroyed also by natural disasters – in August 1940, huge floods damaged the houses in the village. Then a young man from Hungary taught the villagers a new craft to offer them livelihood: the tradition of cornhusks-braiding was transferred from father to son, and there are still old people who know this craft. Spun cornhusks are used not only for the manufacturing of consumer goods, baskets, but also for souvenirs and decorative objects for visitors.Nowadays, the church of Szentdemeter, rebuilt several times, but still maintaining its medieval character, is the most visited place in the settlement, and the valley itself, in which once the legendary lords had so much to suffer from fraternizing with the devil.

Learn more

Paladomb's Fairies - Eremieni

One of the places for the rare battles between the fairy-tale fairies and devils was Paladomb (Slate Hill) near Nyárádszentimre. The village and its surroundings in the little valley were donated by King Saint László to his three loyal noble men, who founded the settlement. According to the folkways, fairies lived near Paladomb, and they made sure that the lands were always generous. However, once a year devils also appeared in this area trying to chase out the fairies out of their living place.The people of the village called these evil creatures nightmares, and they felt obliged to defend the kind-hearted fairies from them. When the devils attacked them, the villagers outsmarted these unearthly evil-spirits, throwing burning tree branches into the air, and the devils believed that God helped the fairies. So they quickly disappeared from the Paladomb neighborhood and never returned. Being grateful, the fairies made the lands more fertile in Nyárádszentmihály and its surroundings.In the small village, on another hill there is a very old monument church in Gothic style. Balázs Orbán wrote about it, "... here, however, we are fortunate to find a very nice and well-preserved Gothic monument that worthily arouses the archeologist's attention."An interesting addition to visitors is the fact that there is a funeral shaft under the church, which is supposed to serve as a grave for monks. On the inner wall there are mural fragments, one of which representing the crucifixion of Jesus. The gallery and the floor are of a distinctly blue color, the parapets are decorated with white embroideries.Tourists can see embroideries not only in the church, but also in the village museum – in the small museum called by locals as "red-white-green house" you can see old crafts, workshops and tools, some of which can be tried. There are great hiking opportunities in the area. Although the people living on Paladomb no longer encounter fairies and demons, their inheritance lives in the memory of the village.

Learn more

The Dragon’s Source - Jacodu

Next to Magyarzsákod rises the rocky peak named Várutahegyese / Castle Hill, its bare peaks emerge from the small valley in which this settlement rests. A source called Dragon’s source springs from the side of the mountain.According to the folk legend, the dragon lived in the swamp below the mountain. He was strong, dumb, and every year he demanded a virgin lass from the locals of the village in exchange for leaving them in peace. Thus, the people were afraid as long as it was the turn of the fiancé of a handsome knight, the ancestor of the Bethlen family from Bún, but the valiant wasn’t afraid and started as David to go to Goliath, who lived in the swamp. His mistress was afraid, asked him to stay, but he was intransigent. He challenged the evil dragon, and before it regained consciousness, he ran his spear into its heart, and then carried away the beast's head to Zsákod.Magyarzsákod, a small settlement not far from Segesvár / Sighisoara, at the source of Zsákod brook, did not receive its name from this hero, but from the fact that it stretches into the surrounding high hills as a bag (zsák = bag). A fabulous sight appears in front of the traveler, looking around from the Castle Mountain. Historical sources and Balázs Orbán mention a ruined fortress, but its exact location on these highlands has not yet been identified. "There is no trace of it here, though the plow (because the high hilltops in this area are also ploughed) uncovered a lot of tile pieces," writes Balázs Orbán.The inhabitants of the village converted to Unitarian faith during the Reformation, but two centuries later the Horváth family built a Catholic chapel, which was extended to church in 1826. Beside the Unitarian church rebuilt in the 19th century, there is a belfry where the greatest bells of the surroundings can be seen. The two bells were made by Frigyes Hönig in Arad in 1921 and 1936.Sándor Hegedüs (1847–1906), the famous son of Zsákod, publicist, economist and financial expert who was a trade minister at the time of dualism, and former parliamentary deputy of Kolozsvár / Cluj-Napoca. In his honor, a memorial room was set up in his home village, which can also be visited.Even the cut head of the evil dragon cannot be seen, you can leave Zsákod with the experience of the picturesque scenery and spiritual journey back to historical times.

Learn more

The Fairie’s Gathering Place - Ghindari

Near Makfalva, on the left bank of Kis-Küküllő, between the two small brooks, according to the folk tradition, once there was the castle of a Szekler Rabonban (voievod) called Maka. During the Tartar invasion and after that, the defenders gradually settled in the hilly area near the fortress, Várután, and later founded the Makfalva named after the castle.After a while, the Szeklers left the castle, but it did not last long. According to a local legend, cheerful fairies took possession of them who played music every night, sang and danced among the old walls. The inhabitants were very fond of them, dreaming of their music and singing more beautifully than ever. However, not long afterwards cloudy times came, and the peaceful beings were forced to flee to more protected, forested areas.The castle that remained without a resident then began to be destroyed, its stones were slowly carried away by the inhabitants of Makfalva, and now the exact location of the former fortification cannot be found. On the other hand, the high place where the castle once stood can still be visited – local people called it the Fairies' gathering place, thus keeping the memory of the cheerful creatures. Makfalva suffered several natural disasters in the last century: a landslide and an earthquake destroyed its Calvinist church, which was rebuilt – one of the sights of Makfalva today.The locals consider that the famous peasant leader GyörgyDózsa is also the native of the settlement: if you go, visit the Dósa manor house, built in 1813, where an ethnographic museum was established.Earlier, the inhabitants of the settlement used to live mainly from handicrafts and flax processing. Their descendants still believe that Fairies return to the ruined fortress once a year, at the beginning of November, they revel until dawn, and then disappear from the countryside. They cast a spell to their gathering place, this is why the November sky is gray, then the rainy weather comes. But during clear and quiet nights they sometimes hear the soul-stirring music of these fabulous creatures.

Learn more

Farewell Bench - Cristești

Southwards of Maroskeresztúr, a mountain rises between the Maros / Mures and the Nyárád / Niraj River, one of which is called Farewell Bench. According to some opinions, it got the name from the fact that he had long been a pilgrimage place even before the Reformation. Another tradition, however, says that the place has a sadder history: at this place the Szekler men going to battle said good-bye to their beloved, dear ones, whom they left at home. Balázs Orbán writes that the farewell was a touching, solemn moment: the parents blessed the weapons of the warriors while they were told, "Fight with it to get honour for your homeland and for me." Families escorted them to this place, and many soldiers were seen here at the Farewell Bench for the last time.The inhabitants of Maroskeresztúr lived over centuries many devastations and turbulent times. In 1600, Giorgio Basta general's soldiers killed not only the fleeing inhabitants, but also set fire to their temple-fortress. Later, Polish and Tartar troops broke into Transylvania and they devastated the village – for a long time Pusztakeresztúr (puszta = desert) was its name.In this settlement was born one of the greatest figures of 19th century Transylvanian Hungarian medicine, Vilmos Knöpfler, who was also a member of the Hungarian Parliament. His name is attached to the foundation of the hospital in Marosvásárhely / Târgu-Mureş. He built the Castle of Maroskeresztúr / Cristesti, which burned down later.Cristesti has nowadays been completely built together with the nearby Marosvásárhely, its main attractions are the rebuilt churches during the centuries.Visitors to Cristesti today can visit the still-recognizable Farewell Bench, which is not the place of resignation, but the sign of the hope of the seeing again: the lovers of Szekler warriors who had gone to war always believed in the return of soldiers. It is not a coincidence that they said good-bye to them so: "Come back so I can be proud of you!" The Farewell Bench reminds people today of the Szeklers’ courage, determination and Spartan simplicity. If we climb up this hill, think of the former Szekler mothers, fathers and fiancées, who looked at the horizon with hope over many years, waiting for the return of their loved ones.

Learn more

Legend of the rider from Apold

The small village next to Sighisoara is guarded by the fortress church. The village is decorated with beautiful Saxon houses recalling the late Middle Ages and the New Age, which will definitely make visitors stop. The village lies in the valley of the Segesd stream and is not identical with the settlements between Nagyszeben / Sibiu and Szászsebes / Sebeș, Nagyapold / Apoldu de Sus and Kisapold / Apoldu de Jos. According to the legend, the village was named after a rider centuries ago. The first version of his name was said to be Trapold (it bears the same name in German today), as a rider was on a horse named Old. When he began to rush his horse to gallop, he shouted, "Trapp, Old! Trapp, Old! ”- this is how the small village got its name. However, it is much more likely that the Saxons who moved here from Oppelshausen in Germany called the settlement Apoldia, which shortened over time to its present form. Apold was famous not only for the origin of its name and the Saxon houses, but also for the Gothic fortified church, which stands on a hill in the middle of the village. In the 13th century a basilica without a tower stood here, and the Saxons built the Gothic church in the 15th century, with a bell tower. The double wall ring and the portholes in it suggest that the facility was used for defense purposes - there are other portholes on the bell tower with wooden circular gallery. The gate tower is called Haferturm, that is the Zabos Tower, the other is called Wisserturm, namely the White Tower, and on the gate the year 1529 can be read. It was renovated even twice in the 17th century, and in 1723 a clock was placed in the bell tower, where a wooden sculpture appears every hour. The organ placed above the altar of the Apoldi Fortress was created by the organ builder Johann Theiss in 1821. As for accommodation, old Saxon houses in Apold were transformed into pensions and guesthouses - their operators tried to preserve, or even expand, the typical tools, furniture and atmosphere of the old houses. Some houses were damaged over the centuries, even though one feels like moving into this beautiful village. Especially if you taste the special cottage cheese considered as local specialty, which is served with traditionally cooked eggs and butter by the local people. If we walk around the walls of the castle or on the streets of Apold, we can see a rider coming, who maybe does not resent if we ask him to encourage his horse in the same way as the rider did according to the legend.

Learn more

The land of witches - Bún / Boiu

The village of Bún / Boiu near Fehéregyháza / Albești is made up of Small and Large Bún. The folklore believes that witches once lived in these very old settlements - and in the nearby Küküllősárd / Șoard settlement, as well… There is a great number both of witches and caves in the area - not far from these mysterious caverns, one of the last battles of the 1848-49 Revolution and War of Independence took place on the field in Fehéregyháza. The folk tradition says about these non ordinary caves that they are groundless: if someone throws a stone into the cave's mouth, it will disappear forever. The locals keep telling a story that a dog chasing a rabbit rushed into such a duct and its master could no longer see it. In fact, they also knew that the depth had swallowed a cow together with the chariot, and girls had disappeared from the village - the inhabitants of the region suspect they had been lost in such caves, as well. The local witches were known to be extremely weird creatures by the people from the settlements Bún and Sárd. It was believed that, they had regularly stolen the milk of the locals' cows with their secret practices, and the farmers noticed much of the telling signals after a long time. Sooner or later, all the witches were unveiled: the villagers noticed a woman-like figure, who squeezed milk from the corners of her kerchief, and another made her own pet and helper, a toad underneath the udder of the cow, so she entranced the animal. There were others who swirled a cyclonic storm on the field, thus taking the shepherd far away to take the sheep milk until he returned. Over time, when the villagers were aware of these practices and were sick of being mocked by the witches, they found many rituals to protect their cows from them. They considered effective to place a dog head underneath the manger or, if they started to utter Lord’s prayer, then stabbed the fork four or five times into the floor, thus defeating the malicious intent. Since there are no witches in the region today - at least the locals do not tell stories about them today - tourists do not have to be afraid from the whirlwind, they can go on a tour. Small villages can be travelled through by foot or by bicycle in good weather. The area of Bún and Sárd area was originally inhabited by Saxon settlers, and in 1564 Reformed Hungarians moved to the village, who later converted to the Unitarian religion. Instead of the damaging spirits of folk beliefs, the wind of history touches us at Bún, when we visit the ruins of the once magnificent Bethlen Castle. The noble mansion was built by Bethlen Farkas historian, the 17th-century Chancellor of Transylvania. The building overcame succesfully the storms of the 20th century, and during the decades of communism, the state economic offices of Fehéregyháza settlement were located there. In the neighborhood of the castle is the river Great Küküllő - after a significant flood in the 1970s, a dam was built near the mansion. By the time the dam was finished, the building became abandoned. From the 1980s onwards, it was gradually destroyed, its doors, windows and beams were carried away. As we move on to the hill called Sárkánykő / Dragonstone, it is recommended to step carefully, so that nobody can be thrown into one of the bottomless pits by the droughty witches. 

Learn more

Tatar's pass - Vălenii de Mureș

The settlements along the Upper Maros were plundered by the Tatars for centuries, but sometimes they were stopped by the Szeklers who joined their forces. For example, in Disznajó, the folklore believes that it was necessary to escape from the Tatars many times, now and then in the last moments – it happened that a rider brought the news that foreign troops were already in the neighboring settlement Idecs / Ideciu. Around 1420, near the settlement was built a castle, the remains of which can still be seen today. In spite of the strong walls of Maros, built with hot lime, the Tatars conquered it, and according to the folk myth, only the mistress of the castle remained as messenger who, hiding in the chimney, escaped from the enemy. The men neighboring Magyaró / Aluniș hurried to help the people in Disznajó. They managed to make the Tartars flee with a trick: there was a woody hillside nearby, the attackers chased the Szeklers, but on the zigzag, steep hillside, using the martial art of the ancient Hungarians, they turned against the Tatars and made them retreat. The Tatars, without knowing the field, fled until they reached the neighboring steep slope. The people from Magyaró let them flee, and the steep hillside near Disznajó was named Tatárhágó / Tatar pass in memory of the event. The region of Upper Maros is mostly covered by forests. This part of the Maros shore was once a royal castle estate, the center of which was the nearby Mures. The local forests in the Middle Ages were rich in wildlife - as they are today, they were an important hunting ground. Disznajó and its surroundings changed owners several times over the centuries, but fortunately several areas remained untouched: large forests, pastures, glades are wonderful hiking tours to this day, being popular destinations for group trips. There are few good quality lands near the village. In the settlement, animal husbandry became more common, because oak forests, pastures, glades, forests and mountain streams with clear water made this possible. The other main source of livelihood was, of course, forestry: the rafting on Maros has a long tradition, which dates back to the 19th century. The name of the village is believed to be of Bulgarian origin, the word "ná desznájá beregá", that is to say, on the right bank, even though the locals tell a Hungarian story: a person once suggested that the village should have a distinguished, ornate name, and the others they answered "well." The settlement is abundant in speaking names: for example, the Togát Street originates from the fact that the Patócsy family built a fish pond or dam for the regulation of the lake water supply. Another interesting feature of the village is Sóskút: the salt supply caused difficulties for the locals, so the water was transported from the salt water well at the boundary of the settlement – it was used for porridge cooking and cabbage storing. Medieval fresco fragments can be seen on the walls of the Reformed Church in Disznajó, which was expanded and rebuilt in 1888, and they were probably made in the 14th century. There was also a tombstone from 1586 - from the times when the Tatars invaded small settlements like Disznajó. Today, during a forest hike, we no longer encounter fleeing Tatars or the grey-dressed mistress of the castle, but the great number of tourists being interested in the region. Instead of sword fighting, the hillside is full of cheerful birds, a place of the Szekler victory long ago.

Learn more

The memory of the 1848-49 Hungarian War of Independence - Albești

The settlement near Sighisoara is a crucially important historical monument. Here, one of the last battles of the 1848-49 Hungarian War of Independence took place, when Sándor Petőfi and the revolutionary Domokos Zeyk died and disappeared here. In honor of the freedom fighters, statues were erected, memorial sites were established at the main sites of the battle, the local Haller estate and the nearby Ispánkút. There are several mass graves in the area. The events of 1849 are mystified today, it is difficult to separate the facts from the more than one and a half centuries-old public stories. But the battle surely happened, and the rebellious Hungarians led by József Bem of Poland were defeated by the Russian army due to their overpower. Not only the disappearance and supposed death of the poet Sándor Petőfi (last seen in Ispánkút, where a restored Petőfi Memorial can be visited today) is related to the Battle of White Church, but also the act of heroism of Domokos Zeyk originating from Transylvania, whose memory lives vividly in the region. The martial, brave soldier served as a lieutenant, then as a captain in the Hungarian War of Independence. In the Battle at Fehéregyháza he played a role in the rescue of General Bem József, and it is also remembered that he asked Petőfi to get on his horse to save the poet, but he resisted. According to tradition, Zeyk had a single sword, and he turned alone against the Cossacks to stop them, and they couldn't defeat him. The enemy wanted to catch him alive, but, being surrounded, he shot himself with his pistol. The incident happened near the Ispánkút, and the brave soldier, like Petőfi, rests in a mass grave in Fehéregyháza. A school center in Székelykeresztúr is named after him, street bears his name in Budapest. The memory of the noble Haller family and the former castle are closely related to the history of the settlement. For centuries, Hallers were the dominant personalities of the region, both economically and culturally. The ten-meter-high turul monument is on their former estate, which was set up in 1899 alongside a presumed mass grave. In addition to the monument, Countess Lujza Haller also established a memorial park and a Petőfi Memorial House in the same period - after many decades, these facilities can still be visited, moreover they were extended with the statues of Sándor Petőfi and József Bem. The small museum is maintained and operated by Sándor Petőfi Cultural Association, the exhibition of the 19th century Hungary, the War of Independence and the last days of Petőfi can be viewed in it, renovated in 2000. For several centuries, the Hallers had also their castle in Fehéregyháza, which was largely destroyed by the middle of the 20th century, but a great number of beliefs, hearsays are attached to it. According to the oral tradition, a tunnel led from the castle to the nearby forest, and another guided to the monastery of Kolostordomb, the site of the present-day cemetery. The tourists visit mainly Fehéregyháza, but there are also several spectacular and characteristic buildings. Saxons, Hungarians, Romanians and Gypsies lived together for centuries in the settlement - the unique architectural monuments of each nation can be seen on the main street. On the main street where Petőfi, Zeyk and Bem once fought for their freedom, the freedom of the Hungarians. 

Learn more

Daru's Hill - Gorneşti

The name of the village on the Mureş is probably derived from the word gernye that means wizened tree: the settlers desiccated the surrounding forests to establish the settlement. Some of the locations in Gernyeszeg still have unique names with meaning that are linked to legends and myths. For example, Darudombja, which tells us that there were two bulls there - one called Daru, he lost the fight. The animal was buried on that hill and bears its name ever since. The highest point of the village was called the Lords' Table - this traces back to the old times when the one-time lord hunted with his friends. On the top of the hill were wooden tables and chairs, where the hunters rested and had lunch there. The young men in the village were the drivers: they could not sit at the Lord's table, but they received fresh loaves and wine for help. Another part of Gernyeszeg was called the Horse Garden - it used to be a spacious meadow where horses, foals were grazing, and the barn was also there. The villagers gradually bought the area, but the name remained. If we go to Gernyeszeg, we have to visit two buildings by all means. One of them is the Gothic-style Reformed Church in the Middle Ages in the center of the village, which was transformed several times over the centuries, but its impressive sight dominates the village center even today. Its big bell is from 1456. At that time, the village was owned by the Erdélyi family from Somkerék and later became the property of the Teleki family. The other famous Gernyeszeg building is the former castle, which was rebuilt in 1686 by Chancellor Mihály Teleki. Similarly to the Bethlen Castle in Mezőzáh, this building was designed with numerology, with 52 rooms and 365 windows. Sámuel Teleki, a famous African researcher of the Teleki family, held a remarkable collection and library in this castle, but these were destroyed in the warlike periods of the 20th century, only part of them were saved and handed over to the Teleki Library in Marosvásárhely. After its nationalization, it was reclaimed and renovated, and today it gives home to successful events. The Baroque-style castle park is decorated with the statues of mythological figures. Tourists visiting Gernyeszeg can take part in the castle day which takes place in the castle park, gaining in popularity from one year to another. Tourists can not only enter the imposing Baroque building complex, but can also be engaged in events both for children and adults. The renovated and well-functioning Gernyeszegi Castle gives home to an artist colony and a chamber music festival every year. If we have admired the Reformed Church and the Teleki Castle, we can go to the Lords' Table where anyone can sit down today. We don't even have to worry about meeting the horses of the Horse Garden or the bulls grazing on Darudomb. 

Learn more

Tails from Trei Sate / Hármasfalu

On the right bank of the river Kis-Küküllő / Small Tarnava, Hármasfalu / Trei Sate, situated in the vicinity of Erdőszentgyörgy / Sângeorgiu de Pădure and Makfalva / Ghindari, was established in 1950 by merging three villages – Csókfalva / Cioc, Atosfalva / Hotești and Székelyszentistván / Ștefănești. The mother village was Székelyszentistván. Here is situated the Reformed church built in 1880, but according to tradition, there was an ancient church here in the time of King St. Stephen. For example, there are many beliefs about the places at the boundaries of the settlement, for example, it is said about the caverns of the site called Virgó that gold is veritably produced there that is regularly harvested and taken away by mysterious aliens. The boundary part called Keme Bükke got its name from a Hungarian leader, and according to folk tradition, there was a fortress on the Kozmáné Hill. On the pole of the castle a white flag was fluttering in peacetime, but if it was a red flag on the fortress, it was considered as a danger signal - the men ran with their weapons to defend the castle and the village. The people of the village Szentistván consider that II. Ferenc Rákóczi also often hunted in this region. He set up a camp several times on the top of the border, this is why it is still called the Prince's Meadow. The origin of the other village, Csókfalva, is related to King Matthias. The King once passed through the village accompanied by a cortege, and before he could drink, his populous escort, his soldiers all agitated the good-quality water of the village wells. The king remained almost thirsty, but a beautiful peasant girl, whose house was avoided by the soldiers, came to help him. She brought clean water from there in an ornate jug for King Matthias, who, thanks to her, kissed both of her cheeks - the girl became Matthias's maid of honour, and the village was named Csókfalva. The same story appears in Szentistván, but according to legend, King St. Stephen himself kissed a girl, this is how the village got its name. According to another story, the founders of Csókfalva could not decide whether to establish a village or city. As the majority said "it should be only a village", the settlement was founded as a village. In the third village, Atosfalva, we find a belief related to the Prince of Rákóczi: during a campaign, the prince planted a lime tree (as the people call it: zádokfa) in the village, which is said to be still there today. According to Balázs Orbán, the modern Atosfalva was formed by the fact that six families fled from the plague epidemic to Szentistván - so it was first called Hatosfalva, and later its name was formed by omitting its initial letter. The Unitarian Church built in 1798 in Csókfalva is one of the most beautiful sights, and in Székelyszentistván, it is worth visiting the Barátosi Mansion House. Walking around the beautiful mansion houses, through the lively little streets, they can remind us of the kissing stories associated with the settlement. If we get tired, we can relax in the shade of beautiful lime trees in a princely way. 

Learn more

The Legacy of the Bethlens - Criș

The history of the small settlement belonging to the municipality of Dános, southwest of Sighisoara, is combined with the history of the Bethlens, one of the largest and oldest aristocratic families in Transylvania. According to one of the legends, a dangerous cockatrice nested in Keresd, in the cove of the Wendchenberg mountain, claiming every week a bigger animal or a man as a victim. But the Bethlens settled in Keresd, built a castle, and helped the poor many times, especially during the famine in winter. They also put an end to the horror of the cockatrice: the ancestor of the Bethlens was actually a carman who defeated the cockatrice with a trick, and was rewarded with a castle that had originally belonged to the Teleki family. The carman skinned a sheep, and stuffed its fur with the unslaked lime from the nearby lime pit and then sewed it. He threw it to the dragon that eagerly swallowed up the bait, but the lime came to the boil in it and destroyed it. That's why you see a snake in the coat of arms of Bethlenek. In Keresd, this small settlement inhabited by the Saxons in former times, live today Romanian and Gypsy people. Most of the Saxons have emigrated - the Bethlen Castle, which is the most important attraction of the area, still stands in the village of a few hundred people. You need to get off the main road between Medgyes and Segesvár, although the road to the village is in bad shape, the castle's sight, the experience, the time travel compensates the visitor for everything. The Renaissance castle was built in two stages: between 1580-1590, and in the 17th century, when it was flourishing. It was an important fortress also from a military point of view, as bastions were built to it. The castle was built on a rectangular foundation, today having only two of its original four bastions with battlements and reliefs decorations. As the front was approaching in 1944, the Bethlens left the castle, which was nationalized, and it deteriorated during communism. The descendants of the Bethlens were given back the castle in 2007, and in 2014, it was granted for use to the Saint Francis Foundation in Deva led by Csaba Böjte, for fifty years, - so the fortress is restored by the foundation, as a cultural, training and tourist center. In the garden of the castle and in its surroundings, tourists should walk cautiously, as the little descendants of the cockatrice in the Bethlens’ coat of arms can still scare them. 

Learn more

Zaszpad's treasure cave - Aluniș

The area of Magyaró, situated north-east of Szászrégen / Reghin, was probably inhabited by Saxons centuries ago – as the name of the hill called Zászpád suggests, which can be a modified version of Szászpad. The mountain was believed to have been named after the local Saxon king who had a beautiful daughter. The girl was kidnapped by a dragon living in the depths of the mountain, and valiants, knights, princes came in vain from all places, none of them could defeat the beast. Finally, an artful shepherd of Magyaró appeared, asking the king only to give him the brightest sword, and to post the most beautiful daughter of the area at the cave entrance for distraction. As the dragon rushed out from the cave, the hiding lad cut off all its seven the heads with one stroke. Being grateful to the shepherd, the king offered his daughter as wife for the shepherd – they danced so much during the wedding, that all the trees were dumped, and there were no trees at the top of the Szászpad hill. According to another legend, the Tatars were also settled in Zászpád, and the robbed treasures were kept in a cave sealed with a iron grate. Although the Tatars were expelled from Magyaró's surroundings, their mysterious treasures may have been secured with curses, as all of the treasure hunters were completely absorbed by the earth. People were afraid of the place for a long time because it was believed that people entering the iron door never returned. There is also a belief that a lion lives in the cave: if someone throws a stone into the mouth of the cave, a terrible growl can be heard. The village of Magyaró probably got its name from the nearby hazel bushes. The castle actually existed: the so-called Mentővár / Rescue fortress was built in the 1300s. For centuries, the inhabitants of Upper Maros Basin fled there, as they suffered not only from the devastation of the Tatar hordes, but also from other dangers. Visitors of the village can still see the remains of the foundation wall of the castle, easy to be recognized. The small settlement is surrounded by forests, fields, pastures and streams with abundant water, so the area is an excellent hunting area. According to tradition, lords, crown princes regularly hunted in the forests around Magyaró, of course, except from the local landowners. The church in Magyaró is considered as an important monument, since its sanctuary was built in the 15th century. It was broadened over the centuries, but in 1801 it was damaged by a fire. It guards a very valuable piece of art: a tin canna from 1620 and a bell made in 1660. If we climb up from Magyaró in good weahter to the 1241 meter high Zászpád, we can see from the top even Marosvásárhely / Târgu Mureș. Do not be afraid, because the offsprings of the legendary shepherd are still grazing their sheep there, and there are no Tatars or beasts in the cave. 

Learn more

History of Târgu Mureș

It is the commercial, industrial and intellectual center of Szeklerland, being one of the largest cities in Transylvania, on the banks of the Mures River. Its greatest attraction is undoubtedly the castle and the castle church, which resisted proudly against the storms in the past centuries. The city lies at the confluence of three major landscapes, the Mezőség / Câmpia Transilvaniei, the Mures Valley and the Nyárád / Niraj Region. The downtown area of Târgu-Mureş surrounds the square of Roses with its many churches and baroque and Art Nouveau buildings. The Palace of Public Administration and the Palace of Culture are next to each other and the main square of the city is also decorated by the Church of St. John the Baptist and the remaining tower of the Monks’ Church. The building of the former church and monastery was demolished at the beginning of the 70’s when the National Theater was built, thus becoming a symbol of the destruction of Romanian socialism. The most imposing medieval building of the city is undoubtedly the castle and the castle church. The fortress lying on a land of four and a half hectares, with seven bastions is one of the largest castles in Transylvania. In the southwestern part is the Reformed Castle Church. According to tradition, the first church built there was destroyed during the Tatar invasion in 1241, and the next one was surrounded by fortress walls in the 1480s. The castle still visible today was built at the beginning of the 1600s - at that time Tamás Borsos, the then city leader, fled to Brasov at that time, and then returned home to convince the citizens of the city of the need to build the castle. The fortress served as a military building until 1962, and then the buildings in it were converted into museums and event rooms. Near the castle, the famous Teleki Téka is also located in the city center, where one of the oldest and most important books collection in Transylvania is preserved. Many outstanding personalities of Hungarian and Transylvanian Romanian culture also studied in the „Bolyai Farkas” Theoretical High School with a great history. Marosvásárhely / Târgu Mureș, after Cluj-Napoca, is one of the most important cities of Transylvanian culture with its theaters, libraries, and enjoyable, regular and periodic events throughout the year. In addition to the monuments and downtown attractions, the highest point of Târgu Mureş, / Cornesti Plateau is perhaps the most important tourist attraction, including the zoo functioning since the early 1960s. From Somostető surrounded by forests, several tourist routes, such as the Terebics or the Cinege Plateau, lead to the vicinal excursion destinations. Marosvásárhely / Târgu Mureş is a citadel in Transylvania - an unforgettable place in the region, with many attractions and a special historical atmosphere. 

Learn more

Old beliefs from Brâncovenești

One of the most impressive buildings of the Upper Maros Basin is the Castle of Marosvécs - with many legends, myths and folk beliefs related to its construction and history. According to one of the myths, the first inhabitants of the castle were probabl giants. These creatures were so huge that when they asked for a sieve from their fellows living in the Castle of Zászpád near Magyaró / Aluniș, one and a half hours away, they were handed over to them with one move. Beliefs wang their way about the fact that there were more tunnels on the hillside of Vécs, one of them connects the castle with the Holtmaros fortress on the other side of the river. There were fairies on the meadow and in the forest under the castle, who always came up at midnight and bathed in the stream called „Gödörhát”. The folk tradition says about the nearby Alsóidecs / Ideciu de Jos that treasures were hidden in Leányvár / Girl Castle, also known as Spitzburg (in German, "Peaky Castle"). In the 13th century Saxons settled here - they thought the giants had left an immeasurable treasure in the stomach of the hill after they disappeared. The Marosvécs edifice, known as the Kemény Castle today - unlike a good part of the beliefs surrounding it - is very real: besides the fact that it is one of the cradles of Hungarian literature in Transylvania, it is one of the oldest monuments in Mureş county. It was built in the middle of the 15th century, and the former fortress was replaced by the castle. Its actual form was won in the following century - the Kemény family, giving prince to Transylvania, came into the possession of the castle and estate after 1648, which remained in its possession for decades except from communism. In the famous castle garden, the Helikon literary meetings were held in the 1920s and '30s, led by János Kemény, writer and protector. The famous stone table, which was designed and carved by Károly Kós, in memory of Aladár Kuncz, still stands there today. János Kemény, a writer and his wife, was buried near the stone table, and in 2000, the ashes of Wass Albert were placed near their grave. Another place of interest is the Reformed church without a tower in the neighborhood of the castle. Built by the Kemény family in 1727, art historians call it one of the most unified Rococo spaces in Transylvanian church architecture. For tourists visiting the castle, the church is also a sight worth seeing. There are no giants in the castle and on the hillside of Marosvécs - but the ghosts of the giants of Transylvanian Hungarian literature can be somewhere in the Kemény Castle and in its garden where so many lofty words and thoughts were uttered. 

Learn more

The treasure guardian fairies of the Pagan Fortress - Band

The hill named Pagan Fortress rises between Mezőbánd and Mezősámsond, and although it is used today as a farmland, it is believed that from time immemorial, fabulous treasure is hidden in a secret cellar. Once there was a castle at this place: castle of Sámsond / Șincai, where the name of the small town comes from. The folk tradition says that the inhabitants of the castle, according to ancient religion, presented sacrifice here to the Warrior long time ago. The treasures of the castle were hidden at a safe place in a secret cellar under the fortress. But the old people also knew that they were guarded by two fairies, and no one dared to search for them, as they could only be lucky when the fairies left the cave for a short time to bathe in the nearby Bándi Lake. Lots of lucky hunters already tried to get the treasures. A shepherd grazed his flock just near the entrance to the cellar, when the fairies left the treasure unattended, and managed to get into the cavity sealed by the iron door. The lad filled even twice his shepherd coat with gold and gemstone, but his greed drove him back even for the third time - if he gave up on the idea, maybe his great-grandchildren could have lived in a genteel way. The fairies returned to the cellar, and then the door slammed behind them. The shepherd lived in captivity for seven years, without food or water, until the door opened again. As he suddenly got out of the darkness, he lost his sight in the enormous light. He lived his life as a beggar, this is how he was punished for his greed. This, however, did not discourage later treasure hunters from the hillside research - fortunately, they found here artefacts from Avar-age, but archaeological materials from the Bronze and Roman times were also discovered. Several small villages were merged into the settlement in the 16-17th centuries, among them Székelygerebenes, Adósfalva, Súgófalva, Kistelek, Egerháza, Csükmöd and Rózsásfalva, the remains of a Roman colony were discovered here, and coins were also found under the earth, if these were not even the treasures of the fairies. Mezőbánd / Band is an important transport hub, as the parish center is crossed by the county roads which lead through Radnót/ Iernut and Nagysármás / Sărmașu to Kolozsvár / Cluj-Napoca. Károly Agyagási, a doctor, poet, translator, Tibor Siklódy Hungarian landscape painter and Eszter Mátéfi handball player were born here. In the boundaries of the settlement, besides the medieval castle mentioned above, there were also old mansion houses, but these are no longer visible, as most of the village burned down in 1857. If you are traveling as a tourist to Mezőbánd and its surroundings, at the supposed place remember the unlucky shepherd's case and the lesson of his story: a mouthful of bread is worth more than a bag of gold. If we get hungry on the way, fortunately, we could ask for a mouthful of bread from our dear hosts in Mezőbánd / Band. 

Learn more

God's lake - Transylvanian Plain

The most beautiful and mysterious lake in Mezőség lies between Mezőbánd / Band, Mezőmadaras / Mădăraș and Mezősámsond / Șincai, on a hilltop. An interesting feature of the lake is that it is not fed by a spring or stream and it has no outflow. It is called the Lake of God because, according to its original saying, it was created as a result of the punishment of God. According to folkways, in the old days, evil people lived in this region, constantly arguing with each other. God was sad due to the beastliness of the people, so He tried change their way of life giving them different signals. After a few warnings, a huge storm was finally created in the region - the local people also noticed that this was not a simple storm, as a heavy black mass hit one of the hills and cut off the top as the corners of the bread is usually cut off. This was already understood by the local people, and they never argued again. On the hilltop, as a result of the impact, a strange lake was created. Due to its teardrop shape, it is considered to be the tear of God, which fell because of the sadness of human evil. In fact, according to a scientific theory, meteorites may have crashed into the hillside, and this is how God’s lake was created in the crater. Balázs Orbán writes about it that “in 1852, on 4th September, between 5 and 6 p.m., there was a terrible thunder could be heard from the clear, unclouded sky, followed by several bangs, and the judge from Fekete (Vaszilui Tyifor), who was just fishing on the lake by boat, saw a huge fiery mass falling down to the lake at such a fast speed that its water was spilled up to his lap, and even the surface of the whole lake was running high; at the same time, there were falling several such fiery masses around the lake.” We can certainly interprete it as a meteorite hit based on this description, which is also proved by the fact that the locals managed to collect some sixty stones. The folk tradition further mentions that big waves of the lakewater can be sometimes observed, and according to belief, someone in the region is doing bad things at such moments, thus exasperating God. According to another legend, an old farmer together with his oxen and cart was absorbed by the lake because he was cursing on the shore of the lake as his oxen did not want to drink from the muddy water. If we are eager to see God’s lake, we have to get off the highway at Drekulyatelep / Drăculea Bandului, between Mezőbánd and Gerebenes / Grebenișu de Câmpie, from where a dirt road leads to the hill. Reaching the hill, the sight is spectacular in front of us: the water of the lake is even and its surroundings are impressive. It is not advisable to do or speak wrong near the lake based on the circumstances of its creation, but we can admire the wonderful creations of the Almighty. 

Learn more

Punishment from God - Culpiu

One of the most beautiful small settlements of Mezőség / Câmpia Transilvaniei lies near Nagyerdő / Great Forest. Balázs Orbán wrote about it: "this village lies in such a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains that will impress everyone, but especially the native people: the village is surrounded by beautiful, green forests worthy of the name Great Forest, as it is undoubtedly the largest and the most beautiful woodland in the region of Mezőség / Câmpia Transilvaniei”. The abyss near the settlement is considered by the people to be the result of a divine blow that hit a shepherd. The shepherd was grazing his sheep in the land of others during a long rain, until the farmers kept their animals in the sheepfold and stables. God saw this, and punished the shepherd: the land fell under the flock, and the shepherd and the sheep became victims of the depth. According to the legend, they are still in the depths of the abyss in Mezőség / Câmpia Transilvaniei. The village lies only 14 kilometers north-west of Târgu-Mureş, in the immediate vicinity of the Korhány Mountain. It is also easily accessible to tourists. It belongs administratively to Mezőcsávás / Ceuașu de Câmpie, which is just ten kilometers away. Forests, fields, picturesque hills and a small lake close to the Komlód Valley make this place even more beautiful. There is a nice view of the surrounding area from the highlands next to the village - on the Borsos Hill was a castle centuries ago, according to tradition, there was a battle at the place called of Vérpad for the possession of the castle. The name of the mountain suggests that Tamás Borsos, the honoured diplomat of Gábor Bethlen prince - who built the castle in Târgu-Mureş - possessed this place. In Kölpény, the Szekler aristocratic Kuun family also had a mansion house, which was demolished in 1912. According to historical data, the nearby Bocsok forest was donated by the Prince Bocskai István himself in 1605 to the eleven Bishop's warriors exceling in the Battle of Edelény; however, the letter is not kept in Kölpény, but in the archives of the chapter in Gyulafehérvár / Alba Iulia. The medieval church of Kölpény still stands today, being one of the sights of the settlement: the small church was built of natural stone, and in 1708 it underwent major transformations, there is a wooden tower next to it. In the Middle Ages, the Catholic population converted completely to Unitarian religion after the Reformation, and then returned to the Reformed religion.  The village can be a real home to the lovers of the folk dance: one of the most important parts of the famous folk dance of Mezőség region is the dance group in Kölpény, although it is possible to learn it from less and less people in the village. A famous native of Mezőkölpény is the dancer Teréz Szabó, who was granted the title of Master of Folk Art in August 2013. Besides the borders of the village, it is also worth exploring the surrounding hills: there is a small fish pond between the highlands and we find an inn in the middle of the Lake Kölpény. However, roaming between the steep hills and small valleys, we should be careful, not like the shepherd grazing his sheep on the land of others. 

Learn more

The fairies of the Backa fortress - Herghelia

The settlement Mezőménes is situated in the middle of Transylvania, in Mezőség / Câmpia Transilvaniei, in a picturesque setting, only eleven kilometers from Târgu Mureş. No wonder if fairies ever lived in this beautiful landscape: the legend is transferred from father to son between the locals, according to which they owned the Backa fortress rising at the boundary of the settlement. The fairies lived peacefully in the castle until more and more churches were built in the populated Mezőség. According to the folk myth, they were bothered by the bell, so that they sent legates to Mezőménes, persuading people not to bell and to be pull down the tower. The villagers did not even want to hear about it, and the refusal was considered as war message by the fairies: they destroyed all the churches of Mezőség in revenge. Once the people of the Backa fortress got into trouble: the water of the fairies ran dry and they were forced to ask for help from the people, but they did not even respond to the fairies. The thirst led to the evacuation of the Backa fortress, and its inhabitants left the area. This mythological region is nowadays famous for other attractions, such as the health and lifestyle center in Mezőménes, and the surrounding forests, fields, good air, abundant water springs, and the Reformed church of the settlement. According to tradition, before the Tatar invasion, the small village was not located at its present place, but at the nearby Sárháló stream, at that time the village was called Nagyménes. The Tatars devastated Nagyménes, its remaining inhabitants moved to Mezőménes after 1666. Today, the small village at the Bocsok hill is located in a small valley. The area is ideal for horseback riding - the name of the settlement also suggests that once horses were probably grown here. If we have great luck, while riding, we can see maybe even nowadays a fairy searching for water at the border of the village - but always remember that although these creatures once destroyed churches, not all of them are evil. 

Learn more

Záhkő Castle - Zau de Câmpie, Bod

According to the existing legends of the village, Záhkő Castle, which inhabited by a lord named Záh and his son, Bod, stood on the top of a mountain near Mezőzáh of today. Father and son often hunted together. On one of the hunts, Bod was left behind and, due to a fortunate coincidence, got to know the beautiful daughter of the forest shepherd. He fell in love with her immediately. However, his father did not accept at all that his son marries a girl with a lower rank, so the young couple escaped and hid in a forest house. Zah went after them, and with rage he killed the lovers with his sword. He soon regretted his actions and cursed himself - as a result of magic words, the castle crashed down and he himself died in the nearby lake. The most significant tourist attraction of the small settlement on the banks of the Mezőség stream is the Ugron Castle, which was built between 1909 and 1911 by the baron István Ugron, diplomat of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the President of the Hungarian National Party, and the chief custodian of the Transylvanian Reformed Diocese. During the centuries, Mezőzáh and the surrounding forests and fields were in the possession of Transylvanian aristocrats such as the Ugron, Aczél, Bethlen, Banffy, Chonto and Wass families. The castle built according to a medieval French pattern is characterized by a kind of numerology: four towers (the number of seasons), twelve entrances (the number of months), four terraces (one month consists of four weeks) and fifty-two rooms (one year to many weeks). After that, it is not surprising that the building has exactly 365 windows - so the builder could look out of a different window every day of the year. There is also a story related to the building of the castle: Baron Ugron wanted to welcome worthily his love, the Princess of Russia, so he requested permission from the Emperor Franz Joseph to decorate his way out from the castle to the train station with gold. However, the emperor only agreed with the condition that the coins should be set on the edge so that no one can step on his face. This is how Ugron's plan ended in smoke - the fact that he didn't have a family, no offspring of his was born and lived retiredly until his death in 1948. The castle was then nationalized. The imposing building was also a sanatorium and an orphanage for decades - it is currently open to tourists. The complete renovation of the building, which lived once better times, has not yet begun. Hopefully, the Ugron Castle will not have the fate of Záhkő Castle, and in a few years’ time visitors can admire its onetime splendor. 

Learn more

Fairy's Hole and the Friars Forest

Nagyernye lies is located on the left bank of the Maros / Mureş River, just ten kilometers from Târgu-Mureş, in the direction of Szászrégen / Reghin. There are several theories and beliefs about the origin of the small village. Some say that it can come from the word small stream, watercourse, others believe that the settlement preserved the name of Ernyei family from the Árpád-era. According to one of the legends, a nimble-minded girl, Ikla, helped to occupy Belgrade's castle, who later became the wife of a governer named György – they got also an estate on which Ikland village was established. But the Ernyei family lived near them, and Borka, the ugly daughter of the old Ernyei, fell in love with György. During his absence, she wrote untrue letters to George and Ikla, trying to instigate the lovers against each other. According to the saying, the returning György saw Ikla and the priest praying at the edge of the rock, and knowing from the letters that they had a relationship, he pushed both of them into the depths. Borka later regretted her actions, confessed the truth and committed suicide. György built a monastery on the edge of the ravine, then went on a pilgrimage trip. The place next to Nagyernye, where the monastery was probably built, is still called the Friars Forest. The myth of the snake-killing Bethlens appears also in Ernye. According to this, there was a cave on the clay-bearing bank of Maros between Nagyernye and Várhegy, which was called the Fairy Hole by the locals. It was inhabited by fairies and other fabulous creatures who went to Maros to bath at night. However, there was a giant snake in the cavity, which often carried away the passing oxen and horses. No one could destroy it until the young Count of Bethlen decided to try his luck. He climbed into the Fairy Hole, fixing his blades to his armor and helmet, and when the snake enwound him more and more, the blades cut it so the count did not have to use his weapons to win. The family is therefore called (also) the snake-killing Bethlens. István Ernyei, originating from the settlement, is mentioned in the early 1300s as the country's palatine by historical sources. The village was one of the symbols of freedom of religion in Transylvania in the late Middle Ages and in the last centuries, as it had five churches at the same time - although the Sabbatarians later migrated to Bözöd / Bezid. Mihály Apafi was appointed as the Prince of Transylvania in 1661, at the camp of Libáncsmező next to Nagyernye. In the village there were once several noble mansions. The most famous building still to be seen today is the special castle called Bálintitt, which was built in the 18th century in late Baroque style, but it was rebuilt several times in several styles. From its beautiful castle garden and pond nowadays we can see only a few old trees. Walking alongside Nagyernye, we can see today the Friar Forest, and we can see the old trees guarding the memory of jealous love. It is worth climbing up to the Fairy Hole in good weather – we will probably never see a snake. 

Learn more

The white elephant of the pasha - Sighișoara

Segesvár is one of the most famous settlements not only in Mures county, but also in Transylvania, thanks to its ancient Saxon buildings, towers, churches, but above all its castle, which is one of the most spectacular and best preserved medieval buildings in our wider area. According to the assumptions Vlad Țepeș, the Prince of Wallachia was born here, more commonly known as Prince Dracula. Over the past centuries, a great number of myths and legends were created around the city and its buildings - one of which dates back to theTurkish times. According to the folk memory, during the Turkish occupation, a pasha marched to Sighisoara with an army to conquer the city. However, the inhabitants of the city were on guard: the tradition says that the leader on the back of the white elephant was noticed from about a thousand meters from the castle, and he was shot from such a huge distance. At the place where the elephant and the pasha died, his soldiers buried him immediately and then fled. The medieval rifle used in the Middle Ages certainly could not be used from a thousand meters, so the story is doubtful. It is true, however, that Sighisoara, mainly inhabited by Saxons, it was attacked, conquered, ravaged several times, its buildings being damaged during the history. It could be devastated by the Turkish, the Kuruc, mercenary soldiers, fires or plague, but Sighisoara still survived. In 1544, the Protestant city fierce Szeklers were beheaded, the fortress walls were assaulted by Michael the Brave, Giorgio Basta, Mózes Székely and Prince János Kemény. Yet, the greatest destruction was caused by the Kuruc troops led by Lekinc Pekry in 1706: five of the original 14 bastions (towers) were destroyed. The remaining nine towers are still standing today, and some of the beautiful old buildings survived the bloody centuries. Coming to the historic castle, the visitor realizes that within the walls, all the buildings and street parts represent museum value. The most impressive attraction is the 64-meter-high Clock Tower built in the 14th century, but the church on the hill and the 175-degree staircase, called student staircase, leading to it are of same importance. If we spend more time at the castle, we can admire all the nine remaining intact towers: besided the Clock Tower, the tower of the blacksmiths, rope-makers, butchers, furriers, tailors, shoemakers, tinners and tanners. The medieval little streets were nicely renovated, as the walk between the Saxon houses surrounded by the castle walls offers a unique experience in Sighisoara. One of the most beautiful buildings on the side streets is the deer house built in the 17th century, which probably preserved the best its original style. The archeologists found surprising artifacts near the city in 1900: they found a skeleton of a huge animal, which for a while was believed to be a fallen pasha elephant, and the myth was believed o be true. But soon it turned out that the animal whose bones were excavated was the ancestor of the steppe bison. The shooting of the enemy from a distance can be familiar from another very real story: on July 31, 1849, during a battle between Sighisoara and Fehéregyháza, Scariatin, the Russian general was hit from far by a cannonball. 

Learn more

The Giants’ Fortress - Saschiz

Szászkézd / Saschiz is located on the edge of the historical Királyföld / Pământul Crăiesc / Kingsland, 20 km southeast of Sighisoara. The history of the settlement is interwoven by legends and beliefs related to the indigenous people of the region, the giants. Not far from the village, the traces of the castle in which, according to folk tradition, godlike giants lived once, are noticeable even today. The gigantic creatures were very sensitive to someone making noise near the castle. Occasionally, boisterous people were lifted with their coach to scare them, and they were restored to the ground intact to tell others, it was not advisable to disturb the peace of the inhabitants of the castle. Another legend says the giants were throwing large, round, flat stones on the surrounding hillside, but people gathered them and paved the streets of the settlement with them. The locals are still happy to tell you about the giants of the castle today, but the true story of the fortress is almost as exciting – the findings explored by the archaeologists are probably prehistoric buildings built around 2500-1800 Cr. It is. The Giants’ Castle could serve defense purposes for centuries. Near the settlement there was a fort with six bastions called Peasant Castle, which was probably erected in the 13th century - its ruins can be visited. There is also a belief related to the Peasant Castle that a sixty-meter deep well in the fortress leads to a tunnel system. The myth is based on reality, as a flight was already explored under the castle, but there are more according to the locals' assumptions. According to another legend, when building the castle, the merchants crossing Szászkézd were obliged to transport a cart of stones to the castle. Szászkézd today is a very popular tourist destination: the British Crown Prince Charles also visited it regularly in recent years. In the tiny village stands a gothic fortress church as UNESCO World Heritage, with a bastion-like tower with a helmet very similar to the clock tower of Segesvár / Sighișoara. The fortress church was built in 1493, surrounded by a wall in the 16th century. The clock tower was built in 1677, following the pattern of Segesvár. Prior to this, in 1663 Mihály Apafi I. held the Parliament in the church of Szászkézd. In the small village the visitor can find even today the characteristic Saxon building style: the view of the old-old stone gate houses is elevating. The Kézdi Szeklers probably moved from here to the Felső-Háromszék / Upper Three Seats area, as the name suggests, the Saxons were probably moved to their place, but the 20th century, full of events and tragedies, drove out the majority of Saxons. However, they still have a wonderful built heritage and the belief that they can only travel quietly near the Giants’ Castle. 

Learn more

The Legend of Lőrinc Friar - Reghin

Szászrégen / Reghin, on the side of the river Maros / Mures, is the second largest settlement of the county after Marosvásárhely / Târgu Mureș, the seat of the county. The oldest and most important attraction is the Lutheran Church, to which several beliefs are attached. According to a legend, the church was originally built by a friar called Lőrinc - he was rich and thought that after completing the construction of the church, he would remain so wealthy that he could live without problems until end of life. However, the construction works consumed his reserves so that only one egg was left from his huge wealth - Lőrinc ate it and died immediately. It is a fact that on the southwest side of the church, on the wall of the St. Lawrence Chapel there is a torso that is supposed to represent St. Lawrence. According to another tradition, a large amount of treasure is hidden under one of the carved stone steps of the church, in the event that the church was destroyed: it would be possible to rebuild the house of God. The church of the city, presumably founded in King St. Ladislaus's ruling time, was actually built in the 13th century. The symbol of Szászrégen: He weathered the storms of centuries, destroyed in fire in 1708 and 1848, then the ancient Lutheran church was rebuilt by modifying the original building. As for the artistic and architectural curiosities, the evangelical church retained an early Gothic window with reliefs of human heads that probably depict Tamás Bánffy the first architect and his wife. In addition, architectural rarities include the cabin in the shrine and the coat of arms above the sacristy door, which was used as a coat of arms of the city for a long time. Not only this church is one of the most important sights in Szászrégen, although it is undoubtedly the best known. The former independent settlement, the Reformed Church of Hungary, was also built in the 13th century, and the Roman Catholic Church was built in 1781. The sculpture park here commemorates the great personalities of the Hungarian history and culture. In 1744, a Greek Catholic church was built in Magyarrégen – it is used by the Orthodox Church today, as well as the Greek Catholic Church of Szászrégen, which was completed in 1813. Until 1848, its streets, like those of other medieval Transylvanian cities, were narrow, winding. That year, however, the image of the city was "retailored". In the past, a famous ethnographic museum has been operating since the 1960s, but there is a great tradition of instrument making. Szászrégenis also called the city of violins: the Hora instrument factory was founded in 1951 by Roman Boianciuc instrument maker. If you visit Szászrégen, you can order local specialties - even eggs - in the pretty restaurants of the main square, as you can be sure that it will not happen the same as to the legendary Lőrinc friar. 

Learn more

Celebration of Witches - Mureni

The small village is not far from Segesvár / Sighisoara, close to Héjjasfalva / Vanatori. Its Hungarian name was probably derived from the German word Zedriasch. The region was inhabited by the Saxons for hundreds of years trying to revive the rimland of the Szeklerland. Like the neighboring Erked settlement, Szederjes also has old, traditional Saxon houses offering it a distinctive street image. This region, like almost every landscape, has a special place for witches and the associated superstitions in its belief system. The folklore in Szederjes says that the witches regularly revelled in this town. They moved in one of the old, uninhabited houses, from where loud music and cimbalming sounded out on the street every night, around midnight, rousing the villagers regularly. The local men overcame their fear after a while and took stock of the old house from where the sound of music could be heard, and the revellers were nothing but the witches of the region. According to another story, once a man was lodged for a night in a barn in Szederjes. At night he observed that there was a big fire in the yard surrounded by witches in frilled dresses. He had already heard from someone that the ax had to be thrown into the threshold, to make the witches disappear – so he did, and there was silence after the ax chop. If tourists arrive to Szederjes nowadays, they will not meet dancing witches, but sometimes the local small community still organizes dancing parties or vintage balls.

Learn more

Faded stories from Voivodeni

Vajdaszentivány, south of Szászrégen / Reghin, is famous for its dances and the Zichy House and the Saté Lake. According to folk tradition, an old, fortified church was destroyed by a group of occupants during the Turkish subjection. At that time the village was called Szentiván / Saint Ivan, and its name was presumed to have been given to Bethlen Domokos from Transylvanian Voivode or Bethlen Elek Vice Voivode. During the siege of the fortress church, the defenders were led by a priest who had lived in Turkish captivity for a long time, and taught Hungarian to Ali Basha, who was at the head of the army attacking the village. The warlord priest instructed the defenders to keep the patrols out of battle, only to signal the arrival of the cavalry and the Turkish corps following them. The patrols, however, did not listen to him: they attacked the cavalry and killed three of them - for that reason Ali started to canon the church and won the battle. He offered mercy to his former teacher, but this was rejected by the priest, so he also fell victim to the destruction of the Turks. The people who died in the battle were buried on the hill of the destroyed sanctuary, and a stone plate keeps their memory green on the wall of the new church. The church of Voivodeni was probably built in the 13-14th century. It was rebuilt over the centuries, and transformed from Roman Catholic to Reformed, as many churches in Transylvania and Hungary. At the end of the 1700s, and in 1829, a fire destroyed the settlement, which made again necessary the rebuilding of the church. There is no doubt that for tourists the much-visited church is one of the top attractions in Vajdaszentivány. The other important facility is the Zichy Castle, which was built in the age of the church reconstruction, in the 18th century and at the turn of the 19th century, as evidenced by its building style. The castle consists of two main parts: a monumental, arcade-lined porch wing with classicist style features, and a so-called baroque-style building with column halls with tympanum. The building was originally owned by the Bethlens, and then became the property of János Kemény, until finally the Zichy family bought it at the end of the 19th century. It was nationalized in the period of communism, and it was renovated two decades after the regime change, and a cultural center was established there. One of the most famous events of Vajdaszentivány is the dance camp organized annualy since 1997, where many folk and folk dance lovers come from abroad - not only to learn the characteristic and unique dance of Vajdaszentivány, but also to admire the picturesque buildings and its surroundings. 

Learn more

Vityál castle - Eremitu

The history of the largest settlement in the Upper Nyárád region is exciting not only due to the battles of the First World War on the Bekecs Hill, but also due to the Vityál castle and the related legends. There are several small villages belonging to Nyárádremete parish, and the inhabitants of the settlement earned their livelihood for centuries in the field of forest and stone exploitation, farming and animal husbandry. Walking through the forests in the area, one can still discover the remains of the castle, which probably survived the age of the migrations. Their existence proves that the settlement has a remarkable history. Vityal castle may have been one of these fortresses. Its traces and remains can be still found today. Balázs Orbán wrote, “The shape of this castle was not defined by accepted artwork but the shape of the hilltop, as the castle was rectangular with rounded corners, similarly to the hilltop; the walls of the castle has a circumference of 246 steps. These walls are four feet wide, built firmly from selected trachyte pieces with hot lime, so that they still defy in their massivity the ruinous power of time even now...” According to the archaeologists, the fortress was built on the foundations of a Bronze Age castle in the Middle Ages, and they were used probably as a fortress during the invasions of the Tatars. According to folk tradition, the castle was not built by the villagers, but the fairies, who celebrated the good work during three days and three nights. But on the third night there was a storm, a lightning struck into the building, and the fairy castle burnt down. In their sorrow, the wonderful creatures left their ruins, but the people created a great number of myths about the event. Many believed that treasures were hiding under the castle, but according to the elderly, a lucky treasure hunter, nuncle Pop Petru found only a huge key from which he made a horseshoe for his horse. One of the most interesting sights of Nyárádremete is the crucifix of the Roman Catholic church built between 1808 and 1812. The crucifix was probably made in the 14th century and is one of the most famous monuments in Transylvania. If we visit this place, it is worth to climb up to the Bekecs Hill, which offers scenic views of the Southern Carpathians and the Görgényi / Gurghiu Mountains. The nearby Vármező fish ponds and its hot air balloon festival attract visitors. For those interested in the built heritage and the religion, the nearby church and monastery in Mikház / Călugăreni offers a spiritual refreshment: this is the second best-known building of the Franciscans in Transylvania after the church in Csíksomlyó / Șumuleu de Ciuc, the church was built in the late Renaissance of the 17th century. Tourists can also visit the worthily famous Csűrszínház, which regularly hosts various musical and dance performances. If we can no longer revel with the fairies that abandoned the Vityál castle, there will probably still be young people in the village who are fairly beautiful and just as cheerful. 

Learn more

This website uses cookies

We use cookies to improve functionality and performance. Please accept them for a better use of the page. Read more: Privacy Policy

background-image-for-checkout-overlay