The main localities of the county
Miercurea Ciuc (Csíkszereda, Szeklerburg)
It is the seat of the county since July 1968, and since 1971 it also includes Csiba, Zsigodin, and Băile Harghita. The city lies in the middle of the Ciuc valley. The main body of the city formed on the left side of the river Olt. It’s Ice Palace and ski track make Miercurea Ciuc the capital of the winter sports (speed skating, ski, hokey) in Transylvania. It is the coldest city of Transylvania. A quite common phenomenon that occurs here is the temperature inversion. The beer made here (Ciuc) is famous all over Romania.
The castle Miko, built between 1623-1631 in neo-renaissance style, is the most important monument of the city, also being the headquarter of the Szekler Museum. The village museum was founded in 1969 in the garden behind the castle. Here visitors can take a glimpse at the houses and the famous Szekler gates that are specific to local architecture. The permanent expositions that one can see are of local history and natural history, religious art, book printing, completed by seasonal exposition. The County Library’s Historical section and the document library also have their base here. Numerous cultural events like the Old Music Festival are held here. In the small park in front of the castle one can see the statues of Petofi Sandor and Nicolae Balcescu.
The town hall was built in 1886 in eclectic style. The courthouse built in 1892, eclectic style. The building of the high courthouse, which today houses the county hospital’s otolaryngology and physiotherapy sections, was built in 1786 in classical style.The Orthodox Church monument, built between 1929-1935 in neobizantine style. In 1994 it became the church district headquarter, it became the headquarter of the Covasna-Ciuc episcopate.
The Márton Áron High school was built between 1909-1911 in secessionist style. The statue of Archbishop Márton Áron was inaugurated in 1997.
Şumuleu Ciuc (Csíksomlyó, Schomlenberg)
Şumuleu Ciuc with its unique statuary group representing Saint Mary is the most famous pilgrimage place of Transylvania. The statuary group also known as the Crying Madonna or the Sun Lady, is the masterpiece of 16th century religious art. Made out of lime wood, it represents the Holy Virgin with Child, and has a gold plated crown placed up on her head. The statuary group is the largest of its kind. The first church, in gothic style, was built by the Cordelier Franciscans between 1442-48, but was demolished in 1802. Its place was taken by the more monumental baroque church which stands today. Its roof was erected in 1802 but the whole building was finished in 1876. The Franciscan monastery was built between 1733-1779 and it features a cloister and refectory. One can also see here the bust of Joannes Kajoni. The monastery also houses the renowned Franciscan Library. The chapel of Saint John of Nepomuk can be found in the square in front of the convent.
Şumuleu Ciuc is the spiritual center of the Ciuc region, being a pilgrimage place known all over the country. The csangos call it “the most sacred place on earth after Rome”. The inhabitants of Ghimes visit Mary the Miracle Performer, dressed in white in the hope of gaining absolution.
Since 1670 Şumuleu Ciuc was also known as a center of the performing arts, and culture. The zinc box of Şumuleu Ciuc, walled up in 1945, contained almost 140 books of great value, five of them being Johanes Kaioni’s manuscripts. The Mysteriums of Sumuleu: the 47 volumes of an 8th century drama which survived in the form of a manuscript in Şumuleu Ciuc. The Kajoni-Codex is an interesting manuscript collection of scores which was started in 1634. The Pilgrimage of Whitsuntide is an extremely important event of the religious life.
The settlement was placed under the administration of Miercurea Ciuc in 1930. Its name is strongly linked with the artist Nagy Imre. The gallery built in 1973 is meant for the preservation of his life’s work. He donated more than 6000 of his artworks to the city. The house in which he was born can also be seen, being a simple peasant house near the gallery. The ashes of the artist were places in the outer wall of the gallery in august 1976.
Odorheiu Secuiesc (Székelyudvarhely, Odorhellen)
The important landmarks to see are the city centre and its surroundings. The Jesus Chapel was probably built as a parish church its foundations being a rotunda in Romanesque style shaped as a four leafed cloverleaf. It is the oldest building built for religious purposes in the region of Odorhei. The Székely támadt castle was built in the middle ages. Standing in front of the main gate, on the left side we can see the Bánfy tower and behind it the restored Telegdy tower both built after the model of Italian fortifications. On the place where this castle is built once stood a Franciscan and Dominican convent. The shape that can be seen today was given by Prince János Zsigmond with the purpose of controlling the rebelling Szeklers, and because of this it became a symbol of feudal oppression. The Franciscan church and monastery, also protected buildings, give the whole city center a baroque aura. The two towers of the church stand testimony to the baroque and classic styles. The entrance situated between the two towers is of renaissance inspiration. Considering the timeline the abbey is on the ninth place in Transylvania.
The Presbyterian Church, also standing in the city center, was built between the years 1780-1781. It was planned by Kis Gergely (1737-1787), the renowned rector of the Presbyterian college, his monogram being carved into a tile on the West wing, together with the date 1781. In the corner of the park found in the center of the city one can see the statue of the greatest Szekler, Orbán Balázs, carved by the sculptor from Târgu Mureş, Hunyadi László.
The Roman catholic church was probably built in the 17th century it’s commission being tied to the name of the Jesuits and can be considered as the first building of the Tamási Áron high school. On the left of the high school one can see the bronze bust of Tamási Áron inaugurated in 1993. The school was founded in 1593.
The building of the town hall was built between the years 1895-96 in eclectic style and it is considered a listing building.
Băile Seiche (Szejkefürdő)
Baiele Seiche is the weekend resort of Odorhei. It is also the place of the Orbán Balázs monument, who is considered to be the greatest Szekler writer, historian, ethnographer, publicist, and public person. The Szekler gate museum displays the work of the gate builders of Odorhei region. The 12 Szekler gates are maintained by the Haáz Rezső museum. The resort takes its name from the sulfur springs which are used for curative purposes. On the 28000 m3 found between the mineral water springs and thermal baths as the result of the abundance of mineral water grass a pit was formed.
Gheorgeni (Gyergyószentmiklós, Niklasmarkt)
Gherorgheni is the third most populated city of the county. Várszeg is the part of the city inhabited by Armenians who started settling in 1669, their main occupation being trading of livestock, lumber, and other manufactured goods. In the center one can see the statue of Saint Nikolas and the Presbyterian Church.
The Roman Catholic Church, built between the years 1753-57 a testimony of the religious architecture, was erected to replace the gothic church built in 1498 and was extended in 1629. The present church bears the marks of the baroque. Missale which was preserved from the middle ages is a codex composed of 261 scrolls. The oldest building of the city is the baroque parish residence which was started in 1758. The baroque buildings of Márton Áron Street stay testimony to the richness and taste of the Armenian inhabitants of the city. The Armenian Roman Catholic Church built also in baroque style, was erected between the years 1730-1734, the gothic altar, the baroque tribune, secondary altars and holy water basins inside being its most prized treasures. The wall made out of stone originally was much smaller, its actual form with the built in defense towers were added in 1748. In front of the gate there is a crucifix made out of lime wood, dating from the year 1762.
The Red Lake (Lacu Roşu, Gyilkos tó)
The Red Lake is one of Romania’s most beautiful climatic holiday resorts, and can be found in the valley of Bicaz. The most renowned places of the reservation are the Red Lake and the Straights of Bicaz, which are one of the country’s most interesting and spectacular geological formations. Rapid mountain streams, waterfalls of all shapes and sizes and caves decorate the walls of the valley which is flanked by imposing 1200-1300 m. high cliffs like the Altar rock and Devils Porch. The cliffs are a popular destination for rock climbers. The side valleys are rich in protected plant life. Authorities founded on its territory the Hăşmaşu Mare National Park. There are also numerous caves in the valley. One of the main attractions of the valley is the Devil’s throat. In the Hăşmaşu Mare National Park there are more than 522 invertebrates and 160 vertebrate species. During the 1970’s chamois were settled in from the Retezat Mountains. The protected plants of the park are: the lions foot, globe-flower, milk-vetch, and the yew. Besides these the park is home to a variety of endemic plants.
Toplița (Maroshévíz, Töplitz)
The city is of municipal rank since 2003. It is situated at the exit of the Gheorgheni valley, close to the peak of Tarnița, and used to be one of the centers of rafting on the river Mureş. Since 1960 it is a center of lumber and light industry. Its thermal springs, mountain landscape, flora and fauna are the region’s biggest values.
The wooden church of Moglan is the city’s oldest architectural monument built in 1658 by the Moldavian prince Gheorghe Stefan for her wife Safta. The Ortodox Church built in 1867 is also a masterpiece of religious architecture.
Borsec (Borszék, Bad Borseck)
Bath and holiday resort. This is the country’s largest mineral water bottling plant, having a monthly capacity of 2 million liters. What is unique for this small town is Dealu Rotund, which is densely permeated by mineral water springs. In the center of the town, half of hectare of land was declared natural park, as it is populated by dwarf britches, which are relics of the Ice Age.
The health benefits of the town are: silt used for medical treatment, mineral water soaked pits, its sub alpine climate, and clean air. The “Hármasliget” bog spreads over 9 he. The 15-20m thick pit bog is made unique by its slit used in health treatments, ancient plants, and its water rich in calcium and magnesium.
It was lifted to the rank of city in 1968. Until 2005 it was the country’s biggest copper mining center. The city lies near the riverhead of the Olt, on the southern side of the Hăşmaşu Mare Mountains. Because of its uniqueness the mountainous region between the Red Lake and Bălan, earned the rank of National Park in 1990. The Roman catholic church of the city was built in 1825.
The “Piatra Singuratică”, composed of a number of tall lime outcroppings, is the symbol of the Hăşmaşu Mare and is known to the inhabitants of the region as “the Alps of Ciuc”. Other places worth visiting are the Ecem peak, with its picturesque stone slide.
Băile Tuşnad (Tusnádfürdő)
Is one of Romania’s most renowned baths resorts, and also its smallest town. In 2002 the population of the town numbered 1728 people. Its closeness to the mountains, its ionized air rich in negative aerosols, are important factors in what it can offer to its visitors. Its treasures are the mineral water springs and sinkholes the most important ones being the Ilma spring, Ana spring, Apor spring, Mikes spring, Stănescu spring, Rudi spring, the thermal springs, and the thermal water near the Ciucas lake, discovered by a deep drilling operation. The Tower of Apor, and Belvedere further enrich the touristic value of the town. The Piatra Şoimilor is a botanically and geologically protected formation, its piece de la resistance being the Telek hawkweed which can only be found on this 0.75 ha area.
Saint Ana Lake
The lake is the only preserved larger crater lake in Europe. The radiant silver mirror surrounded by pine woods conceals an abundance of unique natural curiosities, thus it was declared a national park. The first documentary evidence of the lake and of the Ciomatu peek date back to 1349. Twice a year pilgrimages are held in the small chapel near the lake.
The Mohoş pit bog
The bog is situated on the Eastern side of the Ciomatu, at the Eastern foot of the 1177m high Mohoş peak. As a matter of fact the twin crater occupies the Ciomatu caldera’s higher vent, where today visitors can see a vast alpine pit bog, home for a rare plant life: four varieties of sundew, and 20 varieties of moss. One can see carnivorous Paleocene plants like the common sundew, and the round leafed sundew. One can also see multicolored peat moss, blackberry, bilberry, and black pine. The bog is also a sanctuary for ice age specific plant life: bog rosemary, crowberry, common cottongrass, garden loosestrife and cowberry.
Cristuru Secuiesc (Székelykeresztúr)
The Gyárfás manor is a protected building built in classical style, where the famous Hungarian poet Petőfi Sándor allegedly spent his last night.
The pear tree found in the yard is also known as Petofi’s pear tree.
The foundry was built in 1836, but the first documentary evidence of it can be dated back to 1591. The foundry was one of a kind in East Central Europe as its components were powered by water.
The beauties of the micro regions
In 1999 the county was divided for administrative purposes into 15 micro regions. The tourist attractions of these micro regions are, health resorts, varied landscapes, monuments of times long gone and local traditions and customs.
The region Odorhei region
The Ocnele microregion
The micro region of Ocnele is one of the county regions of which’s characteristic is the world of small farms. The settlements of the region are the town of Sovata and the afferent settlements of Sărăţeni, Căpeţi, Ilieş (from judeţul Mureş), communality of Praid (with the villages Ocna de Sus, Ocna de Jos, Becaş, Bucin), communality of Corund (with the villages Atia, Calonda, Fântâna Brazilor and Valea lui Pavel) The population of the micro region is of 27826 inhabitants.
On the plains of Ocnele the arching of the salt belt causes some of the geological formation of the region like the Bichis, Siklodu or Firtosu to reach heights of more than 1000 m. Their top layers are formed of the volcanic sediments of Harghita, and as a result of its clay content, cracks form quite frequently. The typical geological formations of the region are the salt karsts. The most representative ones are the Salt Carpathians and the Salt hills. Because of the large quantities of this mineral that can be found in this area it is only natural that it plays an important role in the local economy. Clay is another important resource upon which the regions pottery industry is founded. The skill of local artisans is well known in the world. Some of the local trades that still play an important part in the life of the locals are woodcarving, charcoal burning, carriage making, and falconry.
Praid (Parajd, Salzberg)
Sights of interest in this region are the Salt Mines, the salty hydrothermal baths and the Salt Hills natural reserve where one can see salt rifts, salt cliffs, and salty springs.
The Presbyterian Church built between the years 1790-96 is cataloged as a listed building. The Catholic Church was built in 1800 from treasury funds. The Orthodox Church was inaugurated in 1929.
The memorial house of the poet Áprily Lajos was inaugurated in 1991. In the Village museum one is also able to admire ethnographical expositions. Also on display is the historical narrative of the local salt mining.
On the border of the village is the Rapsóné citadel which is a shelter citadel built in the 11-12th centuries, was declared as an archeological park.
The micro region Regiovest
The communalities and villages belonging to it are: Mugeni commune, with the villages Aluniş, Dejuţiu. Lutiţa, Tăietura, Mătişeni; Porumbenii Mari commune with the villages Porumbenii Mici. Feliceni commune with the villages Alexandriţa, Teleac, Văleni, Arvăţeni, Oţeni, Tăureni, Hoghia, Forţeni, Cireşeni, Poloniţa. Ulieş commune: Daia, Iaşu, Ighiu, Nicoleşti, Obrăneşti, Vasileni, Petecu. Dârjiu commune with the village Mujna. The surface area of the micro regon is of 28368 hectare, with a population of 11347.
The settlements of this micro region are:
Feliceni (Felsőboldogfalva, Obermariendorf)
The tower of the Presbyterian Church was built in transitional style. With its 91 painted vaults in the nave and 63 in the apse, the church has the largest painted ceiling in Transylvania. In 1974 on the eastern pillar of the vaults, fresco fragments were found. The frescos representing “Veronica’s veil” and “The three wise man” were dated in the early 16th century.
The the Szekler national gathering of 1506 and the gathering of Lutița in 1848 are events closely tied to the name of this village, which were commemorated with a monument. The Presbyterian Church treasures architectural elements from the late gothic dated back to the middle of the 15th century. Its paneled ceiling was built between the years 1725 and 1739.
The Presbyterian church of Mugeni is a peculiar architectural construction of the Odorhei region. It was built in the 14th century and went to a series of changes in the 15th century. It treasures pictures painted on wood from the 13th-14th centuries, paneled ceiling, and a memoir written with runes. Most of the mural paintings in the county bear the characteristic of late Romanesque. The whole length of the southern walls upper part is covered with pictures evoking the legend of Saint Laszlo and below it are a series of representations picturing the legend of Saint Mary of Antioch. On the lowest part of the wall one can see a fresco representing the Final Judgment.
Porumbeni Mari (Nagyglambfalva)
The Presbyterian church of Porumbeni Mari was built in transitional style during the 13th-14th centuries. Its recovered architectural assets are the frame of the vestry door, the frescos painted in the middle ages, the paneled ceiling (1789), and the wall paintings from the 14th century. The Greco-catholic church was built in 1737. The Rát-lake was declared a natural reserve.
The Unitarian church fortress was declared part of the World Heritage. It is one of the oldest and most important protected churches of the Odorhei region. The frescos painted on its walls are one of the best preserved representations in five acts of the Saint Laszlo legend. The style of the church is a combination between gothic and late romanticism. Its present appearance was completed after the modification of its romanesque (13-14th centuries) chapel. This transformation into gothic took place in the second half of the 15th century. The church stands in a middle of a square shaped fortification containing five towers and a belfry. The deciphered text of its rune covered relics is “father Miklós cantor and priest”, and it is dated 1431. The Presbyterian church of the village was built in 1870 and its Baptist prayer house in 1929.
The microregion of Hegyalja
The settlements of the region are: Vârşag commune; Zetea commune with the villages Deşag, Izvoare, Poiana Târnavei, Şicasă, Sub Cetate, Dealu commune: Fâncel, Sâncraiu, Tămaşu, Tibod, Ulcani, Poiana Rotundă; Lupeni commune: Bisericani, Bulgăreni, Satu Mic, Păltiniş, Morăreni, Sâncel, Firtuşu, Păsuleni; Brădeşti commune with Târnoviţa; Satu Mare Commune; the villages Beclean and Cădişeni from Odorheiu Sceuiesc. The surface area of the micro region is of 56229 ha (14% farmland, 40% forrested), population od 19396
Sub Cetate (Zeteváralja)
The most renowned sight of the village is the dam that was built on the course of the Târnava Mare and Şikasău rivers. The dam was built for flow regulating, touristic and environmental purposes. On the 812 m. high hills of Deşag and Subcetate an archeological sanctuary was founded which contains relics from the late Iron Age.
The village is a typical foothill settlement, found on the southern side of Őrhegy peak. The Roman Catholic Church was built between the years 1764-70. The former main altarpiece of the church which represents the ascendance of Saint Mary is kept in the parish. The archeological sanctuary on the Mák citadel contains artifacts that belong to the Wittenberg culture.
Tamási Áron is tightly interwoven with this settlement, where a monument, honouring his many achievements, was erected. The Roman-catholic church was built between the years 1842-1848.
Satu Mare (Máréfalva)
Satu Mare is the home of the great, carved, dove-coted gates, of which the most treasured are fourteen gates built before 1900. The Roman-catholic church was built between 1763-1772. The place called by the locals “stone-hole” contains a series of caves. The castle of Máré is an archeological site containing artifacts from the late Bronze Age.
The micro region of Cristur
Cristuru Secuiesc city with the villages Filiaş and Beteşti; Atid commune with the villages Crişeni, Şiclod, Cuşmed and Inlăceni; Şimoneşti commune with the villages Benţid, Cădaciu Mare, Cădaciu Mic, Chedia Mare, Chedia Mică, Ceheţel, Medişoru Mare, Mihăileni, Cobăteşti, Nicoleni, Rugăneşti, Tărceşti, Turdeni; Avrămeşti commune: Andreeni, Cecheşti, Goagiu, Medişoru Mic; Săcel commune: Şoimuşu Mare, Şoimuşu Mic, Uilac, Vidacut; Secuieni commune with the villages Bodogaia şi Eliseni. The main characteristics of the region are, the selective erosion, twisting watersheds and a multitude of land cracks. The mud volcanoes from Filiaşi were declared a natural reservation. The southern slopes of the region are more favorable for agriculture while the colder ones are used for silviculture. The micro region is rich in sunny days as a result cultivation of grain, fruits, vegetables, viticulture, cattle herding, play an important part in local economy.
The Unitarian church was built in 1815, and the Presbyterian church which’s bell tower stood since 1773, in 1820. The hay cap museum is also a much frequented place.
The architectural style of the Unitarian church bears the marks of late gothic and was built in the second half of the 15th century. Its rune covered relic was made in 1668. At the entrance of the church a memorial commemorating those fallen in the First World War, was erected. The structure of the settlement with its medieval characteristics, the building up of certain parcels, the tight and small streets, combined with the valuable creations of folk architecture, all give this village a particular feeling. Castle courtyard and the Palace courtyard were declared historical monuments.
The micro region of Homorod
The micro region is situated on the course of the Homorodu Mic river at the foothills of Harghita Mountains. The river crosses Căpâlnaş commune, and the western part of Vlahița continuing its course towards Lutița. The region is rich in folk traditions, but in other aspects falls behind other micro regions, as it is mostly a rural zone with only one important commune and a few scattered settlements like Chirui Baths and the Homorod youth resort. Alpine herding, silviculture, and local pastry specialties (cserege), even today, are an important part in the life of the locals. The region lacks cities; however it does have large villages, dispersed settlements, and youth resorts. It is the land of religious tolerance, having a large number of Unitarians mixed with the rest of Christian denominations specific to Transylvania.
The Livada bog botanical reserve is situated near Chirui Baths. On the nitrogen deprived soil of the reserve lives the round-leafed sundew, a carnivorous plant from the Ice Age. These catch insects with their sticky tentacles; supplementing in this way the lack of nitrogen. The narcissus filed of Vlahița, which is the highest of its kind in Europe, blooms between May and June, the field being filled with the fragrance of the wild narcissus stelaris. In every may the inhabitants of the region organize the Narcissus Festival to celebrate this unique natural phenomenon. On the frontier of the region one can find 20-25 mineral-water springs. The okker fields and the thermal mineral waters form an important part of the mineral reserve of the region. The Perla thermal spa lies on the right side of the Vărghis. The indoor swimming pool of the resort has a constant water temperature of 26°C. The water of the Spa of Nadasszek is cold mineral water which is heated with the help of boilers. The water of the Chirui Spa is so cold that it is suitable for use only in the summer after long periods of sunshine.
The miciroregion of Homorodu Mare
The stettlements of the micro region are: Mărtiniş commune and the sorrounding villages (Aldea, Călugăreni, Chinuşu, Ghipeş, Bădeni, Locodeni, Orăşeni, Sânpaul, Rareş şi Petreni). The highest points of the regions are on the hills of Homoroad, the tallest ones being Bădeni Peak, 854 m Homat Peak 839 m. The linkage with the depression of Odorhei is made through Chinuşu (665 m.) pass.The region is rich in cultural and folk traditions. Alpine livestock farming, together with silviculture is a widespread occupation of the locals. This is the home of the cserege baking, which is a very delicious local pastry.
The Rika micro region
The settlements of the micro region are: Mereşt commune; Ocland commune with the villages Crăciunel, Satu Nou. Vârghiş commune ( Covasna county), Racoşu de Jos, Jimbor (Braşov county). The center of the region is Ocland. The surface area of the microregion (1995): 30906 ha (20% farmland, 32% forrested), with a population of 57600. It is situated on the border between Harghita and Covasna counties. The Mereşti cave network also called the Vargyas gorge, with the surrounding lime cliffs is one of the most picturesque regions of the county. The caves situated on four level on the walls of the gorge stand above the river of which’s upper part disappears in the vast cave-system. This latter part is also called the Westwater gully. On the lower part of the gorge the river resurfaces in the karts-rich Eastwater. The caves were inhabited by the Bronze and Iron Age man, but also used as shelter by the inhabitants of the surrounding villages in times of grave danger. The largest of the 7410 m long cave-system summing up a total of 125 caves, is the Orbán Balázs cavern, approachable on a rope ladder. Besides other wild and plant life the caves hosts 17 from the 30 endangered bat species of Romania.
The region of Gheorgheni
North Eastern Harghita Region
The communes of the region are Ditrău, Remetea, Lăzarea, Tulgheş, Subcetate and the town of Borsec. The territory of the region covers 54586 hectares and has, of which 14% farm land 41% is forested. The Bistrica Mountains of which only a small part is contained by the county of Harghita, are composed of crystalline schist, magma flows, mica schist and metamorphic rocks. The landscape is dotted here and there with lime cliffs which stand testimony to the forces of erosion.
The Pirişca peak is the only nepheline syenite formation in the region. These formation are so unique that their scientific name was given after the settlement of Ditrău , as they can only be found on the 133 km2 which belongs to the settlement.
The Voşlăbeni Mountains lay between the Belcina valley and Izvorul Mureşului, which also are the origin of the two Transylvanian rivers Olt and Mureş. The source of the Olt is on the southern marshy slope of the Magasbükk peak (1394 m), bordered by the Covaci Peter and “Sóvető” creeks. The source of the Mureş can be found a couple of kilometers further, and is known as the Meszes stream, found at an altitude of 1350.m on the slopes of the Aramă (coper) Mountain.
The region of Borsec and Tulgheş form the southernmost part of the county. It contains the valleys of Borsec and Tulghes. The region connects with Moldova through the Tulgheş valley. The Borsec valley is well known for its numerous mineral water springs.
Ditrău (Ditró, Dittersdorf)
Once a dispersed settlement, Ditrău today is a small compact town. The Roman-catholic church found here is a protected building, built between the years 1746-1757. Its interior is decorated in baroque style. The painting representing Saint Marry dated 1600, could have been the altar piece of the church. The new Roman-Catholic church built in neo gothic and eclectic style was erected it 1911, and is the largest two towered church in the Gheorgheni basin. The height of the bell towers are of 55m and their width is 23 m and has a seating room of 3000. The vaulted ceiling is held together by enormous pillars. The on the virtrallias of the church one can see the 12 apostles.
The main income source of the locals used to be commercial rafting, transporting goods as timber and rafter towards Arad. In the 1950’s an important powder milk factory was built. Its Roman catholic church made in 1786 out of stone, was built in to replace the old chapel. The main altar was made in 1787 and the crucifix in 1567. The local medicinal spa is placed on the south side of the village. In the part of the settlement called “Şineu” one can see a water powered saw that was built in 1725.
Westward from the Castle of Lazărea archeologist found the remains of a settlement that was inhabited since the Bronze Age until the early Middle Ages, the site now being listed as an archeological park. Lazărea is home to numerous monuments that date back to different historical periods. The Roman-Catholic church and the fortification surrounding, built in late gothic style, was built in 1235. The church with the exception of the altar and the bell tower was demolished but rebuilt in 1930. Several members of the Lazar family are buried in the lower chapel. The Saint Ana chapel placed on the southern foothills of the Szármány Mountain was built in the 15th century bearing the marks of the late gothic. The Franciscan monastery was built between the years 1669 and 1752. The chapel is surrounded by a thick defensive wall. Lazar Stefan resettled the Franciscan order even against the express prohibition of prince Apafi. The monastery is square shaped, and attached to its southeastern corner one can see church in built baroque style. Its treasures are the main altar, side altars and baroque pulpit. The Franciscan monastery functioned as a convent until 1729. Between the years 1669-1674, the abbot of the monastery was the famous Transylvanian scholar Johannes Kajoni, who was also buried here in April 1687. A small statue representing him can be seen in the wall of the monastery. The monastery dedicated to the Holy Virgin is also a pilgrimage place. The olden castle of the Lazar family is one of the most attractive 17th century manors in Transylvania. On its arched anteroom there is an inscription written in gothic letters. Its earliest tower is dated in 1450. Three of its corner towers are rectangular and the one found on the northeastern side is heptagonal. This is the place where Prince Bethlen Gábor spent his childhood, between the years 1590-1594. The castle was also visited by the Romanian princes Petru Rareş and Mihnea Voda. The castle is under restoration since 1967. Today it also hosts the County Museums painting exposition. In the knights room 150 pictures are on display.
The Friendship artistic camp was founded in 1974, and serves as the meeting place for painters, graphic artists and sculptors. The ethnographic artistic ensemble was founded in 1978, its purpose, the maintaining of ethnographic traditions. Its members created the carved and painted furniture, woven fabrics, ceramic and wrought iron pieces. The renaissance furniture of the knights’ room was also created by them.
The micro region of Bucin
The communes of the microregion are: Joseni, Ciumani, Suseni. The surface area is of 54176 ha (13% farmland, 37% forrested).The region lays on the border of the Gheorgheni and Harghita mountains where the Mureş river brakes through mountains. Its forest covered foothills stretch deep into the Eastern part of Transylvania. The forests are very rich in game. The region starching from Bucin to Liban is known as the South-Ghiurhiu its highest point being Borzont (1496), Şumuleu Mare (1575) and Amza (1685 m.) . The road which links Prajd to Gheorgheni passes over the Bucin.
The Gheorgheni basin stretches between the Căliman-Hargitha and Gurghiu mountains. The basin which is actually the riverhead of the Mureş, still maintains at an altitude of 800 m the flat bottom of the former lake. The middle part of the basin was filled up by the sediments of the Békény creek. It is the basin with the roughest climate with temperatures reaching -35 C° . Fog and temperature inversions are quite frequent this also having an effect on the plant life of the region. The edges of the basin are covered by spur forests, and the mountain rims especially on the southern side are covered by oak.
Joseni is one of the oldest and largest settlements of the region. The Roman-Catholic church, standing as a testament of religious architecture, is encircled by a stone wall. The bell tower, arches, and entrance all bear the marks of the romanesque style. The church was rebuilt in gothic in the 15th century, but it still kept the original romanesque gate. During 1766-1776 the church was again modified baroque elements being added. The prized possession of the church is the baroque main altar with its four ionic pillars and a statue representing the Holly Virgin with Child in the center. On one side of the main entrance one can see the commemorative plate of priest Stefan, who was one of the main architects in organizing the local resistance against János Zsigmond whose intention was to convert the inhabitants of Gheorgheni and Ciuc regions into Presbyterianism. After their victory a pilgrimage was organized from Joseni to Şumuleu Ciuc. For their role in the resistance the inhabitants of the village were given the honor to lead the procession to the holy site, and this has been respected for the last 430 years.
Căliman micro region
The settlements of the region are: the town of Topliţa, and Bilbor, Gălăuţaş,and Sărmaş communes. The population is of 25531. Only a small part of the Căliman Mountains can be found on the territory of the county, however this is where the highest peaks of the region, the Pietrosu, Izvorul Călimanului and Răchitiş, are situated. On the eastern part of the mountains one can find the Borsec and Bilbor basins. The region is packed in calcium, sulfur, arisen, rich mineral water springs. The Bilbor basin is Harghita’s highest situated basin.
Bilbor is the southernmost settlement of the county, situated in the valley of Bistrița Mica and has a variety of sights in form of mineral water springs, and marshes. The region has over 700 mineral water springs.
The wooden church of Bilbor is considered a protected building, raised in 1795-97. Surrounding it one can see beautifully carved wooden headstones. Its relics are the ten painted icons. The Pârâul Dormeanu marsh, is one of the eight marshes of the region situated at higher altiudes, and was declared a natural park. The Great pit bogg of Bilbor, is poorer in wild and plant life.
The Ciuc Region
The micro region of Upper Ciuc
The settlements of the region are the communes of Dăneşti, Sândominic, Cârţa, Mădăraş, Racu, Siculeni, and Ciceu. The surface area of the county is of 58408 ha (13% farmland, 30% forrested), and has a poulation of 18790 inhabitants.
The Hăşmaşu Mare Mountains have one of the most diverse terrain in the Eastern Carpathians. They extend over a 10-15 km distance on the border between the counties of Harghita and Neamț and have a width of 40 km. The highest peaks are Hăşmaşu Mare (1793m), Hăşmaşu Negru (1793) Öcsém tető (1709), Likas (1676) and Piatra Singuratică (1609 m). The Hăşmaşu Mare Mountains are mostly barren only small parts being covered by pine forests, and also they are rich in mineral water.
The Naşcalat group belongs to the Ciuc Mountains. Its talles peaks are Naşcalat (1566m), Buciu (1374m) , Livezi (1290), and Pogani mountains (1352m)
The Ciuc basin is one of the longest intra-Carpathian basins. From the West it is bordered by the Harghita Mountains and from the east by the Ciuc Mountains. It has a north-south orientation and it is situated 650-800 m high on the course of the Olt River.
The name of Siculeni is strongly linked with the organized resistance against the forced recruitment of the Szekler border guard in 1764, which ended in a blood bath. The massacre of the 200 defenseless Szeklers by the Hapsburg Imperial Guard is commemorated by the monument erected in their memory. The Roman-Catholic church has one of the longest naves off all the churches in the county. The Heart of Jesus church was built between the years 1913 and 1914.
Racu was settled near the river Olt, close to the straights of Bogata. The fortress church is one of the oldest protected buildings of the Ciuc region dating back to the early Middle Ages. The four sides closed in ten angles of the abscissa are guardians of the memories of the Middle Ages. The fortification of the church containing towers and embrasures, and was enlarged in 1574. Its present form dates back to 1758. Its transept was built between the years 1756-1758, in baroque style. The main attraction of the church is its 30 m. high tower decorated with zodiacal signs which resemble the motifs of pagan art and are unique in Romania. In the mortuary one can see the memorial of father Zöld Péter (1727-1795). The “Pogányvár” of Racu is a fortification built in the second part of the Iron Age, but was still in use in the I century A.D., and was inhabited until the Middle Ages. The Cserei manor contains a room that was furnished in the memory of the historian Csere Mihály.
This is the land of black pottery. The embodied homespun and painted woolen carpets all are local products on which the local renown is built. The settlement used to be famous for its forge, and mills.
Besides the previously mentioned trades the locals engage in wood working, husbandry and transportation of goods. Its neo gothic church was inaugurated on the 8th of December 1935. Not far from it there is a monument erected in the memory of Queen Elisabeth.
The black ceramic shop can be found in the centre of the village. Near the swimming pool there is also a tourist hostel.
The catholic church of Cârța built in the 15th century in gothic style, is one of the most significant fortified churches in the upper Ciuc region and is dedicated to the Holly Virgin. Encircled by an 8 m. high wall it still has most of the typical defense structures characteristic of a fortification. The gates and walls were built sometime around the 15th-16th centuries. The nave was reconstructed in baroque style, but still keeping the gothic style of the altar. The baptistery in form of chalice has a regular octagonal shape. The gothic chancel was probably built in 1444 and it is the oldest part of the church. The treasures of the parish are two gold plated chalices, and a gothic sacrament shower. The Madica baths is a resort of local interest that can be found 4,5 km south of the settlement.
The Pogani micorergion
The communes of the micro-region are Frumoasa, Mihăileni, Lunca de Sus, Lunca de Mijloc, Ghimeş-Făget (Bacău county). The surface area of the county is of 34764 ha (9% farmland, 27% forrested), and has a popoulation of 21046. The micro region is located in the region connecting the Frumoasa Pass to the Nyerges plains. The more important peaks are “Szájhavas” (1555), “Szellő tető” (1496). The volcanic mountain range (Şumuleu Mare and Şumuleu Mic) formed in the Neocene also lies on the territory of the region. Its river system is mostly formed by the river Tatros and its affluents.
The depression of Ciuc is formed by a series of basins that start at the riverhead of the Mureş and Olt rivers. On its Northern end it connects with the Gheorgheni basin, and on the southern end it links up with the straights of Tuşnad.
Livezi is a dispersed settlement typical for the mountainous regions, and is the only Romanian village of the Ciuc Region. The viaduct and railroad tunnel built in 1897 are one of the longest of theirs kind in Romania, stretching over the Caracău valley. It has a height of 61 m and a length of 264 m.
Thanks to the Armenians settled in the village, Fumoasa became the most important commercial centre of the region during the 17th century. The Roman Catholic Church was built in 1781, and is encircled by a fortified wall. In 1986 a dam was built, the lake of which became an important tourist attraction.
The region of Ghimeş
The region situated on the border of the former Csik shire on the upper course of the Tatros is also known as the Land of Creeks. The heart of the region is formed by communities of Frumoasa, Lunca de Mijloc, and Făget(today found in the county of Bacau). The locals are called csángos of Gimes, this differentiating them from the Moldavian csángós, and are considered one of the characteristic Szekler groups. As the arable land is quite scarce the typical occupation in this region bing the growing of animals, shepherding, and trades that are based on lumber. The pastures of the Tatros valley are primarily used for growing of cattle and sheep. Game and silviculture are also an important part of the everyday life of the locals. As industry never became an economical factor in the region, its place was taken by local crafts. Because of the geographical peculiarities of the region the inhabitants ordered their life in such a way that they reached a high level of self sustainability. The region has a number of peculiarities concerning, the form of the villages and folk traditions. One of the typical instruments of local musicians is the “garadon”, which is a percussion instrument in form of a trough made of softer wood. The csángos also have specific folk costumes. In the straights of Ghimes one can also find the remains of Rákoczi’s castle.
The region of Lower Ciuc
It is the land of potato cultures. The region is renowned by the woven and painted rugs that are made on Sâncrăieni.
The Roman Catholic church of the region was built in the 15-16th centuries. The Chapel of Guardian Angels was built between the years 1770 and 1775. The Beneş bog is sustained by the mineral water springs.
The roman-catholic church of the settlement, considered a protected building, was built in 1776. The chancel has winged altar that is a rarity among its kind. The Saint Margaret chapel built in the 15th century is also considered a protected building.
The main attraction of “Büdös” Baths is that it contains carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen-sulfite (H2S).
Its Roman-Catholic church is one of the region most beautiful and altogether largest gothic churches, which probably was built in 1336. Its present form was given to it in 1673. Its chancel is gothic and the holy water basins are stone carved. The main altar, and its two beautiful wooden statues are dated 1796. Linked to the church is the Holy Rosary chapel. The orthodox chapel was built in the 18th century.
The settlement treasures the easternmost Church dated back to the period of the Árpád house kings. The church originally had romanesque style, however in the 15th century was rebuilt in gothic, but still keeping romanesque elements like the rosette. The wall paintings which decorate the vaults have an important artistic value. The nave was reconstructed in 1655 in baroque style. The statue of Saint Mary made in the 16th century by the school of Şumuleu Ciuc. The Adorján manor today is considered a protected building. The settlement also has a monument built in the memory of those who have fallen in the First World War.
The micro region of Ciomatu-Balvanioş
The sttlements of the micro region are: the town of Băile Tuşnad, the communes Tuşnad, Cozmeni, Turia and Bicsad (the last two are situated in Covasna county). The surface area of the region is 49320 ha, (13% farmland, 39% forested), the number of the population is of 9842 inhabitants.
The Olt river divides the Southern part of the Harghita Mountains from the Ciomatu Mountains, both being of volcanic origin. The highest peaks are Cucu peak (1558 m.) Pilişca Mare peak (1374 m.). The Lucs caldera today is a vast pit bog. The Ciomatu mountains dominated by the twin craters of the Saint Ana and Mohoş pitt bog, are almost entirely contained by the Ciomatu Mare Mountain Range. The Puturosu peak (1143 m.) made out of kaolinezided andesite, is famous for its hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide emanations. The peak of Bálványos (1040) situated not far from here is the last part of the volcanic mountain range