At Costesti, in Valcea county, we can admire the “growing rocks”, as the local peasants call them. The Trovant Museum is an open air “exhibition” of strange silicon rock formations dating from the Upper Miocene. Geologists reckon that the stone “tubercules” must have resulted from the cementing of the sands of the Sarmatic Sea millions of years ago. What is so bizarre about these rocks is that the same forms – spherical and ellipsoid – are endlessly repeated in varying dimensions, from a few millimetres to ten metres.
In Oltenia we find ourselves in the realm of famous spa resorts – Olanesti, Calimanesti-Caciulata, Govora, Voineasa.
The Calimanesti-Caciulata resort is situated in the small Sub-Carpathian depression of Jiblea, at an altitude of 260m. The mineral waters of this region have been utilised since antiquity, as is proven by the ruins of the Roman fortifications and thermal baths to be found here. The first balneary establishments were founded at Caciulata in 1910. The spa waters here are recommended for the treatment of hepatic, bilious, digestive tract and urinary ailments.
The Baile Olanesti resort, nicknamed the “Golden Springs”, is situated in the foothills of the Capatanii Mountains, at an altitude of 430-475m.The great number of springs and the variety of the composition and concentration of the mineral waters make Baile Olanesti one of the most highly regarded spa resorts in Romania.
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Voineasa, at an altidue of 600-800m, was first attested in a khrysoboulion (golden bull) of Neagoe Basarab, dating from 1520. The Voineasa resort was founded in October 1981, and is especially recommended for the treatment of nervous asthenia and physical and mental exhaustion.
In Oltenia, old traditions are still alive.The houses are built according to mediaeval models, the sign of the cross is to be found everywhere – at wayside shrines and on wells, and even carved into the trunks of trees.
At Horezu can be found the most representative centre of traditional pottery. Each year, on the first Sunday in June, there is a fair here, named the Cockerel of Hurez, at which craftsmen from all over the country take part. Horezu pottery is remarkable for its stylisation, and the use of traditional decorative motifs (the cockerel, spiral, snake, and wave), using a unique method of modelling and colour distribution (ochre, green, blue). At present, there are more than one hundred traditional craftsmen living in Horezu.