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ODORHEIU SECUIESC


Transylvania, is the conserved beauty of former Europe. There are few places on this continent where you can travel and still meet authentic culture like that of the Transylvanians. This land is also characterized by rough mountain cliffs, mysterious lakes and "virgin" forests. Among these beauties we can find Odorheiu Secuiesc (Székelyudvarhely). Its environs have been inhabited since ancient times. This fact is proved by the findings which have been excavated in this area, such as stone tools, and pottery from the Neothic era, bronze tools and objects belonging to the early Iron Age. On the place where the ruins of the Székely Támadt fortress can be found today, there was established a Roman castrum (military camp). The fortress built on the Budvár and the pottery findings here belong to the 11th and 12th century. The Seklers from Udvarhely are first mentioned in a written document in 1224. The only monument which remained from this period is the Jesus Chapel, which can be found at the edge of the town on the left side of the road to Segesvár.

Another important factor in the development of the town was the two secondary schools: the first is the Jesuit school which has been functioning since 1593, (the predecessor of the today's Tamási Áron high-school). The second was the Reformed College which was founded in 1670, (the today's Benedek Elek Teachers' Training School). At the beginning of the 18th century the town was tried by the wars and by a devastating plague, but after all these its economy recovered again. This is reflected by the Baroque monuments which were built: between 1712 and 1779 the Franciscan Church and Nunnery, the Reformed Church (1780 - 1781) and the Catholic Church (1787-1793).
The revolution from 1848-49 and the following totalitarian regime restrained the development of the town but around the 60's of the 19th century we can witness the advance of the embourgeoisement and urbanization. The increasing cultural demands of the merchants and craftsmen are satisfied by different cultural societies and clubs. The school network is enlarged. In that the age of dualism represented the most dynamic period in the development of Odorheiu Secuiesc which determined the today's look of the downtown.

After the World War II came the socialist regime, a period of contradictions. The population of the town increases, it is four times larger. The villages became depopulated. The people from the countryside are moved to town where they become proletarians but they can not adjust themselves to the requirements of a town life. The large-scale industry was born. But most of them haven't been able to face the conditions of the free competition of our decade. All these represent our inheritance of several centuries which makes us hope that hardships of the transition period will pass, and Székelyudvarhely will become again a flourishing settlement, where the patina of the past and the economic prosperity will be in harmony.

SZEJKE SPA


is the leisure center and the holiday camp of Odorheiu-Secuiesc. Here can be found a paraffin mineral water, a sulphured warm bath, mofetta and a therapeutic mud, all in one place, in the valley of the Sós brook, where is a pleasant microclimate. These waters have a curative effect and is drinkable. Its name is closely connected to the activity of Orbán Balázs (1829?-1890) the greatest Sekler, once the owner of the spa and whose tomb can be found here. He was a writer, historian, ethnographer, publicist and public personality. Here is a tomb-monument, erected in 1969 work of the local sculptor Orbán Áron. The exhibition of 14 Seckler gates would like to present and preserve the ornamentation and folk values of Odorhei District. The hillside is known as Borvízoldal. These gates were erected by the Haáz Rezső Museum and with the help of people who considered that fostering traditions was their duty. The gate standing in front of the monument was carved in 1888 and was erected by Balázs Orbán in front of his former house. Here is organised the Szejke Folk Festival for more than twenty-five years every year in June on Szejke Day. The folk performances held in the open air theatre are an interesting event every summer.

SIGHIŞOARA


along the wide valley of the Târnava River at two hills beyond which the panorama opens before the eyes, here is the little town of Sighişoara. The thousand-year old history of this wonderful town is an example of the peaceful co-existence of the peoples: Romanians, Hungarians and Saxons. The town and the picturesque fortress were born in the Middle Ages. Archeological excavations around the town revealed a lot of stone, bronze and iron tools used by local people. The dark walls, the majestic towers and the colourful houses of the uptown appear suddenly before the travellers' eyes and create a deep impression. Time seems to have stopped in the old, narrow streets.
The town started to gain importance after the arrival of the Saxons in the 14th centuries. The walls measured 930 m in length and were guarded by 14 towers built by different guilds. This old town has preserved its character of a medieval Saxon town and, together with the Town Hall in German Renaissance style and the meadows, is unique in the whole country. Until the end of the Middle Ages the fortress was the centre of the town, then the downtown was built at its feet gradually gained importance.


CRISTURU-SECUIESC


Cristuru-Secuiesc is the most significant economical-organizational and educational center of the Cristuru basin. Developed from district residence, region center and large commune into a market-town and then town. Today it is one of the small towns of Harghita county with 11.185 inhabitants together with Filias. Opposite to the cinema on a small square, one can see the statue of Petőfi Sándor, made by András Márkos sculptor (1971). Also in the downtown, one of the beautiest bronze statues of the great romanian revolitionary, Nicolae Bălcescu, is made by Mircea Spătaru in 1971. One of the oldest historical building of the whole region of Cristur is the Roman Catholic Parish Church situated in Libertatii square, and it was built in late Gothic style before the 15th century. The Molnár István Museum and open-air ethnographic section are one of the most significant country museums of the region and the whole county. It has valuable permanent exhibitions on ethnographic, folk, art, history and natural sciences themes.
The Gyárfás-mansion is a historic monument of Harghita county in classicist style. The Unitarian church together with the tower was built between 1781-92. Its style combines Baroque and Classicist elements.

BAILE HOMOROD


The bath is situated in the valley of Homorodul Mare on the height of 740-760 m above the sea level. It is 18 km away from Odorheiu Secuiesc. In the past it was a small settlement at the foot of the mountain with fizzy warm and cold baths, today it is a youth holiday camp with national significance, with mineral water springs. The climate is typical: the summer is warm, the winter is cold with changing winds. The mountain climate is good for recreation and healing. The small holiday camp is one of the stations of the transit car tourists. The characteristic of the springs are: high proportion of the microelements (Li, Mg, Br, J). Can be utilised for drinking cures, and also for drinking. The well known mineral waters of Homoród were used already in the Roman times. The ruins of fortress "Földvár" are situated on the Láz, near the old roman road, a 36x36 m square Roman guarding tower. The Roman castellum (guarding tower) figure as archaeological reservation in the official monuments catalogue of Harghita county.

MIERCUREA CIUC


it is the administrative centre of Harghita County, on the left bank of the Olt River in the Ciuc Basin.
The Miko Fortress is the most important monument of Miercurea Ciuc. The fortress was built from 1623 to 1631 in neo-Renaissance style. The builder of the fortress was Count Mikó Ferenc of Hidveg. Mikó Ferenc received the title of "princiary domain of Szereda" from Prince Gabor Bethlen. The institutions of the former Ciuc District were built around the fortress. These were the headquarters of the Seckler border regiment, the County Hall and the impressive Law Court. Today the fortress houses the Seckler Museum of Ciuc. In the yard of the fortress are held festivals of early music every summer. On the square behind the fortress was founded a Village Museum in 1969, the cottages and gates are representative pieces for the folk architecture of the Ciuc Basin. The permanent displays of the Seckler Museum of Ciuc are of ethnographic, religious and bibliographic character. The documentary section of the county library is also to be found here.
The Roman Catholic Parish Curch is the oldest building of Miercurea Ciuc which once offered shelter to the whole population of this Catholic town. It was built in 1758 in Baroque style.

The building of Márton Áronn High School. was erected in the period from 1909 to 1911 in secessionist style. In 1990 the school took the name of Márton Áron, a Transylvanian bishop who once was a student in this school. In front of the building we can see the bust of him, the work of the sculptor Levente Bodó from Vlăhiţa. The sculpture was unveiled in 1997.

ŞUMULEU-CIUC


which once was the centre of Ciuc District, today is the suburb of Miercurea Ciuc. It is 3 km from the centre of Miercurea Ciuc, at an altitude of 705 m. Behind the village we can see the twin volcanic peaks of Kis-Somlyó and Nagy-Somlyó covered with beech forests. Since its foundation Şumuleu has been the centre of Catholic faith and culture. For more than 550 years it has been the centre of the spiritual life of Ciuc District and a well-known place of pilgrimage. The Whitsun (Pentecostal) pilgrimage and the Thousand Seckler Girls meeting (first held in 1931), draws huge crowds here. It is the centre of the Roman Catholic Secklers and Hungarians from Moldavia as well as of the Franciscan Order from Transylvania. Şumuleu is particularly attractive for its historic past and monuments. The monuments of Şumuleu are unique in Transylvania. The most important monument is the miraculous statue of Our Lady, which represents a woman who is attired in Sun. The Crying Madonna is a masterpiece of the ecclesiastic art of the 16th century. Şumuleu has become the symbol of Hungarian unity and endurance.

CORUND


is one of the most well known settlements in the country-side which name is inseparable from the folk-ceramics and national pottering.
It lies along the 13A road, 29 km from Odorheiu Secuiesc, being the most famous settlement of the Salt Region and a living centre of folk pottery. The village had an aragonite mine, (now closed) and in the 19th century a nationally known mineral water bath which became famous before the one at Sovata was opened. The inhabitants of the village have different and varied trades: the traditional pottery, woodworking, tinder working and commerce. It plays an important part in the commercial, educational and touristic life of the region. In the fair along the main road tourists can choose from pottery, hay and bulrush mattings, woollen and wooden articles, utensils and ornaments.

RED-LAKE - LACU-ROŞU


It is one of Romania's most beautiful climatic resorts, being part of the town of Gheorgheni. The distance between Gheorgheni and Lacul Rosu is 29 km. The most important sight of the resort is the lake, one of Romania's most beautiful lakes. It came into being as a result of a landslide, and it is a natural rarity. What makes this lake unique is the sight of the flooded forest of fir trees. Its importance is increased by the fact that it lies near the Bicaz Gorge. The name of the lake - Killer Lake in Hungarian - was first mentioned by Balázs Orbán. In 1837 the heavily soaked clay surface of the side of the Gyilkosko slid and blocked the Bicaz Brook which carried the waters of the mountains. The petrified trunks of the fir trees which once covered the valley can still be seen. The water containing ironoxide and lime preserved these tree trunks. The name "killer" comes, according to the legend, from the fact that during the catastrophe shepherds were grazing their flocks and they were swallowed by the falling earth.
Red Lake and its neighbourhood has a very pleasant microclimate, suitable for people suffering from nervous breakdown, insomnia or recovering from serious illnesses. The average yearly temperature is around 8 degrees C. The warmest months are July and August. The light breeze, the clean air, the streams and the small waterfalls meet the people who like active rest and sports.
Since the turn of the century this 'Seckler Switzerland' has been a favourite spot for tourists.

BICAZ GORGE


- is only a few kilometers distance from Red Lake. This breathtaking gorge winds among steep 100-300 m tall cliffs. The gorge is the most dramatic pass in the Carpathians. The magic of the place is heightened by the Bicaz Brook rushing through the gorge. The road is flanked by 200-300 m tall cliffs leaving very small room for the road and the brook. The distance between the walls is only 9-10 m in some places. One can often see climbers on the walls of the gorge because this is the place where climbers from the country practice.
The gorge itself is 5 km long. The best-known cliff is the Altar Cliff. It can be of some interest that once the gorge marked the border of Hungary. Even today we find the traces of this fact: the Bridge of the Hungarians on the Bicaz Brook, the road tunnel with the Hungarian royal inscription.