> Some of the most impressive caves in the world.
> Highest villages in Romania: 1200m altitude.
> 30 wolfes live here, 20 lynxes and 20 bears.
> Home of the Motzi tribe.
Places to visit in Apuseni National Park, Romania
The plans for Apuseni National Park come from the '70s, based on the fact that this is one of the last large European naturally forested karst area. It was established in 2003 resulting a surface of 750 sq km.
When (not) to visit
The weather is usually harsh and capricious. May is beautiful as the atmosphere is clear, but high risks of sudden spring thunderstorms exist. June is rainy making it difficult for travelers to visit the area. The second half of July is already better. The good weather persists throughout August and the first half of September.The caves
"Piatra Altarului" (Altar Stone) is a beautiful cave with a fairytale appearance. The "Valea Rea" (Bad Valley) cave is Romania's greatest underground mineralogical "museum", with over 35 different minerals, placing it among the World's top 10 caves. It is also the most complex cave system in Romania, developed on about 20 km, and has the greatest vertical underground waterfall of Romania: 82m high. The "V5" Pothole is the deepest Romanian cavity, reaching for now -642 m and the exploration is not yet finished; it also has the largest underground hall in Romania, over 400m wide. The "Zgurasti" Cave has the largest permanent underground lake of Romania: 65m long.And more caves
The Hodobana Cave is one of the most labyrinthine caves in the world, with 22km of explored galleries. The "Coiba Mare" Cave has the widest cave entrance in Romania: 54 x 45m while the "Fortress of Ponor" cave has the highest one: 76m. "Scarisoara" ice cave shelters the largest underground mass of permanent ice in Romania. The "Onceasa" cave is where many nature museums in Europe got their fossil samples from. "Ponor Glade" is the only karst plain in Romania. "Sighişf0 tel Valley" has nearly 200 caves, the highest density of natural cavities in Romania. The "Bears Cave" is the only palaeontological site in Romania where intact fossil remains of the extinct Cave Bear were found; it is also the best equipped facility for receiving tourists.The Motzi People
As opposed to the rest of the Carpathians, Apuseni Mountains are fully populated up to high altitudes. The hemlets on the Ocoale–Scarisoara plateau are among the highest settlements in the country: 1200 m high. The local population of Apuseni are called "The Motzi". The conditions are harsh for Motzi, as the land is not proper for agriculture, the distance to the nearby town are large and the main occupation is cattle breeding, so most surfaces are used for hay-making. The other important occupation is timber processing, as woods are rich in the area; their traditional houses as well as most of their furniture are built locally, entirely of wood.