Romania has always been a favorite destination for the bold and the adventurous types. You have often weaved stories about its dark forests and age old castles. Some also relish the Dracula myth of Transylvania. Its age old heritage with castles from the past or some forgotten church gives tourists something to bring home to. Romania is also immensely rich in natural resources. The Retezat National Park in the upper reaches of the Carpathian mountains are a revelation. The exact location is the Hunedoara county in Romania. Significantly this national park has the most mountain peaks as many as 2,000,about 80 glacial lakes. One of the best place to get an uninterrupted view of the Danube plainsand the unending yet mysterious Carpathian range.
This beautiful Park of Retezat National Park was founded in 1935 and constituted about 100 square kilometers. This area was initially the hunting domain of the Royal House. In 1979 the park was recognized and given the status of Reservation of Biosphere. Scientists related to the park had in mind to protect the geographical, geological, ontological, and pedological aspects of the park along with preserving its splendid natural vegetation. The water dam of the park started much earlier in 1974. It is on the western side of the park. Huge blocks of boulders were used. A 23 km long channel was dug. The beautiful asphalt road has chalets on both sides. It makes for an interesting walk amongst this scenic path. The park authorities are very particular about maintaining the natural feel of the place. They want to keep the environment as pristine as possible. To that end there are no ski lift. You can only travel by foot here. It is exhaustive but rewarding in ways more than one.
Retezat National Park has been divided into two broad zones- one zone where there is strictly no fishing,grazing,hunting, fruit collection or even tourism camping. Only if you get a permit from the Council of the Monuments of Nature you are allowed here. In the other zone restrictions are less as here you can graze here twice a year.
Flora and Fauna of Retezat National Park:
The vast topographical region of the park as well as the variable vegetation and climate that exists here reasons for the diverse classification of flora and fauna inside the park. There are about 1200 plants in the region. Out of these only 90 species of the flora have been discovered. Many endemic plants to the Carpathian region grows here. The zambru concentration here (pinus cembra) is the largest in all Romania.
There are about 55 animal species here out of which 22 are protected by law. Wolves, lynxes, chamois, stag, and deer are some of the animals who have taken shelter here. The bears also come here during winter when they take shelter in its limestone mass. 20 marmots have been brought here from the Austria Alps and they have multiplied rapidly in this area.
Natural wonders in Retezat National Park
The park has about 80 glacial lakes with Bucura lake being the largest glacial lake in Romania. Almost 40percent of the lakes in Romania are located here. Most of these lakes are permanent with water coming down from the melting of snow in the mountains. The whole area offers a spectacular view. Especially the route in between Bucura” and “Zanoaga has a number of regions worth visiting like the Taul Portii, Taul Agatat Florica,and Viorica. The deepest lake in this region is the Zanoaga. Especially in the limestone areas you can see trouts and vipers in the lake regions. There are also abundant gorges, limestone cavesand spectacular passes in this area. The water of the lakes are absolutely crystal clear.
The best way to enjoy the park is to camp inside the park instead of putting up in luxury resorts outside.
For hikers and trekkers there are some amazing trails here
Rausor – Saddle Ciurila-Cab Stones
Educational trail – Rausor-peak Lolaia
Stevia-Rausor-Refuge in Steve Lake
Saddle-Virful Lolaia Retezat
Sweep – Saddle Gorova – Lancia Peak – High Peak Saddle
Lake Gales – Cabana stones
Gate-Tau Tau- Viorica Lake – Lake Buaur