Start | The List | Tentative | Timeline | Connections | Community | Missing | Forum | Map | Blog | About

Dacian Fortresses

Dacian Fortresses
The Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains are Iron Age defense works built as protection against Roman conquest. They were built between the 1st centuries B.C. and A.D. by the Dacians, who lived in what is now Romania (between the Carpathians and the Danube).

Six locations are part of this site:
- Sarmizegetusa Regia
- Costesti-Cetatuie
- Costesti-Blidaru
- Luncani-Piatra Rosie
- Bãnita
- Cãpâlna

Sarmizegetusa Regia was the Dacian capital and the center of its political and religious power. It was built on a fortified mountain. The other sites formed a system of defense works to defend the capital. After their destruction by the Romans in 106, the sites were never reoccupied.

Visit September 2010

One should get bonus points having visited this remote and obscure site. Only 6 registered WHS enthusiasts did so before me - this puts the Dacian Fortresses on the same difficulty level as Nisa (Turkmenistan) or Sana'a (Yemen). Information about the site, practical or historic, is hard to get. The more interesting ones that I found on the web I've added to the Links section at the left of this webpage.

I planned to visit Costesti (2 locations) and mainly Sarmizegetusa Regia. Finding it is easy nowadays: the Dacian sites of Costesti are signposted from the main road in Orastie. All went very smoothly, until I had to start the unpaved road to Sarmizegetusa Regia. It's 18km long and full of potholes. Unfortunately it rained too, so that made driving there in a non-4WD even more adventurous. My effort ended about 2km from the site, where the road is full of loose stones and starts to go uphill. I didn't want to get stuck here, I doubt there will be more than a handful of visitors daily. So I parked the car at the side of the road and hiked the remaining part. It was still raining but I felt very determined in getting there!

After many turns I finally arrived at a signboard "Sarmizegetusa Regia". From there it's still a short walk through the forest. There I already saw part of the Dacian road (impressively flat) and defense towers. The main complex is at an open field. I had seen pictures of it beforehand, but I still was impressed by its scale and variety of the remains. Especially the huge solar disc draw my attention.

Rain was still pouring so I didn't stay for long (I was also afraid that all the rain would make the road even worse). But I arrived safely back in Costesti. I had a look around how to get to the two fortresses here, but they are only accessible on foot (40-60 minutes). I decided against that as I already had enough of walking in the rain. On a summer day however this will be a wonderful trip, the scenery along the road is lovely (a river, a couple of farms and a mixed forest).

Click here to see more of my photos of Dacian Fortresses


Szucs Tamas (Hungary):
Things can change rapidly in Eastern Europe and now it fell out for the best. Sarmisegethuza Regia is never more inaccessible, but neither it is free. (Els please remove it from the FREE list!) The road from Costesti has been repaired some places even tarred this summer, so you can drive up to the entrance easily with an urban car - we did it with a Renault Scenic. At the entrance a ticket booth was erected, there you can buy the entry ticket for 5 lei (cca 1,2 eur). Other kiosks are seemingly under construction -most probably in the next season souvenir shops and buffets will open. When we were there the parking was full, so there will be a considerable demand also. Though the road is significantly better than it was, it is still almost an hour s drive from Costesti where the tar road ends. It is advisable to spend the night there and begin the visit the next morning. As tourism begins to boost, there are a couple of good B&B s now in Costesti. We have found lodging in Pensiunea Cotiso - a place I can recommend to anybody. The place is spotless, meets the European standards, the kitchen is great - they serv traditional local cuisine mainly from ingredients they grow themselves or collect in the woods (mushrooms), and the owners are very hospitable - their daughter, Cristina speaks good English, and they have an English website also.
Date posted: October 2013
john booth (New Zealand):
I found the reward for reaching two of the locations somewhat underwhelming given the amount of effort expended reaching them. The were both located at thev tops of vcery steep hills. The two that I reached were :
Calpana - a short distance by taxi from the Calnic fortified church.
Costesti Catatuie - by bus from Orastie to Costesti, then a 2km walk to the bridge where two tracks lead to Cetatuie and Blidaru respectively.
Date posted: December 2012
I have visited almost all Dacian fortresses in 2007. Almost all the places are located in the remote, mountaineous area (you should have a good local map to get there or at least have enough luck to find a person that show you the right direction, 4 wd car is also recommended). The places itself are extremely worth visiting as they are the only surviving examples of once powerful culture of pre-Roman Dacian state. The most important monument is Sarmisegetuza Regia, remnants of Dacian capital with its sanctuaries, walls and other buildings. It is one of Romanian touristic "must".

Have you been to Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains? Share your experiences!

Add your own review

Site info

Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains
Country: Romania
Inscribed: 1999
Cultural Heritage
Criteria:  (2) (3) (4)
Category: Secular structure, Military / Fortifications

Site history:
1999 Inscribed
Reasons for inscription

Site links

Official website:
»Dacian Fortresses

In the news:
» Funds for Dacian Fortresses stopped (15-12-2013).
» Romania has recovered more pieces of a valuable ancient treasure which had been stolen from the archaeological site of Sarmisegetusa Regia (13-05-2011).

Related links:
» Wiki on Sarmizegetusa Regia.
» Tips how to get there, and do some geocaching.

Related Forum posts:
Not available

Getting there

This WHS has 6 location(s).


Sundial . Timber circles .
Carpathians .
Iron Age .
Human Activity
Man-made Terraces .
Built in the 1st century BC .
Located in a Former Capital .
WHS Hotspots
Transylvania hotspot .

© WHS 1997-2016