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In today’s world, when countries are trying to deal with population urbanization, about 1% of Romania’s land, which was once inhabited, lies deserted- most of which is abandoned, secluded, haunted or even buried under toxic sludge. It all began with the attempt of the Communist Regime in Romania to boom the local industry. A lot of villages were emptied, or villagers forced to flee back then. The trend didn’t stop with time though. People are still leaving beautiful villages and other areas even today and shifting to urban towns. It was recently discovered that 126 settlements in Romania have no inhabitants and lie abandoned. Despite this, many abandoned villages still exist officially, and some even have a postal code. Most of these places hold a rich historical background and have a lot to offer to adventurous and curious explorers.
Its time to take a break from your hectic schedule and explore the fantastic country of Romania. Pack your bags, get a map and spend an incredible week in the historical parts of Romania!
The settlements count to 126 in number after a recent survey.
Geamana is an unfortunate abandoned village of Romania situated in the center of Romania. Everything was going peaceful in the village till the Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided to exploit a huge copper deposit from the underground in 1977. The toxic sludge generated from the mining activity was decided to be stored in the Geamana valley, on which the village is situated. As a result, the village was abandoned within a year and 400 families were relocated. During all this process, the villagers were promised to be transferred to a new village, 7 km from Geamana and given huge sums of compensation money. But in reality, they were moved to a village over 100 km away from Geamana and were given small amount of money for rehabilitation.
Today, only the church tower, rising defiantly from under the sludge is visible as a memory of the abandoned village. The reason behind the abandonment, the copper pit of Rosia Poieni in the Apuseni Mountains is still the largest copper reserve in Romania, producing around 11,000 tonnes of copper. Though the exploration of the mine has stopped, the Geamana village remains a testimony of the sacrifices which were made to flourish industrial development of the country.
There is no hope of re-establishment of the village following the end of sludge dumping as the soil has badly been affected and the groundwater is also pretty toxic. The village which was once home to about 1000 people, is resided with hardly 10 people living in the hillside.
The story of the Romanian abandoned village Francenii de Piatra is like a fairy tale gone wrong. This village has been forgotten for so long, it's hard to believe anyone ever lived here. The village has nothing but only a very few houses, two of which mark the boundary of the abandoned village, located on each side of the road. Its because of the horses roaming around that one can guess the presence of humans around. Most of the houses have been swallowed by the ever growing vegetation and all of this seems to continue. There was a time when the village was known for lime production. But with the development of material mass production (including lime) by industrialists from outside the village, the natives were left without a job. Also due to excavations for lime production, the land was not left good enough for agriculture, so the young started to leave, and the old perished, one by one.
To everyone's surprise, few of the houses are still inhabited: one belongs to an old lady who spends her summer in the village with her sister and leaves in the winter. The other two houses belong to four sisters who take care of the houses by coming in rotation. "There used to be 80 families living in the village in the good times. Now, there's just the four of us taking care of the house in turn. My parents' dying wish was that we take care of it to not let the house go to waste. There's just another old lady living here, but she leaves in the winter, and a boy taking care of Florin's animals," one of the four sisters told a local newspaper.
Another person interested in the village is Florin, a zoologist who lives in the nearby city of Dej. He owns the horses, leaving them to spend most of their time roaming the hills like they did in primeval times and is happy keeping them semi-domesticated. He's planning to start a goat farm in the area. The area has a huge touristic potential with all the wildlife species expected to be in a Carpathian forest (wild cats, wolves, brown bears, deer and a myriad of birds). Also during the spring season in the village, when the snow melts, water simply bursts out of the ground creating several miniature springs, some reaching even one meter. The chances for the rebirth of the village are pretty less, but there's still a possibility.
This castle located in the Transylvanian Alps was inhabited by Vlad III, The Prince of Wallachia. Popularly known as the "Vlad the Impaler", the Prince was known to punish people by having them burnt alive, impaled on poles and left to die, or left hanging in the dead body-filled forests of Transylvania. The 'Dracula's Castle' may not be the site of any of Vlad's murders, but has been abandoned since a very long time due to the gloomy and horrifying stories related to Vlad. The fortress dates back to the 13th century and has been occupied by various bands of warriors over the centuries. He had eventually acquired the habit of signing his name Vlad Dracul - or 'Son of the Dragon' - and the tales of his brutal, short and bloodthirsty life acquired pretty much horror in the following centuries.
Vlad was notoriously fond of impaling his enemies which might count to as many as 20,000 people (executed in this fashion), and with that he earned the name Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler. Due to the horror spread by his stories, the Bran Castle has been left abandoned from a pretty long time. The Romanian Government has decided recently to sell it.
Ada Kaleh was another village abandoned during the Communist regime, this time again "for the greater good". Populated mostly by Turks, Ada Kaleh was a small island on the Danube. Despite its name (which means "Fortress Island"), it was sacrificed for industrial purpose. The island was submerged in 1970 during the construction of the Iron Gates hydroelectric plant. Ada Kaleh also has a rich history: It was an Ottoman enclave inside Romania, being known as a free port and a smuggler's nest for a pretty long time. The island changed possession from Austria to Turkey many a times, till in 1878, when it was forgotten in the Berlin Peace Treaty and thus theoretically remained a lawless, out-of-country place. Later after the end of the World War I, the new Republic of Turkey officially ceded Ada Kaleh to Romania on July 24, 1923. The plan was to relocate the entire population of 600 to the 1.75 by 0.5 km island, but people had no interest in the suggested plan as most of them had already moved to another area in Romania (Dobrogea) or moved back to Turkey.
Today, Ada Kaleh is completely submerged, and while some ruins sometimes emerge during extreme droughts, no one lives there anymore. And likely, no one will.
Looks like the Communist Party had sworn to turn a big number of places in the country to uninhabited and abandoned ones. There's an abandoned train depot hidden away in the back streets of Bucharest. The depot which once served a nearby station as a satellite to the larger track terminals in the centre of the capital city, was stopped being used in the 1970's, when the leader Nicolae Ceausescu launched an apartment construction project. The old track lay in the way of his ambitious suburb, and thus large sections of it were torn up to clear a space for the batch of buildings.
This depot, its platforms and tracks remained where they were- the last few carriages were stranded soon, their bodies gradually getting rusted and decayed. Beside the depot stands a grim, precarious factory, walls are rusted-red and the metal is stained and corrugated. The Romanian police is pretty strict towards roaming in the yard premises.
This mysterious forest is known as the "Bermuda Triangle" of Romania. The 'World's Most Haunted Forest' is situated near Cluj-Napoca, Romania and covers an area of over 250 hectares. It has a reputation for intense paranormal activity and unexplained events. Reports from the locals and tourists have included faces appearing in photographs that were not visible with the naked eye, ghost sightings, unexplained apparitions. To add to the mystery, UFOs were sighted in the 1970's. Moreover, the local vegetation is a little bizarre in appearance; the trees are strangely shaped and there are mysterious, horrifying and unexplained charring on tree barks and branches.
Natives who live near the forest are afraid to enter it due to the legends and horrifying stories that have been related to the haunted forest. They believe that those who enter the forest boundaries will never come back alive. Many of the adventurous people who have been brave enough to venture into the forest, complained of physical harm, including migraines, burns, scratches, rashes, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and other unusual sensations.
This crumbling Casino sitting on the edge of the Black Sea was once considered the Monte Carlo of Romania. The walls of the abandoned Casino sing about the glamorous all night parties and the black tie affairs that happened around them. The building initially commissioned by King Carol I was completed between 1904 and 1910 by the appointed Romanian architect Petre Antonescu.
The 20th century struck Romania hard economically, and the prestigious Casino couldn't bear the whack. The maintenance charges were too high and thus the glamorous interiors deteriorated day by day. Before finally closing the doors of the Casino, the investors tried to salvage the incredible site, by turning it into a hospital as well as a restaurant, but unfortunately it was too expensive to maintain.
This village has a lot of amenities to lure people in with the idea of settling down; it has nice houses, clean streets, and even internet access – but no one actually wants to live here. In fact, no one has lived here for the past seven years. The only people who visit the village are the children of former inhabitants, to spend their summer holidays. The village has a proud history of over six hundred years, even witnessing the victory in a small defensive battle against the Turks. But the Communist regime took away the lands and cattle of the villagers and forced them to flee, abandoning another beautiful village. The villagers who somehow stayed back slowly dwindled away.
The village remained isolated, and most of the road is totally inaccessible by car in the winter. Benedek Andras, who used to live in the village once says, "The ones who used to live here come back in the summer because the road is inaccessible in the winter. But once I retire and my kids finish college, I might move here." The Government has tried to repopulate the village, renovating the church, giving access to mineral waters, keeping the house clean, and even adding internet access, but could convince only one person to live in the village. In 2014, when Kanya Florian visited the village due to some business purpose, he saw a house and instantly fell in love with it. Father of a 2-year old daughter, Florian says he enjoys taking a walk in the abandoned streets and plans to move with his entire family soon.