It differs geologically and morphologically from the surrounding massiffs and mountain groups. It can be compared with a sharp abrupt blade made of rocks from Jurrasic period, which is aproximatly 26 km long and 6-8 km in breadth along the corresponding perpendicular directions. The maximum altitude of 2244 km is reached by La Om Peak. The massif has a large number of peaks higher then 2000m (Padina Popii Peak(2025m), Vf. Ascuţit Peak(2150m), Ţimbalul Mare Peak(2177m), Ţimbale Peak(2170m), Sbirii Peak(2220m), Căldării Ocolite Peak(2202m).
Flora and fauna:
Piatra Craiului National Park is one of the richest natural reservations in Romania, with a surface of over 1200 HA, which is protected by law since 1938. Garofiţa Pietrei Craiului(dianthus callizonus), specific to the area, became the symbol of Piatra Craiului and can be found an both slopes. It is an unique flower in Romania , discovered more than 100 years ago by botanists Schott and Otschy. They named it "garofiţă cu prea frumoase brâuri" (Carthusian Pink with too beautiful girdles). You can also find here other species as lion's foot and rose bay.
As far as fauna is concerned, there are 89 species in the area, 50 of them being protected. The chamois(Rupicapra rupicapra) found in the alpine zone is representative. In Piatra Craiului Massif live over 40%of the 100 mammalian species of the entire country. Some examples are: deer (Capreolus capreolus) found in dense forests, buck (Cervus elaphus) located at the superior limit of the forest, bear (Ursus arctos) which populate the coniferous forest situated at the base of the massif while the wild boar(Susscrofa) can be found on glades. Rather frequently we can also find such species as fox, squirrel, lynx or wolf. Studies have shown the existence of three circulation passages used by bears, wolves and lynx between Piatra Craiului and Bucegi, passages that will have a special protection regime.
From the bird species representative is the capercailzie ( Tetrao urogallus), which lives in coniferous forests, especially on the western slope and in the forests from Martoiu, and a small number of aquila (Aquila chrysaetos).
The first trips to Piatra Craiului are lost in the fog of time and were organised by native shepherds and hunters. In 1844 Anton Kurz wrote an article about two trips from 1842 on the following lines:
Prăpăstii - Vladuşca - Grind - Piscul Baciului; Plaiul Foii - Şpîrlea - Marele Grohotiş - Moara Dracului. Due to the special beauty of the moutain in the years that followed the number of tourists in Piatra Craiului grew, most of them being part of Asociaţia Carpatină Transilvană (SiebenbA¼rgischer Karpaten Vereins). They used the sheepfolds as shelters and then they built the first cabins and refuges: cabins from Plaiu Foii and Vladuşca, Curmătura, Negru Vodă, refuges from Grind, Diana, Ascuţit Peak, "Vârful La Om", Şpîrlea Refuge, having their one history and stories. After 1950 scientific expeditions became more and more frequent, in short time being decovered and explored some of the most important avens:
Vladuşca Aven in 1952. Thanks to the geographic position of the mountain formations and of the still virgin nature, Piatra Craiului Massif formed a recess of tourists, who love the mountain. The area where is located the pension, on the left side of the massif is somehow stratecical because it makes it posible to connect with the other mountains in the area: Leaota Mountain, Bucegi Mountain, Fagaras Mountain and Iezer - Papuşa Mountain, but also with the other mountain stations: Moeciu, Bran, Zărneşti, Rucăr, Dâmbovicioara and at 65 km Poiana Braşov, Predeal. The agglomeration in other areas makes a contrast in comparisom with Dâmboviţa Gorge which seem to be forgotten by the world.
The main acces points after the distances to the main points ot touristic attractions from the mountain are:
Dâmbovicioara - the main acces gate for the southern and southwestern part of the mountain. The entrance is on National Road Piteşti-Braşov, through Dâmboviţa Bridge. The entrances to the tourist lines in the area are:
- Dâmboviţa Bridge - Dâmbovicioara - Ciocanu - La Table - Grind Refuge (motor vehicle acces up to Ciocanu Village);
- Bruştureţ - Şaua Funduri - Marele Grohotiş or the route in connection with the ridge line Bruştureţ - La Table - Grind Refuge ( motor vehicle acces up to Bruştureţ );
- Sătic - Garofiţa Pietrei Craiului ( motor vehicle acces up to the barrier situated at the entrance of Dragosloveni Valley). The entrances to the tourist lines from Garofiţa Pietrei Craiului Cabin are to Marele Grohotiş and Şaua Funduri to Zaplaz and from Garofiţa Pietrei Craiului to Şaua Tamaş - Plaiul Foii.
Zărneşti - the main entrance gate to the park allows acces in the northeastern and northwestern part of the Massif on two main acces routes to the park. One is to Plaiul Foii ( for the noertwestern part) and the other through Prăpăstiile Zârneştului-Cabana Curmătura - La Table ( for the northeastern part).
Bran - Acces on National Road Braşov-Piteşti. The entrance to the tourist lines is at Inima Reginei to Magura Village.
Moeciu - Peştera - Acces on National Road Braşov-Piteşti through Moeciu Village (motor vehicle acces up to Peştera Village in summer). This is the entrance to the tourist lines to Curmătura Cabin, Grind Refuge, Brusturet Cabin.
Fundata - Sirnea Village-Acces on National Road Braşov-Piteşti through Șirnea Village. This is the entrance to the following tourist lines :
- from Șirnea Village to La Table, Grind Refuge and Piscul Baciului Peak;
- from Fundata Village to La Table through Curmătura Foii.
Dâmboviţa Gorge and Bears’ Cave:
In order to get to Piatra Craiului Pension, you cross Dâmboviţa Gorge on Dâmboviţa’s right shore which in this area is 40 km long from its spring. They formed as a result of the river’s deepening through the jurassic limestone of Piatra Craiului that generated a 3 km gorge sector, looking like a real canyon, cut in the rock cliff of the limestone bridges on the Massif’s terminal part. The Gorge have an epigenetic origin as the river has deepened at first trough less abrasive sedimentary structures (gritstone, conglomerate) and when it reached limestone level it continued the erosion, generating these narrow valleys’ sructures. The walls have an monumental aspect and rise up to 200m. Water and time allwed the formation of caves, the most important of which is The Bears’ Cave. This is one of the three sharing the same name in the country, formed as a result of carstic phenomena. It is unique due to its location at a appreciable hight and can be reached by climbing some abrupt concrete stairs. The entrance looks as a huge grotto divided into two galleries, the longest being 370 m long. Skeletons of the cave bear have been found and traces of scientific activities deplyed through the years can be observed. The cave is situated at the half distance on Dâmboviţa Gorge. The cave’s entrance is situated on the left side of Dâmboviţa River. It is also known as Peştera Colţul Surpat ( Rubble Corner Cave). It is declaired Natural Reservation and shows a part of the stalagmite and stalactite specific to caves. The cave is not illuminated, but if it was arranged it would make the area even more interesting and would conduct to its turisctic development.
Dâmbovicioara Gorge and Dâmbovicioara Cave:
Dâmbovicioara, the most important tributary of Dâmboviţa from the specific spreading of Piatra Craiului Mountain, springs from the southern hillside of La Om Peak crosses transversal Rucăr – Bran Passage on a northsouthern direction and it spills in Dâmboviţa, downriver of Dâmbovicioara Commune. Dâmbovicioara Gorge , digged aproximately 2 km of lenght in the limestone bridge between Dâmbovicioara Depression and Podul Dâmboviţei Depression, have their walls shaped in limestone generating an underground karst relief represented by an impressive number of caves. The most known is Dâmbovicioara Cave. Brustureţ Gorge, a less spectacular karst complex, is situated upstream, where water emerges from the mountain at a high speed and it spills immediately in Dâmbovicioara. It is devided into three parts: Brustureţ Gorge, The Long Gorge and The Narrow Gorge.
At 8 km from Piatra Craiului Pension, situated on zhe southern part of Piatra Craiului Massif, on Dâmbovicioara Gorge is located Dâmbovicioara Cave. It has a spectacular varied karst relief. The rivers that dip in Făgăraş, Piatar Craiului and Leaota Mountain digged deep narrow valleys in limestone creating on a short teritory the biggest gorge complex in our country. One rock of this kind, common in the area, allowed the development of caves. Situated on the northern part of the village that has the same name, at aproximately 1 km, it is easy of access to tourists, located near the highroad that crosses the gorge. Being up to 250m long, this cave like a ramified gallery, its ride being a bit ascending. It can be easily crossed because the ceiling is taller than human stature(2m). the interior offers best conditions of visiting, you can feel an air current that prooves the existence of another communication with the exterior.
The specific fauna of karst forms is quite poor: until now there haven’t been mentioned any cavernicolous species, but there were found fossils of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus). The underground gap was formed as a result of limestone erosion by "Peştera" Brook which is now situated nea the entrance. The cave is arranged and illuminated, allowing the affluence of tourists that led to the development and agglomeration of the area.
Considered to be unique due to its funnel overflow system in Romania, it is an important point of attraction. Pecineagu Barrage, situated on the superior watercourse of Dâmboviţa River, at 20 km from our Pension, in o depression Piatra Craiului Mountain and Iezer-Păpuşa Mountain, it is made of anrocament with an armed concrete mask upstream. The Barrage has a hight of 107 m and a lenth of 267m at the crowning. At the lower part there is a perimetric gallery and on its outline there are 50 vertical draining drillings. In order to evacuate high waters a funnel overflow was made on the left shore, having a capacity of 687 m3/s which is followed by an 81,50m well and an evacuation gallery that has a lenth of 389m and a diameter of 5,80m. In the vertical well comes forth also semidepth gallery that allowes the evacuation of 105,00 m3/s. The emptying of the bottom, with a capacity of 109 m3/s, is made of a gallery situated on the right hillside. The evacuated debits due to the emptying of the bottom are controlled by an underground gate-house that can be accesed through an well. In the gate-house there is also a bypass water main with a diameter of 400mm in order to evacuate a debit of 1,30m3/. At the gallery exit there is an energy dissipator, prolonged with a canal that has an 80m lenth of section shapped as a trapeze.
It consists of a concrete weir with a hight of 15m and a lenth of 18m. It has three entries used for evacuation of high waters and wash equipped with segment weirs and with a little clack as surface unloader. The barrage continues on the left shore, in the retention front, with a ballast dike that is watertighted with armed concrete stone packing to the foundation rock. Sătic accumulation is a lake with a volume of 478.000 m3 at its normal retention level, the useful volume is of 280.000m3, required in order to achieve the redress of the differences between the exploitation manner of CHE Clăbucet and the one of Rucăr, reaching the required stock of water necessary for its working for 3 hours. In spring and summer trout can be fished upstream of the lake and in winter zou can clasp on the frozen lake.
In German Törzburg and Törcsvár in Hungarian, it is an historical and architectural monument., situated at 35 km from Piatra Craiului Pension to Braşov. Although it entered the folklore as Dracula’s Castle and the movie was filmed here, it seems that Vlad Ţepeş had never inhabitted the Castle. Recently, it was retroceded by the state to Dominic de Habsburg and his two sisters as heirs of Princess Ileana. The owners have committed that for 3 years they wouldn’t change its destination as a museum. Romania is responsible for the renovation costs and the maintenance of the castle and also has primacy for buying the Castele in the future.
Bran Castle is situated at less than 30 km away from Braşov, on the highroad that canects Braşov and Câmpulung. Bran Castle is built on a rock as a strategical point. At present, you can also fiind here The Bran Museum on all 4 flours of the castle. At the museum there are ceramic colections, furniture, guns and armours. In the castle garden there is a small village museum where you will see traditional homes from Rucăr-Bran Passage.
Hunt Chalet From Ivan’s Valley:
It is located in a glade situated at a altitude of 1200m surrounded as a fortress by Iezer-Păpuşa Mountain and Piatra Craiului Ridge. From here you can also see the western hillside of Piatra Craiului which is extremely abrupt and commanding as a wall that seem to have been built by human hands. From the glade you can also easily observe Marele Grotiş and Cerdacul Stanciului. This Valley is surrounded by secular fir forests and it used to be the favourite hunt place of Nicolae Ceauşescu, a halt for tourists that want to taste a true mountain trip and a place where nature is still a part of Heaven.
Mateiaşi Mausoleum, Rupestral Monasteries from Cetăţeni and Nămăieşti.