DESTINATION: ROMANIA/Sirnea (Brasov), Romania's first tourist village visited by fewer and fewer tourists

 •  Destination: Romania

The village of Sirnea, located in Brasov county, belongs to the Fundata commune, attested in documents in 1729, situated at the foot of the Piatra Craiului Massif, at 1,360 meters elevation.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

"The idea of a tourist village in Romania emerged in the '60s at Sirnea, and became a reality in 1968, and in 1973 by an order of the Tourism Ministry the following villages were declared tourist villages: Halmagiu in Arad county, Rucar and Leresti in Arges county, Tismana — Gorj, Bogdan Voda — Maramures, Rasinari — Sibiu, Vatra Moldovitei — Suceava, Murighiol and Sf. Gheorghe in Tulcea county and Vaideeni in Valcea county. At that time, the tourist village implied a lot of things, first of all the geographic positioning of the settlement. Sirnea is a quiet village located between the Piatra Craiului Massif and the Bucegi Massif where the landscape, the climate and the seasons are amazing, where professor Nicolae Fruntes used to live, the person who got seriously involved with the idea of a tourist village in Romania, and the specialist press of that period brought to the fore the results of this experiment. Water at Sirnea, in that period, was tested and analyzed, being taken as a yardstick in south-eastern Europe as the purest water," Professor Radu Fruntes, the son of Nicolae Fruntes, told AGERPRES.

In order to develop the village and attract as many tourists as possible, Professor Nicolae Fruntes initiated two feasts: "The measure of milk and the meeting of the village sons" held every June and "Winter at Sirnea", aimed at presenting the customs of the villagers, both during summer and winter. Launched in 1969, the feast "Winter at Sirnea" entails a skiing race with torches in hands, sleigh rides and parties organized at the Cultural Centre.

"The Olympic Day", celebrated for almost 30 years every June 23, is about the lightning of the Olympic flame, the Olympic flag, the parade of the athletes who attend various sports competitions. Other feasts are "The Sanziene Night" celebrated on June 24, "The Nedeia of the Mountains" on July 20, a traditional pastoral holiday, "The Fire of Sumedru", the night of Oct. 25 when a big fire is lit on the hills of the village, called the Fire of Sumedru, the event being attended by all villagers.

"Until 1986 when my father died, the village of Sirnea was visited by over 3,000 tourists every year, from 22 countries and Romania. After visiting the village, tourists from Canada, Egypt, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Israel remained highly impressed by our traditions and customs and this can be seen in the Book of impressions guarded at the Sirnea Village Museum. It was a project of the ONT [the National Office for Tourism], called Seven Days in Brasov, and the tourists used to visit one tourist attraction each of these days, and also the village of Sirnea. Tourists were expected nearby DN73 national road by 10-20 cars or sleighs in the winter, pulled by horses adorned with bells, they were offered boiled plum brandy and they visited the house of one of the people who carried them by cart or sleigh. The project lasted until the '90s," Radu Fruntes said.

According to him, this pioneer project was beneficial for the entire area.

"Tourism has further developed at Bran, Moeciu, Fundata, other villages belonging to these communes. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer tourists decide to make a stopover at Sirnea. The road is pretty difficult from DN73, no repairs have been done for the last 15 years, there are no direct means of transport from Brasov as they used to be until 1990. The centre of the village and the museum need maintenance works and repairs, but there are no funds. The local and county authorities should do a lot more for Romania's first tourist village, considered a brand of the county," Professor Radu Fruntes also said.

Worth visiting at Sirnea are the Old Orthodox Church dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God, the Ethnographic Museum "Nicolae Fruntes", the Monument of Lieutenant Colonel Ghe. Poenaru-Bordea, the first officer of the Romanian army who died during the First World War, the Piatra Craiului National Park, the Moeciu Gorges, the Cave with Bats in the Pestera village.AGERPRES

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