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Sarmizegetusa Regia in Romania – Ancient Capital of the Dacian Kingdom

The wind passes through the tall beech trees, carrying the lost whispers of the ancestors with the leaves that seem to be dancing in a pleasant October morning. Ascending among the gentle ridges of the Orăștie Mountains in Romania, one almost gets the sensation of discovering a secret world. A world filled with stories and legends lost for thousands of years. Before being studied by historians and archaeologists, the ruins of Sarmizegetusa Regia in Romania were looted by treasure hunters and yet these places represent much more than the sum of the walls and stones left behind. Wandering around the old fortress, along thick walls and sacred temples eaten by time, the traveler can only release his imagination to bring the place and its lost stories to life.

The collective conscience of the Dacian people seems to endure through the forests of these ancient mountains and the atmosphere often has something special that creates a feeling of meditation and solemnity.

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The ancient capital of the Dacian Kingdom is a spiritual destination even through its fascinating location. Locked away between the ridges of the Orăștie Mountains, the fortress from Grădiștea de Munte, known as Sarmizegetusa Regia in Romania must have been a spectacular sight two millennia ago. Over the terraces of a ridge surrounded by deep valleys, wood and stone buildings used to reach for the skies, at their center being a strong fortress surrounded by walls and the sacred areas where the sanctuaries used to stand. Among homes and workshops, stone alleys were surrounding the ridge and intricate systems were gathering and distributing water, showing a high level of life and civilization. Today, the ruins of those buildings and the defensive walls are covered in moss and surrounded by an enchanting forest, nature laying a protective cover over the memories of a once flowering city. The fortress of Sarmizegetusa Regia is located in the heart of Romania, about 40 km south of the town of Orăștie, in the village of Grădiștea de Munte.

Sarmizegetusa Regia in Romania became the capital of the Dacian Kingdom from the second half of the first century B.C. and sadly its destiny shattered abruptly right at the peak of its development. Following the defeat of the Dacian Kingdom in the second Roman war from 105-106, the fortress is abandoned after the romans create a garrison and demolish the city. The capital of the roman province of Dacia is moved 40 km to the west, at Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana. Once, Sarmizegetusa Regia in Romania was part of a larger defense system that included the fortresses of Costești-Cetățuie, Costești-Blidaru, Piatra Roșie, Bănița and Căpâlna, surrounding the capital. The ruins of the first ones can still be found today and visited, while all of them are included in UNESCO World Heritage List. The archaeological site of Sarmizegetusa Regia can be visited following the roads that reach the center of the Orăștie Mountains.

Once inside the heart of the old kingdom of Dacia, a lost world seems to come alive among the ruins. Unfortunately, only a small part of the capital can be visited today, as most of the civil quarters and other buildings being lost or still buried. Part of the defense walls and the sacred sanctuary area located on lower terraces are the most important attractions of the site. The fortifications used to represent the center of the settlement and occupied the top of the ridge, while parts of the 3 meters thick walls can still be observed. From here, a paved road leads towards the sacred area, where seven sanctuaries were discovered on two adjacent terraces. Sadly, few architectural elements endured following the destruction brought by the Roman wars. The foundations of the temples and the archaeological discoveries attest the existence of monumental sanctuaries, with a complex architecture unique for the Dacian Kingdom. These have different shapes and sizes, being built from andesite or limestone. The great circular sanctuary and the andesite altar are especially impressive and quite unique.

Accommodation near Sarmizegetusa Regia in Romania

Little House in the Valley of Kings

9.6 Rating from 56 Reviews!

Located in a marvelous environment surrounded by mountains and just a few km from the ancient fortress, these little traditional wooden houses offer authentic accommodation far from civilization!

Dacian Wolf Guesthouse 3*

9.8 Rating from 45 Reviews!

Located in the village of Costești, about 14 km from Sarmizegetusa Fortress, this amazing guesthouse offers nice rooms with wooden design and private bathrooms, sun terrace and bike hire!

Antone’s Mill Guesthouse 3*

9.9 Rating from 60 Reviews!

Located in the village of Orăștioara de Sus, about 22 km from the fortress, this traditional guesthouse features an authentic old watermill, with a little creek passing through the garden. There is also a kitchen!

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