Saxon Land The Prahova Valley

The area colonised by Saxons from the 12th century onwards lies north of the Prahova valley, which leads to the Carpathians. Attacks by Tartars and Turks prompted them to fortify their churches and towns with sturdy walls, providing tourists today with an opportunity to visit some of the most imposing religious structures in Europe. Though an estimated 150,000 Germans left Romania in the 1990s, their influence is still felt in what they still refer to as Siebenbürgen. Their legacy of fortified churches, defensive towers and medieval dwelling houses is especially resplendent in Sibiu, Sighi^oara and Braijov.

The Prahova Valley snakes its way north along the Prahova River from Sinaia to Predeal, just to the south of Bra^ov. Romania's kings, queens and dictators had summer residences along this 48km stretch, renowned today for skiing and hiking. To the west are the stunning Bucegi Mountains, whose 326.63 sq km of hiker's paradise are protected as the Bucegi Natural Park. Straddling them is the Fägära? chain, which dominates the region between Bra?ov and Sibiu.

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