Bicaz Gorge, In North Eastern Romania, Is One Of The Top Rock Climbing Spots In The Country
Bicaz is a town of around 9,000 people in the Eastern Carpathians of Romania and is notable because of the dramatic gorge located only a short distance away.
The gorge has the local name of Cheile Bicazului which translates as "The Keys of Bicaz." This is an apt name because, in troubled and warlike times, whoever had control of the gorge would also have controlled access to the town.
The Overhang In The Gorge Known As The Neck Of Hell
The gorge was cut through the limestone hills of the region by the action of the Bicaz River and the route it created now zig zags sharply downhill for over three miles, often between cliffs and mountains that soar upwards, sometimes as much as 900 feet.
A notable part of Bicaz Gorge is known as "the neck of hell."
This is where the road passes beneath a rock overhang that seems to reach out to try and touch the opposite cliff wall.
Through the gorge there are a number of rocks and peaks famous in the area, mainly for rock climbing.
For example, there is the Altar Stone, Piatra Pintestilor and Piatra Arsitei.
The road that passes through the gorge is an important route between the Romanian district of Transylvania and the neighbouring Republic of Moldova and is considered to be one of the most spectacular roads in Romania.
The River Bicaz Tumbles Down The Gorge Beside The Road
There are places within the Bicaz Gorge where visitors can park their cars and this has led to a number of locals setting up stalls which sell gifts and crafts to the sightseers.
The Walls Of The Gorge Are Almost Vertical
The gorge is a protected area within the Hasmas - Bicaz Gorges National Park which has hundreds of plant species within its environs.
A number of these are rare, for example, there is a rare variety of Edelweiss, also the Yellow Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium) and the pyramid bugle. (Ajuga pyramidalis)
A short distance from the Gorge is the Lacu Rosu, or Red Lake, which is something of a tourist resort.
This attractive lake was formed naturally when a landslide in 1838 dammed the Bicaz River and created what is often considered to be one of Romania's oddest natural wonders.
This oddness is due to numerous dead tree stumps which rise out of the waters of the lake at an angle of 45 degrees. Lying as it does, in a pretty valley surrounded by soaring peaks covered with pine forests, a resort with hotels, villas and stores has sprung up over the years to service the many visitors to the lake.
The Lacu Rosu With The Tree Stumps Emerging From The Water
There is a very scenic trail circling the lake and a number of others which climb the surrounding hills and provide some stunning views.
However, although the Lacu Rosu is a popular destination for Romanians, it is the Bicaz Gorge which is internationally renowned.