Szekely Land (“Tinutul Secuiesc” in Romanian, “Székelyföld” in Hungarian ) is the area located in the southeastern part of Transylvania, in the heartland of Romania, comprising parts of the counties of Mures, Harghita and Covasna.
Mostly inhabited by a Hungarian-speaking ethnic group called Szekely (secui), Szekely Land has a distinctive history and culture and traditions of its own.
Historical highlights – in the 13th century, a group of Szekely was sent to defend Hungary’s borders against invaders. The mountainous area where they settled eventually became the center of the Hungarian-speaking minority of Romania, even if it’s geographically the farthest from the current borders of Hungary.
Population – there are an estimated 670.000 inhabitants in Szekely Land, of which a proportion of about 80 percent are Hungarians, followed by Romanians, Saxons, and other minorities.
Szekely Land – the region is symbolically divided into western Szekely Land with Odorheiu Secuiesc as the seat, and eastern Szekely Land with Miercurea Ciuc at its center.
The Praid salt mine is one of the largest salt mines in Romania and Europe. The old mine has been repurposed as a touristic attraction and now includes a restaurant, a church, a playground, and a museum.
The wooden churches - one of the most famous wooden church in the area is the church from Zabala village, erected by locals at the end of the 18th century; it has the form of a nave with a tower at the entrance.
Covasna – also known as “the land of a thousand springs”, the Covasna area takes its name from its salt water springs, “cvasna” in old Slavic meaning “acid”. Annually, thousands of tourists from all around the world come here to enjoy the picturesque landscapes and to treat their health problems.
Fairies’ Valley – take a day trip on a narrow gauge steam train on the Fairies’ Valley and prepare to be amazed by the fabulous landscapes.
The Calimani Mountains – the largest volcanic mountains in the Carpathians, the Calimani Mountains were declared a nature reserve. The area offers stunning views, rich wildlife and unusual rock formations.
Sfanta Ana Lake – located in the Puciosul volcanic crater, Sfanta Ana is the sole volcanic lake in Romania, believed to have formed over 32.000 years ago.
The Szekely National Museum – located in Sfantu Gheorghe, the Szekely National Museum was opened in 1875 and preserves the heritage of the Szekely people. Today, it’s the largest Hungarian museum outside Hungary.
The Lazar Castle – built in the Renaissance style, the Lazar Castle is located in Harghita County, in the village of Lazarea. The castle was fortified with four bastions and a defensive wall, but it didn’t serve military purposes, being used over the centuries as the private residence of several noble families.
In the area
Miercurea Ciuc – the seat of Harghita County, is home to one of the finest Romanian beer factories, Ciuc.
Corund – located merely 25km north of Odorheiu Secuiesc, Corund is one of the most important centers of traditional ceramic manufacturing Romania, being famous for its green, brown, and blue cobalt pottery products.
Sovata resort – on the shore of Lake Ursu, lays the spa resort of Sovata Bai. The water of the mineral springs of Sovata is rich in salt and has a constant temperature of 30-40 degrees centigrade, being used in the treatment of rheumatism and infertility.
How to get there: there are many ways to reach Szekely Land. Whether you choose to visit the eastern part first or the western Szekely Land, you can fly to Targu Mures located in the east of the region, and take a bus or train into the heart of the region. You can also fly to others close airports, such as Cluj Napoca and continue by bus or train.