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Ebike MTB Tourist Guide Transylvania Silviu Neculai-Pelei

Silviu Neculai-Pelei

Silviu is the founder and owner of Ebike Transylvania and Gorun Trail Mercheasa.. He is a Level 2 MIAS certified MTB Leader guide, a mountain guide, a national guide, a snowboard and splitboard instructor. 

He was born in Brașov city but moved to Mercheașa to be closer to nature and to the true rural heart of Transylvania. He takes care of the Carpathian Elder and the trails around here and is passionate about mountains and history.

He will provide you with stories and legends about pretty much everything and the only way to convince yourself is to meet him.

Top things to see in Transylvania

Transylvania is one of the top tourist attractions in Europe for people looking to explore the rural saxon villages and one of the last untouched corners of wildlife from the continent.

1. Carpathian Elder - Secular oak of Mercheașa

The Elder is a living 930 years old Oak from Mercheașa that defines the strength of the saxons which cherished the oak in general and used as the backbone for their building power. This objective is thought to be the oldest oak in Transylvania and in Romania as well. With a girth of 3.4 m and height of 21 m it stands atop the village of Mercheasa guarding the entire valley. 

The Elder is home to thousands of insects and microscopical beings, namtods, wasps, birds and even a few fellow mice and its importance to biodiversity is immeasurable. For this reason and because it managed to reach this age of almost 1000 years we called it the Carpathian Elder – The secular oak of Mercheasa. It has been declared a Natural Monument by the Carpaterra NGO together with the Town Hall of Homorod commune and the Forestry Institute in Brasov and the area around it is guarded by a fence.

2. Racoș Geological Complex

The geological area of ​​national importance is located in the south of the Natura 2000 site Dealurile Homoroadelor. This represents the northeastern peak of the Basalt Triangle in the Perşani Mountains (Racoş – Rupea – Comana de Sus) and covers an area of ​​95.2 hectares. The area preserves the basaltic basalt flows and slags that occurred 1.3 million years ago and ended the volcanic manifestations in the Carpathian Mountains. Basalt has been mined in Racoş in quarries for over 100 years. Racoş’s careers in today’s form are a rich teaching material for geosciences and must be preserved. Currently, the Racoşul de Jos Geological Complex includes the following former mining quarries under conservation or closure:

2a. Basalt columns from Racoș

This monument is formed by basic rocks such as alkaline basalt and trachybalt, which came to the surface following volcanic activity in the area. Volcanic activity began 1.2 million years ago and lasted 10-20 thousand years, being one of the last eruptions in the Carpathian basin. The products of volcanism are lava flows, volcanic tuff deposits and slag cones. The formation of columns is a form of cooling, solidification, polygonal characteristic of effusive magmatic rocks (lava flows), basic.

2b. Emerald Lake from Racoș

The Brazi quarry (Emerald Lake) comprises a huge geological section of the basaltic volcanic apparatus with dimensions of 200 m in length and height of over 50 m. Here can be observed forms of basaltic flows and a tectonized section of the volcanic-sedimentary covering formation. At the bottom of the quarry, a lake of precipitation and melted snow developed.

2c. Extinct Volcano from Racoș

The basalt slag quarry Dealul Hegheş – also known as the Extinct Volcano from Racoş –  is located in the northwestern part of the Complex and represents the last slag phase of the basaltic volcanism in Racoş. The quarry well preserves the Hegheş basaltic neck, the center of the late slag eruptions and the surrounding formations of basalt slags of various colors that also contain intercalations of volcanic bombs. The landscape is a lunar one.

3. Mercheașa Village

The age of the village is proved by the existence of a Roman basilica from the second half of the XIIIth century, appeared in the context of the constructive wave that covered Homoroadelor area . Numele Homoroadelor area covered by Mercheasa (taken from Hungarian) comes from the first name of the village, Mirkvasar – fair Mirko (Founder of origin proto-Slavic) the first documents are in 1442 or 1455 and named after the German Streytfurth (currently Streitfort) which can mean a switch to see, or where happened military events, both variants It is related to the regulation of the country in the presence of John Hunyadi. 

According to information oldest fortification around the church was built between the years 1517-1541. These fortifications fall victim deserted Turkish-Tartar in 1658.Last minister in the Evangelical Church take early 90s, Saxon growing phenomenon due to low population.

Mercheasa’s underground holds a salt deposit used by the locals since ancient times. The exploitation is done by extracting the salt water from wells specially designed called slatine. Each resident had it’s own share of salt extraction controlled by a “salzhann” (salt manager).

4. Homorod Village

Homorod village (german Hamruden, hungarian Homoród ) was first mentioned historically in 1250. Colonists from Flanders, which got here during the XII century settled on a hill nearby today’s Homorod village, back then called Petersdorf, after Saint Peter. At the end of the XIII century, the locals started building the romanic church on the spot of the former XII century built church. Together with the building of the fortifications, the church was strenghtened, the choir and the absidus where brought together in a powerful 50 m tall defense tower, which now dominates the center of the commune. The Church went in time, through a fire in the year 1623 which required it’s reconstruction in the year 1626, building that stood against a powerful tatar attack in the year 1658. 

The settlement was known since the XIXth century for mud treatments from the mud volcanoes and thermal waters from Băile Homorod (located on the outskirts of the village) and for the “Stallions warehouse”, stud with a strong reputation. These two entities have perished over time and are currently abandoned.

5. Jimbor Village

First documented mention of Jimborul occurs between 1385-1553 through a note from the Saschiz Capitulum Fraternity from which results that the settlement of “Summer”(future Jimbor) belongs to this religious congregations. On that note are listed priests who were part the Fraternity aformentioned. 

In the XVth century a Gothic church hall is built with the gate and belfyr situated in the south-east area. The church fortification is different and unique in comparison to the others found in Transylvania because it is surrounded by an oval enclosure and not polygonal

In 1663, according to Heinrich Muller,the soldiers of the moldavian prince Eustratie Dabija attacked by surprise Jimbor and plundered everything in their way, farms, houses and the church. The residents fled in the Jimbor Peasant Fortress situated on the hill which was built in the XIVth century with a defensive role. The citadel was severely damaged after a Tatar invasion in 1690 and restored two years later. In 1818 the outer wall of the fortress was demolished.

6. Saschiz Village

Located very close to Sighisoara, a town it once competed with, Saschiz was first mentioned in 1309. It was one of the villages founded by German colonists in the area of Tarnavelor plateau, previously inhabited by the Szekelys population. The main historical attraction of the village, the fortified church dedicated to Saint Stephen, dates from the 15th century. It was built between 1493 and 1525, possibly on the ruins of an older church as two Romanesque capitals found here indicate. 

Planned and executed from the very beginning as a defensive outpost, Saschiz Fortified Church is a complex example of the troubled geopolitical conflicts from the medieval centuries in this part of Europe. Under constant Ottoman threat, the borders of Transylvania were often attacked, forcing the locals to hide in the village churches that throughout the centuries became real fortresses prepared to withstand long sieges.

The Late-Gothic fortified church from Saschiz is one of the strongest constructions of this type from Transylvania. It has 22 buttresses, a wall walk, and an extra floor built above the nave and the choir, with rows of machicolations and loopholes. The military architecture is balanced inside by a beautiful Baroque altar from 1735 and the Baroque pulpit from 1709 and outside by the shiny bell tower that resembles the one from Sighisoara.

This magnificent church is only one of the attractions of Saschiz, a small village with an old history just waiting to be uncovered. Rent a bicycle or put on your hiking boots for a walk around the surrounding hills. Explore local traditions like beekeeping, learn how to bake bread, enjoy a horse cart ride, taste cheese directly from the sheepfold and enjoy the panoramic view of the village from the ruins of the 14th-century fortress uphill.

7. Viscri Village

With a history that goes back to the 12th century, Viscri is today one of Romania’s most famous villages. Prince Charles’ repeated visits, its UNESCO World Heritage fortified church, and the ceaseless activity of the local foundation Mihai Eminescu Trust have helped this small village dust off its last decades of oblivion. Viscri is right now one of Romania’s most popular off the beaten track attractions with plenty of activities for all those curious to discover the typical rural life from Transylvania. 

Besides its many traditional houses, part of the Saxon heritage of the community, Viscri is best-known for its white fortified church, first mentioned in 1400 as Alba Ecclesia. Historically, the church went through three construction phases. Its earliest foundations date back to the beginning of the 12th century when the local Szekler population built a small church. At the end of the same century, the German colonists took over this church while settling in the region.

During the second phase that started sometime in the 13th century, the Saxons of Transylvania built the main tower on the west side and enlarged the nave of the church towards the east. It’s during the third construction phase of the 15th century that the church was fortified, partially preserved until today as some of its fortifications were demolished after the Ottoman threat disappeared.

In the last couple of years, the village was part of an ambitious community project of rediscovering and reviving traditions that almost disappeared from local life. Thanks to this, today you can visit daily in Viscri locals that carry on practicing skills that are usually performed only during museum events. The community was so successful in its project of rediscovering traditions that today they’re part again of local life.

The blacksmith brothers will show you how they make horseshoes and nails the old fashioned way, while the hard-working Gheorghita will explain how he burns hand-made bricks and tiles in an incandescent earth oven. Plus, locals still use horse carts. You can always go for a ride to the pastures outside the village, while in the evenings you’ll enjoy a mouth-watering dinner prepared only with fresh local ingredients.

Looking to explore Transylvania in a fun way?