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Friday, 22 May 2015

Romania - Suceava County: Pietrele Doamnei - Rarau

Dearest hearts,

“What are men to rocks and mountains?” said Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice. I could agree and disagree at the same time with this quote, as I prefer to see men as mountains as well, when they wish to be strong. A day or two ago I was sharing with you our small mountain-break in Romania, when my adorable Polish husband learned more about the region/country I was raised in. Today I will share with you a few informations about a lovely place to visit in Romania: Pietrele Doamnei on the Rarau Mountain :)
The Reservation Pietrele Doamnei (in German Frauenstein, in English The Ladies Stones) is a region protected nationaly and it is located in the Suceava County - on the territory of the city Câmpulung Moldovenesc (the longest city in Romania). The total area amounts on over 250 ha and is located on the Northern part of the Rarau Mountains - part of the Eastern Carpathiants - at an altitude of 1400 metres.
The Reservation was declared protected area through the law from 6th of March 2000 and contains a mountain area of special geological-peisagistic-floristic-faunistic interest. It hosts a huge number of species of plants (the queens flower - also known as edelweiss, the shoe of the maiden, dryas, juniper) and animals (the mountain rooster, the mountain wooodpecker), some of them extremely rare. On the territory of the protected area, there is a formation of rocks - made out of chalk - known under the name Pietrele Doamnei (The Ladies Stones), that gives the name to the reservation.
My Awesome Husband, showing us the way with a mace bought from Cetatea Neamt
For those whom may ask where did the name Pietrele Doamnei came from I will tell you a story, an urban legend. Actually more than one, as there are many connections that are made with these lovely stones :)  The Ladies Stones are connected with Lady Elena - the wife of Petru Rares - and also with the Mountain Rarau (before named Todirescu Mountains), whose name comes from Petru Rares himself.
Why did we not take boots?!
In the hard times of history, during the second reign of Petru Rares - the son of Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great) - he found a safe and good place to shelter his family and part of his wealth.  Where could it be located other than in the mountains!? It is said that during the coming of the tatar hordes, Lady Elena and her son Stefanita took cover in a cave and they started praying. Suddenly a loud noise could be heard...
Snow covered mountain path - in April!
The legend continues with by telling that large stones have splintered and fell over the place where Petru Rares placed the treasure, burying alive the attackers. Lady Elena said "This is how we will repay you for saving us" - the wealth that the turks wanted to have remained there and the rocks were named Pietrele Doamnei.
Closer to the truth is the legend about the conquest of the City of Suceva by Suleiman the Magnificent, through the betrayal of the gentleman part of Petru Rares court. In those times, at these rocks in the heart of the Rarau Mountain, the legend says that the Lady of Petru Rares - Elena - took shelter; waiting for Petru to come back from over the mountains, from Transylvania. 
Snow in April :)
Another legend tells about a lightning that split the rock in two! The lightning was sent by the Devil that wanted to break the rock and get to the treasure that a King buried there. There was a very bad king that loved his money very much - similar to Mr. Scrooge - and did not want to leave his wealth to his family, so he choose to bury it under a huge rock. After hundreds of years the Devil wanted to find the treasure and started digging... he was unsuccessful so he got so upset that he brought thunders upon the mountain. That broke the rock but also melted the treasure ;) Silly him!
The view from the very top - Pietrele Doamnei are on the left, as you see the picture
You can get to the area by following the track that starts from the city Campulung Moldovenes, but also from the smaller towns Pojorata, Mestacanis, Slatiora and Chiril. It is located some 77 kilometers from Suceava and about 42 kilometers from Gura Humorului. Here are the exact GPS coordinates: 47.447108, 25.563049.

P.S. Marek is a huge mountain fan and he loves the Romanian mountains and believes them to be more beautiful, natural, wild and untouched than the Polish ones. At that says a lot :) We went there in April, but as you can see on the picture there was still a lot of snow! We were in tennis shoes, blue jeans and jumpers and outside was almost 10 degrees celsius and there was snow still, ankle high! Snow, frozen icicles... yet there were already flowers showing up :) I even saw patches of crocus flowers! If ever you are in the area... DO GO AND SEE THIS MAGICAL PLACE!

** This post was made out of love for the beautiful and tall mountains that Romania has :) I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! ** 
DISCLAIMER - All pictures were taken with the camera from my Samsung Galaxy S4, no filter and no modification - Copyrights reserved :)
Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Loves The (Romanian) Mountains