Hidden away in the foothills of the Trascău Mountains, guarded by the Szekely Rock, lies the village of Rimetea. Thanks to its unique 19th century architecture and the care of its inhabitants it became the first rural site in Romania to be presented with the Europa Nostra award for cultural heritage conservation in 1999. It can be easily reached in a day trip from Cluj - Napoca or Alba Iulia, as it is conveniently located 60 KM away from both cities.
Before being called Rimetea the village has had another three names which remind of the three ethnic groups tied to its history. The Romanians used to call it Trascău just like the name of the nearby mountains surrounding it. The ethnic Szeklers, which are the founders of the village, call it Torocko while the Germans know it as Eisenmarkt or Eisenburg. The latter name was given by the Austrian settlers from Eisenwurzen which came here in 1350 to work in the iron mines.
Apart from its unique white houses with green windows, unchanged for more than 150 years you can also visit the still functioning 200 years old water mill, the ethnographic museum, the fortified Unitarian church built in the year 1700 and several other home museums.
The ethnographic museum can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday, 9 AM - 5 PM and it is located in the same building with the Mayor’s office, right behind the Orthodox Church. It features pieces of traditional Szekler clothing and furniture, old photographs depicting the yore village life, as well as tools used in the iron mines for iron extraction and processing. For visiting the Unitarian church or for directions to the old water mill, ask at the museum.
Hiking enthusiasts can climb the majestic Szekely Rock for breathtaking panoramic views of the village and its surroundings, by following the blue cross marking which starts in the village center, across the street from the Unitarian Church. The trip to the top of the rock should last about 1.5 hours. Other marked, but longer hiking trails start right by the water fountain in the village square.
While you are in the area you can also visit the ruins of the Trascău fortress, built in 1291 after the Mongol invasion and destroyed in 1703 by the Imperial Austrian troops. The fortress, built on a hilltop is located 4 KM away from Rimetea in the village of Colțești and it offers great views on the surroundings and on the Szekely rock. Following the road for another 5 KM you will find the high limestone walls of the Vălișoarei Gorges, a protected botanical and geological natural reserve.
Lunch and dinner available