I ❤ Apuseni - Day 3 – Fortress of Ponor
This area called Padiș is very interesting. It is a magic combination between a quiet surface and a mysterious underground network.
Padiș is the place where you can see a river disappear underground and come out to the surface again, farther on, as another spring. The underground is full of caves, huge rock halls, hidden lakes and waterfalls.
Here you can find the most amazing karst shapes in Romania: the Fortress of Ponor (Cetățile Ponorului). It is the place where you feel as if giants were to appear any moment. It is a secret world waiting to be discovered!
We began our adventure with the balconies (Balcoanele Ponorului), breathtaking panoramic views of the entire Ponor complex. From one of the balconies we saw two black goats taking a rest on the rock wall opposite us. :)
After taking some photos we descended on a rocky route well equipped with chains and cables, and reached the rocks we saw from the balconies. The most imposing part of it is the 74-metre high, 30-metre wide portal which opens the main gallery, 2 kilometres long, which includes 14 lakes, waterfalls and multiple halls, and can only be visited by well equipped speleologists. But this is only one part of this underground network of 7.5 km.
At the entrance of the huge portal we found a sweet friendly cat that refused to come with us to the village. We fed her and she just returned at the entrance of the cave when we left. She may have been the solemn guardian of the cave. :)
Between the main portal and the second entrance to the cave, the route is equipped with metal stairs, chains and cables. From the second portal the route goes through a small canyon into the forest, on a steep climb, and then it crosses a forest road which takes the tourists to the Cetățile Ponorului Chalet.
There we had a well-deserved cold beer and back at Padis we tried another of those delicious cheese pies with garlic, and bought some nice T-shirts to remind us of this wonderful adventure. :)
Photos: personal archive