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Andesite Sun of Sarmizegetusa Regia - History
In light of the impact caused by COVID-19, we are doing our utmost best to provide our guests with a safe & healthy stay.
Beat the hiking and mountain biking trails
starting right outside our gates. The most iconic Transylvanian
landmarks are just a short drive away from Raven’s Nest.
⧫ From the Raven’s Nest to Sarmizegetusa Regia: 178 km / 3 hours 20 minutes car drive
⧫ It is located in Hunedoara county
Hidden in the dense forests of the Carpathians, Sarmizegetusa Regia is a mysterious and one of the oldest historical attractions in Romania. This is the place you need to visit if you are passionate about ancient civilizations. Some travel websites resemble it to the English Stonehenge. It’s a place that made it to the Unesco cultural sites.
The fortress, which was on top of a 1200 meters high mountain, was the core of the strategic system in the Orastie Mountains, which comprised six citadels. The fortress is the proof on the ancient civilization, used by the Dacian king, Decebal, to fight against the Roman invasion.
Sarmizegetusa Regia was home to a quadrilateral fortress built using the technique of the murus dacicus, spread over five terraces on an area covering around 30,000 square meters.
Sarmizegetusa Regia should not be confused with Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, the Roman capital of Dacia, a replica built by Roman Emperor Traian some 40 km away, which was not the Dacian capital. Sarmizegetusa Ulpia was discovered earlier, was known already in the early 1900s, and was initially mistaken for the Dacian capital, a confusion which led to incorrect conclusions being made regarding the military history and organization of the Dacians.
Its geographic position – in an area with difficult access even today – increased its strategic, political, military, economic, but also spiritual importance. Founded in the second half of the 1st century BC, the capital was from the start of urban space, strongly fortified and with direct access to resources.
The legacy of the Dacian civilization is complex, as shown by the many unique treasures unearthed at the site of their capital. An artifact still present at the site of Sarmizegetusa Regia, known as the Andesite Sun, believed to have appeared like an influence of Hellenistic culture.
But the most enigmatic treasures unearthed at the site are the solid gold bracelets. Multi-spiraled, these bracelets had a complex role and were worn as jewelry, but also high-rank insignia. You can find them now at the National Museum of Romanian History in Bucharest.
The Roman conquest, which led to the colonization of the area also spelled the end of the Dacian civilization.
Sarmizegetusa Regia still shines today and is a reminder of one of the brightest moments in the history of the Dacians, the ancestors of the Romanian people.
This is one of the most isolated and spectacular wilderness areas in the Carpathians, and the historical site offers several scenic hiking options. The most impressive is to Godeanu Peak (1,656 meters), the holy mountain of the Dacians.
Where it all began
Built in the Orăştie Mountains, atop a 1,200-meter high plateau, Sarmizegetusa Regia has served as the capital of the Dacian Kingdom for a century and a half as well as its military, religious, political and cultural centre. The Dacians, an ancient people related to the Thracians, lived between the Carpathian Mountains and west of the Black Sea and developed a complex and highly regarded civilisation that reached its peak between the centuries 1 BC and 1 AD.
As the core of the Dacians’ military defence system, which consisted of six citadels scattered around the surrounding mountains, Sarmizegetusa Regia was home to a quadrilateral fortress built using the technique of the murus dacicus, spread over five terraces on an area covering around 30,000 square meters. The murus dacicus, Latin for Dacian walls, is a building technique for walls and fortifications invented by the Dacians which consisted of outer walls made of rectangular, regular-sized stone blocks, without using mortar.
The sacred area was of high importance in the capital, especially during the rule of King Burebista (82 BC – 44 BC) when Dacian god Zalmoxis and the chief priest played a big role across the entire society at the time. In Sarmizegetusa Regia the Dacians built the largest circular and rectangular sanctuaries which include several smaller rectangular temples, whose columns are still visible today. The largest sanctuary, shaped as a circle, remains shrouded in mystery. Consisting of a setting of timber posts shaped as a D, encircled by a layer of timber surrounded in its turn by a stone kerb, it has been likened to Stonehenge.
The residential area stretched below the citadel in settlements built on terraces, and the noblemen of the day enjoyed quite a high standard of living. According to archaeological findings, their homes were served by a system of ceramic pipes which supplied them with running water.
Dacians and Great Sanctuary at Sarmizegetusa | DACIAN CALENDAR
The Dacian calendar of Sarmizegetusa is unique in the world, both in the way it was built and especially by the precision of calculations far superior to those of Stonehenge, Gobekli Tepe (Turkey) or Arkaim (Russia) on which this calendar is based.
The Dacians were much more technologically advanced than originally thought We are impressed by the amazing architectural achievements of the Egyptians, the culture of the ancient Greeks, or the unique military organization in the history of the Romans, but we know so few things about our ancestors, the Dacians. In school, in history books, we learn how the Dacians have stood up to the Roman invasion, only to eventually be conquered. And as if the whole Dacian history stops there.
Dacian civilization represents far more than a few battles with the Roman Empire. In fact, with more than 10,000 years of history, our ancestors are one of the oldest ancient civilizations discovered so far. For example, very few know that the Dacians were perfect astronomers just like the Celts in northern England. At Sarmizegetusa there was a Dacian calendar, perhaps not as grandiose and popular as the Stonehenge, but more accurately.
Sarmizegetusa, located in the sacred Orastie Mountains, of Romania, consists of the remains of a Fortified City and Sacred Area. The city dates from 82 BC to 107 AD, during the reign of Decebal, the last of the Dacian kings. It was the capital of Dacia during this period. The archaeological ruins clearly illustrate the importance of geometry in designing the city rectangular and polygonal structures were common along with circular sacred spaces.Sarmizegetusa Regia: Andesite sun and large sanctuary by Clive Ruggles
The most important remnant of the Sacred Area is Sarmizegetusa Regia, a large nearly circular astronomical temple. What remains of the temple are a horseshoe-shaped wooden structure surrounded by a stone circle, making it a combined Woodhenge and Stonehenge. The temple opens towards the south-east with a fireplace facing the direction of sunrise at winter solstice.
Five of the ancient fortresses were declared monuments of Universal Cultural Patrimony by UNESCO in December of 2000. Romania, according to the article, “The Second conquest of Sarmizegetusa” by Mr. Ioan (Magazin, No2/2001), has had difficulty protecting the site because of an absence of fundamental Romanian preservation laws. The site has been subjected to endless looting by professional thieves searching for the legendary golden treasure of the Dacian kings. The greatest cache is thought to be a two-ton gold sarcophagus belonging to Decebel. Other thieves search for small funerary objects or other ìsmall changeî in the form of coins.
The “Second Conquest of Sarmizegetusa” also states that police from a nearby village are well aware of thieves with at least seventy metal detectors used to regularly comb the site in pursuit of artifacts. Four years ago, five robbers were caught stealing silver Dacic coins from the site. They have never been punished in court.
Another kind of pilfering has been perpetrated by wealthy people building homes without permits at Sarmizegetusa. They violate the historic and sacred areas and steal coins and objects uncovered during construction.
Paul Ioan’s article calls upon the Romanian government and its Ministry of Culture to restore dignity to Romanian history by protecting this site with assistance of the Romanian Public Order Ministry. He implores Romanian officials to prevent the flow of artifacts into the hands of private collectors and thieves who sell patrimonial property to foreign museums.
The Romanian Ministry of Culture, according to Sacred Sites member, John Palmer, “ordered the demolition of the illegally built houses. The full outcome of the measures taken is still unknown.”
Leonard & Nancy Becker are co-founders of Sacred Sites International Foundation
Fall 2001 Site Update
by John Palmer with Paul Ioan
Sarmezegetusa has again been featured on television with reports that from 1996, several kilograms of gold in antique items were exported from Romanian soil. While archaeologists have only been able to find a few gold and silver coins from the site in over 30 years treasure hunters have reported finding since 1990 over 20,000 coins.
Romanian police recently held a car at the border because it was transporting 2000 gold coins destined to be sold outside the country. The police have managed to catch some of the plunderers, however, most are sent free without serious punishment.
The Museum at Deva has in its collection three found coins and 41 gold coins bought from an individual in Orastie. The Museum has been closed since 1996 needing money for restoration. It is possible that gold coins, not unlike objects from Incan tombs, are offered for sale in well-known international auction houses.
John Palmer is author of “The megaliths of Wéris”, Winter 2001, Site Saver newsletter. Paul Ioan is editor of the Romanian “Magazin”.
What You Can Do to Help: Please write polite letters to the following officials requesting better site monitoring to prevent looting and appropriate punishment commensurate with the World Heritage Site status of the site.
Commission nationale de Roumanie pour UNESCO
8, Anton Cehov Sector 1
Please copy your letters to:
Mr. Mounir Bouchenaki, Chairman
UNESCO World Heritage Centre
7 Place de Fontenoy
Dr. Michael Petzet, President
49-51 rue de la Federation
Mystery lives on
A place where even the fresh air feels heavy with mystery, Sarmizegetusa Regia has yet to reveal all of its secrets. Some of them, buried at a low distance beneath the ground, are waiting for nothing more than a strong storm to sprout to the surface. Such is the case of an exquisite jewellery mould discovered by the site’s keeper after a storm below a fallen tree. The 2,000-year-old artefact, an exquisite bronze cast, can be admired up close at the nearby Deva history museum.
The town of Sarmizegetusa Regia was the capital and major fortress of the Dacian kingdom, probably built in the mid first century BCE. It consisted of perimeter walls and fortifications, a sacred precinct, and a settlement area primarily for nobles and supporting servants. It was located at the top of a 1200-meter hill with excellent visibility of the surrounding lands. The sacred precinct was on the east side of the town, with a prominent plaza and circular shrines. There were two settlement areas one on the east side and a larger one on the west. In addition to dwellings they included workshops, storage buildings, and agricultural processing areas. Notable for the time is a distribution system for drinking water that used ceramic pipes. 
Piatra Roșie, which means Red Rock, was a Dacian hill fort two days march to the west from Costești-Cetățuie, at Luncani in Boşorod municipality. It was built in two phases. In the first phase a long (102 m) rectangular main citadel was built at the height of land  with watch towers on each end and two outlying watch towers. Later the larger area inside the watch towers was enclosed with walls.  It appears that the hilltop was flattened in the process in order to produce a usable space. 
Sarmizegetusa Regia the great circular sanctuary (sacred area)
Large limestone sanctuary, Sarmizegetusa Regia
Small limestone sanctuary, Sarmizegetusa Regia
Solar disc, Sarmizegetusa Regia
Paved Dacian road, Sarmizegetusa Regia
Dacian artifact from Piatra Roșie site. It is still a subject of debate if it is an umbo shield or a gate decoration.
The Dacian fortresses in Orăştie Mountains
The first and most important site or fortress is Sarmizegetusa Regia, located on top of a mountain and surrounded by a forest. It is constructed with two rings of massive stones in the murus dacicus style in a quadrilateral shape. The sacred precinct nearby includes the ‘Andesite Sun’, a large stone disc thought to be a sun dial. The enigmatic structure of standing stones, called Romania’s Stonehenge, may once have been part of a sanctuary.
Solar disk at Sarmizegetusa Regia, Romania ( davidionut/ Adobe Stock)
The next fortress, some distance away from Sarmizegetusa Regia, is Costești-Cetățuie Dacian fortress, a hill fort. Its walls as well as stone pathways and roads can still be seen. It is believed that this fort guarded the road to the Dacian capital.
Another fortress in this area is Costești-Blidaru fortress. There are a number of earthen mounds within the massive restored walls, that are believed to be the remains of Dacian streets and buildings which would mean that this was a fortified town.
Twenty miles away to the west is Piatra Roşie, (Red Rock), a former hill fort which dates from the 1 st century BC. This fort enclosed a large area of the mountain top, which was flattened during its construction. This fortress once had watch towers and their remains can still be visited. By the First Century AD, the hill fort consisted of a double wall . These are now mostly in ruin, but their outline is easily followed.
At the Dacian fortress of Bănița, lie the ruins of a once impressive hill fort. Little remains of this, but it was once a massive bastion which again had double walls and towers.
Paved Dacian road in Sarmizegetusa, the capital of the Dacian Empire, Romania ( Calin/ Adobe Stock)
The fortress of Căpâlna, is located on a high, steep hill. The remains of an elliptical double-walls can be seen as well as two man-made terraces. The remains of a tower house and the south-east of the citadel of the fortress can be visited.
Decebalus – The Brave One’ – Last Mighty King Of Dacian People. Source: Britannica. Ancient History Encyclopedia
Decebalus – The Brave One’ – Last Mighty King Of Dacian People
MessageToEagle.com – Today, Decebalus is considered a national hero in Romania and has been described in numerous literary works, movies, public monuments, and other memorials.
At the beginning of the third century, 150 years after the affirmation of Decebalus, Dio Cassius (164-c.235): Roman senator of Greek descent, historian and author of a very important ‘Roman History‘ wrote about the mighty king Decebalus as follows:
Decebalus (Decebal) – ‘the brave one’) – was the last king of Dacians, a people who lived in the territory known presently as Romania.
He was also one of mightiest rulers of this ancient kingdom. He ruled the Dacians 87-106, but especially, the first year of his reign was difficult because Dacian Kingdom, crumbled into four or perhaps five principalities, and was weak.
After reuniting fragmented Dacian tribes into one nation, he led them in three wars against the Roman Empire and its two emperors Domitian and Trajan.
He immediately organized an army and attacked the Roman province of Moesia (southeastern Balkans), killing its governor, Oppius Sabinus.
He fought victoriously against Domitian’s general Cornelius Fuscus, but new dangers came and in 89, Decebalus was eventually defeated and forced to sign a peace treaty which made the Dacian kingdom a client of Rome. According to these terms , the Dacians receive Roman money and technical support in exchange for recognition of Roman overlordship.
During the next 12 years of peace, Decebalus was able consolidate power and rule.
In the meantime, the Roman Empire also planned its expansion, which reached its peak in 101.
After almost 3 years of preparations at the southern boundaries of Dacia, at the beginning of the year 101 in Moesia Superior, the Emperor Traian (during his reign the Roman Empire reached the peak of the power and of its territorial expend) concentrated 13-14 legions and many auxiliary units (circa 150 000 soldiers) in order to conquer Decebal’s reign.
In 101, Trajan led an invasion of Dacia and thus, the First Dacian War began. The capital of Sarmizegethusa (in modern Romania) was captured. In 102, Decebalus was forced to accept Roman occupation garrisons.
In 105, once again, the mighty Decebalus was powerful enough to defeat the occupation forces and invade Moesia. It was the Second Dacian War.
The Dacians led by Decebal, resisted heroically. On the other hand, Roman Emperor, Trajan, threw all the Empire’s resources in the fight to be victorious. Dacia’s gold was important but first of all he wanted to eliminate the threat from the Dacians and their allies, at the eastern border.
After Trajan seized Sarmizegethusa a second time in 106 and the Dacians fortress of the Orastie’s Mountains fell, some of the defenders, including Decebal, managed to leave the city trying to continue resistance against the Romans within the country. Being chased by the Romanian cavalry, Decebal commits suicide becaue to die was better than to fall alive into the hands of enemies.
Dacia capitulated and became a Roman province.
There is a mighty 40-meter-tall bearded stone face overlooking the Danube River, Romania.
It is the statue of the Dacian king Decebalus. It took 10 years, from 1994 to 2004, for twelve sculptors to finish it. The statue is the tallest rock sculpture in Europe. It is located on the Danube’s rocky bank, near the city of Orsova, Romania.
Today, 2000 years later, the great Dacian king continues to keep watch on the borders of those lands he defended to death.
“So, the Peren Hintz. What about it, then?”
For starters, I find it’s one of the nicer watches to have emerged from the flurry of microbrands in recent memory. Granted, I am a sucker for time-only pieces so this was already a win for me at first sight. According to Peren, the Hintz’s aesthetic direction was meant to reflect a “neo-vintage design code while incorporating elements of art-deco composition.” Whatever it is, there’s no doubt that the stand-out feature of this watch is the rotating disc at the 6 o’clock position.
The disc is inspired by the Andesite Sun. The what? The Andesite Sun, located at the ancient site of Sarmizegetusa Regia in Transylvania, is one of the first solar-cycle measurement tools. You know what’s another cool fact? The Andesite Sun disc also served as an altar for the Solar Cult. Allow me to drone on a bit about the Andesite disc, alright? Historians believe that this disc was an accessory of the cult’s temple. A cult which, obviously, worships the Sun.
The solar sign was represented by “two concentrically circles joined by means of ten solar rays.” The arc of the circle is believed to have had a symbolic sense that indicated when the solar cults took place. Additionally, it was also used to chart when the Sun phenomena (solar-cycle) occurred.
- Case Material: Stainless steel
- Dial: Cream
- Dimensions : 42.5 x 11.2mm
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Water Resistance: 100 meters
- Crown: Push/pull
- Movement: Unitas 6498-1
- Strap/bracelet: Leather strap
The Hintz is a tribute to Eugen Hintz, a Transylvanian watchmaker. Hintz made and sold watches out of his workshop in Fagaras, Transylvania, and had partnerships with important brands such as Wyler, Junghans, and Tellus, from whom he would commission spare parts to complete his own watches. This is of course a type of watchmaking that was once common, but simply doesn&rsquot happen on a large scale any longer, and Bica-Popi&rsquos tribute to his town&rsquos watchmaker is genuine and heartfelt, and also begs his customer&rsquos to recognize the enormous changes that have come to watchmaking (for better and worse) since Hintz sold his own watches out of his own shop at the turn of the 20th century.
The new watch from Peren is inspired by a pocket watch that was a collaboration between Eugen Hintz and Wyler in the period between the two World Wars. It&rsquos a simple time only watch with some subtle Art Deco influenced design. The most notable design feature is likely the rotating disc at 6:00, which is directly inspired by the &ldquoAndesite Sun,&rdquo an ancient calendar found at the Sarmizegetusa Regia historical site in Transylvania.
The Hintz has an attractive, cream colored dial with complementary maroon toned Arabic numerals. It&rsquos sized to modern tastes at 42.5mm in diameter, but is only 11.2mm thick thanks to a slender manually wound movement (a Unitas 6498-1). And the rotating disk gives the dial a sense of depth that is uncommon in watches of this style. Sometimes with watches that are story or history driven, the aesthetics can be a little mushy, but the Hintz appears to strike the right balance between certain classic style cues and some unique aspects that have real meaning to the brand and their collection of fans.
More information on the Peren Hintz can be found on their website. A Kickstarter is expected to launch in April, with the watch following later this year. Peren