The Clay Castle, Fairy Valley - Castelul de Lut, Valea Zânelor

in #hive-1637723 days ago

Today I'm going to show you a place that has never been pinned to @pinmapple before. It's called Castelul de Lut, Valea Zânelor and it is situated in a village called Porumbacu de Sus, Sibiu county, Romania.

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Porumbacu de Sus is a usual village with a few inns and pubs and with only 832 inhabitants. The village had nothing special to offer till one day, when a smart investor decided to create a place that attracts thousands of tourists a day now.

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They say legend has it that the land on which the castle stands was once inhabited by magical creatures, fairies. This is the tail that the businessman wanted to explore and he succeeded.

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screenshot source

How To Get There

The property is situated not far from the European route E68, you just have to make a turn at some point, drive a couple of minutes and you're there. There's a parking lot along the road, where you can park your car for 5 lei, which is almost €1. It may sound cheap for those who earn their living in €, but believe me, in other places (not as hyped as this), you can park for 0.5 lei.

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Right in the parking lot there's this souvenir selling place where you can buy gold and silver fairies. Obviously it's not real gold or silver, it's juts imitation. These are not cheap but there are people who are willing to pay as much as they ask.

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Rules

If you have an eye for the details, you can from the beginning what kind of place this is. This board lets you know this is a private property, which translated in common language means there are rules set by the owners, like:

  • you are not allowed to bring food or drink,
  • no pick-nick,
  • no camping,
  • no swimming,
  • no dogs,
  • no collecting flowers,
  • no throwing toxic waste in the water,
  • no littering.

They are offering:

  • terrace,
  • souvenirs,
  • you can take photos,
  • there's a toilet,
  • trash cans.

Were you able to figure out what's going on here? No? Bear with me and I'll tell you after I'll show you the place.

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The Fairy Tale

This is where you buy the tickets. It's a wonderful wooden house, like in the fairy tales. You need to wear a mask in order to purchase your ticket, which is understandable. Inside however wearing a mask is not compulsory. We kept our masks on as there were too many people and social distancing was not quite possible. The ticket is not super expensive, you pay 10 Lei, which is around €2 at the moment.

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The window of this little wooden house is round and there are two wooden chairs in the back, carved out of thick wood logs. I'm not sure this type of chair is something typical to those days as those days are from fairy tales, but I've never seen chairs like those. In any case, I love them as these are made of one very thick log.

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Right behind the picket house, there's this kind of underground house made of stones and wood, and covered with green grass.

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If you're not paying attention, you think it's a small hill covered with grass. Maybe that was the idea all along, to hide the houses as you can only see it's a house if you're looking at it from a certain spot. I love it, it's indeed magical.

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This is the side of the house, with a very small window and a lamp or lantern, I don't know the right term for it.

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The front side of the house with these huge glass windows. On the terrace there are some chairs, some are colorful pillow chairs, but at the moment of out visit sitting on the terrace was not permitted. I believe covid-19 is to blame for that.

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In front of the house there's a big, grassy area with these cute straw hats, that serve as sunshades.

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I believe there used to be tables with chairs under these big hats and you could stay down to enjoy the view but as I said earlier, that is not possible anymore as social distancing matters and they are responsible for the visitor's health. In any case, it's a very cute and original idea, fits the scene perfectly.

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The Clay Castle

This is the clay castle, the one that attracts thousands of visitors.

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The shape of the castle is very unusual, if you're thinking of a usual castle, but this is not a usual castle, it's a fairy tale castle. Even though it's lovely to look at it and imagine those fairies living there.

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The houses are made of clay and covered with shingle, just like in old days. The doors are made of wood with wrought iron.

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Next to the first entrance there's a small stone tower you could visit, but the problem with places like this is that they are too crowded, you either wait ten minutes to have the chance to climb up, or you give up. Now that the pandemic is still on, I preferred to skip this part as those places are very narrow and it's not worth risking my health for the view or a photo.

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The castle is composed of several houses, pretty much of the same size and design. (I remember I've drawn a small castle like this myself.) As you can see, the road is made of stone, and at the entrance there were wood logs on the ground.

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The houses are locked, you can't go in but I know from someone that the interior is finished, you can find a stove and some wooden furniture inside. Maybe after the pandemic visiting inside will be permitted.

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I think it would have been nice to rent a house like this for a day or too, but these are just for the show, nothing more.

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The fence and the gate is also made of wood.

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There's this swing next to the houses, which is also made of wood and a rope. Old school, just as we had at my grandparents when we were kids. Access denied though, due to covid.

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There's another one, old school too, from my childhood but unfortunately I don't know how it is called. I love that it's made of wood.

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Even the signs are made of wood and hand painted.

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The Financial Angle

This is where it gets interesting. As you could see in the beginning of my post, you're not allowed to bring any food or drink and pick nick is also prohibited. There's this nice shop, made of wood and stone, covered with grass, where you can buy some snacks and drinks. Needless to say the prices are double if not triple of what you can find in any other shop.

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There's a restaurant as well, if I can call that restaurant. You can order traditional soups and main courses, that is cooked on the scene I believe. Those big iron caldrons with horns attached to them looked very funny.

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This is the restaurant you can order from. Apart from the butterflies, the decoration is absolutely amazing. Those wooden baskets with flowers, and the wooden railing is just fantastic. The plastic flowerpots are ruining everything but let's not pay attention to those now, ignore them.

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There's this dining area, with wooden chairs and tables, covered with straw, very rustic.

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You can enjoy a nice meal here rain or shine.

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This guy was playing music, which was not exactly what I like but the visitors have no saying in this, this is not music by request.

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Conclusion

It was a nice experience as it's the first time I visited the place and have never seen anything like this in real life. However, I still think the main idea here is to make as much money as possible. The guy had a dream, a vision and he had the necessary funds to build the place. You can spend 30 minutes there, or an hour and a half if you're planning to have lunch, and then you go as there's nothing to see there. It's a 8000 square meter wonderland for kids and bigger kids like me, that you visit once, if you're in the neighborhood but to drove there just for this is too expensive in my opinion, compared to what you can see.

My advice: if you're in the neighborhood, going or coming somewhere and this place is in your way, don't miss it as it worth visiting but don't make this your primary destination. Besides, there are two amazing destinations not far from here, that I'm going to blog about very soon.

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Hi Erikah, it's always nice to discover fun architecture such as this. I like green roofs. Wish we could incorporate this more in our part of the world.

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Green roofs are always cool but it depends on the weather as well.

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Nice! Visited this back in 2016 when everything was still under construction. Love seeing how much things evolved since then :)

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I believe they are always working on something, adding new things constantly, so maybe it's not finished yet.

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One day I'm just going to disappear and eventually they'll find me in a place like this.

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Lol, good to know, if you disappear and people are looking for you, at least I know where to find you 😁

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Wow, so nice Place!!! I'd like to live in a house with a similar architecture 💓

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You can build one yourself 😉

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What a quirky place, I would probably go there if I'm in the region. Good on the guy who developed it, but I wonder how financially viable it is if his income is just entrance fee, food and some souveniers. He could make a lot more money renting the houses out for holiday makers.

Definitely a great find for the map!!!

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I agree, he could make a lot of money renting the houses out but I don't think they are set up for normal use, plus the visitors would be a problem. Maybe a separate house park for rent?

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Hiya, @ItchyfeetDonica here, just swinging by to let you know that this post made it into our Top 3 in Daily Travel Digest #973.

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That's an honour, thank you very much!

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