Let's travel together #169 - Râpa Roșie (The Red Ravine)

A place who's age and story is uncertain, jumping from legends with thieves to those ages when the dinosaurs were dominating the lands and then back to countless rivers of bloody water who are making some of the most bizarre sounds out there. A place to which we have returned after 4 years since we first discovered it, but that helped us welcome 2021 from the heights of a special location, unique in Romania and Europe, being ready more than ever for more journeys and discoveries!


While in my previous post I decided to present you how we said goodbye to 2020 watching the sunset from a very important dam for Romania and especially for Transylvania but without too many people knowing about it, I thought that it would be even more amazing to show off the location from where we welcomed 2021 because we couldn't stay away from exploring Romania not even in the 1st day of the new year.
So the 1st day of the year brought us together in a very special place for us which we have first met almost 4 years ago when we weren't even dreaming to the day when we will live so close to it.
Râpa Roșie, roughly translated as The Red Ravine, is located around 4 km away from Sebeș and around 60 km from Sibiu, and it represents a natural monument and beauty created without any help from people, but only by natural disasters which slowly carved out the canyon on a surface of 10 ha.
Even though the ravine is considered a protected geological and floristic reservation with a very high touristic potential, way too little people ever heard about it and came for a visit. The Red Ravine is formed from numerous columns of specific erosion and runoff formations which formed sharp rocky appearance in the mountains that can reach even 125 meters height and whom length is about 800 meters, making the ravine be easily noticeable from big distances, even from the A1 highway.


Nevertheless, when we first discovered it, there weren't any markers leading to it and we had to use the map and ask the locals for guidance, but now after 4 years since then, we had the pleasant surprise to notice that there were added a few road signs which make the things easier and help more people who are passing by to also stop and visit the natural monument.

The landscape with an imposing appearance not only that it's impressive with its formations but it also comes with a very particular flora which brings lots of rare and endemic elements to the attention of geologists.
This is how the specialists are calling this kind of lands badlands, which is a very unpopular term for Romania while it was first used in the Southern side of Dakota where this relief is very well developed.
However, the huge vertical stone walls which conquered our hearts one more time look more like a huge pipe organ rather than a ravine, where the columns and multi-storey pyramids are the ruins of an ancestral monument who's story we are far from discovering anytime soon.
Though, the name of The Red Ravine is not randomly picked because every time when there is heavy rain the little canyon changes its appearance and dimensions, leaving behind countless streams of water whose colour turns blood red due to the combination of the minerals in the composition of the pyramids.

The natural wonder was born after an erosion produced by a torrent in the sedimentary deposits of lower Miocene Age which is considered by geologists the results of mixing the red clays with grey and red sandstones which are slowly degrading in the sand. There are also microconglomerate intercalations which are turning into gravels and clays after the rains which are washing the clay binder and make the sediments gather at the base of the slope.


What I love about The Red Ravine is that she enjoys meeting new people, letting those to discover it from both the distance and nearby, without requesting any big effort to reach it because it can be noticed from both the highway and the road which leads to it, but also if you get into the forest and climb all the way up to the unique formations. That's how any time we got to visit it, we've met all kind of people starting with the young ones which were barely learning how to walk, until the old ones who often are satisfied watching the canyon from the foothills of it, without getting into the forest.

Anyway, as some real adventure seekers and lovers for the wilderness of nature, we couldn't call ourselves being pleased until we followed the path into the woods which was about to bring us from bottom to the top of the pyramids in just a matter of time.
As soon as you enter the forest you might feel like you are slowly losing the sight to The Red Ravine being able to notice it only through the tree branches which seem like they are trying to keep you away from it, but once you go all the way down to the groove which was formed after the rains and pass it, you will notice you are going to start climbing and soon get out of the forest and wake up being able to embrace the formations that a few minutes ago you were staring at, from the distance.
The way to the little canyon is not marked but it's pretty easy to be discovered and it takes only 10-15 minutes to climb all the way up to the natural wonder, depending on how used you are hiking slopes and if there were rains before your expedition.
However, keep in mind that is very recommended to have hiking boots because if it rained in the last days even though the soil next to the ravine seems dried, the things are different in the forest where very few sun rays manage to make their space and dry the mud created which can become pretty deep in some areas.

Even though you visit The Red Ravine during the summer when there are very few rains close to none, the hiking boots should still not missing because the soil is pretty sandy and becomes really challenging when you climb the valley up to the pyramids.

Still, no matter when you are going to (re)discover the huge pipe organ, you'll never find it looking the same due to the floods created during the rains which are digging deeper and deeper into the composition of the formations, also changing their hue.


Last time when we visited the ravine, we stopped after we climbed the first portion of the pyramids, but this time we thought we will push everything a little bit further and managed to reach even higher discovering that there is another ravine right behind the one that most of the people see. This time a smaller one but definitely a better composed and better-looking one.

Even though the little Grand Canyon Romania is proud to have seems like it was there for a long time being part of many ages, it was officially discovered in 1969, being uncertain how many years the natural monument has.
There are rumours saying that many exploitations have been made discovering some formations of gravel, quartz sands and sandstones, other than the main ones, but without finding any fossil remains from the past.
However, there are also news showing that the geologist and palaeontologist Mátyás Vremirhave from Cluj-Napoca found some dinosaur fossil bones who made the whole canyon be estimated to have the age of around 60 million years old.
Even if we do not know the exact age of the natural monument, we do know its names, which are way too many for a single place, remembering: Râpa Roşie (The Red Ravine), Dealul Straniu (The Strange Hill), Orga de Pământ (The Earth Pipe Organ), Piramidele Coafate (The Styled Pyramids) or Pământurile Rele (The Bad Lands).
Therefore, the most used one is Râpa Roșie (The Red Ravine) and while we kind of figured out the story behind each name, we missed the one for Dealul Straniu (The Strange Hill) which is going to offer a completely new perspective over the whole thing.

Do you remember when I told you about the small bloody springs which are formed after rain and which are flooding the groove we had to cross in the forest in order to reach the pyramids? Well, even if you love rain or not, it seems like once the groove is flooded by the bloody water it also forms some stranger sounds which are far away from normality and making you feel comfortable. Sounds which can be compared with screams of pain or like the world is going to break apart from a moment to another. Most likely a peaceful and lovely place you can discover during the day but a location you would rather stay away from, during the heavy rains and night.

The natural monument turned out not as just one of the most beautiful places you can visit in Romania but also as one of the rarest gems you can discover in Europe which is also considered the natural masterpiece created in the memory of Gaudi who had a passion for unusual shapes and pieces of art. Thus, The Red Ravine represents how a hill most likely would look like if it was designed by the late Catalan architect.


However, the stories about the majestic place we (re)discovered in the 1st day of 2021 don't stop here remembering about the union between Transylvania and Romania from 1st December 1918 which brings to light new tales about The Red Ravine being used by the soldiers from the World War I to reach Alba Iulia without being noticed.

There are also small hidden grottos crammed between the clay towers which have been used by the bandits of yesteryear, remembering one of them which is suggestively named "Gaura Hotilor" (The Hole of the Thieves) and which is considered being one of the largest caves developed in the ground from the world. A long time ago there has been a man who used to rob banks and hide all his money into the heart of the pyramids until it was sentenced to prison. Even though the man was locked down, his wife was coming almost daily to The Red Ravine and after his husband was released they ran off to the United States from where they were sending to their families incredible sums of money which normally would be impossible to be gathered in such a short time.

However, with all the crazy stories about this place, we can't step back from loving it less and we can't wait to visit it again and maybe even discover some of the caves where outlaw, thieves and adventurers were hiding, leaving lots of legends inscribed on the walls since the 19th century.

I also created a short movie about The Red Ravine which you can check down below on my Instagram account:

So if you ever cross the A1 motorway between Orăştie – Sibiu consider to at least look outside of the window because you will pass just 2 km away from The Red Ravine which became more visible after the construction of the highway. If you want to get any closer to it, no matter from what direction you come, you have to reach Daia Română village by following the county road DJ106, then get on the Călărași Street from Sebes which will take you under the highway, and then follow the path on the left and turn on a gravel road which will take you to the ravine while being accompanied by a small river on the left.




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Niceee, I recognize this amazing place from your entry to my latest nature photo challenge :) Very special one indeed. Well deserved position on the trending page again! :) Happy for you Gabriela :)

Hehe, yeah, you got to see a small part of my trip before the others 💪🏻
I'm also surprised to see myself on the trending page but I can't complain about it! I love the feeling! 😍
Also thank you so much for your appreciation and for stopping by 🤗

Fabulous article and photos! I miss visiting places like that very much! 😉

I already miss visiting this kind of places too! Thanks for stopping by ☺️

Gorgeous place and pictures, interesting story that place hides too. It's those silent places that usually keep the best secrets.

Definitely! I'd never see it coming but it's a mysterious place which knows how to keep its secrets.

Nice photos, looks secret, not a very touristic place. I miss Count Dracula somewhere ... 👏 👏 😎

Haha, no doubt it would be a perfect place for Dracula! But there are no stories about it in this place 😅

Yeah, that was a joke 😎. I have been to Romania a few times and it is a truly remarkable country. 👏 😎

I'm happy to hear that! I hope you will return again as soon as the pandemic is over and there are not too many restrictions. I'm sure you didn't have enough time to see all the things you planned 😁

60 million years..... That's so old.... Fascinating informations, thanks Gabriela!

"Old" is a too small word for that, heh. Thanks for stopping by, Mary! :)

Hiya, @LivingUKTaiwan here, just swinging by to let you know that this post made it into our Honorable Mentions in Daily Travel Digest #1084.

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Hopefully, this year I will be able to visit Romania.

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I hope so too! Even though it's a delicate situation with this pandemic going on..

I will probably visit Cluj-Napoca or Timișoara.

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Cluj-Napoca is a good start as it has a lot of things to check out there and nearby. Timisoara is the single city from the whole Romania where I didn't manage to travel, but I'll fix that as soon as possible 😉

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A beautiful adventure, I loved it. How beautiful you are, my friend, God bless you !!

Wow, don't make me blush! 😁
It was indeed an amazing adventure, and I'd love to return there one day for more explorations ☺️

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