Roman ruins at Sarmizegetusa - A view from our expert author

Roman ruins at Sarmizegetusa, Romania, Transylvania by Rechitan Sorin, Dreamstime
The atmospheric ruins of the Dacian capital at Sarmizegetusa © Rechitan Sorin, Dreamstime

A UNESCO-World Heritage Site, the ruins of the ancient Roman capital of Dacia are home to a palace, thermal baths and a 6,000 seat amphitheatre.

The ruins of the capital city of Roman Dacia on the Haţeg Plain at Sarmizegetusa are 40km west of Sarmizegetusa Regia. Colonia Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica Sarmizegetusa (to give it its full title) was the biggest city in Roman Dacia, with a partly conserved forum, an amphitheatre and several temples.

The city was destroyed by Goths, and the ruins of Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa offer visitors an excellent portrayal of a Roman town with a forum, the Augustals’ Palace, thermal baths, an amphitheatre with seating for 6,000 spectators as well as many public and private buildings. In 1982 a museum opened, exhibiting silver and bronze objects, pottery, statues, coins, headstones, medallions and mosaics. So far, only 3% of the total 32ha area has been explored by archaeologists from Britain, Belgium, Hungary and Romania.

One of the scientists working at the archaeological site, Florin Delinescu, and his wife Loredana run a small pension ‘Ulpia Traiana’ on the main street around the corner from the site entrance.

Loredana cooks the most amazing lunches with delicious soups, and a speciality from the Sarmizegetusa region, pup de crump, a grated potato and brânza cheese fried pancake (like a cross between a Polish/Jewish latka and Swiss rösti, but much bigger) served with a mug of fresh drinking yoghurt.

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