In Romanian “Piatra Craiului” means “Rock of the King”.
The Piatra Craiului mountains form a narrow and saw-like ridge, which is about 25 km long. The highest elevation in the massif is the “Vârful La Om” with 2238 m.
LOCALISATION:The massif is bordered in the west by the Dâmboviţa Valley which separates it from the Păpuşa massif; in the north-west the river Bârsa and Curmătura Foii separates it from the Făgăraş Mountains and in the east the “Rucăr-Bran Passage” delimits it from the Bucegi and Leaotă mountains. The southern border is the confluence of the valleys of Dâmboviţa and Dâmbovicioara rivers, in the “Podul Damboviţei” depression
The whole range is included in the national park Parcul Naţional Piatra Craiului (Piatra Craiului National Park).
The first protection of this area started in 1938 when 4.4 km² were declared as a “Nature Reserve”. The Law 5/2000 enlarged this area to 148 km². In 2003 the external limits and internal zoning were created. Since 1999 a park administration has existed and since 2005 a management plan has been in place.
In the national park area about 300 fungi species, 220 lichen species, 100 different mosses, 1100 species of superior plants (a third of the number of all plant species found in Romania), 50 Carpathians endemic species and also two endemic species for Piatra Craiului can be found.
There are also 2 endemic species of spiders, 270 butterflies species, amphibians and reptiles, 110 birds species (50 listed in the Bern Convention and 6 in the Bonn Convention), 17 bats species, chamois and other large herbivores and also many large carnivores (wolves, brown bears, lynx) living in the national park.
ACCESS: Zarnesti is the most important town for visiting the national park. It is also an ideal starting point for approaches in the northern part of the massif. This town lies at a distance of 28 km from the city of Braşov, by road, bus or railway. From Zărneşti, an 11 km long road makes the connection with the comfortable chalet “Plaiul Foii”, which is a good starting point for climbing the ridge.
Also, from Zărneşti a forest road starts from the south-western part of the town, leading through the Zărneşti Gorges (Prăpăstiile) and further up to the ridge.
In Zărneşti the office of the administration of the National Park can be found. A new visitor center has been built 1 km west of the town, but it is not currently (June 2009) open.
The traditional villages Măgura, Peştera, Ciocanu, and Şirnea are interesting starting points for the routes on the eastern slope and for getting in touch with the traditional Romanian way of life.
music: JASON TYRELLO – When The Sun Is Gone, PHREAK and MIDFIELD