Being in a context that overlaps several historic periods, the Jiu Valley presents itself as the perfect destination for a complex experience: gorgeus landscapes, picturesque rural communities and a highly equiped urban area. Although it is the largest urban area in Romania surrounded entirely by natural protected areas, you can still find some of the most compact neighborhoods, 2,59 hundreds square hectares of brownfields left behind the mining activity and a well-connected infrastructure.
Each of the six cities in the Jiu Valley presents speciffic amenities.
In Aninoasa, the castle of Karoly Maderspach – the baron that initiated the mining activity in the Valley, is now a cultural center that awaits to be activated. The small town is also the southern entrance, with its outstanding Defileul Jiului National Park.
Lupeni is well known for the most important touristic destination in the Valley: Straja Ski-bike Resort. The urban area was developed around rigorous miners’ colonies and architectural buildings representative for their times: the Cultural Palace, the Saint Nicholas Church or the Town Hall. The mine is due to close in 2018, with opportunities to keep at least one shaft and some representative buildings as part of an industrial heritage ansemble.
Petrila is the eastern most town in the Jiu Valley, opening to the Sureanu mountain and its complex cultural landscape. It is the cultural heart of the Valley, being home for four museums dedicated to Ion D. Sirbu, the Mother and performative arts. Also, the former Petrila and soon-to-close Lonea mines are part of the most ambitious project for post-industrial urban regeneration. Considering the Jiul de Est riverfront, the extended rural area and an access to the Sureanu mountains and Transalpina road.
Being the major city in the area, Petrosani presents a complex list of places. Every description starts with Parang Ski-bike Resort, followed by the most extensive ensembles of industrial heritage: railroad infrastructure, industrial and civic buildings and former miners’ settlements. Also, there are three rural, preindustrial wooden churches and the ensemble formed by Bolii Cave and Banita Dacian Citadel.
Uricani is the southern gate to the Retezat National Park, one of the Europe’s most extensive virgin areas. Being surrounded by mountains, Uricani also hosts important international runing competitions. Apart from Jiu Valley’s specific landscape, Uricani hosts two picturesque lakes: Valea de Pesti and Campu lui Neag, the former being open for private investment. It is notable to mention the rural community in Uricani, presenting unique examples of wooden architecture.
Bieng the former centre of Jiu Valley, Vulcan has some pre-war buildings in its western side, along the Mihai Viteazu route. The most important asset of Vulcan is the Pasul Valcan area, and the road that passes the mountains down to Girj County. Vulcan is an alternative route to DN66, being also connected to Hateg through Dealul Babii-Merisor-Livadia.