Length: 59 km
Time: 1h 8 min
Operating times: all year
Surface quality 3 out of 5
Romanian county road no DN66/E79
Route: From Targu Jiu to Petrosani, Romania, Europe
A former Roman settlement, the city of Targu Jiu lies at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, on the banks of the river Jiu. The area provided direct access, through one of the most spectacular passes in the Carpathians, to present-day Transylvania, the heart of the former Dacian Kingdom.
Constantin Brancusi, one of the most influential modern sculptors of the 20th century, was born near Targu Jiu, in Hobita. Brancusi city is distinguished by the exceptional architectural ensemble built by the father of modern sculpture: Table of Silence, Gate of Kiss and The Endless Column placed on mile-long (1.5 km) east-west axis that runs through the heart of the city.
From Targu Jiu to Petrosani you can head 59 km north up to Jiu Valley, one of the most spectacular gorge of the Carpathians. The road running parallel to this road to the east is said to be the highest road in Romania, peaking 2142 m. It is possible to cross the mountains along this road by 4WD vehicles- a mixed road that starts off a bit patchy but then becomes a nice forest road in beautiful surroundings.
On the national road DN 66 there are some areas considered unstable as a result of landslides and of the water saturated weak soil. The upgraded county and village roads do not fully ensure the fluency of the traffic, because the existing asphalt courses have exceeded their servicing period. The gravel and soil roads do not guarantee the necessary driving surface.
For sedan vehicles with little ground clearance these tracks are extremely difficult to negotiate and often force the driver to alternatively look for a way ahead alongside the existing track. Driving on them not only takes skill, concentration, experience, caution and endurance but above all – patience.
Generally it is advisable to deflate the tyres somewhat in order to increase their surface area and thereby their traction. This however does not guarantee a smooth passage or necessarily protect driver and passengers alike from having to spend some time digging and pushing to free their vehicle that got stuck.
The connection with the main arterial is done through secondary national roads indexed with the number 67 (67, 67 B, 67 C, 67 D) ensuring the connection between the main towns of the county and of the neighboring counties, connecting the European road E 79. At Bumbesti Jiu, E79 road leaves the Romanian Carpathians and crosses the Sub-Carpathians hills soon to arrive in Targu Jiu. Nevertheless between March and November 2015, some areas of the national road DN 66 were rehabilitated.
This drive features a mixture of sweeping curves, straights and some more tricky bends to navigate, but it’s the endless views will make you want to drive this road time and time again. The scenery is breathtaking, with trees interspersed with rivers, but the drive with its hairpin bends coupled with the mountainous terrain will really set pulses racing.
The Lainici Monasterys
On the Jiu Valley canyon, between Târgu Jiu and Petrosani, lays The Lainici Monasterys, the oldest monastery in Romania, founded in 1375 and rebuilt in 1812. The monastery can be a halt for the tired traveler. It should be mentioned it is a monk monastery so be aware what you are wearing because your entrance in the monastery can be denied for the reason that you might tempt the monks who had chosen chastity.
You can park the car in the parking area near the monastery, then go upwards on the wooden stairs to the hermitage known under the name “Evil Places”. The monastery is placed in the mountains as most of the places for solitary meditation away from the noise and the pollution of the city nearby. Soon you will reach Petrosani, the most important mining town of Romania. Bordered by mountains on all sides its geological depression Petrosani is particularly rich in coal and potential benefit and winter mountain tourism is facing a promising future.
With its balance of tight corners with sweeping curves and eventually longer straights this really is a great drive. Glimpses of the view are guaranteed to take even the steeliest of drivers’ breath away.
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