As the holiday season is near, and, we hope, the fine weather as well, we try to unravel exquisite, less known travel destinations in Romania.
Fundatura Ponorului (Ponor Dead End in approximate translation), or “God’s Palm”, as this area is also known, is such a place, a realm of natural beauty, where time seems to have standing still.
Fundatura Ponorului, a national protected area, is located in the Gradistea Muncelului-Cioclovina National Park, in the Șureanu-Parâng-Lotrului Mountain Group, belonging to the Southern Carpathians, southern Hunedoara county. It stretches along the villages of Baru, Boșorod, Bănița, Orăștioara de Sus and Pui, at an altitude of over 900 metres.
Although a not popular mountain destination, Fundatura Ponorului is rather a pristine slice of heaven, with harsh winters and harsh lives for the locals, but with exquisite views, including traditional rural houses scattered on the hills, orchards and blue waters and green valleys.
Fundatura Ponorului is crossed by the waters of the Ponorului valley, which in the past was united with the Ponorici valley forming a large valley that poured its waters into the N-E of the Hațeg depression.
Over time, the rivers separated, the Ponorici being captured by the current valley of Cioclovina, and the Ponor river was captured by the area of the Federi and Ohaba localities. It seems that, in this area, the waters dug up the limestone formed during the Jurassic period and infiltrations appeared in the river beds, which created the largest caves known in the Șureanu Mountains.
Over the years, these infiltration became the pits that can still be seen today. The rivers have completely eroded the limestone layer down to the crystalline rock substrate, widening their bed and creating the most spectacular karst depressions in the Șureanu Mountains.
How to reach there?
Fundătura Ponorului can be reached from the road leading to Petroșani from Hațeg. From the town of Ponor, on a road to the left, you go to the village of Federi. Basically, this is the lowest area in the Șureanu Massif, like an arena, which is surrounded by high mountains.
Part of Grădiștea Muncelului Cioclovina Natural Park
This natural park includes, within its limits, six of the most spectacular natural reserves of Hunedoara county.
More precisely, it is about the Ponorâci-Cioclovina karst complex, Tecuri Cave, Șura Mare Cave, Crivadiie Gorges, Ohaba-Ponor fossil site, Bolii Cave.
At the same time, in the natural park there are the UNESCO Heritage archaeological sites of Sarmizegetusa Regia, Costești, Blidaru, Luncani-Piatra Roșie and the authentic ethnographic settlements of the Luncanilor Platform.