A 3-cm snow layer has laid down in this beautiful region of Romanian mountains after heavy snowfalls over the past weekend: on National Road 7C Transfagarasan, on the way from Balea Lac to Balea Cascada in Sibiu County.
It is not the first time when it is snowing in this area in early October. On September 27, 2008, the snow layer reached 15 centimetres at Balea Lac, while on September 7, 1992 it measures 34 cm, a historic high in the past decades.
Transfagarasan or DN7C is a mountain paved road crossing the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains. It has national-road ranking and it is the second-highest paved road in Romania after Transalpina. The road starts near the village of Bascov, located near the city of Pitesti, ending on the crossroad between DN1 and Sibiu.
Also known as Ceausescu’s Folly, it was built as a strategic military route that stretches 90 km with twists and turns that run north to south across the tallest sections of the Southern Carpathians, between the highest peaks in the country, Moldoveanu, and the second highest, Negoiu. The road connects the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia and the cities of Sibiu and Pitesti.
The Transfagarasan was constructed between 1970 and 1974, during Nicolae Ceausescu’s communist rule as a response to the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union.
Built mainly by military forces, the road had both a high financial and human cost. Work was carried out in an alpine climate, at an elevation of 2000 meters, using junior military personnel who were untrained in blasting techniques. Many non-commissioned officers (NCOs), foremen, and soldiers died due to hazardous working conditions. Roughly six million kilograms of dynamite were used on the northern face, and official records state that about 40 soldiers lost their lives in building accidents.
The BBC Top Gear named Transfagarasan “the most spectacular road in the world”, while Subaru of America set new speed record on the high altitude road in Romania last year.