Interesting and unknown facts about Jiului Pass

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  • Jiului Pass (Defileul Jiului) is a protected area in Romania, located on the administrative territory of Gorj (92%) and Hunedoara (8%) counties. Jiu River separates Parang and Valcan Mountains and due to the torrential waters, the area offers the best rafting conditions in the country.
  • The most popular carnivore animals live in Jiu Valley: the Carpathian bear, the wolf, the lynx, the otter, the marten, the badger and  the wild cat. You will also find herbivorous species like the roebuck, the deer and the Carpathian chamois. Among the best known species that locals fear the most are the vipers.  However, there were no cases of attacks on those who come looking for berries. Various species of bat also live in the forest and several of them are endangered species, like the small bat with mouse ears and the large bat with peaked nose.
  • The park is covered almost entirely by virgin forests, particularly by mixed beech and holm woods. The first investigations have established that the natural park dwells over 700 plant species.
  • Jiu is formed by the union of two major tributaries, Western Jiu that rises from Retezat Mountains and Eastern Jiu which comes from the southern slope of the Sureanu Mountains, around 1,500 meters altitudes.
  • Jiu Valley was the site of fierce battles between the Romanian and German army during the WWI. The German troops occupied Lainici Monastery where they caused significant damage by destroying and profaning the church, entering with horses in the holy place, burning the wood inside. They also scratched the walls and burned down the archive.
  • General Ion Dragalina died in 1916 following the injuries got on the battlefield in the Jiu Valley, in the area called ‘bad places’ near Lainici Monastery. On his dying bed, King Ferdinand I of Romania conferred him the Order of Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazul). He died a few days later because of the septicemia. To honor the general, a monument was raised on Jiu Valley.
  • Within an hour walking, you will arrive to Locurele Hermitage, located on one of the Mountain Gropu’ peaks found in a large clearing called ‘bad places’, 750- 800 meters altitude high. It was build up of wood between 1850 and 1852 and after 1855-1858 it was rebuilt in brick to the structure we found today.
  • In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, monasteries were centers of culture, where people learned Slavonic, the church where books were copied. One of these monasteries built during this period is Visina monastery, erected next to a former Dacian defense tower, which probably had a sanctuary beside it. Documents show that it was built by Mircea cel Batran under the mountain and can be classified among the oldest religious places in Gorj County.
  • Bumbesti – Livezeni railway connects Oltenia and Transylvania, the only link between the two regions. In addition, the rail between the two stations in Gorj (Bumbesti) and Hunedoara (Livezeni) crossing the Jiu Valley is a monument of Romanian art, the most complex and challenging railway route ever built in Romania. The railroad that crosses the Jiu Valley comprises no less than 35 bridges and viaducts, 39 tunnels and more support-walls along 31 kilometers. The railway is the most complex railway work in Romania, although 67 years have passed since its inauguration.
  • A hydropower establishment unique in Romania is planning to develop across the Jiu Valley. Part of the course will be diverted through the galleries penetrating the mountains  and si designed will supply electricity for three production plants: two hydroelectric, Dumitra and Bumbesti and Livezeni micro-hydroelectric power plant. The total installed capacity will be 65 MW.

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