Any legend may give birth to another legend… this is what happened at Orlat, where the villages’ elderly still tell stories about how the giants arranged the surrounding mountains, forests and valleys to create a marvellous landscape.
And the same elderly are talking about how a long time ago, when the village was attacked by invaders, people used to hide in the mountains. When the attackers left, the village leaders would get down to the village and once they made sure that the danger was gone, they would yell to those in hiding to “descend to the valley”. Back then the verb they used for “descending” was “a urla”, hence a urla - urlaţi-Orlat.
Placed at the junction of the mountains with the plain, Orlat has always had a strategic position. Romanians built surveillance towers on the surrounding heights; in the 1st and 2nd century there used to be a pre-feudal stronghold here which was replaced by a medieval fortress in the 13th century.
Moreover, between 1764 and 1851 Orlat was the headquarters of the 1st Romanian Border Regimen Commanding Office which used to defend the borders of the Hapsburg Empire from Haţeg (county of Hunedoara) to Zărneşti (county of Braşov).
The inhabitants of Orlat worked in manufacturing; in the 16th century they set the basis of the first manufactures and in the 19th century Orlat had a cloth, paper and wood processing factory.
Just like in any other village from Mărginime, at Orlat you may visit the orthodox church erected at the end of the 18th century in a neoclassic style with baroque influences and a neo-byzantine mural painting. And because Orlat was the headquarters of the border regimen, for the catholic officers they built the “Germans’” church under the patronage of St. Teresa of Avilla.
If you are fond of hikes, we recommend a walk on the Platoul Cetăţii Hill (The Fortress Plateau); this offers a splendid panorama of the entire commune and of the surroundings.
Did you know...?
At Orlat they built the first paper mill in the country and in south-eastern Europe. The technology of linen and silk paper processing was brought from the German towns; Conrad Haas (1507-1579) drew its first rocket sketches on “Orlat” paper.
Ion Agârbiceanu - the prose writer was a priest at the orthodox church from Orlat. Here he often received visits from writers Ion Slavici and George Coşbuc.
Writer Liviu Rebreanu wrote “Ciuleandra”, “Crăişorul” and also a part of the “Ion” novel at Orlat.