The Cheese route in Mărginimea Sibiului
Cheeses are, by excellence, part of this region’s culinary and cultural tradition and its diversity is given by its high pastures and specific production techniques. In the alpine pastures of Mărginimea Sibiului the locals continue the ancestral tradition of telemea cheese, sour milk, burduf cheese, kneaded cheese or urda.
If in the 18th and 19th centuries the shepherds would travel all the way to Crimea during the transhumance periods, today some of them have settled mainly in Banat and Dobrogea and others still practice the local shepherding at the sheepfolds from the Cibin Mountains. Discover the secrets of shepherding by joining one of the events which give seasons their rhythm:
- The Taking of the Sheep to the Mountains in the villages from Mărginimea Sibiului, May
- Up high on the Jina Mountain/ Sus pe muntele din Jina, 30 July, jina
- The Shepherds’ Feast Tilişca/Sărbătoarea oierilor, 15 August, Tilişca
- The Cheese and Brandy Festival/Festivalul brânzei şi al Ţuicii, 31 August, Răşinari
- The Descending of the Sheep in the villages from Mărginimea Sibiului, September
The route :
Boiţa -Tălmăcel- Cisnădie - Sadu-Râu Sadului-Păltiniş-Răşinari-Gura Râului-Poplaca-Sibiu- Orlat – Sălişte – Galeş – Rod-Tilişca - Poiana Sibiului – Jina - Transalpina
Tălmăcel: the village is renowned for the custom of “The Bathing of the Johns”, an ancient feast celebrated on the 7th of Januay
The town of Cisnădie is guarded by the steeple of the fortified church on which the first lighting rod from Transylvania was installed (the 18th century). Close to the church you may find the Textile Industry Museum.
Cisnădioara: a peasant citadel from the 13th century. At the village exit towards the Argint Valley lays the “Frog Rock” - a geological monument from the Cretaceous
Sadu: mountain village, a hydro-power pioneer. Visit the Sadu I Energy Museum.
Râu Sadului is a commune made up of four hamlets with traditional houses, orchards, huts and sheepfolds scattered among mountain peaks.
The Păltiniş mountain resort is situated at the highest altitude in Romania (1442 m). Păltiniş is the starting point for many hiking routes in the Cindrel Mountains; in wintertime, tourists may practice skiing and snowboarding here.
Răşinari: the birth village of philosopher Emil Cioran and poet Octavian Goga. Visit the 18th century Orthodox Church and the ethnographic museum.
Gura Râului: it still keeps the tradition of the “commands” - on Sunday after church service the entire village gathers in front of the church where the mayor announces the news. At the village exit towards the water dam there is a ski trail.
Poplaca: traditional Romanian village known for its Căluşari dancers.
The ASTRA Traditional Folk Civilization Museum from Sibiu is the biggest open-air museum in Romania, a three-star destination according to the Michelin Green Guide. This is the ideal place to discover traditional Romanian rural lifestyle; its 10 km of alleys will take you through peasant homesteads, workshops, wooden churches, roadside crucifixes, and water and wind mills. The museum also offers tourists recreation options, boat, carriage or sledge rides, accommodation, playgrounds and a tourist information centre.
Orlat: its first inhabitants were the Romanians who built defence towers on the surrounding heights. Today, these heights provide a delightful scenic view of the neighbourhoods.
Sibiel: Mountain village with a long agritourism tradition. Visit the collection of the Glass Icons Museum.
Fântânele: Quaint village hidden in the mountains with old houses and large orchards.
Sălişte: Remarkable thanks to its architecture which combines urban and rural styles, traditions and cultural heritage. It is the town with the largest number of craftsmen: tanners, coopers, hatters, weavers or glass icons painters.
Galeş: one of the “most beautiful villages of Romania” with old shingle-covered houses, porches and massive wooden gates, narrow streets - a tranquil atmosphere, just perfect for a relaxing walk.
Rod: placed at 815 m of altitude, the village is a starting point for hikes to the surroundings. Regardless of the chosen route, your stroll will take you along meadows, huts, orchards and flocks of sheep scattered on the heights.
Tilişca: The Căţânaş Hill holds the ruins of a former Dacian citadel. In the village you may visit the ethnographic museum.
Poiana Sibiului: shepherds’ village with imposing houses, very atypical for Romanian mountain villages.
Jina: the highest village from Mărginimea Sibiului (900 m). Visit the ethnographic museum of the Morariu family - an ancient collection, a warm host, a story of pastoral civilization.
View Drumul branzei /Cheese route in a larger map
Did you know...?
As early as the 15th century, the size of their pastoral economy allowed the villagers from Mărginimea Sibiului to expand their grazing areas beyond the Transylvanian borders.
During the Peony Festival from Gura Râului you may taste specific shepherd dishes during the “shepherd style dinner”.
The shepherd’s basic meal is polenta with milk, cheese, jintiță (a type of sweet or sour yoghurt). Some holiday dishes are: balmoş (butter, cheese, corn flour and cream) and sloi de oaie (mutton, mutton fat, garlic, onion).