Sites and monuments from the Roman period

Aquae Roman baths – Călan

Aquae Roman baths are located on the left bank of the Strei river, some 2 km North of the town of Călan, on DN 66 (respectively E 79). The baths were used by the Romans, their existence being attested by the inscription “GENIO PAGI AQUAENSIS”, to be found on a stone from the altar of the church of Streisîngiorgiu. Other inscriptions that were discovered were addressed by ill people to the healing gods Hercules, Aesculapius, Nymph, Mithras. The thermal springs of Aquae were also mentioned on the map Tabula Peutingeriana through a special drawing indicating important thermal baths. Today, one can still see the Roman pool, dug in rock, with a perimeter of about 94 m, 14.2 m long, 7.5 m wide and 4 m deep. It was fed by three springs on the bottom of the pool. The water was drained through a trough dug into stone. At present, the seven thermo-mineral springs have been captured and an aqua park with several swimming pools has been built in the area.

Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa

The Colony Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica Sarmizegetusa was the capital of Roman Dacia, located 40 km from Sarmizegetusa Regia, Dacia’s capital. The ruins of the antique city make today the object of an archeological complex in the village of Sarmizegetusa. If the old capital of pre-Roman Dacia was located in the Orăștiei Mountains, at an altitude of 1.200 m, Roman Sarmizegetusa was located on an almost flat area, in the Hațeg depression, at an elevation of 531 m. The city was about 8 km from the passage between Banat and Transilvania which, in antique times, was called Tapae, today “Porțile de Fier ale Transilvaniei” [Transilvania’s Iron Gates]. The choice of the location to build the city on was based on the strategic and economic advantages, the Retezat Mountains to the South and the Poiana Rusca Mountains to the North making natural barriers, hard to pass for the potential attackers. The territory of the metropolis could develop peacefully, being defended by the military camps of Tibiscum, Voislova, Micia and Bumbești. The imperial road coming from the Danube and connecting it to the extreme North of the province at Porolissum (Moigrad) was passing through Ulpia Traiana.

The Roman military castrum of Cigmău

Germisara, also known as the Roman castrum of Cigmău, was an auxiliary troop camp located on the right bank of the Mureș river, south of the village of Cigmău, not far from the town of Geoagiu. It is also called Cetatea Uriașului [The Fortress of the Giant]. The camp was the base of the military unit Numerus Singulariorum Britannicianorum, as well as of subunits belonging the 13th Legion Gemina. The camp was discovered in September 2007 and it is considered by experts to be very important as it was defending the old imperial road connecting Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, to Micia (Vețel) and Apulum (Alba Iulia), but also to the gold exploitations from the Apuseni Mountains (Zlatna and Roșia Montană). Being built on a mountain ridge, the camp of Cigmău follows the irregular shape of the terrain, being thereby different from most Roman camps that were rectangular. The castrum was connected to the civil settlement, to the thermae of Geoagiu Băi and to the andesite quarry by a main road. Considering the coins that were discovered, it is believed that the camp functioned uninterruptedly between years 100-250 A.D.

Germisara – Geoagiu-Băi

The thermal Roman baths are located in the town of Geogiu Băi, on a circular promontory rising 350 m high and known as „Dâmbul Romanilor” [The Romans’ Hillock]. The healing properties of the thermal waters from Geoagiu-Băi have been known since antiquity. During the Roman period, the compound functioned in two ways: an exclusively surface one and a subterranean and surface one. In the center of the hillock there is a natural cavity, resulting from the subterranean activity of the waters and which, in the antique times, was filled with thermal water. The Romans built a network of canals, directing the water from the source to the pools at the base of the hillock or nearby, canals that were dug into the ground and walled with wood planks. From this moment on, the „lake” became a cult place. The intense use during the Roman epoch is proven by the discovery in 1935 of statues representing Asclepius and Hygeia, as well as the temple dedicated to the Nymphs, some altars, statues, coins and golden votive plates dedicated to the healing gods and to those protecting thermal waters. Also at Geoagiu Băi is preserved part of a Roman road, paved with stone slates, which was meant to connect it to the military camp of Cigmău. At present there is only a 165 m portion left. The spring water is rich in calcium and iron, and its temperature is 33°C, belonging to the mezzo-thermal, oligometallic waters. Geoagiu Băi spa and resort was awarded in 2010, at Brussels, the title of „Romania’s Excellence Tourist Destination”.