Overview

According to the legend, Dragoş Vodă – Prince of Moldova – was out hunting in these lands when he met Dorina, a shepherd’s daughter as beautiful as a fairy. He continued his hunting but he kept thinking about her. When a deer appeared in front of him, Dragoş Vodă took out his bow and fired an arrow. A cry was heard and the deer disappeared into the forest. Following its trail, Vodă discovered that instead of the deer, he had killed the beautiful Dorina. Full of remorse he buried her right there in the valley of the river, which he named after the beautiful girl. So the shepherd girl gave her name and soul to the whole area known today as Tara Dornelor – The Land of Dorna.

Ţara Dornelor, the land located in the valleys where the waters of the Bistrita and Dorna flow fast, is guarded by some of the most interesting peaks in the Carpathians: the massive peaks of the Suhard and Giumalău Mountains to the north, the crenellated ridge of the Bistriței Mountains to the west, while to the south rise the lofty peaks of the Calimani Mountains.

Carbonated mineral waters represent an important resource for Ţara Dornelor and one on the area brands. They are used for healing in the spa resorts of Vatra Dornei, and with economic purpose as well, through bottling in Poiana Negri, Dorna Candrenilor and Panaci.

The relief of the area, with altitudes ranging from 800-900 m (at the bottom of the depression) to 1800-2100 m, facilitates the development of mountain tourism , with trails leading to the most attractive places, situated mainly on the neighbouring mountain crests. The relatively gentle ridges covered with forests, meadows and grasslands, the agro pastoral landscape unfold with particular charm and harmony and represent the main source for the tourism development of the area.

The landscape is dominated by vegetal associations specific for the spruce forest, sub-alpine and alpine levels, including unique or rare species and ecosystems with particular landscape and scientific value. Specific for Depresiunea Dornelor area is the acid marshland in which floristic elements similar to tundra and characteristic for the interglacial periods are preserved.

Each of the mountain ranges that surround Țara Dornelor has its own specific charm, with particular sights and experiences, inviting to hiking or ski touring:

Human settlements

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Ţara Dornelor is an area with an interesting history. Along the centuries it was an independent area, part of Ocolul Câmpulungului county, then, for over 100 years, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (except for the communities in the southern part of the depression). The long history of the area, and particularly the period of Habsburg domination, brought about a large ethnical and cultural diversity which one can feel even today in the local traditions, customs, costumes, folklore and architecture.  This mix of cultural influences and elements specific for the area contribute to the natural beauty.

Through the way in which the local people lead their lives here, the Dornian village is an attraction in itself, distinguished by the simplicity of the traditional smallholdings, in which the rhythm of daily activities is in tune with the seasons. For example: grazing the pastures, milking the animals, making sour cream and cheese, mowing and drying the hay, painting eggs, etc.

In the communities of Ciocăneşti, Poiana Stampei, Dealu Florenilor, Neagra Şarului, can be found village museums or museum houses, where local people have gathered valuable objects, inherited from ancestors, whose stories they are proud to share with visitors.  Alongside these, the Ethnographic Museum in Vatra Dornei has a larger range of exhibits. Of particular beauty is the church in Panaci, also named the Cathedral of the Mountains.

Folk costumes (with ornaments that vary from one place to another) can still be admired at holidays and during the local festivals. Well preserved customs and traditions are part of the beauty of the place and have their importance for the development of tourism.