Zmeilor/Dragons’ Garden – Fairytale Place

© - Zmeilor Garden, Salaj county

Near Gâlgău Almașului village (part of Gâlgău, Sălaj county), there is a natural reservation spread over an area of 5ha, called Zmeilor/Dragons’ Garden (in Romanian fairytales, zmeii/the dragons are mythological creatures that live in fairy places with splendid gardens and imposing palaces, founded on the mountains, in heaven or deserted areas). The stone blocks (more specific, layers of conglomerates and sandstone) are continuously changed by the effects of weather conditions.

Situated on Meseș Mountain, the geological reservation consists of huge stone blocks that have strange forms: towers, poles, mushrooms, animals. Some of them have their own names: “Zmeul” (the Dragon), “Zmeoaica” (Dragon’s wife), “Moșul” (the Old Man), “Eva” (Eve), “Acul Cleopatrei” (Cleopatra’s Needle) etc. With a major impact, wind and rain have left here bizarre columns with heights over 10m, “lost” in a fantastic common oak forest.

Zmeilor Garden is also called “Fata Cătănii” (Soldier’s Sweetheart) due to a legend that says there was a girl who fell in love with a soldier, but her stepmother forbade this lovestory to continue. As a result of her disobedience, the girl was cursed by her stepmother to turn into a stone rock.

This area offers a breathtaking view, with strange conglomerates and sandstone rocks, common oak forest, rustling ferns, thorny blackberry bushes, clay soil, several types of mushrooms, a coal mine and temporary swamps, waterfall or icicles, depending on the four seasons. For visiting this fairytale place, you have to reach Gâlgău Almașului village, Sălaj county, Meseș Mountain (important part of the Western Carpathians), on E58 road.

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