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The Motilor Land
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The Motilor Land

Arieseni, Tara Motilor (copyright: creative commons)

The Motilor Land or ‘the Land of Stone’ is an ethno geographical region located in the western part of Romania, in the Apuseni Mountains, and traversed by the Aries and Crisul Alb rivers. It comprises parts of the counties of Hunedoara, Cluj, Alba, Arad, and Bihor.



Bistra is considered to be the first settlement in Motilor Land, situated nearby Campeni (the unofficial capital of the Motilor Land).
Great historic events, such as the Revolt of Horea, Closca, and Crisan (1784-1785) and the Transylvanian Revolution of 1848, have their roots in this region.

The inhabitants of Motilor Land are called ‘moti’, the alternative for the German ‘motzen’ and Hungarian ‘mocok’.
The origin of the ‘moti’  seem to be a mystery to linguists and historians, who argue that the moti are descendants of the Dacians, Celts, Slavs, Alans, or Gepids.


Must see

Cetatile Ponorului – located in the Apuseni Mountains, the Padis area, Cetatile Ponorului is the most impressive karst complex in Romania, featuring a 2 km long gallery, many valleys and caves;  the enthralling landscapes were shaped by the largest subterranean river in Romania, which creates waterfalls and whirlpools along its course.

The Bears’ Cave – discovered in 1975, the Bears’ Cave is located near Chiscau Village, in Bihor County. Inside the cave, there are three galleries, the Bones’ Gallery, the Emil Racovita Gallery, and the Candles’ Gallery,  where tourists can see the fossils of cavern bears that disappeared some 15.000 years ago, as well as impressive stalagmites and stalactites.

For explorers

The Apuseni Nature Park – within the park limits, there are numerous tourist attractions, such as the Focul Viu Ice Cave, the Iceberg from Vartop, the Galbena Gorges and the Bohodei Waterfall; nature lovers can take a day trip on one of the trails to visit the gorgeous world of Apuseni.

The Vladeasa Mountain – besides the fact that this massif reveals to tourists some of the largest and most beautiful caves in Romania, these mountains are preferred by climbers and hikers thanks to the numerous trails and hiking routes.

For families

The Snails’ Hill – located in Vidra, is a nature reserve where visitors can admire fossils of gastropods that lived 65-70 millions years ago.

In the area

The city of Cluj Napoca – Klausenburg as the Saxons used to call it, the settlement has a rich heritage of Saxon and Hungarian buildings and monuments, which, along with the neo-gothic, baroque, empire style and classical buildings attract tourists looking to discover their history. The history museum and the ethnographical museum await you to tour their treasure laden galleries.


Practical info

How to get there The nearest international airport is located just outside Cluj Napoca, and from there you can take the train or bus to get into one of the villages and towns situated within Tara Motilor. You can always rent a car and make your own road trip.