The Dragon Garden

Original version
The natural reservation area of ‘The garden of the dragons’ is a geological structure of rocks formed through the natural breaking off of huge blocks of sandstone. The reservation covers an area of about three hectares, is unique in the world and impresses with its appearance and complexity of the cliffs. Almaş, the reservation is a vast phenomenon of destructive destruction and erosion, developed in the so-called Sânmihaiu tiles. This is a relatively weak cement, with gravel and conglomerate intercalations. The formations here arose by the separation of blocks or compartments of sandstone from the massif that constitutes the hill Vchieturi (376 m) and their sliding on the base clays. On the whole, stony formations form a strange chaotic puddle, but the more beautiful and interesting, which extends to about five hectares. The area was named, in a period, the Cheturi, perhaps a reference to the hill from which they were separated. Each rock has a name and carries a legend. The rocks are called: Cătanii Girl, The dragon, The dragon’s wife, The old man, The Monks, The Captain, The Soldiers, Eva, Dorobant, Little finger, Sphinx, with bizarre shapes (towers, mushrooms, pins, rocky abrupts), formed by the action of air , wind, temperature), water (washing, drainage) and gravitational processes (crashes, drops).
Alternative versions
Legend1: One of the Legends of the Dragon Garden tells of a girl in love with a soldier. The girl's stepmother disagreed with their love and cursed the girl, who thus turned into a stone stand. The rock formation that inspired this legend no longer exists, being destroyed by the floods of 1973. Legend2: One such legend mentions that this mystical place was inhabited by a few dragons which would raid the local area taking everything they wanted, including young maidens from their homes. One such dragon, proud and certain that it is entitled to everything, ventured to steal the sun from the sky, spreading darkness all around the area. This created great fury amongst the locals and a local young lad came to confront the dragon for his deed and bring back the sun.They fought and young lad won. After he defeated him, he found the sun and cast him up in the sky. The other dragons came to help their mate, but they were blinded by the unexpected brightness of the Sun in the sky. At the same time, one of the liberated girls cast a spell on them, and the dragons remained there, turning into stone stalls.
Main characters
Dragons Girl in love Young lad/ Strong Man
Connected artistic / architectonic / historical heritage
The Dragon Garden location: GradinaZmeilor GâlgăuAlmașului 457029 47.198767, 23.305476 Geographical heritage: One of the most beautiful and interesting natural reservation in Transylvania is the Dragon Garden, near the village of Gălgău Almaşului, in Salaj County. The rocks sculpted by the action of wind, rain and snow have become fantastic characters in the legends of the locals. The reservation, located about 10 kilometers from the city of Jibou, has an area of three hectares. It is represented by the sandstone from the hill Vichieturi, with a maximum height of 376 meters. The gray or yellow rocks are represented by the so-called Sânmihaiu sandstones. Since 2000, the reservation has the status of a protected area. The Dragon Garden as geomorphosite - a strategy for protection, geoconservation and sustainable development of the regional natural heritage. Literature heritage: Contemporary literature for children, Mircea Cărtărescu's Encyclopedia of Dragons (Enciclopedia zmeilor).
Local traditions or historical connections
Traditions: The Dragon Garden is for the locals a clear evidence that good overcomes evil, the eternal battle between good and evil being a source of inspiration for many legends. Models of geoconservation strategic: Raising awareness of site values starts from the designation of an area as a reservation and the local awareness of its importance and status is the first step towards involving the local community in its protection, mediatization and / or administration. "Designation increases awareness at all levels (…). The most important is local awareness (…). World Heritage Site status is a form of recognition that the public and the media respond to much more actively and positively than most national designations. In the wake of WH listing for this site there was a large and positive response from national press and other media. This in part helped to create widespread enthusiasm and pride in the local communities, which in turn brought together other sectors in support of the site”. Cultural value: The cultural aspect associated with our geomophosite is considered more "heterogeneous" (Reynard et al., 2007, p. 150), being built on four other subcriptions: the religious / mystical importance, the historical, the artistic / literary and the geo-historical. Historical heritage: There is also the story of Pintea the Brave, the famous outlaw in the Land of Lapus, who, escaping from enemies, jumped with his horse from the forest Dumbrăvii to Var, or just to Baia Mare. The stone, which is said to have leaped, has horseshoe-like traces and is north of the Dragons’ Garden, at approx. 30 minutes of walking. The wider artistic activities of the Zmeilor Garden, have yearly and promotes the image of Bălan commune, on the occasion of the Days of Bălan commune.
Didactical Relevance
One of the most beautiful and interesting natural reservation in Transylvania is the Dragon Garden, near the village of Gălgău Almaşului, in Salaj County. The rocks sculpted by the action of wind, rain and snow have become fantastic characters in the legends of the locals. The reservation, located about 10 kilometers from the city of Jibou, has an area of three hectares. It is represented by the sandstone from the hill Vichieturi, with a maximum height of 376 meters. The gray or yellow rocks are represented by the so-called Sânmihaiu sandstones. Since 2000, the reservation has the status of a protected area. National parks are areas of particular geographical interest or outstanding natural beauty. They preserve nature and protect many rare species of animals and plants. In addition to this, they play a significant role in preserving traditional crafts, local customs and historical settlements. Activities you can enjoy: climbing strange rock formations studying endangered flora, birdwatching wandering in the countryside, trying your hand at traditional crafts how can you, as a student, contribute to preserving nature?
Didactical Activity
Legend1: Photograph/drawing: students are asked to write a story based on the pictures accompanying the story. Find a title Students read/listen to the story and find a title to the given story. Reconstruct the story being given the main ideas. Students are given the main ideas and asked to work on the story and develop it. Another ending Students are asked to give another ending to the story. Balloon debate: Ask students to imagine all the characters of the story in a balloon with a hole in it. One of the characters should be ejected to keep the balloon aloft. Students should choose and explain their choice. Legend2: Start writing a story with the following beginning: Students are given the beginning of the story and asked to continue the story. When they have finished writing it they have to compare it with the original. Another perspective Students are asked to tell the story from the dragons’ point of view. Comments: Get studenst into four groups (parents, students, teachers and writers) and ask them to comment the story from the points of view of the characters they stand for. Ask them to share their ideas and have a group discussion on their comments. Press conference with dragons Set students into two groups: dragons and people from the community. People from the community interview dragons about their intentions to attack them. ‘Dragons’ are invited to justify their aggressive plans and representatives of the community have to prepare their counter arguments to convincedragons that they are wrong. (A debate can be organised depending on the students’ age). A story map Find the place on the map! Do some research on the internet to find out other details about this place and share your findings with your colleagues. Make a tourist leaflet about the place to promote it (include photos, location, things to see, things to do, when to visit it etc). What other legends do you know about the place? Are you familiar with other legends about the places where you live or have visited?

Video

Gradina Zmeilor | The Dragons Garden – Romania
The Dragon Garden|| Incredible Romania [4K]

Images

The Dragon Garden
blocks of sandstone
The Dragon Garden
cliffs
The Dragon Garden
geological structure of rocks formed through the natural breaking off of huge blocks of sandstone

External Sources

Welcome to Romania - Dragons garden
Presentation and illustration of the Gâlgău Almașului, Dragons garden.

PDF version of the legend in national language

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