the Road to the Clouds

The Transfăgărășan (trans + Făgăraș) or DN7C is a paved mountain road crossing the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. It has national-road ranking and is the second-highest paved road in the country after the Transalpina. It starts near the village of Bascov, near Pitești, and stretches 90 kilometres (56 mi) to the crossroad between the DN1 and Sibiu, between the highest peaks in the country, Moldoveanu and Negoiu. The road, built in the early 1970s as a strategic military route, connects the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia.

The Transfăgărășan was constructed between 1970 and 1974 during the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu as a response to the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union.[1] Ceaușescu wanted to ensure quick military access across the mountains in case of a Soviet invasion. At the time, Romania already had several strategic mountain passes through the Southern Carpathians, whether inherited from the pre-communist era (the DN1 and the high-pass DN67C) or built during the initial years of the Communist regime (the DN66). These passes, however, were mainly through river valleys, and would be easy for the Soviets to block and attack. Ceaușescu therefore ordered the construction of a road across the Făgăraș Mountains, which divide northwestern and southern Romania.[2][1]

 Lower section of the road

Built mainly by military forces, the road had a high financial and human cost. Work was carried out in an alpine climate, at an elevation of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), using roughly six million kilograms (5,900 long tons; 6,600 short tons) of dynamite, and employing junior military personnel who were untrained in blasting techniques. Many workers died; official records state that only 40 soldiers lost their lives, but unofficial estimates by workers put the number in the hundreds.[1]

The road was officially opened on 20 September 1974, although work, particularly paving of the roadbed, continued until 1980.[2]

^ a b c Stancu, Cristina (19 February 2015). "Cum s-a construit Transfăgărășanul, cel mai frumos drum din lume și moftul anti-URSS al lui Ceaușescu" [How the Transfăgărășan, the most beautiful road in the world and a caprice of anti-Soviet Ceaușescu, was built]. Adevărul (in Romanian). Bucharest. Retrieved 19 February 2015. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference adevarul-voinea was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
Photographies by:
Horia Varlan from Bucharest, Romania - CC BY 2.0
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