500BC-400AD-Ancient times Europe Romania Archaeological sites, ancient temples UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Sarmizegetusa Regia: The sacred capital of the Dacians

Sarmizegetusa Regia Dacians' capital, Romani
In the middle of a sacred mountain, deep in the forest, 2000 years ago, the Dacians founded their capital, Sarmizegetusa, which was the center of a strong system of fortifications. It is said that at Sarmizegetusa Regia flows a magical spring that has healing properties.

Travel and Tourism Information

TypeThe ancient capital of Dacians, UNESCO Site, Archaeological Site, Ancient temple
Construction Period1st century BC
Other NamesDacian capital, The Holy Mountain of the Dacians,
Sarmisegetusa, Sarmizegethusa, Sarmisegethusa,
Sarmisegethuza, Sarmageze, Sarmategte, Sermizegetusa,
Zarmizegethusa, Zarmizegethousa, Zarmizegetusa, Zermizegethouse
ConditionPartially reconstructed
Visiting HoursMay 1 – September 30, Daily 09.00 – 20.00;
March 1 – April 30, October 1 – November 30, Daily 09.00 – 18.00;
December 1 – February 28/29 – Closed
Ticket priceFull price 15 RON (3 Euro)
Official Websitehttps://cetateasarmizegetusa.ro/
Always check the official website before scheduling the trip.
The visiting hours, tickets price, or other important information may be modified by the administrators.
Getting thereBy CAR
Orastie – Beriu – Orastioara de Sus – Costesti – Gradistea de Munte.
Buy water and food from Costesti and use the toilet.
The next 19 km are almost isolated.
The road is good.
Print the map before leaving home because in some areas there is no phone signal.
The last 2 km (10-15 minutes) can only be traveled on foot.
At the base of this road, there is a parking lot (free).
The ticket point is at the fortress entry.
Always check the official website before scheduling the trip.
The visiting hours, ticket prices, or other important information may be modified by the administrators.
LocationDJ705A 66a, Costesti 337327, Hunedoara County, Romania, Europe


How you can reach Sarmizegetusa Regia in Romania?

Sarmizegetusa Regia is an ancient Dacian fortress located in the Orăștie Mountains in Romania. The road to Sarmizegetusa Regia can vary depending on your starting point, but generally, it involves driving through rural areas and smaller roads once you get closer to the site.

Sarmizegetusa Regia Dacians' capital, Romani
The road to Sarmizegetusa

The last 2 km (10-15 minutes) can only be traveled on foot.

Sarmizegetusa Regia Dacians' capital, Romani
Pedestrian area (2 km)

After this 2 km, you will reach the ticket and souvenir shop.

Sarmizegetusa Regia Dacians' capital, Romani
The ticket and souvenirs shop

Why is Sarmizegetusa Regia important?

Sarmizegetusa Regia served as the Dacian state’s capital and most important military and religious center before the Roman Empire wars.

The fortress was built using massive stone blocks in a quadrilateral shape on five terraces, covering almost 30,000 m².

It is part of the complex of the six Dacian fortifications: Sarmizegetusa Regia, Costesti-Cetatuie, Costesti-Blidaru, Luncani-Piatra Rosie, Banita, and Capalna.

But these fortresses are only those discovered, those in which archaeological research has been done. There seem to be many more in the area, some discovered but little or not at all archeologically researched like Varful lui Hulpe and Cugir.

Historical theories and archeological conclusions say that Sarmisegetuza Regia was built in two stages, the lower part during Burebista and the upper part during Decebalus.

Burebista (c. 82 – 44 BC) transformed the old system of tribal organizations into a system with central power.

Sarmizegetusa Regia reached its maximum development under the rule of the mythical King Decebalus (Decebal). Decebalus was the last king of the Dacians before their conquest by the Romans.

All 6 fortresses that formed Decebal’s defensive system, are now part of the UNESCO world cultural heritage.

The temples were built of andesite stone and wood.

What will you see inside Sarmizegetusa Regia?


  • The civilian settlement, situated on the hill slopes
  • Fortress, located in the highest zone (1000 m)
  • Sacred area

Tourist spots

Paved road (via sacra)

Sarmizegetusa Regia Dacians' capital, Romani
Paved road (via sacra) Sarmizegetusa Regia

The walls of the fortresses

  • Murus Dacicus was the construction method used for the walls of fortifications in Dacia.

The great temple of Andesite

The large circular temple

The perimeter of the large circular temple was delimited by a double andesite belt, the first consisting of massive blocks, the second of groups of pilasters. Inside, the presence of clay-clad wooden pillars was documented archaeologically, supporting a wall interrupted by four symmetrically arranged entrances. The roof had a conical shape, and the room was probably dedicated to the most important god of the Dacian pantheon.

Sarmizegetusa Regia Dacians' capital, Romani
The large circular temple

Small quadrilateral temples

The Andesite Altar

One of the most notable architectural features is the sun sanctuary, a stone circle raised on a platform, which may have been used for rites and ceremonies related to the Sun.

Sarmizegetusa Regia Dacians' capital, Romani
The Andesite Altar

The Great Limestone Sanctuary

The Great Limestone Sanctuary Sarmizegetusa Regia
The Great Limestone Sanctuary

The Sacred Spring

The legend has it that the spring has healing properties.

Sarmizegetusa Regia The Spring

Zamolxe was a god or man?

Zalmoxis (Salmoxis, Zamolxis, Zamolxe, Samolxis) was a divinity of the Getae and Dacians, mentioned by Herodotus in his Histories Book IV, 93–96, written before 425 BC.


Some historians claim that he brought among the Geto-Dacian tribes the belief in the immortality of the soul and through this faith Burebista and the priest Deceneu managed to unite these tribes. Zamolxis also promoted mercy and meekness and slavery was forbidden.

It is said that Zamolxis stayed for 3 years in a cave on a mountain. The Dacians called that mountain Kogaionon. Historians and ordinary people still try to identify this mountain. Legends say that this mountain is the one where Sarmisegetuza Regia is today. Proponents of this theory argue that this is the mountain because here are the sanctuaries built by the Dacians. Another theory says that the mountain is Godeanu because it is the only mountain that is visible from all 6 Dacian fortresses. Other theories say that this mountain is in Bucegi or Ceahlau.

Herodotus, an ancient historian, provided extensive information about Zamolxis. However, he was not entirely convinced if he was a god or simply a mortal. Herodotus neither doubted nor fully believed the stories about Zamolxis and his subterranean dwelling. He believed that Zamolxis existed long before Pythagoras, and whether he was a god or a man from the lands of Getia, Herodotus left it at that. This account was recounted by historian Ioan Marius Grec.

Is Sarmizegetusa Regia an energy center?

A theory says that the sacred area of Sarmisegetuza is an important energy point. The andesite disk or sun is the place of divine energies, say yogic followers. The former Dacian capital was often visited by practitioners of meditation or esotericism. Some historians claim that the initiation rituals of the Dacian warriors took place here.

Sarmizegetusa Regia is a spiritual place that is said to be where two highways of energy meet.

The enchanted gold treasures of the Dacians

It is said that Dacian gold is buried in this area. Dacian gold is a special one, found only on the Romanian territory, at Roșia Montană. Legends say that above the places where the Dacian gold is buried, the Blue Living Fire or the Blue Living Flames burn. These flames can be seen only at night and only by the chosen ones because the Dacian gold is bound by curses.

blue flames

Archaeological Discoveries at Sarmizegetusa Regia

Archaeological discoveries indicate the existence of a prosperous population: monetary treasures, bronze or glass vessels, and luxury ceramic vessels are accumulated either by trade or by warrior expeditions. Silver ornaments (brooches, necklaces, bells, ceremonial vessels), date from the last part of the 2nd century BC.

An ancient medical kit was discovered, in a brassbound wooden box with an iron handle, containing a scalpel, tweezers, powdered pumice, and miniature pots for pharmaceuticals.

Another important discovery was a huge vase, 0.6 m high and 1.04 m across bearing an inscription in the Roman alphabet: DECEBAL PER SCORILO (the most likely translation: Decebalus, son of Scorilus’).

Several jewelry treasures and ancient gold and silver coins have been discovered here in recent years, many of the objects being considered unique.

Heart of the Dacian Gold Exhibition

On the way to the capital of the Dacian Kingdom, at Grădiştea de Munte, you can see copies of the most essential discoveries from Sarmizegetusa by visiting the Heart of Dacian Gold exhibition.

What can you see in the Dacian Gold exhibition?

Replicas of the Gold Bracelets

The Dacian gold bracelets were found near Sarmisegetuza Regia, the last capital of the Dacian Kingdom.

Stolen by treasure hunters, sold on the black market to various collectors, and finally found by the Romanian authorities and brought back to the country. It is assumed that there were 24 Dacian bracelets, of which only 13 were found.

If you want to see the real gold spiral bracelets you need to go to the National Museum of History of Romania in Bucharest.

Dacian gold bracelets

Golden Wool

The process of collecting alluvial gold with the help of wool was widespread in the prehistory and history of Europe. Most probably the sheep’s fur was spread on a wooden frame and then placed in the river. The gold grains were deposited on it, left to drain and dry, and later the gold was carefully picked.

Photo by Ross Sokolovski on Unsplash
Photo by Ross Sokolovski on Unsplash

Bronze mold

In 2013, a strong storm dislocated several old beeches, and under the root of a trunk, a group of visitors found the next day a unique artifact in the world: an ancient mold, adorned with representations of real or mythical animals. The hexagonal object has an unknown origin and it is unknown how it reached Sarmizegetusa. The mold weighs 8 kg and is made of bronze. On it are inlaid battle scenes between animals, real and fabulous, among the latter being the griffins.

bronze mold


Unique coins that were discovered only on the territory of Dacia, concentrated in the area of the Orăştiei Mountains, and were dated in the second half of the 1st century BC.


About the author


I am Catalina, and my passion for travel, mysteries, legends and archaeology drives me to explore the world and uncover its hidden wonders.