The 10,440 ha Retezat Wilderness is embedded in the Retezat National Park, the oldest national park in Romania. The park is located in the south-western part of the Carpathian Mountains. It contains more than 15 peaks over 2,300 metres and over 100 lakes. The park was created in 1935, when the Romanian government set aside an area that was part of the Retezat Mountains and created the country’s first National Park. The Retezat Wilderness protects one of the last remaining pristine part of Carpathian Mountains and is also an important model to protect Wilderness all over the Carpathians. The Gemenele (“The Twins” in Romanian) is a scientific reserve containing the strictly protected Retezat Wilderness already for several decades. This Retezat Wilderness is protecting an intact primeval forest and landscape modelling by glaciers in the past.
European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System
The 10,440 ha Retezat Wilderness was audited in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. The park was scrutinized to several complaints of legal and illegal logging activities. Their certification and membership of the European Wilderness Network was reviewed in 2017. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2020.
- Protected area: Retezat National Park
- Wilderness: Retezat Wilderness
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
- Country: Romania
- Size of the protected area: 38,138 ha
- Size of the Wilderness: 10,440 ha
- European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2010
- Wilderness Uniqueness: Old growth conifer forest, steep granite and limestone mountains, wild mountain creeks, glacial lakes, favourable habitat for rare species such as bear, wolf, and eagles
- Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 55,000
- Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 25,000
Retezat Wilderness is a well preserved protected area that represents the natural values of the Southern Carpathian region. It has high quality environment values, like rich endemism, large size, well preserved forests, high number of endangered species and species that gives the area a very important role for biodiversity conservation and the development of natural ecological processes.
The flora of Retezat Wilderness consists of approximately 1,190 plant species, of which 130 have the “endangered” or “vulnerable” status. In Retezat Wilderness, you’ll find one of the last remaining pristine forests in Europe, homeland for all Carpathian wilderness iconic species. More precisely, 55 species of mammals can be found in Retezat, accounting for 23% of all European terrestrial mammals.
Wolves, brown bear, wild boar, Eurasian lynx, wildcat, chamois, marmot, roe deer and red deer, as well as small carnivore species such as badger and otter found suitable habitats in the park. Soaring through the sky, you will find different species of eagles on the hunt for a meal.
Wilderness Tourism Experience
Retezat National Parks and particularly Retezat Wilderness are offering unique experiences in unspoiled Carpathian Wilderness. In the last years, several new tourism businesses developed around the park and several of them focus on providing experiences in the Retezat Wilderness. Hikers will find that they share trails with many of the big animals, including chamois, red and roe deer, wild boars, bear, wolves, and foxes, and may come across lynx tracks. Bird watchers will be treated with over 120 species of nesting birds in Retezat Wilderness.