The history of human presence in the territory of Salaj county goes
back to times immemorial. The existence of a rich
ethnographic and folk heritage, the variety of over 350 historical
monuments, compounds and sites stand proof to a troubled history.
Paintings dating back 12,000 years were discovered on the walls of
a cave in Cuciulat, a settlement on the banks of the river Somes.
They are the oldest paintings of the kind in this part of Europe.
The oldest solid gold treasury ever unearthed in Romania, weighing
780 gr. and belonging to the Neolithic, was found in Salaj at Moigrad.
Dacian vestiges are scattered throughout the county.
The settlement and complex of fortifications on the Magura Simleu
Silvaniei known as Dacidava, that at Moigrad (Porolissum) mentioned
by Ptolemy in his Geographia, the military compound at Porolissum,
capital of the Dacia Porolissenis province, upgraded to the status
of municipality around 200 AD, the Roman camps at Bucium, Romita,
Tihau, Sutoru and Romanasi, the mediaeval citadels at Almas, Moigrad,
Cheud, Cehu Silvaniei, Simleu Silvaniei and Valcau are telling proofs
of a history and civilisation mentioned in documents that date back
to immemorable times. The history of Salaj is also linked to the name
of the Wallachian prince Michael the Brave whose imposing memorial
at Guraslau, where battles were fought on August 3,1601, honours the
memory of the one who was the first to fulfill the Romanians’ dream
of union. From the point of view of territorial-administrative
organisation Salaj county comprises the former Salaj county, set up
in 1876, and of the former counties of Solnocul de Mijloc, with the
seat at Zalau and then at Simleu Silvaniei. Salaj had outstanding
representatives in the fight for national independence and unity the
Romanians waged in modern times, among whom standing out are Simion
Barnutiu, Alexandru Papiu Ilarian, Iuliu Coroianu, George Pop de Basesti,
Iuliu Maniu and others.
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Lying in the north-western part of Romania, at the crossing between
the Western and Eastern Carpathians, Salaj county has been known since
ancient times as Tara Silvaniei, that is the Land of the Forests.
It has an area of 3,850 sq.km and borders on Satu Mare and Maramures
counties to the North, Bihor county to the West and South-West and
Cluj county to the South-West. The municipality of Zalau, which lies
in the centre of the county on the river with the same name, is the
seat of the county. It is one of the first settlements in Transylvania
ever mentioned in documents. Zalau was known as a market town as early
as the 14th century and mentioned in a document as a town in 1473.
Today it is an important industrial centre of the county, a modern
town with an intense cultural and spiritual life. The other towns
of the county are Simleu Silvaniei, Jibou and Cehu Silvaniei. There
also are 55 communes and 281villages in the county. On July 1, 1995,
the county had a population of 262,873 inhabitants of which 70,932
in Zalau. The towns of Simleu Silvaniei, Jibou and Cehu Silvaniei
have less than 20,000 inhabitants each.From a geographical point of
view Salaj county is a zone of hills and depressions along the rivers
Almaj, Agrij, Somes, Salaj, Crasna and Barcau. The mountains are represented
in the south-west by two northern ramifications of the Apuseni Mountains:
the Meses and Plopis peaks. Depressions cover an important part of
the county’s territory and are important agricultural zones with numerous
human settlements. As for climate, Salaj county is under the influence
of masses of air coming from the east having a moderate continental
climate. The average annual temperature varies between 6°C and 9°C,
depending on the zone while the highest temperature, in July, varies
between 15°C and 20°C. Rainfalls quantitatively decrease towards the
west where 700-800 ml/sq.m were recorded.
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history of this county situated in the North-Western part of
Romania, with a surface of 3, 850 sq.km. and a population of
267,000 inhabitants, started in the late Paleolithic as the
vestiges from Buciumi, Perii Vadului, and especially the cave
paintings from Cuciulat (near by Jibou) colored in red and unique
in whole South-Eastern Europe show. The numberless settlements
situated in the Silvania depression show that the Dacians lived
here. Till now the ruins of the most important military-strategically,
economic and cultural center situated in the North-Western part
of Roman Dacia, the municipality of Porolissum can be seen.
It is a prove of the Dacian Roman continuity on Romania's land
which is preserved partly and put into the tourist routes. The
spiritual life of the Romanians who lived here developed concordance
with the essential features of Transylvania in the Middle Age.
The main establishment was the church with its three parts:
religious, cultural, and national binder. The 77 wooden churches
(the XVI-XIXth century) place this county among the first ones,
with the Maramures county, as a such valuable historic and folk
architectural monuments. The municipality of Zalau, the capital
city with a population of about 51,000 inhabitants, situated
in the Northern part of the Meses Mountains, mentioned as Ziloc,
by Anonymous' Chronicle, is the oldest certified localities
in Transylvania. Now it is the industrial town of this county
with an intense cultural and spiritual life. Here there is the
History and Art Museum with its over 90,000 exhibits as: currency
hoard, Dacian-Roman statues and monuments, documents from the
Middle Age, modern and contemporary epochs, pieces of Salaj
folk art Romanian contemporary paintings and sculptures. Other
towns are: Simleu Silvaniei, situated on the Crasna Valley,
30 km far from Zalau, Cehu Silvaniei situated on the Salaj Valley,
and Jibou. In the locality of Guraslau, there is the monument
dedicated to Mihai Viteazu's victory which is an important page
of Romanian peoples fight for independence. For rest and cure,
in the Salaj county, there are two spas: Baile Boghis, situated
on the Barcau Valley and appreciated for the therapeutically
effects of its thermal, sulphurous, sodium waters good to cure
locomotory diseases, diseases of the peripheral nervous system,
vertebral lumbar sciatics, arthrosis, polyarthrosis, arthritis,
chronic polyarthritis, ginaecological diseases, as well as Baile
Bizusa, with its mineral waters good to cure lumbar sciatics,
ginaecological diseases, chronic cholecystis, colitis, biliary
and renal lithiasis.
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