The largest complex of water mills in southern Europe – 22 watermills, two centuries old – stretches on three kilometers along the Rudăria river, at the foothills of Almăjului Mountains in Banat (western region of Romania including Timişoara). The famous water mills park attracts tourists from Romania and abroad, as the site is included in the UNESCO World Heritage and was recently revamped by the “Astra” Village Museum in Sibiu.
Although the use of these primary hydraulic systems was introduced in the area in the second and third centuries, the first 8 mills were officially registered in 1722. Just 50 years later, in 1874, 51 mills were functional. In the meantime, due to floods and other events, their number went down to 22. Locals still use them for grinding and as a meeting place. One mill grinds about 130 kilograms in one day and is managed by 15 to 25 families from the village. Visitors can understand better the milling system here in the museum at Rudaria, where a dismantled mill is exhibited.
Surrounded by mountains, the Efitime Murgu locality (in older times called Rudăria, after the river crossing it) in Caraş-Severin county has a picturesque landscape: Aninei and Semenicului in the north-west, Almăjului in south, Locvei mountains in south-west and Ţarcului and Cernei mountains in the background, towards east.
How to get there
By car, from Bucharest: take E81 road to Piteşti, then E574 to Craiova and E70 to Orşova. As you pass Orşova, continue on E70 until you reach road 57B. Turn left on 57B and continue until you reach a roadsign indicating the Eftimie Murgu locality. Turn left on that road (571F) and continue until you exit the village. After a few miles it reaches a forestry road and the entrance at the mill park.