The original Wild Carpathia gives you a unique insight into the beauty and rich culture of Romania exploring its chequered history from the mystical ruins of the Dacians to its medieval communities, many of which survive intact to this day. Presenter Charlie Ottley goes in search of ancient villages, crossing mountains, forests and alpine meadows in his quest to understand this vital region. Along the way he encounters counts, wild bears, shepherds, artists, environmentalists, craftsmen and even a Prince.
Wild Carpathia captures the fragile glory of Europeís last surviving wilderness and shows why it needs to be preserved for the benefit of future generations and the survival of our most endangered carnivores.
Join us for a cultural odyssey through little known parts of the southern Carpathians starting at the majestic Iron Gates and the ancient Roman Spa town of Baile Herculane. Writer and presenter Charlie Ottley explores the remote Cerna Mountains finding historic working mills, and legendary rock formations.
On our journey east we stop at a boutique winery and the stunning Cosia National Park with its grottos and picturesque monasteries. Crossing Saxon Transylvania Charlie visits the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler and meets a Romanian Princess at her ancestral home, majestic Peles Castle.
In the second part we leave the mountains behind and meander down to the Danube where it branches to form the largest wetland in Europe. Here Charlie explores tiny fishing communities, fragile forests and labyrinthine waterways teeming with rare birdlife. We also see why this vital ecosystem is under threat and look at what is being done to preserve it.
Episode 3 takes us to Northern Romania and the Maramures - one of the most picturesque regions in Romania. Here we experience festivals and weddings and learn about the evolution of traditional folk music with renowned singer Grigore Lese and pop idol Loredana Groza. We visit historic wooden churches and villages, which have been preserved, despite the march to modernise.
Presenter Charlie Ottley explores the wilderness by steam train and on foot through Caliman National Park and the mysterious Twelve Apostles. Further east we drop in on a scheme to rewild Buffalo and visit the incredible painted monasteries of Bucovina before heading south to see whatís being done to protect the ancient forests of Transylvania.
En route Charlie meets a number of local and internationally acclaimed characters and looks at ways tourism is helping to preserve natural habitats. Wild Carpathia 3 finishes with some enlightened words from HRH The Prince of Wales who once again describes his passion for Romania and the urgent need to protect its rural heritage.
The final episode of Wild Carpathia follows the changing seasons from the ripe glory of autumn through the depths of winter to the first flush of spring and witnesses a landscape of unparalleled beauty, a world of vivid colours and timeless tradition. From villages and communities prospering thanks to conservation and eco-tourism to ancient neolithic cave houses, from remote snow-clad mountain peaks to churches of ice the show will present a side of of Romania never seen before. Featuring stunning wildlife footage and moving interviews with a firmament of experts, his stunning 55 minute film will once again reveal the devastation caused by illegal logging. Wild Carpathia Seasons of Change will also examine how and why this needs to be stopped to avoid the wholesale destruction of Europe’s last great wilderness and its most priceless treasures.
See how the prosperity of rural areas depends on a symbiosis between man and nature and how conservation and protection of natural and cultural resources can provide a sustainable future for all. Wild Carpathia – Seasons of Change is not just about the beauty of Romania through the changing seasons but also argues that this is the time for change on a much wider level.
Carpathia’s historic villages can only retain their growing national and international appeal so as long they are not eclipsed by the high rise of concrete and cement culture or dwarfed by insensitive modern development. Wild Carpathia Seasons of Change demonstrates how protecting this cultural wealth actually safeguards the future for people living in these communities. And crucially – by creating prosperity through edo-tourism, there is less incentive for people to go out and illegally tear down tens of thousands of hectares of forest every year.
Romania has the greatest biodiversity in Europe, it has the last great wilderness and most of Europe's surviving large carnivores. Described as the lungs of Europe, it also has perhaps the most enduring and authentic historical landscape. All of this is under threat from ruthless exploitation and short-term thinking. With the right controls and regulation, with the right education and encouragement these treasures could make Romania one of the wealthiest countries in the EU. It will also become a shining example to the rest of the world of how man can live in harmony with nature, and with the past, blending new ideas and innovation with tradition and the wisdom of generations.
Find out how this can be achieved and witness a landscape like no other; a landscape teetering on the brink of destruction but still one of the most unspoilt and beautiful regions in the whole of Europe.