- geographical situation: in the south-east of Romania, in the middle of Muntenia, including the superior and middle basin of the river with the same name and part of the Ialomita basin;
- neighbours: to the south-Ilfov, Ialomita; to the west-Dambovita; to the north-Brasov; to the east-Buzau;
- surface: 4,716 square km (respectively 2% of the country's territory);
- population: 868,000 inhabitants-the density of the population is almost double
compared with the average density of the country, the county with the most numerous population in the country;
- towns: PLOIESTI-capital of the county (with 253,000 inhabitants, between the valleys of Teleajenul and Prahova, at 60 km north of Bucharest); Azuga, Baicoi; Boldesti Scaieni; Breaza; Campina; Comarnic; Mizil; Plopeni; Sinaia; Slanic; Urlati; Valenii de Munte.
- relief: in a harmonious landscape, the relief descends slowly from north to south taking the form of an amphitheatre, facing the south and covering different mountains in an equal proportion (in the north, the Bucegi Mountains-Jepii Peak having 2,195 m height, Piatra Arsa Peak with 2,075 m, Omu Peak with 2,505 m, having extremely spectacular elements, interesting genesis and evolution, and next to Caraiman Peak there are some rocks worn out by rain and wind and having the form of mushrooms, they are called "Babele"- "Old Women", Baicul Peak, Ciucas Peak-with heights between 1,771 and 1,956 m, Garbova, Grohotis, Tataru Peaks), hills-Buzau and Prahova 's Sub-Carpathians (in the south, like a series of high or low strips almost parallel with the edge of the mountains, there is the area of low peaks with heights of 1,000 m, the area of the Sub-Carpathians' hills with heights between 800 and 700 m, the hillock area with heights between 700-400 m-Dealul Mare) and fields (a narrow strip of land, Ploiesti High Field at the foot of the mountains).
- climate: it is influenced by relief and geographical situation, in the south the climate is temperate continental of forest steppe, hills and hillocks, and in the north, in the mountains, the climate has a rougher character with winds blowing from the north and north-east;
- watercourses: the Prahova river tributary of the Ialomita river (which has a low valley formed by the Quaternary glaciers), having the following tributary rivers: the Doftana, Teleajan, Cricov rivers.
- The Bucegi Massif-great part of it is situated on the territory of Prahova county, between Prahova Vally at the east, which is dominated by an abrupt precipice of 1,000 m and the Leota Mountains, at the west. Because of its height and massiveness, it is the most grandiose mountain of this part of the country; through its extremely spectacular and various forms of relief (located on a relatively small territory), it became one of the regions where most of the tourists come to visit. The Bucegi Massif has several peaks higher than 2,000 m: Omu Peak (2,505 m), Costila Peak (2,498 m), Caraiman Peak (2,326 m). The Bucegi Massif was declared National Park and includes several complex natural preserves. These preserves have: impressive abrupt precipices, pointed crests, glacial basins and valleys, karst relief and torrential valleys, specific forms of relief (natural agents shaping the rocks for a long time and transforming them into curious forms: the Sphinx, The Old Women, the Lonely Stones). The splendor of this landscape is increased by the rich alpine vegetation (with shades extremely various from one season to the other); many species of plants are declared nature's monuments, such as: edelweiss, Carthusian pink, orchid. A lot of tourist paths pass through these preserves, which is a great opportunity to admire the natural background, the vegetation and some times the fauna of this place (chamois, brown bear, capercaillie). All these beauties of the Bucegi explain why a lot of tourists come to this place. Besides, the massif has hospitable chalets, numerous marked paths, ski slopes having different degrees of difficulty; it is possible to reach the plateau by car or by funicular (from Sinaia or Brasov).
- The Bucegi Massif-(with Ciucas Peak of 1,954 m) is one of the most interesting and complex mountain regions in the Curvature Carpathians, having a well-deserved tourist rename. It consists of calm landscape and smooth peaks, but also wild crests showing original and spectacular things. The outlines of these mountains similar to those of ruined towers impress the tourists, but they are also impressed by the strange forms they can see here (Bratocea's Old Women, The Fangs of the Frying-pans, Devil's Hand), by the vegetation's polychromy (in summer) or the heavy snow falls (in winter, offering the skiers beautiful moments of relaxation). Because of the particular value of the landscape in this region, as well as the rarity of the elements composing it, some parts of the massif have been declared complex natural preserves. Here there are a few reasons that made the tourists go hiking on the paths of Ciucas.
VALLEYS AND WATERFALLS
- Prahova Valley-collecting its waters from the springs under Piatra Mare, the Prahova river separates the Bucegi Massif from the Garbova Massif, flowing to the south and living behind, between Predeal (Brasov county) and Campina, one of the most charming Romanian narrow passes. The striking contrast between Prahova valley and the Bucegi east mountainside, abrupt and rocky, (the difference of altitude being of 1,000 m) adds to the splendor of this valley's landscape. In this grandiose landscape the tourists can find a string of picturesque resorts: Predeal (Brasov county), Azuga, Busteni, Poiana Tapului, Sinaia. The friendly relaxing atmosphere, the mountains greatness, the facilities and the extremely complex and modern accommodations are the incentives making thousands of tourists come year after year to Prahova county;
- The Valley of the Stag;
- Teleajenul Valley;
- Urlatoarea Waterfall-(one hour from Busteni).
PRESERVES AND MONUMENTS OF NATURE
- The Salt Mountain-Slanic Prahova, having several tens of meters height, this mountain in miniature impresses the visitors. The rainwater has shaped on its surface thousands of waves and little ditches; the salt crystals seem to be thousands of ice pins shining in the sunlight. Within the perimeter of this mountain (declared a monument of nature) there is a karst saline lake with a maximum depth of 32 m, according to the legend a miserable bride has thrown herself into the lake, which is called "The Bride's Cave";
- Glodeasa Forest-forest preserve which preserves a secular beech and resinous forest, especially fur-trees, the trees have impressive heights and diameters;
- Arinisul from Sinaia-forest preserve represented by a small, but interesting dedidous tree forest;
SPAS AND RESORTS
- Sinaia-(at 62 km of Ploiesi and 45 km of Brasov), deserves, with no reservation, to be called "a pearl of the Carpathians"; situated in the superior basin of Prahova river-at an average altitude of 850 m-near the protective eye of the Garbova Massif and situated on the last slopes of the Furnica Mountain, the resort benefits from natural endowment to which the man has added appropriate arrangements. Famous resort and spa, Sinaia offers the tourists a pleasant atmosphere. The winters are mild due to the mountainsides that shelter it (average temperature in January is-3.50C; average annual temperature is 5.50-6.50C). In winter it snows heavily, it begins to snow at the end of September and the snow layer melts away at the end of March (the average thickness is 50 cm). The persons fond of winter sports can find: ski slopes with different degrees of difficulty, sledge slops, bob-sledge track, ski training (for children, beginners and advance skiers), centers to borrow ski equipment, cable transport means (different kinds of funiculars, ski-lift, baby ski). In summer, a lot of marked paths invite the tourists to wander around and to make trips in the Bucegi. Amusing parties, folkloric programs, carnivals are being organized for the guests to enjoy themselves. The access ways are as follows: railway-Sinaia railway station is on Bucharest-Brasov railway line; by road- DN 1 = E15, from Bucharest or Brasov;
- Busteni-(at 75 km north-west of Ploiesti and at 13 km north-west of Bucharest), a spa and resort situated at an altitude of 882 m, at the foot of Caraiman, whose sides descend astoundingly from 2,000 m height, conferring the landscape a wild grandeur. The resort has a wonderful position, being denominated "Bucegi gateway" because it offers different ways of access to this massif, cradle of mountain tourism and Romanian mountaineering. In Busteni more than in any other parts, the tourist can see the unrivalled beauty of the Bucegi Mountains: Piatra Arsa, Jepii Mari and Jepii Mici (adorned with pointed peaks), Caraiman (with its monument for the dead heroes of the First World War), Costila (named "the paradise of the mountaineers"). Busteni is linked with Bucegi's plateau by funicular (this funicular line is the longest in Romania and the third in Europe). The sub-alpine climate is tonic, stimulant, the air is pure, ozonized. In winter, the resort offers the possibility of practicing ski (numerous ski slopes with different degrees of difficulty). The access ways are as follows: railway- Busteni railway station is on Bucharest-Brasov railway line, by road-DN 1 = E15, from Bucharest or Brasov, DN 71 from Targoviste to Sinaia, then DN 1 to the resort;
- Slanic Prahova-(at 44 km north of Ploiesti), the watering spa is open all over the year, is situated at an altitude of 400 m, is surrounded by hills with oak trees and orchards. This town is famous, in the first place, for having an important salt mine (this mine is one of the biggest in Europe). In the spa there are a lot of springs with chloro-sodium waters. Some of them have formed lakes in the holes of the former salt mines (Baia Baciului Lake, Baia Verde Lake, Baia Rosie Lake), used for treatment, but also as swimming pools. The climate is influenced by the hills and hillocks, it has pleasant summers (average temperature of July is 190C) and relatively mild winters (average temperature in January is -3.50C). It can be visited the Salt's Mountain and Unirea salt mine (where there can be seen the busts of Burebist, Trajan, Decebal, Eminescu and the statue of Michael the Brave sculptured in salt). The access ways are as follows: railway-Slanic railway station is on Ploiesti South-Slanic railway line, by road-DN 1 A from Ploiesti or Brasov, deviation at Gura Vitioarei;
- Cheia-resort for relaxation, at 871 m height, at 61 km north of Ploiesti; it offers different forms of tourism: mountain hiking, mountaineering, winter sports, trips around the resort, the main point of attraction is the Ciucas Massif;
- Breaza-resort situated in Prahova's Sub-Carpathians, at 450 m height, at 43 km north-west of Ploiesti;
- Azuga-it is a resort (at 60 km north of Ploiesti, at 950 m height), tourist center and starting point for the chalets in Bucegi Mountains; Olympic ski slope, installations for cable transport;
- Peles Castle-Sinaia, former residence of the king, nowadays became a museum, Sinaia's main point of attraction and one of the valuable architectonic monuments of Romania. It was built during 1875-1883, there can be recognized different architectonic styles, German Renaissance elements prevail and also Gothic style. The architects have used everything to give splendor and content to the construction, wood decoration is in abundance in the interior and also exterior to confer to the castle a special air. Situated in a beautiful park with gorgeous terraces, Peles Castle has 160 rooms and halls where there can be seen different ornamental objects, Oriental carpets, fine ivory sculptures, tapestries, furniture, weapon collections (15th-19th centuries), paintings. The most impressive rooms are: the hall of honor, the large weapon room (with objects from India, Persia, Turkey, Arabia), the council room (Swiss colored glass window, 16th-17th centuries), the music room, the Florentine room, the mirror room, the Moorish room (with a collection inspired by the Spanish Alahambra Palace), the Turkish drawing-room, the theatre room;
- Palace of Culture-Ploiesti, a beautiful monument of architecture built at the beginning of the 20th century, in Neo-classic style, currently more than 200 rooms of the palace are museums;
- Hasdeu Castle-Campina (1893-1896);
- Cantacuzino Palace-Filipestii de Targ, built by the voivode's marshal Constantin Cantacuzino during 1633-1656, now in ruin;
- Pelisor Castle-Museum-Sinaia.
- Monastery-Sinaia, built during 1690-1695 by the voivode's sword bearer Mihai Cantacuzino, after returning from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Sinai Peninsula which gave the name of the monastery and of the resort. The indoor painting was made by the famous painter Parvu Mutu in 1694, one of the paintings draws the attention, it is situated at the entrance and it depicts the founder and his family. In some of the monks' former rooms it has been arranged a museum exhibiting historical paintings, outfits of the past centuries, an interesting collection of engravings, cult objects;
- Zamfira Monastery-Lipanesti, founded by Lady Zamfira, completed in 1743, with a new church built in 1857, preserving the paintings made by Nicolae Grigorescu when he was 18 years old;
- Wooden Church-Vales Orlei, (14th century), it was buried here Stanca, the wife of voivode Constantin Mavrocordat;
- Varbila Monastery (1539)-there are remarkable wood and stone sculptures;
- Lespezi Hermitage-Posada, next to Comarnic, 1661;
- Royal Church-Ploiesti, one of the oldest monuments of the town, founded by the ruler Matei Basarab in 1639;
- Brebu Monastery-the construction works began in 1650 on the request of Matei Basarab and were completed in 1690, during the reign of Constantin Brancoveanu;
- "Three Hierarches" Church-Filipestii de Padure (1688), the wall paintings made by the famous Parvu Mutu in 1692;
- Monastery Church-Valenii de Munte, built at the end of 17th century, it is famous for its indoor wall paintings;
- Museum of History and Archeology Prahova-Ploiesti, a prestigious cultural institution of this county. The permanent exhibition "Archeology in Prahova county" presents irrefutable proofs on the continuity of the flourishing Gaeto-Dacian civilization in this region. The permanent exhibition "Mihai the Valiant and the Town of Ploiest" (opened on September 26th, 1997) comprises the most valuable documentary proofs following the most recent research made by the museum's specialists on Ploiesti's history-town founded by Michael the Brave;
- Nicolae Iorga Memorial Museum-Valenii de Munte, it presents the visitors the genial man's taste for native popular creation. The exhibits: massive wood furniture, the paintings, personal objects of the scholar give authenticity to the setting where Nicolae Iorga has pondered and created a vast masterpiece. The articles and documents exhibited prove the huge contribution of the scholar to the assertion of Romanian culture in the country and abroad;
- "Nicolae Simarche" Clock Museum-Ploiesti, a unique museum in Romania, it offers the visitors the opportunity to follow the evolution of the time measuring devices from the first "clocks"-sun dials, burning clocks, clocks with water or sand to the "ancient" mechanical clocks and the modern ones;
- "B. P. Hasdeu" Memorial Museum-Campina, it is a castle, built by the great scholar in memory of his daughter, who died prematurely when 19 years old. There are exhibited paintings, furniture belonging to the family of the linguist, historian and writer, one of the outstanding personalities of our culture'
- "I. L. Caragiale" Memorial Museum-Ploiesti, in a house of the 18th century, it presents important aspects in the life of the great playwright, who spent his childhood and youth in Ploiesti;
- Royal House-Brebu, the building was founded by Matei Basarab in 1641, now it is a museum which offers the visitors fond of medieval art a rich presentation of Romanian old letters, outfits worn by court people, weapons, cult objects, jewelry;
- "Cezar Petrescu" Memorial Museum-Busteni, it conserves the formerly atmosphere in which the writer has created most of his novels;
- Oil National Museum-Ploiesti, unique in the country and also quite rare in the world;
- "Nicolae Grigorescu" Memorial Museum-Campina, thre are exhibited original paintings, carpets, objects related to the great painter's life (1838-1907);
- Ethnography Museum of Teleajenul Valley- V㬥nii de Munte.
Source: Romanian Travel Guide / Publirom