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Introducing Miercurea Ciuc

Doing a competent impression of being nondescript, Miercurea Ciuc is not as bland as its Soviet-style housing blocks imply. Push on to the old centre, particularly pedestrianised Str Petöfi Sándor, and you'll find a languid gauntlet of restaurants spilling onto the cobbles and a lively cafe-society feel. Celebrated for its nationally loved Ciuc (pronounced 'chook') beer, or the town’s hockey fascination, Miercurea Ciuc (Csíkszereda in Hungarian) is a friendly if rather dishevelled place where the population is over 80% ethnic Hungarian. If you’re heading to Bicaz Gorges or Lacu Roşu in Moldavia, it’s a worthwhile stop-off.

Founded during the reign of Hungarian King Ladislaus I (r 1077–95) around a castle that the king built for himself, Miercurea Ciuc quickly developed into a prosperous commercial centre and the hub of Székely Land cultural activities. Traditional Székely villages such as Leliceni (4km southeast), Misentea and Ciucsângeorgiu (another 2km and 4km south) and Armaseni (2km north of the latter along a dirt track) lie within easy reach of Miercurea Ciuc.