pdf_micDownload_PDF Article
pdf_micDownload Graphical Abstract

The Importance of Educational Tourism in Cultural Heritage Preservation and Sustainable Tourism. Case Study of the Mureș Valley’s Cultural Heritage: Five Castles, Five Stories




The study aims to present the Mureș Valley through the castles, appealing to educational tourism. Educational tourism can be used as one of the tools to rediscover and appreciating the significance of cultural heritage in this aria. This paper used the study case method to analyse the current state of Mureș Valley castles. These castles and parks were documented, and interviews with some community members and the castle owners were conducted as part of the research process. A field trip that exemplifies these educational aspects is suggested by the current study. The main objectives of this trip are to promote rail tourism in Transylvania and Banat, to provide a more environmentally friendly travel option, and to increase understanding of the importance of the area’s cultural landscape. There is not much research on educational tourism in Romania because it is a relatively new concept. Although there have been some studies on educational travel, the researcher was unable to find any studies that were solely focused on educational tourism. As a result, the trip might be both a non-formal and a formal kind of education. The unifying element between the two types of education might be the educational tour.



cultural heritage, Mureș Valley, educational tourism, case study, educational tour.

JEL Classification

I20, I29, J17, Z30, Z32.



1. Introduction

The present study starts with the following question: Can educational tourism be a method of promoting the cultural heritage of the Mureș Valley through castles? The importance of and interest in heritage sites have always increased with tourism. Since the Grand Tour, the industry has transformed. Around the 1720s, in Britain, the Grand Tour first emerged. Grand Tours back then “were undertaken with the avowed educational intention of improving the mind” (Balfour, 1934). The European voyage includes visits to buildings from the Italian Renaissance and the Classical eras and encounters with the period’s intellectuals. From some of those who chose the path of completing their studies through such journeys, there are left testimonies. In 1821, the author Thomas Young was writing: “[Our expeditions] seems like the last act of my boyhood and the first of my old age: on the one hand a sort of finish to my Latin and Greek, and on the other, a setting at defiance all professional conveniences in a way which may be deemed somewhat imprudent in a servant of the public.” (Robinson, 2023).

Through educational tourism, we can understand and preserve the cultural landscape, an integral part of cultural heritage. Education is necessary to comprehend cultural heritage. Sustainable tourism can help people understand the importance of this heritage to our national and European identities. The theoretical concepts of cultural heritage conservation and educational tourism may find application in practice in the Mureș Valley. This approach falls under the aegis of informal and non-formal education, which is a part of lifelong learning.

Transylvania’s Mureş Valley is a picturesque region. It is distinguished by a variety of landscapes complemented by a complex cultural environment. The same-named river runs through the valley. Along it, hills, plateaus, plains, and mountains all contribute to the region’s natural relief (Figure 1). The valley is a significant geographical, cultural, and touristic area. It is in Romania’s central and western parts. It serves as a place where nature and man can interact because of its distinctive landscapes. The valley is recognized for its ethnic locales, gastronomy, and well-known traditions that are still practiced in some villages. These traditions include vibrant folk dances and music performances that showcase the rich cultural heritage of the valley. Additionally, the valley is also famous for its intricate handicrafts, such as handwoven textiles and pottery, which are highly valued both locally and internationally. Beginning in the 16th century, residences for the aristocracy were built in this area. Some of these once-magnificent buildings, once admired by those who passed their threshold, are now rapidly crumbling or heading for it as a result of neglect (either by local authorities or owners) or financial constraints. This unfortunate decline not only robs the community of its architectural heritage but also diminishes the cultural identity and sense of pride associated with these structures. Efforts must be made to preserve and restore these buildings, ensuring that future generations can appreciate their historical significance and beauty. Others have reclaimed their former allure and beauty. Through educational tourism and sustainable tourism, the importance of protecting the Mureş Valley’s cultural heritage can be better communicated to the public. As a result, they will be able to grasp the importance of preserving the distinctive character of this space. This study intends to pinpoint feasible and realistic opportunities for railroad-based educational tourism to capitalize on castles and their gardens in the Mureș Valley. This will enable us to capitalise on the region’s natural beauty. It was only from the perspective of the history of the castles and their gardens that this segment of the cultural heritage was discussed in specialized literature.

The purpose of this study is to lay the foundation for future initiatives that promote and preserve cultural assets. By understanding the importance of cultural assets, this study aims to lay the foundation for future initiatives that prioritise their preservation and promotion through educational tourism. This will help people better understand it. The inspiration for these upcoming projects will come from castle tales. There are ways that people can benefit from this aspect of cultural heritage through informal and non-formal education. This trip aims to maximise the potential of the Mureş Valley’s cultural landscape. In the specialized literature, there are no studies dedicated to the valorising of the Mureș Valley cultural heritage through education. The present research is intended to be a starting point for future heritage valorising initiatives through non-formal and informal education.


2. Literature Review

Educational tourism is one of the tourist genres that has recently experienced tremendous growth. Though not a novel notion in the tourism world, educational tourism is attracting a lot of interest. The educational tourism industry experienced a decline during the past few years but quickly came back on its feet once governments around the globe lifted travel restrictions. The market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17.2% (Reali, n.d.). As tourists acquire new experiences and knowledge on a variety of topics, educational tourism offers a more nuanced viewpoint on travel. Therefore, this area of tourism offers the best chance for rediscovering and comprehending the value of maintaining cultural heritage. The term “educational tourism” refers to any travel experience that enables tourists to study new subjects, do field trips, or put newly acquired skills to use. Despite the continued popularity of mass tourism, some tourists are looking for different travel arrangements that will still allow them to learn new things. One of the key aspects promoting this sector’s expansion is the shifting demand for travel. It is also through educational tourism that a greater opportunity is provided to understand cultural heritage as a distinct feature of a culture’s environment. Educational tourism not only offers a chance to explore new destinations but also provides a platform for individuals to engage in immersive learning experiences. By participating in educational tours, travellers can gain first-hand knowledge about the history, traditions, and customs of different cultures, fostering a deeper appreciation for diversity and global understanding. Future Market Insights (FMI) has estimated the education tourism market to reach USD 399.8 billion in 2021 (FMI, 2021). The industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.2% between 2021 and 2031 (FMI, 2021). The growth of the education tourism market can be attributed to factors such as increasing globalisation and the rising demand for international education. Additionally, advancements in technology have made it easier for students to access educational opportunities abroad, further driving market growth.

The importance of educational tourism is examined in many studies in the specialized literature. Maga and Nicolau (2018) present the evolution of the educational tourism concept. In their study, the authors considered that “the very concept of educational tourism is not new to the extant research in both tourism and education.” Academic standards and educational tourism have a direct relationship, according to a 2013 study. Smith (2013) describes educational tourism as “a vehicle for raising academic standards.” In the opinion of the author, Anukriti Sharma (2015), educational tourism can be a strategy for sustainable tourism and, in this way, “can avoid a large portion of the negative impacts of tourism. The same idea is also supported by authors Uaarukapo Tjitunga, Hilary Kennedy Nji Bama and Washington Makuzva (2023). They consider educational tourism to be a “catalyst for sustainable tourism”. These authors argue that educational tourism not only provides economic benefits but also promotes cultural understanding and environmental conservation. For Lala Ram Choudhary, Prerna Srivastava Bhartiya and Lalit K. Panwar (2022) educational tourism is “the new concept of sustainable tourism development.” It combines the elements of travel and learning, providing individuals with the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience different cultures while contributing to the local economy. Educational tourism promotes a deeper understanding and appreciation for diverse societies, fostering cultural exchange and personal growth. This form of tourism not only benefits the tourists but also has positive impacts on the host communities by promoting cross-cultural understanding and preserving local heritage. For Paul Ankomah and Trent Larson (2000), it is “an alternative strategy to mass tourism development efforts.” Zurab Pololikashvili (2022) believes that “multilateral cooperation, and specifically the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), play a key role to further tourism education by creating accessible content and guidance for tourism workers and public officials, partner with educational institutions and the private sector, and facilitate the matching of skilled workers and job opportunities in the tourism sector.”

In the middle of the 20th century, the concept of cultural landscape was introduced. And there is some ambiguity about this concept. According to Alexandru Calcatinge (2011), a cultural landscape’s ambiguity results from repeated attempts to see what is otherwise invisible. “The very term landscape carries with it the notion of a hybrid between nature and culture.” (Thompson I.H., 2011). Solomon (2012) views the cultural landscape as the expression of viewpoints that occasionally have substantial differences. The strength and development potential of the cultural landscape, in Sârbu’s opinion (2012), lies in the visibility of its meanings. This can be accounted for by the population’s social comprehension of its configurations. In the words of James M. Rubenstein (1992), “The cultural landscape is our unwitting biographer because it reflects in a tangible, visible form our tastes, values, aspirations, and fears.” Wallach Bret (2005) asserts that “the cultural landscape is useful as a way to see and understand ourselves.”.


3. Methodology

The present study is dedicated to the rediscovery and valorising of the Mureș Valley cultural heritage through non-formal and informal education. The chosen method is the case study. Five representative castles were chosen for the Mureş Valley cultural space. Thus, the research focuses on five examples that illustrate the complexity of the cultural landscape of the area. Complementary techniques like information processing and analysis using both quantitative and qualitative data are used in conjunction with the case study approach. Thus, through the case study method, an attempt is made to clarify the importance of preserving and valorizing the cultural heritage of the Mureș Valley. The five castles with their stories exemplify the complexity of the area’s cultural landscape. Thus, the participants of the trip can analyse and evaluate a cultural space. Castle stories start with questions like “Why?” and “How?” And the answers to these questions will provide the first explanation for the current Mureş Valley context. One of the advantages of the case study method is generated by the active and interactive involvement of the trip participants. This is generated by the discovery or rediscovery of the cultural landscape in the Mureș Valley area. This fact can serve as a motivator for deepening the knowledge of castles and gardens in this space.


3.1. Mureș Valley

The Mureş Valley is one of Transylvania’s most stunning areas. The valley’s centre is the river. Mountains, plateaus, hills, and plains provide relief along its length (Figure 1). A complex and unique cultural landscape defines the valley. In its flow, the Mureș River crosses two historical regions, Transylvania and Banat. It also crosses the counties of Harghita, Mureș, Alba, Hunedoara, and Arad. The Mureş Valley is culturally diverse. Railway and industrial heritage complement the castle’s architectural heritage. Within 30 km of the Mureș River are 81 castles and mansions. These monuments were built starting in the 16th century. Their construction lasted until the 20th century.

Figure 1. The Mureș Valley

Source: personal conception based on personal photos

Through their patrons, these noble houses, castles, and mansions introduced Western or Central European architectural styles to Transylvania. These trends were connected to local traditions. These local traditions played a significant role in shaping and influencing these trends. They provided a unique cultural context that allowed for the development and evolution of these specific trends within the community. Since their uniqueness comes from their potential, they must guard it and make the most of it.  These noble homes were typically built after patrons returned from leisurely excursions or pilgrimages to Western Europe to study. Therefore, we could say that the cultural landscape that complemented the geographical landscape was a component of Europe’s cultural landscape, from which it was born. Some of these homes contained impressive collections that their owners had brought from their travels to various European or extra-European locations. Along with these unusual item collections, there were also books and ethnographic collections on display. But most of these collections disappeared. Parks completed the splendour of some residences, resulting in an astounding cultural landscape. While some parks survived, others were destroyed.

In the Mureş Valley, mansions and castles were frequently built as extra-urban homes for aristocratic families. These homes were typically only inhabited from spring to autumn, or only in the summer. Staff quarters, stables, and barns were built as annexes on the properties that housed the castles. Often resembling cultural places of refuge in rural Transylvania, these architectural ensembles served as the symbolic heart of the region and the area in which they were located. For the simple reason that the Transylvanian aristocracy was linked to the European cultural and artistic world in the 20th century, some of these castles were well-known not only in the Transylvanian space but also in the European one. Transylvanian aristocracy members attended prestigious European universities while studying in the West, introducing European models to Transylvania. During the communist regime in 1949, the state abusively confiscated these noble residences. Their situation has drastically changed, and some changes are permanent. Some of these aristocratic residences were returned to their heirs after 1990. Some have undergone preservation and restoration. Others were destroyed by negligence, carelessness, or lack of funding. The public is not sufficiently knowledgeable about their history.

This paper is an outgrowth of the research I did for my PhD thesis, “Heritage that Dies: Castles and Parks in the Mureş Valley in the 20th and 21st Centuries.” Participation in the excursions organised by Count Kálmán Teleki and the Teleki Castle Association in 2021 was another place to start. These lasted for a day or two at landmarks in Mureş, Alba, and Hunedoara. Counts told their stories in some of these castles. The train ride to these castles was another thing that helped me. These castles and parks were documented, and the owners of the castles, as well as some community members, were interviewed. In conducting our study, we considered the locals’ perspectives on the castle and the cultural environment that emerged in the second half of the 20th century.


4. Results and discussions

4.1. The situation of the castles in the Mureș Valley

The Mureş Valley contains 81 castles dispersed over 30 kilometres on either side of the Mureş River. There are 2 castles in Harghita County, 34 in Mureş County, 5 in Cluj County, 14 in Alba County, 14 in Hunedoara County, and 12 in Arad County. According to our research from 2020 and 2022, which included statistics for all 81 castles (Figure 2), there are the following categories to classify noble residences. However, we will use the castles on the banks of the Mureș and those two kilometres away from the river as examples of each category:

  1. Saved monuments, where you can see how they were preserved and integrated into tourist routes (marked Good on the chart): Kemény Castle in Brâncovenești (MS), Teleki Castle in Gornești (MS), Zichy Manor in Voievodeni (MS), Máriaffy Castle in Sângeorgiu de Mureș (MS), Bánffy Castle in Sâncrai (AB), Gyulay Ferencz Castle in Mintia (HD), Magna Curia in Deva (HD), Bela Fay Castle in Simeria (HD)  and Săvârşin Castle (AR). It’s worthwhile to mention the castles that have been bought by people who, in their efforts to preserve or enhance these landmarks, occasionally fail to recognise their status as historical landmarks. These examples include the Haller Castle from Ogra (MS), the Inczédy Castle from Vinţu de Jos (AB), and the Kövér Appel Castle from Fântânele (AR).
  2. Monuments undergoing restoration (marked Restoration in progress on the chart): Urmánczy Castle, Toplița (HR), Degenfeld-Schonburg Castle, Cuci (MS), Teleki Castle, Dumbrăvioara (MS), and Konopi Castle, Odvoş (AR).
  3. The crumbling castles (Ruins part on the chart) represent the opposite pole. The most destructive examples are the Husar Castle in Apalina, (MS); the Haller Castle in Sânpaul, (MS); the Mikes Castle in Cisteiu de Mureş, (AB); and the Bethlen-Martinuzzi Castle in Vinţu de Jos, (AB).
  4. Pre-collapse monuments. They can be kept even if they deteriorate. These structures generally keep their roofs in decent condition. To ensure their safety and prevent degradation, intervention is required. Rákóczy Castle in Iernut (MS), Klobusiczky Manor in Gurăsada (HD), Jósika Castle in Brănişca (HD), Daniel Manor in Rapoltul Mare (HD), and Bornemisza Castle in Ilia (HD) are the relevant castles in this case.
  5. Collapsed monuments. Due to structural damage and roof component loss, these monuments are in severe decay. To save them, immediate action is required. Included in this category are the Teleki Castle in Ocna Mureş (AB) and the Mocioni Castle in Bulci (AR).

Figure 2. Noble residences in Mureș Valley – state of preservation

Source: personal conception based on field study


4.2. Educational tourism for the promotion of the cultural heritage of the Mureş Valley. Case study of the cultural heritage of the Mureș Valley: five castles, five stories. Through the Mureș Valley, Transylvania, Romania, castles and gardens are home.

Educational tourism is one way to comprehend the value of cultural heritage. A great alternative to rediscovering the Mureș Valley is the theme tour Through the Mureș Valley, Transylvania, Romania, home to castles and gardens. The trip is made on one of the oldest railways in Transylvania, dating to the 19th century. The suggested time frame is 3 days or 5 days during the summer. It crosses two significant historical regions: Romania, Transylvania, and Banat.

Each castle has a history emblematic of the region’s cultural landscape. In their parks, travellers find stories of a world about which not everything has been written yet. Counts or royal family members tell stories. The five castles are:

  1. Kemény Castle – The Castle of the Writers was the place where writers shared stories. In the interwar period, it was a centre for literary meetings. The Renaissance architectural ensemble was built in the 15th century. The fortress was transformed into a castle between 1537 and 1558. Renaissance frames date from that period. Over time, the castle belonged to the princes of Transylvania, including Gabriel Bethlen (1580-1629), Gheorghe Rákóczi I (1593-1648), and Gheorghe Rákóczi II (1621-1660). The latter bequeathed it, along with the five surrounding villages, to his adviser, Ioan Kemény (1607-1662), future lord of Transylvania. From that moment on, for 300 years, the castle remained the property of the Kemény family. The castle has a square plan with an inner courtyard and corner towers. The first restoration of the castle took place at the beginning of the 19th century, by István Möller. Then the castle gets a large bastion, and above the entrance is a balcony on stone consoles. In the castle’s English park is the Helikon Table, a table carved in 1935 in memory of Kuncz Aladar, a member of the Helikon literary cenacle. Around the garden table, the events of the Helikon circle took place every summer. In 1948, the castle was nationalized. At the end of September 2014, the castle came into the possession of the Kemény family, and since then it has been open to the public.
  2. Teleki Castle — The Library Castle is where a count donated the first public library in Transylvania. Transylvania’s chancellor, Samuel Teleki (1739–1822), was born here. He founded the first public library in Transylvania, in Târgu Mureş. The baroque castle was built in the XVIII century on the site of the former fortress, on a promontory of the terrace on the left bank of the Mureș River. On the east side, the road passes, while on the west side, the Mureș River flows quietly. The castle is an emblem of the Teleki family and one of the most important constructions of the Transylvanian Baroque. Surrounded by lush greenery and picturesque landscapes, the castle stands as a testament to the Teleki family. Its architectural design displays the exquisite craftsmanship of Andreas Mayerhoffer (1690–1771), with intricate details and elegant features reminiscent of other renowned palaces at Godollo and Pecel. The castle’s location in an English park adds to its charm, offering visitors a serene and peaceful atmosphere to explore its rich history and cultural significance.
  3. Bella Fay Castle — The Castle of Trees is the place to admire more than 2,000 tree essences. The dendrological park ranks third in Europe and 11th in the world. The Dendrological Park of Simeria, better known today as the Simeria Arboretum, is one of the most important parks in Europe. In the world of European specialists and those from the American space programme, the dendrological park is one of the points of reference in the scientific world. The park was created at the beginning of the 18th century by arranging the natural meadows of Lunca Mureșului as recreational forests. It was born around a neoclassical castle. The domain belonged to the Gyulay Ferenc, Kun Geza, and Fay Bela noble families. Today, it is owned by the Romanian state.
  4. Gyulay Ferencz Castle — The Castle of the Diary is where a count wrote a 100-volume journal. Count Lajos Gyulay (1800–1869) wrote a diary of almost 140 volumes, one of the most representative works of his time. Count a prominent figure in the 19th century, played a significant role in transforming the castle into its current neoclassical form. His influence is evident in the architectural details and overall design, showing his commitment to embracing the neoclassical style prevalent in his time. The transformed building, built between 1831 and 1834 according to the plans of the architect Stuller, became the largest neoclassical castle in Transylvania. The history of the castle is linked to the Kuun, Kemény, and Tholdy families. The castle became the cultural centre of the area through its library and garden, where there was a lapidarium. The castle and park are currently owned by Count Péter Petricsevich-Horváth-Tholdy, son of the last owner. Returning from Australia after 27 years, he began restoration work on the castle and the redevelopment of the park to bring it back to life. The restoration work on the castle and the redevelopment of the park have successfully revived its former glory. In the park of this castle, visitors can reflect on the transformation and disappearance of cultural heritage. The area where the castle is located underwent irreversible transformations during the communist period (1948-1989) but also in the following period.
  5. Royal Castle — The Castle of Kings is where you meet the royal family. The castle belongs to Romania’s royal family. The Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen Family is a direct ancestor of the Romanian Royal Family. The castle is an example of exemplary practices in cultural heritage conservation. The royal castle of Săvârşin, formerly known as Forray Castle, was owned by various Hungarian noble families. One of the most notable families to own the castle was the Forray family, which gave it its original name. Over the centuries, ownership of the domain changed hands multiple times, reflecting the complex history and cultural influences of the area. In the middle of the 18th century, in the centre of the estate on which the current Royal Castle is located, there was a building erected in the Baroque style. In 1784, it was burned down. The castle had various owners until 1858 when it came into the possession of Leopold Nadasdy, who rebuilt it in its current form in 1860. In 1941, following an exchange of properties, the castle became the property of the Mocioni family. In 1943, the castle became the property of King Mihai I, who was the king of Romania at the time. He bought the castle as a gift for his mother, Queen Elena.

With this tour, castles, which are part of some communities, are brought closer to society. The garden and the train ride make it easy to approach them. Moreover, the proposed route reflects the goals of sustainable tourism: economic viability, local prosperity, and visitor fulfilment. These goals are for the long term. The community around these castles and gardens can grow through sustainable tourism. Awareness of the value of this cultural landscape created by the castle and its garden respects another principle of sustainable tourism, that of cultural richness. A train trip offers a cultural experience to remember.

This trip aims to promote rail tourism in Transylvania and Banat. It is to offer a more sustainable alternative to travel and raise awareness of the region’s cultural landscape. The target audience is families with children. Travelling by train offers more safety, and a castle garden is fascinating for children. Another aspect addressed is education, through which the child makes his first contact with the monument. Non-formal education aims to provide valuable learning experiences. This trip will make it possible to understand the historical contexts that prompted societal changes. Castle history can reveal a proactive and favourable attitude towards monument preservation. It is also possible to develop personal values while travelling. In addition to formal education, informal education can also be based on valuable life experiences. A trip of this kind can serve as an enriching experience, which facilitates the expansion of cultural horizons and implicitly results in personal growth as well.

Figure 3. Through the Mureş Valley, Transylvania, Romania, home to castles and gardens.

Source: personal conception based on field study


5. Conclusions

A culture’s values are transmitted and comprehended through education. The cultural complexity of a place is reflected in its heritage. Cultural heritage should be transformed into narratives that tourists and locals can understand. Tourists and locals can learn about and preserve a place’s history through educational tourism. The Mureș Valley is a viable alternative for cultural tourism because of the complexity of its cultural landscape. It is an area where tourism education can be integrated.

We have reached these conclusions:

  1. The castle garden provides the framework in which castle histories can be told. Every castle has a park around it.
  2. The story of these castles must be told in a way that the public can understand. The story of each castle is a unique one that illustrates a part of the history of Transylvania and Banat.
  3. It is important to communicate sustainable tourism and educational tourisms in a way that the community can comprehend. The story frame of the castles facilitates these aspects.
  4. Educational tourism can be a central element of cultural heritage promotion and valorisation. It offers a unique opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history and traditions of a particular destination. By engaging in educational activities such as guided tours, workshops, and interactive exhibits, tourists can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the cultural heritage of the place they are visiting. Additionally, educational tourism can contribute to the preservation and conservation of cultural sites by generating revenue that can be reinvested in their maintenance and protection.
  5. These monuments often call for dedication from all parties involved to preserve and save them. These initiatives have mostly been carried out in recent years. Efforts to preserve and save these monuments require collaboration and support from various stakeholders, including government bodies, local communities, and heritage organizations. These collective endeavours aim to safeguard the historical significance and cultural value of these monuments for future generations. Additionally, these preservation initiatives have gained momentum due to increased awareness about the importance of protecting our shared heritage in the face of urban development and natural deterioration.
  6. It is the goal of non-traditional education to offer a variety of learning opportunities that are worthwhile. The purpose of this trip is to explain the historical contexts that led to societal changes over the centuries. History of the castle reveals an attitude that is proactive and supportive towards the preservation of monuments.
  7. Along with learning new things, travelling can also provide you with the opportunity to grow as an individual. Experiencing different cultures and immersing ourselves in unfamiliar environments can broaden our perspective and challenge our preconceived notions. It allows us to develop adaptability, resilience, and a greater understanding of the world around us.
  8. Informal education can also be built on valuable life experiences alongside formal education. An excursion of this nature can be a rich experience that broadens cultural horizons and implicitly leads to personal development.

The limits of this project are due to the difficulty of choosing castles that illustrate most objectively the complexity of cultural space in the Mureș Valley area. The difficulty is generated by the fact that each castle is part of the area’s cultural landscape. Another difficulty is related to the knowledge selected for field trip participants. In our opinion, the preservation of history and the cultural landscape must come first in any potential project to save, protect, and maximise the potential of the Mureş Valley. This will strengthen self-sustaining capacities through the creation of financial resources, sustainable tourism, and improved communication. For a project to be credible, the community must support it. The ability of a project to offer workable solutions that are easy to implement and widely accepted by the community determines its credibility. The castles’ architecture and gardens served as a link between Transylvania and Western Europe. By restoring them, we maintain the significance of this time in European history. Heritage and the cultural landscape will be passed down to future generations. These are places of culture, harmony, and wonder. Architectural ensembles promote community.



This paper was financially supported by the Project “Network of excellence in applied research and innovation for doctoral and postdoctoral programs / InoHubDoc”, project co-funded by the European Social Fund financing agreement no. POCU/993/6/13/153437.


About the Author

Ileana Ana Abos
ORCID ID: 0009-0003-3250-8159
Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania



Ankomah, P. (2004). Education Tourism: A Strategy to Strategy to Sustainable Tourism Development. Sub-Saharan Africa. Retrieved from: https://www.academia.edu/16325292/Education_Tourism_A_Strategy_to_Strategy_to_Sustainable_Tourism_Development_in_Sub_Saharan_Africa.

Balfour, P. (1934). Grand Tour. USA: Harcourt and Brace.

Calcantinge A. (2014). Conceptul de peisaj cultural: contribuţii la fundamentarea teoretică. București, România: Editura Universitară “Ion Mincu”.

Choay, F. (1998). Alegoria patrimoniului; Şapte propoziţii despre conceptul de autenticitate şi folosirea acestuia în practica patrimoniului istoric. București, România: Simetria.

Choudhary, L. & Srivastava, P. & Panwar, L. (2022). Educational tourism: a new concept of sustainable development of tourism. Specialusis Ugdymas. 1. 4684-4689. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/362278465_EDUCATIONAL_TOURISM_A_NEW_CONCEPT_OF_SUSTAINABLE_DEVELOPMENT_OF_TOURISM.

David, L. (2015). Peisajele etnografice din România. București, România: Editura Etnologică.

Educational Tourism Market. (2021). Retrieved from: https://www.futuremarketinsights.com/reports/educational-tourism-market#.

Gérando, A. (2014). Transilvania și locuitorii săi (vol I). Cluj-Napoca, România: Editura Casa Cărții de Știință.

Fermor, P. L. (2005). Between the Woods and the Water. London, Great Britain: John Murray.

Ibragimova, M. I. (2022). The ways to increase the impact of educational tourism development in Uzbekistan on the socio-economic development of the country. Academicia Globe: Inderscience Research, 3(04), 553–556. https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/C4GR7.

Ion A. (2012). Tradiții. O privire de ansamblu. In Mitrache A.(ed.) Peisajul cultural, arhitectură, tendințe. 120 de ani de învățământ de arhitectură. București, România: Editura Universitară „Ion Mincu”.

Kovacs, K. (2013). Timpul monumentului istoric. Satu Mare, România: Paideia.

Maga, A. & Nicolau, P. (2018). Conceptualizing Educational Tourism and the Educational Tourism Potential (evidence from ASEAN countries). Advances in Economics, Business and Management Research (AEBMR), volume 39. doi:10.2991/cssdre-18.2018.72.

Milea, A. P. (2011). Grădini Istorice în Transilvania, Teză de doctorat, Facultatea de Istorie și Filosofie. prof. coord. univ. Dr. Nicolae Sabău. Cluj-Napoca, România.

Pololikashvili, Z. (2022). Promoting Sustainable Development through Tourism Education – The Role of the World Tourism Organization. Retrieved from: https://multilateralism.sipa.columbia.edu/news/promoting-sustainable-development-through-tourism-education-role-world-tourism-organization.

Popa, A. (2013). Peisajul agricol: subiect pentru conservare și valorificare. Agricultural Landscape: Subject for Preservation and Valuation. București, România: Editura Universitară „Ion Mincu”.

Reali, C. (n.d.). What is educational tourism: stats, benefits, examples & more. Retrieved from:  https://www.hotelmize.com/blog/what-is-educational-tourism-stats-benefits-examples-more/.

Robinson, A. (2023). Grand Tour. The Last Man Who Knew Everything: Thomas Young. Cambridge Open Book Publishers. https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0344.

Rubenstein J.M. (1992). The cultural landscape. New York, USA: Macmillan.

Sârbu C. (2012). Peisaj cultural și dezvoltare-ipoteze de abordare a cercetării. In Mitrache A.(ed.) Peisajul cultural, arhitectură, tendințe. 120 de ani de învățământ de arhitectură. București, România: Editura Universitară „Ion Mincu”.

Sharma A. (2015). Educational Tourism: Strategy for Sustainable Tourism Development with reference to Hadauti and Shekhawati Regions of Rajasthan, India. Journal of Business Economics and Information Technology. 2. 1-12. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306017352_Educational_Tourism_Strategy_for_Sustainable_Tourism_Development_with_reference_of_Hadauti_and_Shekhawati_Regions_of_Rajasthan_India.

Smith, A. (2013). The role of educational tourism in raising academic standards. African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, 2 (3),1-7. Retrieved from: https://www.ajhtl.com/uploads/7/1/6/3/7163688/article_2_vol_2_3.pdf.

Solomon M. (2012). Premisele și evoluții ale conceptului de peisaj cultural. In Mitrache A.(ed.) Peisajul cultural, arhitectură, tendințe. 120 de ani de învățământ de arhitectură. București, România: Editura Universitară „Ion Mincu”.

Thompson I.H. (2011). Landscape Architecture: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.

Tjitunga, U. & Bama, H. K. N. & Makuzva, W. (2023). Educational tourism as a strategy for sustainable tourism development: Perspectives of Windhoek-based universities, Namibia. Journal of Tourism & Development, vol 42. 191-209. doi: 10.34624/rtd.v42i0.32688.

United Nations Environment Programme, & World Trade Organization (WTO) (2005). Making Tourism more Sustainable: A Guide for Policy Makers. Retrieved from: https://wedocs.unep.org/20.500.11822/8741.

UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (1972), Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. https://www.refworld.org/docid/4042287a4.html.

Wallach, B. (2005). Understanding the cultural landscape. New York, USA: Guilford Press.


Social Media: