The Magical Forest of Boia Mica

What happened before the click...Photographers tell their story behind a special picture. This time it's to Romania's primary forests.

Fog in an ancien forest
© Matthias Schickhofer

As we arrive after several hours of climbing at the far end of the Boia Mica Valley in the Romanian Fagaras Mountains, a heavy downpour sets in. Thunder echos through the deserted valley. A fine mist rises from the wet ground. We stand in a colossal hall of forest illuminated by the rain in a surreal green glow. Above us rise monumental beech trees into the air, their pale trunks appear to be made of glas in the fog. It smells of rain, earth, and moss.

The ancient beech trees are up to 500 years old, as Czech scientists have found out. The pathless Boia Mica Valley seems to be straight out of a different time and is probably the wildest alpine valley in central Europe. With us is Professor Dr. Hannes Knapp one of the founding members of the UNESCO Natural Heritage Site programme for the protection of European beech tree virgin forests. Hannes Knapp knows the wooded European wilderness like nobody else. Yet he is overcome by this place and whispers: "I have never seen such enormous beech trees. This is one of very few forests in Europe that have stayed untouched since the beginning of humanity”.

Boia Mica is part of the Natura 2000 area “Fagaras Mountains” however, it is not placed under severe protection. On the contrary: its deforestation is edging nearer. The last grand virgin forests of our continent are being destroyed at a racing speed in Romania. This unique natural heritage must be preserved!

man next to a tree with a camera
© Matthias Schickhofer, privat

Matthias Schikhofer is an Austrian nature photographer, author, and campaigner. He has been active in environmental protection and the preservation of our natural heritage for almost 30 years. Together with EuroNatur, the Romanian partner organisation Agent Green, and international scientists he wants to protect the virgin forests of Romania from logging.
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