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Technical history


Opposed to the cultural stability, an industry that has continuously evolved and recorded firsts in the Transylvanian and European economy in the vicinity of the Padureni Land.

The iron reduction furnace uncovered in 1895 in the Valea Caselor neighborhood from Ghelari dates from the 9th century. This was the most advanced iron ore reduction system known to date. A replica of this furnace is on display at the Museum of Science in London. The site still exist in our days.
There is evidence that making iron dates before the time of the Roman Emperor Caracal (213 -215 BC).
19 iron ore smelters existed in 1682 in the Padureni Land. Evidence of these furnaces are visible in villages like Toplita and Izvoare.

The Govajdia furnace , was the second blast furnace in the world used to extract iron. It was built in 1806.
When it was built, it was the most modern blast furnace used for smelting iron in Europe at that time. The cast iron produced here was used to manufacture some components of the Eifel Tower in Paris. This was the first furnace in the world with a continuous production process. Until the furnace was built the technological process to produce cast iron implied stops for loading and unloading of the furnaces. After this blast furnace was built, the two operations could be performed simultaneously. Initially, the furnace produced 640 tons of cast iron/ year but after additional upgrades it reached a capacity of 200 tons/ day. It was declared a monument of industrial history (Law nr. 5/ 6th of March 2000). The furnace was in operation until the end of the 19th century when the Hunedoara Iron works were built. Starting with that moment, industrial communication ways developed between Ghelari and Hunedoara (narrow gauge line and a funicular system).

The narrow gauge line was also named the Transylvanian mining railroad. It was the first railroad of this type in Transylvania. It was opened on the 29th of August 1900 and had a length of 16, 1 km. The railroad linked Retisoara (Ghelari) and the Hunedoara Iron Works. Presently, the line has been decommissioned, several iron bridges have disappeared but the art works and tunnels have remained in very good shape. The viaduct pylons can still be seen. The line project itself represents a feat of technical intelligence as it managed to exploit the height differences so that the over 500 m level difference between Hunedoara and Retisoara required a minimum of effort.


The aqueduct of hydroelectric power plant Catanas

The Catanas hydro power plant. The construction of the hydro power plant began in 1897, one year after the first hydro power plant in Romania was built (Sadu 1896) and 27 years after the first hydro power plant in the world was built at Cragside, England in 1870. The hydro power plant functioned until 1990 with the original equipment and it provided electric energy for the Hunedoara Steel Plant. Presently the site has been decommissioned but traces of the former lake, of the different viaducts and buildings still remain.




The funicular located between Vadu Dobrii and Govajdia. Acolo unde nu existau conditii de acces rutier iar linia fierata era prea costisitoare, transportul s-a facut cu linii de funicular. The picture is seen funicular railway line Vadu Dobrii – Govajdia. It is the longest funicular line in Europe in 1900.


Career “Lucaciu” of Ghelari village. To lower material from one horizon to another was used the ramp that rely on gravity. While descending the cart full, he pulls the cart up empty. Was ingenious solution that the two coaches use the same line and braking technique descent.

The industrial development with modern machinery attracted Traian Vuia who travelled to Ghelari at the beginning of the 20th century to learn about the steam machines used in the mines and quarries.


The Ghelari mayor’s office has a collection of old photos where suggestive aspects from the industrial and social life in Ghelari were depicted.