Middle and Upper Ciuc (Ciucul de Mijloc ºi de Sus)"The misfortune of the Ciuc land is that its natural beauty and overground wealth make both the foreigner and the local forget how much treasure its breast hides; and the simplicity of the life and creations of the people conceal the wealth of the soul blessed with talent".
(József Venczel, 1938)
The historical Upper Ciuc is made up of the part from above Miercurea-Ciuc of the Ciucului Basin. The 40 km long, 10-15 km wide basin is divided into two parts by the ridge of the short Kõd Mountain stretching to Racu. The part from above the Kõd - Upper Ciuc in a narrow sense - has the average altitude of 700 m, that of Middle Ciuc from Racu to Miercurea-Ciuc is of 670 m. The wide plain of the 'Great Field' (Lunca Mare) situated among Racu, Barzava and Ciceu has been filled in with the sediments of the mountain-frame by the Racu and the Frumoasa streams. The area of Upper Ciuc is 922 km2, it has a population of 89,412 people (1996). Administratively it consists of two towns (Miercurea-Ciuc and Balan) and 7 communes (Carta, Danesti, Frumoasa, Mihaileni, Pauleni-Ciuc, Sandominic and Siculeni.
According to a description made in 1853, 21 villages used to belong to the 60 km long Upper Ciuc having then an area of 25 square miles.
The local division distinguishes Upper Ciuc from Middle Ciuc in an interesting way. The area of Upper Ciuc is considered to extend from the Racu (Bogata Olteana) Pass as far as the Balan Mountain. Upper Ciuc used to be affiliated to the Ciucului Region (Tinutul Ciucului). Actually it is situated along the upper flow of the River Olt of which southern borders are marked by the Jigodin Pass.
The settlements of Middle and Upper Ciuc join the national road-network (National Roads 12, 12A, 13A) in an advantageous way and they can be approached easily. The rich mediaeval architectural relics and the natural values as well as the mountains of the edge of the basin all serve the tourism. Readiness concerning receiving visitors has significantly increased and new attractive forces can be connected into the line of the transit tourism with investments of touristic nature. The local mineral water-resources would deserve the creation of internationally visited spas. Spa tourism can be significantly increased in the future.