Adventure to Abandoned Ruins - Atlas Obscura

Bucharest, Romania

Adventure to Abandoned Ruins

Take an exciting day trip out of Bucharest for a guided exploration of Fort 13 Jilava Prison and Gherassy Church, two historical and abandoned sites.

This Obscura Day, explore a series of fascinating, abandoned ruins just outside of Bucharest.

Your first stop on the tour will be a guided visit to the abandoned Fort 13 Jilava Prison, built in 1890. Jilava was part of an extended fortification system built around Bucharest, made up of 18 forts and 18 garrisons built between 1870 and 1890. It was turned into a prison after the popular uprising in 1907 and used as such until 1989. Between 1944 and 1989, numerous "enemies of the state and people"—actually enemies of the Communists —intellectuals and artists, were incarcerated. Your guide will give you more information about the personalities imprisoned here and their grim fates.

The second stop on this adventure is an exploration of the ruins of the Gherassy Church in Frunzănești village. Located about 25km from Bucharest, the church was originally built by the wealthy Greek merchant J. S. Gherassy around 1850, and now lies abandoned with its entire roof collapsed. The crypt of Gherassy's wife, with a touching epitaph on the tombstone, is right at the entrance and stands vandalized and empty.  


  • Meeting point: The group will meet at Tineretului Park (entrance from Dimitrie Cantemir Boulevard) at 8:30am.
  • Schedule: The first leg of the day's journey is a 45-minute drive to the jail for a visit lasting about 2 hours. From there, expect another 45 minutes to reach the church.
  • We recommend that you wear comfortable clothing and solid trekking shoes.
  • The tour does not include meals; you should bring some sandwiches or snacks with you, as we will not have time for lunch until the tour ends. Alternatively, at the end, your guide can also make arrangements for the group to relax and share thoughts over a late lunch.


Contact Ovidiu at

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