A former Roman settlement, the city of Targu Jiu lies at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, on the banks of the river Jiu. Inhabited since Paleolithic times, the region of western Oltenia was of strategic importance to the Romans. The area provided direct access, through one of the most spectacular passes in the Carpathians, to present-day Transylvania, the heart of the former Dacian Kingdom.
Targu Jiu is also the capital of Gorj County, a region of rolling meadows, grassy hills and mountain scenery with plenty of natural and cultural attractions to explore. Tiny towns and villages dot the county, and contain some marvelous traditional architecture. Several spa towns and monasteries high in the mountains make for popular excursions.