The Tartar's Road
The most recent vestiges
During the First World War, the Tatar’s Pass/Tabla Buții Pass/Buzău Pass/Tabla Buzeului Pass was one of the six mountain gates used in late August 1916 by the Romanian Army to attack the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in the area of the Curvature Carpathians. Significant defensive works and terrain preparations, including ditches, ramparts, dug-outs and advanced lines of obstacles, were built in these border areas, during the two previous years of neutrality. Other earthworks were built here in the autumn of 1916, when, in less than two months since Romania entered the war against the Central Powers, the seven kilometres long mountain ridge, stretched between the Crai’s Peak (1496 m) and the Austro-Hungarian border guard-point at Tabla Buții (1375 m), became the actual site of a bloody battlefield. Here, in the trenches built around the medieval fortress at Tabla Buții and on the crests leading eastwards to Buzău Valley, for more than a month, around 3000 Romanian soldiers defended actively and, in the end successfully, one of the ‘shortest roads leading to Bucharest’. Breaching through the Curvature Carpathians Gate – a true hub for roads linking Transylvania to Romania’s capital and its oil fields at Ploiești and Buzău – was the prime attack target of the German Contra-offensive led by General Erich von Falkenhayn.
Already then, however, the mountain road through Tatar’s Pass was seen by the Germans as being of a lesser significance, as they favoured the more efficient routes for military transport, crossed by paved roads and railways, of Prahova and Buzău valleys. This is probably the reason that led historians to regard the battles fought here as less important and treated them as merely a ‘filler’, an accolade of the larger events in Prahova or Oituz Valleys – an approach that resulted in a decreased scientific interest in the matter. In fact, after 1916, the road through Tatar’s Pass practically comes out of the ‘bigger history’, remaining a rocky mountain pathway used by shepherds, tourists and off-road enthusiasts.