Romanian Trovants – Sculptures by The Greatest Artist of Them All

If you don’t know much about geology (or even if you do), the images featured below remind more of the works of Brâncuşi… And if you try to find a definition of what they are online, you cannot really manage without guidance. These are “trovants” – or concretions – a volume of sedimentary rock in which a mineral cement fills the porosity (i.e. the spaces between the sediment grains). As you expected they are rather rare formations, and you’ll only find them in remote locations, like the Bowling Balls Beach (Mendocino County, California); Jameson Land, East Greenland; Costesti, Romania; and a few other places… but we like to focus on Romanian territory here.

Trovant in Costesti, in the Valcea region of Romania.

In Romania, you can find these spectacular stone formations in a place called Rezervaţia Naturală Muzeul Trovanţilor – in English Trovanti Museum Natural Reserve. The reserve is situated in Costeşti, Vâlcea (not far from Horezu and the National Road 67). The reason this is not already more popular is its relative young age – the reserve was only opened in 2005, under the careful administration of the Kogayon Association. The association itself is young as well, founded only in 2003, at the initiative and with the resources of a group of students from the Faculties of Geology and Geophysics within the University of Bucharest.

Trovanti Museum Natural Reserve

For many travelers, the oddly-shaped stones that spread all over the place look signify as many photographic opportunities. Tourists are not afraid of the local legends, that say that the stones bring bad luck, and even those who do believe in evil, witches and curses still come along to experience the scenery first hand. The local peasants call them ‘Stones that grow’ for a good reason: they were not brought here from a different location. They were formed some million years ago, in the Upper Miocene. And the stones continue to grow at rainfall…


The spectacular and unique concretions known as trovants in Romania are ranging from few centimeters to two meters. Never mind that other sites on the web report up to six-eight meters, none of the trovants are that big. You’ll find the sandstone concretions enclosed in a very thick sand bed. Notably, each concretion has a peculiar shape – no two are alike. There are tens of strange and beautiful trovanti scattered over the 11000 sqm geological reserve.

Natural Design Series: Stones That Literally Grow by Themselves

Courtesy Environmental Graffiti: Natural Design Series: Stones That Literally Grow by Themselves

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Feature image, courtesy Travel in Romania.