Fundătura Ponorului sau „Palma lui Dumnezeu”, așa cum mai este cunoscută această zonă, este locul unde timpul parcă a încremenit. Fundătura Ponorului se află în Parcul National Gradistea Muncelului-Cioclovina.

Este o arie protejată de interes național, care se află în grupa muntoasă a Munților Șureanu-Parâng-Lotrului, aparținând lanțului muntos al Carpaților Meridionali, în partea sudică a județului Hunedoara, pe teritoriile administrative ale comunelor Baru, Boșorod, Bănița, Orăștioara de Sus și Pui, la o altitudine de 900 de metri. Localnicii nu au o viață prea ușoară, însă ca turist, locul acesta te fascinează, deoarece timpul pare că stă în loc, iar grabă și agitația secolului al XXI-lea nu au străbătut încă aceste văi.

Fundatura Ponorului can be reached from the road leading to Petroșani from Hațeg. From Ponor, on a road on the left, you go to Federi village. Basically, this is the lowest area in the Șureanu Massif, like an arena, which is surrounded by high mountains. After a few kilometers of climbing, in front of those who choose to visit this area, there is a former red bauxite quarry, and beyond it, the road narrows considerably, becoming more and more difficult to navigate. The road crosses several hills, occupied here and there by an old wooden house, just like in the grandparents' stories, which are surrounded by wooden fences, but also by orchards. These homes are modest, and unfortunately many of them have lost the battle with time. However, those who have remained to live here do not lead a very easy life, the life being quite hard, but they manage to manage.

The beauty of the place takes your breath away, regardless of the season that you visit. Everywhere you look, the landscape is different and, every time, it conquers you. Regardless of the time of year, the "Palm of God" welcomes its tourists with open arms, to whom it offers a little of all the wonders of nature. The people here are thrifty, although they are quite old, everywhere you can see dwellings, haystacks, cows, horses and thousands of sheep, guarded by the locals. During periods of heavy rainfall, when river flows increase, the meadow often forms lakes on larger areas, which sometimes, if the winters are colder, freeze and the Ponor meadow becomes a huge ice rink.

Fundatura Ponorului valley is crossed by the waters of the Ponor valley, which in the past was united with the Ponorici valley forming a large valley that flowed its waters N-E of the Hațeg depression, through the Fizești area. In time, the rivers parted, Ponoriciul being captured by the current valley of Cioclovina, and the Ponor river was captured through the area of ​​Federi and Ohaba localities. It seems that, in this area, the waters dug the limestone formed in the Jurassic period and infiltrations appeared in the riverbed, which created the largest known caves in the Șureanu Mountains. Over the years, these infiltrations have become the flagships that can be seen today. The rivers completely eroded the limestone layer to the substrate formed by crystalline rocks, widening their riverbed and creating the most spectacular karst depressions in the Șureanu Mountains. The bed of the Ponor river is a winding one, forming several turns, which extend for about nine kilometers on the main stream, near the top of Porumbelu Mare, where it springs for two kilometers on the tributary that comes from Poiana Omului.

The natural park includes, within its limits, six of the most spectacular nature reserves of Hunedoara county.

More precisely, it is about the Ponorâci-Cioclovina Karst Complex, Tecuri Cave, Șura Mare Cave, Crivadiei Gorges, Ohaba-Ponor Fossil Place, Bolii Cave. At the same time, nearby are the archeological sites in the UNESCO Patrimony from Sarmizegetusa Regia, Costești, Blidaru, Luncani-Piatra Roșie and the authentic ethnographic settlements from the Luncani Platform.

photo source: Marius Turc

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