Retezat National Park was founded in 1935 at the initiative of Emil Racoviţă and Alexandru Borza, and was the first national park in Romania. It has a unique glacial relief in the Romanian Carpathians, over 20 peaks higher than 2,000 metres as well as numerous glacial lakes – the largest is Bucura and the deepest, Zănoaga. In addition, more than one third of the plant species in Romania can be found here (1,190 all in all), 90 of which can no longer be seen anywhere else in the world. At present the protected area covers a surface of about 38,000 ha and is protected internationally, having been declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1979.

The reserve presents a natural mountain area with a diverse range of flora and fauna, expressed both at the level of species and the level of terrestrial ecosystems. It harbors almost 1,190 species of higher plants, 90 species of endemic taxa, 130 rare or vulnerable plants, 50 mammal species, 168 bird species, 9 reptile species, 5 amphibian species.