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SAINT ANN LAKE
Saint Ann Lake at 946 m height is the only lake in Europe which has a volcanic origin. The shape of the lake reminds us of the shape of a painter’s palette. The water of it is considered to be the purest in the world, but because of the lack of minerals, it is not drinkable.
No tourist travelling across Baile Tusnad can resist admiring the rock standing on the right bank of the river Olt. Being the most famous watchtower in the area, it offers an astonishing view over Baile Tusnad, the Szurdok and the Csomád Peaks, Lake Csukás, and the entire 15 km long gorge of the Olt to Sepsibükszád (Buxad). At 824 m height, the Falcon’s Rock, consisted of andesite, seems to be a grey wall among the green pinetrees. We can reach it by following the red triangle tourist trail which starts in Baile Tusnad. In County Hargita this is the only place where the fragile, yellow-flowered Telekianum grows in-between the cracks of the rocks. Due to this rare flower and some other similar species, the Falcon’s Rock has become a nature reserve.
Baile Tusnad is situated at the eastern foot of the Falcon’s Rock and on the western slope of the mountain range called Csomád and Nagypálca. One can find the Ludmilla Peak and the Apor Bastion to the east of the spa resort, and to the same direction but higher the Castle Peak, the Gorge Peak, the Komlós, the Big Csomád and then the Little Csomád. The most important peaks of the area on the other side of the river Olt to the west of the spa resort are: the Towers, the Falcon’s Rock, the Raven-Stream Peak and then higher the Big and the Little Piliske.
MOHOS PEAT BOG
A wide mountain pass separates Saint Ann Lake and the Mohos Peat Bog which lies 100 metres higher than the lake. The Mohos Bog was originally an active crater at the same time as the crater of the lake, but the Mohos crater aged. The extension of the lake was four times larger than now and Mohos Lake was on the ebb during the past centuries and it became a bog on a high mountain. The Mohos Peat Bog is a natural reserve with several botanical rarity.
BÜDÖS (SMELLY) CAVE IN TORJA
The Büdös (Smelly) Cave in Torja – according to Jókai, a Hungarian author – is a „portico of Hell”. This famous and at the same time ill-famed sulphouric cave of the Büdös (Smelly) Mountain can be found at the southern side of the peak at 1,052 m height. The deserted shaft of the old sulphur mine today is one of Europe’s strongest natural mofetta emitting about 3,000 cubic metres of sulphurous carbon-dioxid daily. On the edges of the cliffs the yellow discolouration shows where the borderline between life and death lies. There are several tourist trails marked with blue and red spots leading from the Hotel Carpati (once a sanatorium for tuberculous patients) to here. The blue trail leads us along the Büdös (Smelly) Mountain-round where we can find the Alum Cave, the Bird Cemetery Cave and the Cave Killer at the level of the Büdös (Smelly) Cave. These are all deserted mines. Mining here was the privilege of the village Torja between the 14th and the 18th centuries, later the Apor-family got the right for mining sulphur in this area. The Alum- or Apor-Spa contains the rarest types of mineral water in the whole area. We can find it easily if we follow the tourist trail near the Hotel Carpati marked with red triangles. The water of the tiny, greyish coloured springs and the little basins contains alum, as well as a small amount of natural sulphuric acid. Springs with the same content can only be found in New Granada (Tennessee/USA) and on the island of Java. The last natural geological reserve in the row is the Gorge Jajdon. Its strong streams of sulphurated hydrogen gas originated from the eastern slopes of the Bodok Alps and its several types of acidulous water make it similar to the Bálványos Basin.
The lake was born in the summer of 1837 when rubble from the eastern slope of the Gyilkos (Killer) Rock slid down because of heavy rains. Thus the valley, where several streams (Cohard, Likas, Vereskő, Lóhavas, Juh) flow together, was closed off. There are some who suppose that the birth of the lake might have been caused by an earthquake which took place 11 January in 1838. It was Franz Herbrich who first charted the lake in 1859, according to his calculation its size reached 32 acres. There were some others as well who measured the lake in 1955. Then they found that its circumference was 3,090 metres, its surface was 126,340 square metres, the body of its water was 680,084 cubic metres, it was 10,5 metres deep at its lowest point, the runoff of the streams that flew into the lake was 1-1.5 metres/minute, and finally the height of its surface was 983 metres from sea-level.
According to the measurements taken in 1986, the circumference of the lake was only 2,800 metres, its surface was 114,676 square metres, the body of its water was 587,503 cubic metres, it was 9.7 metres deep at its lowest point. The data collected in 1986 showed that 4.88 centimetres of rubble settles at the bottom of the lake every year. Unless there is an effective human intervention, the lake will completely disappear by the year 2080. In the neighbourhood there are two artificial lakes where experts try to save the lakes from filling up with rubble by building dikes. One of the lakes can be found in the valley of the Vereskő Stream, the other is situated near the issue of the Juh Stream.
The Bicaz Pass (Cheile Bicazului) is a gorge of tectonical origin in the Hagymás Mountain, in the north-east part of Hargita County, in the valley of the Bicaz Stream. The pass became national reserve in 1971, today it belongs to the National Park. The Bicas Pass is surrounded by the following peaks: Little Cohard (1,344 m), Csiki-bükk (1,264 m), Altar Stone (1,154 m), Mary Stone (1,125 m). The Lapos Stream flows through the Lapos Gorge at the western foot of the Altar Stone when finally it reaches the Bicaz Stream. At the bottom end of the gorge we can find the Little Bicaz Pass along the Little Bicaz Stream.