In this episode of the description of our UNESCO TOUR we are coming back to Transylvania, crossing the Oriental Carpathians where lies 1/3-rd from the mineral waters of Europe.
DAY 5 GURA HUMORULUI – SIGHISOARA
Today will comeback to Transylvania, and will end the day in Dracula town, Sighisoara.
Before this, we have to cross again the same Oriental Carpathians formed millions of years ago from vulcanic eruptions. Today the mineral waters are a real reachness of those lands. Those mineral waters extracted from here represents 1/3 from the mineral waters existing in Europe ( approx. 35%) and are splitted from the point of view of the chemical composition, in several types of mineral waters:
- a) Carbogenic, occurring from post-vulcanic manifestations in which carbon dioxide a permanent component of the volcanic eruption and occurring in the postvulcanic phase, on its way to the surface, meets the groundwaters in which it dissolves. In Transylvania these carbonated springs are called borvizuri or borcuturi. Dissolved carbon dioxide acidizes water and increases its solubilization power, dissolving alkaline minerals (Ca, Mg, Na, Li, K) as bicarbonates. The carbonated springs depict:
- calcium carbonate (CaCO3), in the form of limestone bushes, which by recapture become travertine;
- iron carbonate (FeCO3) precipitating in the form of limonite (as found in Vlahita - Harghita)
b) Chlorosodic due to salt passage.c) Sulfuric - sulphate due to passage through gypsum formations from miocene and flis, metamorphic rocks or coal.d) Simple carbonated waters are found in the moose of the Oriental Carpathians (Viseu de Sus, Capalnita, Peteu, Zabala) and in the Mures corridor.e) Carbonated bicarbonate waters are found in the moose of the Oriental Carpathians (Oas Depression, Maramures Depression, Borsec, Toplita, Bicazu Ardelean, Bodoc, Biborteni, Arcus, Zizin)
Part of this area, we have a natural park. The park is located in the Hasmas mountains - (Haghimas), situated in the central group of Oriental Carpathians, also known as the Moldo - Transylvanian Carpathians. The park is located in the central - north - eastern region of Romania, in the zone of Harghita and Neamt districts. The Bicaz Gorges National Park is one of a great geological, geomorphologic and paleontologic interest. It is also interesting from the point of view of its landscapes, and biological diversity generated by the great variety of geoclimactic conditions. The Bicaz Gorges are famous in Romania also because of their impressive dimension. At the same time, the Red Lake, formed through the natural blocking of the Bicaz river’s waters (1837) offers lovely scenery to the eyes.The protected area of the Bicaz Gorges - Hasmas is crossed by the trans-carpathian road DN12C, which connects the town of Gheorgheni - (situated in the Giurgeu Depression and drained by the Mures river) to Bicaz, a town situated on the Bistrita river. Access towards the Hasmasul (Haghimasul) Mare can be obtained from Balan, situated north of Sandominic, on DN12.
The natural frame of the Hasmas massif, with its varied geologic, geomorphologic, pedologic and climactic elements, its microclimactic conditions determined by the exposure and aspect of slopes, the great height difference (from 575 m in the valley of the Bicaz at Bicaz Chei, to 1792 m at the top of the Hasmasu Mare) determine the existence of a rich and diverse flora and fauna. As a result of field investigation and according to extant bibliographic data, 1147 superior plant species have been inventoried (29 hybrids and 99 sub-species) The PNCB - H has spruce forests (pure spruce forests - 95%) resinous forests with beech on the mountain slopes, vaste montaineous pastures, peaks with sub - alpine vegetation, rocky parts with specific vegetation, and many rare and endemic flowers.
Specific to this region is the local endemic plant Astragalus pseudopurpureus (gusul). Many rare species can be seen here, among which are: the juniper(Juniperus sabina) the pyramidal bugle (Ajuga pyramidalis), the low tufted perennial Silene zawadzkii, the Geum - like - barren wild strawberry (Waldsteinia geoides) and the rose Daphne (Daphne cneorum). Of a great scientific importance are the legally protected plants, declared monuments of nature:the Yellow Lady’s Slipper(Cypripedium calceolus), the Eidelweis (Leontopodium alpinum) the Nigritella rubra (orchidacee) and the yew (Taxus baccata). The fauna of the park is very rich in rare and endangered species and also other species characteristic for the mountain region. Here are some of these rare species, which are important links of a rich trophic network, indicating a subsisting well balanced eco system.: the Apollo butterfly (Parnassius apollo)and the Polygonia alba. There are also amphibians and reptiles, such as Bombina variegata (the yellow bellied toad), Rana ridibunda (the lake frog) Triturus alpestris (the Alpine newt), Triturus cristatus (the crested newt), the Triturus montadoni (the carpathian newt), the Salamandra salamandra (salamander), the Bufo bufo (the toad), the Rana temporaria (the common frog) the Lacerta vivipara (the viviparous lizard), the Vipera berus (common viper), the Coronella austriaca (the smooth snake). There are also birds such as Tichodroma muraria (the wallcreeper), Picoides tridactylus (the woodpecker), Emberiza cia (the rock Bunting), Corvus corax (common raven) Tetrao urogallus (Old World grouse), Strix uralensis (the Ural owl) Aquila chrysaetos (the golden eagle). Some mammals which can be found in the region are Cervus elaphus (the red deer) Rupicapra rupicapra (the wild alpine goat) Ursus arctos (the bear) Lynx lynx (lynx) and Canis lupus (the wolf).
After coming down from the mountains, will cros the region where the descendents of the first Hungarian colonists are living. It is a different way of arquitecture but the romanian landscape it is beautiful here as in all the other places of the country.
Sighisoara - The Medieval City
Situated in Mures County, in the valley of the Tarnava Mare river, Sighisoara (a former Dacian settlement called „the pearl of Transylvania“) was founded by the German immigrants in the second half of the 12th century and became a city in 1407. The Medieval Fortress situated „high up on a hill“ 425 m. above sea level dates from the 12th century. The first fortress was built in 1280 on a high plateau, around the church on the hill, and it was widened and fortified in the following centuries. It finally had three parts and fourteen towers (out of which only nine still remain), as well as a defensive wall 930 m. long and 4 m. high, initially made of stone and then of brick. Over time, this wall was heightened to 14 - 15 m. in some places.
Due to its excellent position and exquisite medieval aspect, Sighisoara attracts many tourists every year, being declared a valuable historical monument. Its medieval remains may be found both in the centre of the city and inside the Fortress of Sighisoara. In this area, houses are built very close to one another, giving a sense of “crowdedness” (in order to occupy the least space possible). The historical age of these houses is not that great, because in 1668, the city suffered a terrible earthquake and then burnt completely in 1676, and the was afterwards rebuilt. The „ancient“ part of the city is given by the later discoveries: objects dating from the Bronze Age (discovered in Dealul Turcului), cremation monuments dating from the Daco-Roman period, money coined after the death of the Roman Emperor Aurelian, but the most important architectural monuments date from the 15th and 16th centuries.
One should also mention that Vlad Dracul (Vlad Tepes’ father) was a guest at the city between 1431 and 1435. Vlad Dracul - Voievode of Wallachia - was a member of the Order of Dragons, commanded by the German Emperor. Another famous guest in the city was the king of Hungary Sigismund of Luxemburg. Vlad Dracul occupied a house situated close to the Clock Tower which is well marked so you can’t miss it. In the fortress you can visit everything but only 3 things are really important: The Church on the Hill - the only one in Europe which has a special representation of the Holy Trinity and a very powerful symbol in the central painting of the altar. Also it is the only church in Transylvania which has a crypt. Situated under the altar. The second is The Clock Tower with its mechanism and historical museum and The Church of the Dominican Monastery. Also you can walk round the bastions and the tower from a city which still has the medieval scents. From here, will go to Brasov and will stop on the way to Saschiz where will visit the fortified churches existing here and then, will continue to Prejmer.