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For those of you who are passionate of tracking, long walks in the middle of nature, speleology, searching the secrets of the surroundings and admiring the view while enjoying the fresh air, the Western Romanian Carpathians is the place to … Continue reading

Sep 13

Lake St. Ann (Lacul Sfanta Ana)

Lake St. Ann is the sole volcanic lake located on the Romanian territory. It is situated in Ciomatu Mountain, in Harghita County, and was formed on the crater of an extinct volcano that has erupted tens of thousands of years ago – the last eruption being the most recent phenomenon of this kind to occur within the Carpathian Mountains.

The altitude at which the lake can be found reaches almost one thousand meters (946 m). Lake St. Ann is circular and resembles a painter’s palette, measuring 620m in length and 460 m in width (at its widest point). The total surface is of 19.50 ha and the maximum depth reaches 7 m. Why are these pieces of information relevant in this article? Even if the main theme of the texts presented revolves around the tourist attractions which can be found in a specific area, relevant data concerning the formation and presentation of a tourist objective is necessary because it allows people to get a general idea about the place they are about to visit.

When tourists venture into the “wilderness” in order to visit various monuments of nature, they usually try to find information concerning the weather so as to avoid being taken by surprise by extreme meteorological conditions, but when it comes to Lake St. Ann, these data are easily obtained. The two fissures formed within the volcanic mountain can predict the way in which the weather is about to change. People who dwell in the region will correctly foresee if the day will be characterized by a sunny or a stormy atmosphere. If the emissions coming from the fissures pinch the nose, then storm is underway, otherwise, the day will be sunny, thus allowing tourists to go hiking.

These predictions should be taken for granted because there is a scientific explanation behind the phenomenon. While the volcano is dormant, its core still preserves some of its characteristics, in the sense that some sort of post-volcanic activity still occurs within the mountain and this captures any change in the atmospheric pressure, as subtle as it might be. When the pressure drops, the gases that are located inside the mountain come to the surface, being released in the atmosphere through the aforementioned fissures. These gases are responsible for the pungent smell.

St. Ann Lake is a natural reservation, being a treasure of the environment due to its geological characteristics, as well as to the species of flora and fauna found here.

Besides the fact that they have the opportunity to gaze at a volcanic lake, singular of this kind in Romania and in Eastern Europe, tourists are also drawn to the idea of escaping the agitation of everyday life and retreat into a beautiful natural setting. And this is what Lake St. Ann has to offer. There are no springs which flow into the lake, all the accumulated water comes from the rain.

The location is definitely appropriate for spiritual redemption as it offers the perfect conditions for a retreat into the self. Not to mention that right on the bank of the lake one will find a Roman Catholic chapel dedicated to Saint Ann.

There is a legend according to which a girl was to be married, but she resented the idea as the marriage was arranged for financial purposes. In the eve of her wedding, she ran away and threw herself into the lake. Her body was never found and as a result the lake was named after the girl who gave up her life instead of being forced into doing something she did not want.

The natural setting is characterized by several myths, thus there is this sense of mystery revolving around the lake. Maybe neither of the legends is trustworthy, but some might be connected in a way or another to the historical facts. The bottom line is that you are bound have a unique vacation if you choose to visit Lake St. Ann.

Jul 19

The Romanian Carpathians (Muntii Carpati – Romania)

The Carpathian Mountains extend over 1500 km and traverse a number of European states: Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro. The focus of this article is the mountainous system which is comprised within the Romanian borders and which represents by far the lengthiest section of the Carpathians.

This can only mean one thing: Romania has been endowed with a beautiful mountainous environment which consists of tall peaks, straits, meadows together with the flora and fauna characteristic for mountainous regions.


The Romanian Carpathians are divided in three groups which are named based on their geographical position. Thus we have the Eastern, Southern and Western Groups: the Oriental, the Meridional and the Occidental Carpathians. The tallest peak located in Romania is Moldoveanu which measures 2544 m and is situated in the southern group, in Fagarasi Mountains, in close vicinity of the second highest peak, Negoiu (2535 m).

The entire mountainous region has a high touristic potential but unfortunately only parts of it are accurately exploited, so to speak. The exploitation part refers solely to the proper arrangement in terms of accommodation facilities and transportation services, such as cable tramways. By no means is there implied that massive human intervention should be allowed such as destroying the forests in order to make room for all sorts of buildings or the such.


In fact, the intrusion into the surrounding environment should be as minimum as possible. The only reason for which these areas should be visited is so as to allow people to explore nature, but not to make alterations to the setting.

The Carpathians have different types of relief characteristics which make the landscape truly impressive. Thus tourists can admire mountainous peaks, depressions, valleys, each characterized by a specific type of vegetation.

There are numerous species of plant and animal life living in the area: brown bears, wolves, lynxes, and 1350 different species of plants. Many of the specimens found here are protected by law as they are on the verge of extinction.


Each period of the year leaves its mark on the Carpathian area. In June, the slopes of the mountains are covered with rose bay flowers, creating a beautiful visual effect.  July and August are the months when the meadows seem to be overtaken by an explosion of colors as a multitude of plants are in bloom at this time: the yellow and spotted gentian, the little lily of the valley, or the bird’s eye plant. In the fall, the slopes are covered by the Michaelmas daisy and the swallow wort gentia.

Due to the variety of wildlife and plant life found in the Carpathians, the state has decided to create several national parks where the species would be protected.


Romania is home to one of the largest wolf and bear population on the European continent, and this is mainly found in the lower slopes, where the wild animals can find both food and shelter. These regions are almost in their entirety hidden by thick forests. At a smaller altitude, tourists will find oak and beech trees, a landscape which is best admired in spring and autumn – when the trees are covered in leaves or when they change their coloration. As one climbs higher and higher, the scenery changes. Thus forests of beech, spruce, and fir present themselves. At certain altitudes there are forests made up of a single type of tree whereas other times the species of trees are intermingled.

As it has been mentioned previously, thousands of wolves and brown bears dwell in the Carpathian forests so it is no surprise that the howl of a wolf can break the silence of the night or that bear tracks are spotted every now and then. In fact, many have even had their own encounter with bears, even if from afar (which is probably better).