Tourism

A priceless asset of Transylvania: mineral water

Nature has blessed the Transylvania region with a valuable asset: mineral water. Wherever you walk in this area, you’ll see people gather near streams of sparkling spring water to fill up a row of empty bottles. Tap water isn’t popular in this area because people prefer to drink this cold, clear and prickly water with a rich taste of minerals. The New York Times has even dedicated a feature article to Transylvania’s mineral springs.

Acknowledging its potential, residents of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire dreamed of turning the region of Transylvania into the Switzerland of the East. But their dream was crushed by war, politics and economic failures. They dreamed about tourists visiting spas and resorts to bathe and heal in the waters here, just as they do in other parts of Europe.

For some reason this dream wasn’t meant to be, but reminders of this water-centric culture are ubiquitous in Transylvania, per The New York Times, “in half-timbered villas of old spa towns, wooden pools in pristine surroundings built and used by villagers and roadside pavilions sheltering springs.”

Since the communist regime’s main focus for tourism investments was the Black Sea Coast, not the mountains, the springs have persevered because residents have fought for them and cleaned up neglected springs. A good example of this is the so-called “peasants spa” in Csíkborzsova/Barzava, where the villagers renovated the fountain so that the concrete pools are filled with fizzy water that comes directly from the mountain. It’s ice-cold and sparkling.

Due to its geologic structure, Romania has important resources of mineral water. The country holds about 60 percent of the mineral water resources of Europe, according to research published by EuroGeoSurveys. They know of 500 localities located in the Eastern Carpathians that have more than 2,000 mineral springs.

Title image: the Owl mineral spring in Tusnád. Image credit: http://csikcsodai.eloerdely.ro

Author: István Fekete