Lake St. Ann and the Mohos peat bog!

Lake St. Ann and the Mohos peat bog are considered to be unique in Europe. These natural miracles were formed from the two volcanic craters of the Csomad mountain. In the main volcano's crater at 950 m above sea level is the 464 m diameter Lake and in the secondary at 1050 m above sea level the Mohos peat bog.

The strictly protected natural reservation is either accessible by car for an entrance fee or on foot from Tusnad Bai. Standing on the shore of the lake you have an absolutely breath taking sight. The almost perfect circle shaped water mirrors back the picturesque view of the surrounding pine woods. You can go boating on the lake or in summer time you can even swim in it, the water temperature can reach 24-25C0. Local people believe that if you have a bath in the water the fairy of the lake will protect you for a year.

Near the lake there is a Roman Catholic Chapel, Saint Ann’s Chapel which was built in 1977 in the place of a wooden chapel. It is an important pilgrimage place for the Catholics in the area on Saint Ann’s day at the end of July.

The hydrographical basin of the lake is small and no streams flow into it so the lake is fed by annual waterfalls. It does not flow out only under the surface of the earth and springs outside the crater. The water level is decreasing, in 1867 it was 12 m deep, in 1907 8.5 m and today only 7 m. This procedure is fastened by the overgrowth of the vegetation and the filling up of the bed. It is foreseen that in decades the lake will become a swamp too, just like the Mohos lake.

In the secondary crater of the Csomad mountain, in Harghita county, 1050 m above sea level you can find the Mohos peat bog. Its diameter is 800 meters and it’s seize is 80 ha. The peat thickness is 10 meters and its quantity is 3 million m3. The late Mohos Lake disappeared, the rich vegetation and the thick sphagnum spared the area. This resulted from the regressive erosion of the Veres stream and the bank up with alluvium.

In the second volcanic crater near St. Ann lake and the Mohos peak southern part lays the Mohos peat bog. The natural reservation conserves scientific and natural rarities, an alpine peat bog. Among the wonderful pine forests doted with marsh berry the sphagnum gives a spectacular view. The former lake surface is almost totally covered with this sphagnum, locals call `Kokojzas` (marsh berry field). You can still see a few smaller lakes the remains of the former Mohos Lake.

Here is the best place for admiring fantastic plant rarities, carnivore plants, round leaved moor-grass and more than 20 types of sphagnaceae. You can also find bog berry, pine, marsh berry, bog-rosemary from the ice age. Among the animals we can mention the water-bear, rotifer, mud-amoeba, different water bugs, leeches, etc. Visitors are allowed only to see a part from the swamp because it’s a natural reservation. On deals we can get to the remained lake and we can have a close look on these plant rarities.

The Torja Stinking Cave

It’s a wild unspoiled holiday resort among the pine woods with a lot of mofettes, mineral water springs and thermal baths.

What is a mofette? Usually tourists don’t know the meaning but you have to know that this is one of the many advantages that Sekler land has. It’s a special bath without water. The gas is coming out of the earth and as it gets into the blood-stream through the skin it starts its healing process. These gases come up from the result of post activity of the volcano and they are present in many places all over Sekler land. The types of gases are usually carbon dioxide and sulphur. It is good for circulation problems, blood-pressure problems and for motorical problems. Of cause you need to have a few day treatment if you want any results. The mofette can be very dangerous too. Breathing in these gases can be fatal. We have to be careful, do not bend under the gas sign line and do not mix up with sudden movements. Near Balvanyos bath we can find the most famous Torja Stinking cave in Europe. There is a well posted path to the cave near the Best Western Balvanyos. It’s a half hour walk through a wonderful forest path. Getting closer to the cave you feel the strong smell of the sulphur and then the gate of hell is right in front of you. Inside the cave, on the walls, you can see flowers of sulphur. Stepping inside suddenly you feel your legs and arms hot like going into a sauna. These can gas make their healing effect only after a few times, but keeping the safety rules you must try it out. The Buffogo swamp is a little bit further, but it’s worth walking on the faries’ land swamp.

Itinerary: Odorheiu-Secuiesc – Miercurea-Ciuc – Tusnad Bai – Lake St. Ann – Mohos peat bog – Torjai Stinking Cave (about 115 km)

Have a nice trip!

Yours sincerely
Nagy Arpad

The legend of Lake St. Ann

Long long time ago faries lived in the water and at night they used to come out and dance. But they were interrupted by the sound of the bell from the nearby chapel. They persuaded a lad to steal the bell for a huge reward. But they drowned the lad instead of paying and they continued their dances killing other sekler lads. Once a lad called Gergo kissed one of the faries and she lost her magic power and married Gergo. After many adventures the young couple gets the bell back from the fairy king. When the bell rang again the faries were turned into fish and the fairy king into a very ugly toad.

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