Crossed by the Parallel 45 and enjoying the comforting benefits of a sub mediterranean climate, Mountainous Banat is famous for 5 attractive touristic areas:
1. “Semenic” touristic area, with Mount Semenic and the towns of Reşiţa and Bocşa;
2. “Banat’s Aurora” touristic area, with the towns of Oraviţa and Anina;
3. “Scorilo” touristic area with Small Mountain (Muntele Mic) and Poiana Marului resort and the towns of Caransebes and Otelu Rosu;
4. ” Herculane Baths” touristic area, with the famous balneal climatic resort Herculane Baths;
5. “Danube Gorges” touristic area, with the harbours of Moldova Noua (Caraş-Severin) and Orşova (Mehedinţi).
The most beautiful trips can be made:
· On water, through a cruise on the Danube Gorges, from Moldova Noua to Orsova, through the most beautiful Danube Straits from the source to the estuary;
· By train, on the first mountain railway in Romania, Oraviţa–Anina belonging to the Aurora Banat touristic area and being in the same time, the most beautiful railway still in function in Europe;
· By car, to the “Mihai Eminescu” Old Theatre in Oraviţa, the first theatre in Romania; to the Rudaria water mills from the Aurora Banat touristic area and also to the Tourism Monument at Rusca Montana, unique in the world, dedicated to tourism, belonging to the touristic area of Scorilo;
· On bicycle, driving on the mountain paths and the former forest paths from Resita to Comarnic Cave, in the Semenic touristic area;
· On foot, making the tour of the Herculane Baths resort, the oldest balneal climatic resort from Romania and Southeast Europe; walking through the Nera Gorges – Beusnita gorge, the longest and most beautiful one from Romania, belonging to the Banat Aurora touristic area and through the Caras Gorges, the wildest defile in Mountainous Banat , in the Semenic touristic area.
THE DANUBE SHORE
THE SEMENIC TOURISTIC AREA
The SEMENIC touristic area is the “heart” of Banat tourism including the touristic resorts: Semenic, Văliug–Crivaia, Trei Ape / Three Waters and Secu.
The two cities in the area, Reşiţa and Bocşa, renowned in the past as important industrial centres on the “Iron Route of Banat” are reborn as future touristic centres.
Resita, the county seat of Caraş-Severin County, is located at the foot of the Mount Semenic, on the middle course of the Bârzava River, at an altitude of 235 m.
The town of Bocşa, 18 km away from Reşiţa – to the northwest, is the place from where trips or tours can be made to Ocna de Fier, Dognecea and Biniş, known in the past for the last pottery craftsman endowed with a particular artistic taste.
The Semenic touristic resort is situated at 1410 m altitude between the peaks of Piatra Goznei (1447), Semenic (1446 m) and Piatra Nedei (1437 m). On Semenic there are 6 ski slopes with varying degrees of difficulty, all equipped with ski lifts. Starting from the “Semenic” ski slope, with a slight degree of difficulty and a length of 350 m, to the “Goznuţa” slope (700 m long), up to the “Fire Tree Cross”(Crucea de Brazi) 1 and 2 (700 m and 530 m long) and the ” Giant Slalom ” slope with a high level of difficulty and a length of 1250 m, tourists have multiple possibilities of choice. For the “Friends of the Mountains” there is the “Special Slalom” slope of 800 m long.
The touristic resort of Văliug-Crivaia stretches along Gozna Lake and on the slope of the mountain, at an altitude of 650 m. On the shore of the lake there are 4 pontoons for beach and swimming with equipment for practicing nautical sports. Recently they inaugurated the “Casa Baraj” / Dam House ski slope, 800 meters long, with snow cannon and night lighting, and the “Semenic-Văliug” slope, 5800 m long, from which one can ski from Semenic to Văliug.
The “Trei Ape / Three Waters” touristic resort lies at an altitude of 850 m, next to the storage lake bearing the same name, where the three waters join together: Semenic, Gradiste and Brebu. They spring from the Mount Semenic – the “Water Castle” of Banat, to form the springs of the Timiş River. The resort is famous for the splendid landscapes offered every season.
The Secu Resort is located 12 km away from Resita, on the shore of Lake Secu.
Main access ways:
National Road DN 58B: Timişoara – Bocşa – Resita County Road DJ582: Resita – Văliug – Prislop Pass- Semenic
European Road E70 (DN 6): Timişoara – Caransebeş – Slatina Timiş – County Road DJ582: Slatina Timiş -Trei Ape -Gărâna – Prislop Pass – Semenic
County Road DJ 586: Bocsa – Ocna de Fier County Road DJ 586A: Ocna de Fier – Dognecea – Secaseni
In this area, one can visit 10 very special touristic attractions distinguished by their uniqueness:
1. The open-air museum of steam locomotives in Resita (1972), where 16 locomotives are exposed;
2. The Mountainous Banat Museum in Resita;
3. The “ Constantin Gruescu” Aesthetic Mineralogy of Iron Collection at Ocna de Fier, with over 2000 “mine flowers” gathered from the mines of Banat, such as for instance the “Gruescu” macle – unique in the world;
4. The “Constantin Lucaci” Museum, with the 17 stainless steel sculptures from the “Space and Light” cycle in Bocsa;
5. The kinetic fountain in the centre of Resita, with a special beauty and technical creation, made in 1984 by the famous sculptor Constantin Lucaci, and testimonies of the future museum of the Banat technique and industry: the blast furnace and the Resita cableway;
6. The Orthodox Church – translated from the centre of Resita (1985) – a unique testimony of the Banat’s engineers and technicians for the salvatiom from demolition of the Banat churches;
7. Mount Semenic and the chain of artificial lakes in Bârzava River: Gozna-Crivaia, Breazova-Văliug and Secu. The Three Waters artificial lake , The Vultures Bath crio-nival lake on Mount Semenic and Water Lilies Lake at Dognecea, each off them offer great opportunities for walkings in the middle of nature, in enchanting places, like in a “corner of heaven”;
8. The “Semenic- Caraş Gorges” National Park, where one can visit the Caras Gorges (19 km) between Comarnic Valley and Caraşova and the Comarnic Cave (6.2 km), one of the largest and most beautiful caves from Banat, famous for the grandeur of stalactite and stalagmite formations;
9. The tourists’ village of Gărâna, a locality known mostly for the “International Jazz Festival”, which takes place every year in July, at the location called “Wolf’s Valley”;
10. St. Elijah Monastery from the Healing Spring – Bocşa Vasiova, “The Veil of the Mother of God” Monastery, located between the localities Brebu and Soceni, as well as the “St. Elijah” Hermitage on Mount Semenic.
1. THE STEAM LOCOMOTIVES MUSEUM IN REŞIŢA
AN OPEN-AIR MUSEUM (1972)
The Szekul Locomotive (1871) manufactured in Vienna and brought to Resita
The St.EG Locomotive (1900) manufactured in Vienna
The first locomotive manufactured in Resita (No. 2) – Resicza (1872)
A MUSEUM, TWO STAGES: St.EG - VIENNA AND UDR - REŞIŢA
A locomotive belonging to the 50 025 series (1921), manufactured at St.Eg. – Vienna
The “Elena Princess” locomotive (1925) manufactured at UDR – Resita
Panoramic view of the Reşiţa steam locomotive museum
AN UNIQUE MUSEUM IN EUROPE WITH EXHIBITS FROM THE SAME LOCATION
Another attraction of the museum is the “Princess Elena” forestry locomotive with no. 704 402, which is distinguished by age (1925) and performance.
The „Resicza” Locomotive (no. 2) – the first locomotive built at the Reşiţa plants in the year 1872, after the model of the locomotive “Szekul” (no.1), brought from Vienna in 1871.
The museum has 16 locomotives, of which 13 are manufactured in Reşiţa:
1. The Resicza narrow gauge locomotive (948 mm) – St.EG Reşiţa -1872
2. The CFU 28 normal gauge locomotive (1435 mm) – MAV Budapest –1900
3. The CFF narrow gauge locomotive (760 mm), no. 704 209 – St.EG Vienna –1917
4. The CFR normal gauge locomotive (760 mm), series 50 025 – St.EG Vienna –1921
5. The „Princess Elena” narrow gauge locomotive, nr.704 402 – UDR Reşiţa –1925
6. The CFR normal gauge locomotive (1435 mm), series 50 378 – UDR Reşiţa –1930
7. The CFR normal gauge locomotive (1435 mm), series 230 128 – UDR Reşiţa –1933
8. The CFR normal gauge locomotive (1435 mm), series 142 072 – UDR Reşiţa –1939
9. The CFR normal gauge locomotive (1435 mm), series 131 003 – UDR Reşiţa –1940
10. The CFF narrow gauge locomotive (760 mm), no. 704 404 – UDR Reşiţa –1944
11. The CFU 29 normal gauge locomotive (1435 mm) –SOVROM Metal Reşiţa –1952
12. The CFR narrow gauge locomotive, nr. 764 103–SOVROM Metal Reşiţa –1952
13. The CFU 14 normal gauge locomotive (1435 mm) –SOVROM Metal Reşiţa –1954
14. The CFR normal gauge locomotive (1435 mm), series 150 038 –C.M. Reşiţa –1955
15. The CFR narrow gauge locomotive, no. 764 001- C.M.Reşiţa –1958
16. The CFR narrow gauge locomotive (760 mm), nr. 764 493 – C.M. Reşiţa –1959
THE PYRAMID OF LOCOMOTIVES: 1 – 2 – 4 - 9
The Museum of steam locomotives at its anniversary (2012)
The travellers arriving in Resita will discover with amazement in the Triaj area of the city a museum displayed in open-air, the steam locomotives museum.
The museum was inaugurated in 1972 when UCM Resita celebrated the 100th anniversary of the launch of the first “Resicza” steam locomotive, manufactured in Resita on 6th of September 1872.
The 16 steam locomotives, pulled out of service and parked for good in the only museum of its kind in Romania, represent an attraction for tourists who are visiting Resita or passing through to the mountain resorts of Mount Semenic. The locomotives, as well as the blast furnaces, have constituted the city emblem – fanion of the Romanian Metallurgy for almost a century.
At Reşiţa, 1461 steam locomotives of various types, powers and dimensions have been manufactured for 92 years, between the years 1872 and 1964, with gauges between 600 and 1542 mm, used in the past for the railway and forestry transport.
The star of the exhibition is the “Resicza” locomotive; one of the first three locomotives – Resicza, Bogsan and Hungaria – manufactured in Resita, after the model brought from Vienna in 1871, and the locomotive is called “Szekul”. Bringing this locomotive from Vienna to Reşiţa was in itself a great adventure. It was transported on the Danube till Baziaş, then on the railway from Baziaş to Oraviţa, and finally on a platform pulled by 36 pairs of oxen, from Oraviţa to Resita. The locomotive received the number 1 for circulation but, according to the time tradition (like with ships!), it continued to bear its own name. Every visitor can hear from Engineer Dan Perianu himself the story of the recovery and bringing of the Resicza locomotive in the museum: “Its salvation from scraping was a miracle; it was found in 1957, on a industrial railway at Campia Turzii, where it was used as a stationary steam generator; in 1961 it was brought to Resita and in 1972 the locomotive found its well-deserved resting place in the museum.” [Perianu D, 2000].
While in their time locomotives represented “a symbol of speed”, nowadays every locomotive in the museum appears having a certain grace, like a jewel of the technique and industry of Banat.
At the same time, the open air museum of steam locomotives is unique in Europe, because almost all of its exhibits have been manufactured in the place where the actual museum is today, the town of Resita.
It represents a page in the history of a settlement that has also witnessed times of true majesty, and priorities for the part of Europe situated to the “East of Vienna”:
1771, on July 3rd the flame of the metallurgical industry is lit at Resita;
1851 is the year when the Reşiţa plants produce the first railway rails;
1854, on 20th of August, the first railway in Romania is put into operation: Oraviţa – Baziaş;
1863, on December 15th the first and the most beautiful mountain railway in the Romanian territory is put into operation: Oraviţa – Anina;
1870, the first wheel bands and locomotive axles are made at Resita;
1871, the “Szekul” locomotive is brought from Vienna to Reşiţa;
1872 the first three steam locomotives in Romania are manufactured at Resita;
1873, the “Hungaria” locomotive is sent from Resita to Vienna’s exhibition;
1955, in autumn of that year locomotive with number 1000 is manufactured;
1964, in this year they stop manufacturing steam locomotives in Reşiţa.
Out of the 16 locomotives exhibited in the museum, 13 locomotives were manufactured in Resita, marking the two distinct stages of production. The first stage is that of the St.E.G, between 1872 and 1898, when nine locomotives were built in 3 constructive types. They were used on the industrial and mining railroads in Banat.
In the second stage, that of the UDR locomotive factory, lasting from 1925 to 1964, a number of 1452 locomotives were manufactured in 24 constructive types. The first two locomotives of the new factory, made in 1925, were named “Prince Carol” and “Princess Elena” and circulated in the Anina area until 1970. One was scraped and the other is still at the museum today. The “Princess Elena” locomotive (no. 704 402) constitutes another attraction of the museum due to its age and performance. It was awarded the gold medal at the International Technical Exhibition in Bucharest in 1926.
Just as the idea of creating the museum was born at the initiative of a group of engineers, led by Mr. Mircea Popa, the general manager of the plant at the time, in a period when the old locomotives were being scrapped one by one, in the same way tourists may hope today for an ideal time to come when they could visit the new building of the Museum of Engineering and Industry in Banat. Furnace nr. 2 of the TMK (formerly CSR) will be “replanted” in it, as well as the other “testimonies” built by the locals on the days and white nights of a city that, for a large number of visitors, remains with the image of the past of the “Fire Fortress.” Come and rediscover Resita through its industrial and cultural past to create its future touristic image!
2. THE MOUNTAINOUS BANAT MUSEUM OF REŞIŢA (1962)
TALE PAGES OF THE MOUNTAINOUS BANAT HISTORY
Temporary Exhibition “Mihai Eminescu”
Neolithic Idols from the Vinca Culture
Museum of Mountainous Banat in Resita
PERMANENT EXHIBITIONS AND TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS
The night of the museums at Resita
Roman civilisation in Banat
Medieval civilisation in Banat
The Temporary Exhibition “Danube Writings“
The Mountainous Banat Museum in Resita is the place where Banat’s history is presented as a tale told by its 7 collections, presented in the chronology of the seven rules under which the land was over the time. The 76,000 pieces of the museum come from private archaeological researches, from donations and purchases, or from random discoveries.
The museum building is located in Bârzavei Meadows, a district known by the locals as Govândari. The visitor who crosses its threshold can be surprised by the modern lines of architecture made by the Architect Șerban Antonescu, lines that draw some kind of cubes in the air, which can lead you to the idea of aspiration towards the heights, just like the multiple-storey forests of Mount Semenic.
The idea of establishment of the museum came from Reşiţa’s intellectuals, lovers of local history and culture, who in 1957 formed a “Committee for the establishment of the museum” at the Reşiţa plants, for the immediate rescue of the Banat’s industrial patrimony. Thus, as a result of the donations from the private collections, in the autumn of 1959 the Museum of the history of the Banat industry in Reşiţa was established, but officially certified in March 1962. After the administrative reorganisation of Romania in counties in 1968, the Reşiţa Museum became the Caraş-Severin County History Museum. The construction of the current edifice was completed in 1987, and the real life of the museum began in 1990, when the first exhibitions were arranged and opened to the public. In 1997, the museum has received the current name of the Mountainous Banat Museum of Resita. The permanent exhibitions of the museum opened in May 2000, after an interruption of a quarter of a century.
To visit the museum, tourists have to go through three large halls in spirals, which contain the 7 permanent collections exhibitions:
• the prehistoric collection;
• the collection of Dacian culture and civilisation;
• the collection of Roman culture and civilisation;
• the collection of medieval culture and civilization;
• Banat’s industrial history collection;
• Banat’s multicultural ethnography collection;
• The modern and contemporary Banat art collection.
As historian Dumitru Ţeicu, director of the museum, confesses, “all our permanent exhibitions contain only original pieces of the Banat heritage gathered or donated during the 50 years of activity” [Ţeicu D., 2012]
The visitors will be impressed having in front of their eyes:
ü The Neolithic idols belonging to the Vinča Culture, pieces being discovered at Zorlenţu Mare;
ü The Greek-Illyric helmet of the Iron Age, dating back to the 5th century BC, discovered at Berzovia;
ü The wooden bucket which put in motion the stones of an Ilidia mill;
ü The famous brick with the Latin inscription of the letter of a Roman soldier, dated back in the 4th century AD, being discovered at Gornea -Sichevita;
ü The jewellery and adornment hoard (entwined bracelets, Tokay earrings, seal rings, etc.) from Macovişte;
ü The numismatic collection of Roman and Medieval coins that circulated in Banat;
ü The pottery workshop of the 12th century (medieval period), from Gornea-Sicheviţa, and reconstituted in natural size;
ü The collection of folk costumes from Banat, with the 800 ethnographic pieces and the 300 three-dimensional pieces regarding the professions, traditions and customs of the Mountainous Banat ; both collections show the daily living of the Banat’s peasant;
ü The collection of mine flowers, with 200 rhinestones gems from Mountainous Banat mines, representing in large part the donation of Constantin Gruiescu;
ü The Stendl collection of 20 modern and contemporary art paintings donated by the famous plastic artist Ioan Stendl and his wife Teodora in 2007.
On the ground floor of the museum, tourists can always visit certain temporary exhibitions dedicated to different people of culture who were born or came afterwards to Banat, in the same time these displays are intended to some of the most important cultural events, such as “The Danubian Writings according to the Tartaria testimonies “. The Night of the Museums is a successful event of the Mountainous Banat Museum, organised annually in May, when children, young people or the elderly can spend a night of dreaming in a unique collection brought as a “surprise” for the visitors.
About the latest discoveries and researches in Banat you can read in “Banatica“, the yearbook of the museum, and on the site www.muzeulbanatuluimontan.ro.
3. „CONSTANTIN GRUESCU”
IRON AESTHETIC MINERALOGY COLLECTION (1954)
“MINE FLOWERS” – MINERAL FORMATIONS IN THE HOUSE OF GOOD
gem STONES and MINERAL THERAPY
In the leisure moments of the trip to the “Semenic” touristic area of the Mountainous Banat, do not miss the opportunity to go to Ocna de Fier to the house no. 113, where you will see a true “Gruescu mineral paradise” [Sârbu N., 2001] of the mine “flowers”. It is a place both far and near; far as the distance is concerned (25 km from Reşiţa), deviating from the road, to the left (7 km) from Bocşa-Vasiova; and near because once you entered the House of Good, looking at the minerals, you cannot help but be startled and let your inner self “inhabited” by the “stones’ soul” [Irimia N., 2005], due to a unique and miraculous mineral therapy. Standing next to the time- washed stones of the greatest collector in Romania, the mining technician Constantin Gruescu, you will feel younger and cleaner with a state of well-being and good health.
The fame of the 2000 crystals or more from the Constantine Gruescu’s aesthetic mineralogy collection has long crossed the boundaries of Banat and Romania. It is the first private museum of aesthetic minerals in Romania that deserves to be visited whether you are or not fond of minerals and where the entrance has always been free.
Constantin Gruescu was born in Dognecea on April 12th 1924, and his age is not betrayed by his proud stature, by his gentle and insightful look, by his wise words and his gift of friendship. He is a man of eternity because he actually has the grace of giving: “If you do well, you receive only better.” [Gruescu C., 2007]. The passion for these underground miracles has kept him forever young:
“I fell in love kicking a stone. I began to collect pieces of rock that seemed interesting to me since the age of 14. At the beginning of my passion, the gathered mine “flowers” would fit in a single drawer, then in a box, then in a case; shortly, the house became too small, and the mineral exhibition was becoming more and more popular; step by step, the modest house in Ocna de Fier became the House of Good. The flowers in my garden are not surrounded by a hazardous mirage bringing about tears or joy, curses or happiness, but they are appealing by the perfection of geometry discovered by the unwritten laws, when the human being was not yet around, and matter only seemed inert. […] My flowers are more expensive than all the riches of the world, because they have grown in the depths of my ancestral Romanian soil. […] I often tell every guest: Stay over this stone to fill your inner self with the heritage of our forefathers. With their soul. “[Gruescu C., 2007].
Very passionate and autodidact in aesthetic mineralogy, Constantin Gruescu laid the foundations of the private museum in his own home in Ocna de Fier in 1954.
Gathering passionately mineral exhibits for his entire life, he gathered a unique collection of “Mountainous Banat Gems” [Gruescu C., 2007], especially from the mines of Ocna de Fier, Dognecea, Sasca Montana, Ruschiţa and Moldova Nouă. Almost 250 minerals have been discovered so far in the Mountainous Banat, this area being recognized as the “land of mines” for iron, copper, lead, coal, silver and gold. In the same time, Constantin Gruiescu completed his collection with impressive samples of mine flowers, exchanging or buying them from other mineralogists from Romania or other countries of Europe, Asia, Africa or South America.
The exhibits are fascinating by their colours and shapes stimulating one’s imagination. Some minerals have vivid colours (pink, lilac, yellow or red), such as the pink quartz and the yellow golden garnet at Ocna de Fier and amethyst lilac variety from Ciclova, others are combinations of grey, brown and white, such as: red with gray at the realgar from Moldova Noua, green with grey and brown at the malachite at Dognecea.
The star of the exhibition is the “Gruescu” macle, discovered by the well-known mineralogist in 1972, which brought him international recognition. The Coaxial Quartz Macle with radial concretions was found in Ocna de Fier in an ungerground clay pouch and it is unique in the world. Practically, the “Gruescu” macle has three forms of representation: simple, like a “bow tie”; double, in the shape of St. Andrew’s Cross; and triple, cross-shaped (at 90º).
Another piece of attraction is the pink quartz from Ocna de Fier, which, together with the two purple amethysts of 78 kg found in the Gerais mine (Brazil), and a yellow citrine of 40 kg, brought all the way from Zaire, complete the new colourful palette of the “flower mine bouquet” of the aesthetic mineral collection.
Every single flower of the collection has a certain story that deserves to be listened only from Constantin Gruescu. The story of the three-generation quartz with healing powers it may be a fairy tale, but it is not. The venerable collector says that if you approach with your hands to a few inches to this crystal, you will feel some coolness, then some tingling sensation in your palms caused by the positive energy that emanates. If you make a wish at this moment, then your desire will be fulfilled.
THE MINE “FLOWERS” AND THEIR STORY
The double “Gruescu” macle – Saint Andrew’s Cross
The triple “Gruescu” macle – The Cross of Christ
Quartz and calcite
Quartz druse and Japanese macles
Quartz and anthracite
Luminiţa Dobrescu, the European vice-champion in swimming, would always go for a “recharge” to Mr. Constantin Gruescu’s House of Good before every competition.
The beauty of the mine minerals called “mine flowers” fascinated even Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 2001. Constantin Gruescu brought 50 of the most valuable exhibits for her to Timisoara, to the Administrative Palace building. According to the protocol, the queen was supposed to spend only three minutes at the mineral exhibition. But the beauty of the jewels enchanted the Queen, who had stood and admired them for an hour. At the end, Constantine Gruescu gave the Queen a “flower from the land of Banat”, a pink quartz from Ocna de Fier, mounted in a pyramid glass trunk. As a reward, Queen Beatrix sent the collector of Banat a book containing the history of the Royal Charter of the Netherlands and a photo with her autograph, framed in leather.
Contrary to Queen Beatrix, Elena Ceausescu sent back the bowl containing the pink quartz received as a gift at the last anniversary of the Ceausescu couple in January 1989. Constantin Gruescu confesses that Elena Ceausescu made a hysterical crisis when she saw the stone, and then insistently asked the stone to be returned to the Caraş inhabitants. In fact, the energy of the beneficial mineral emanating tranquillity, wisdom and peace has rejected the evil nature of Elena Ceausescu.
Listening to the tales of Constantin Gruescu, one will understand how lively the minerals are and how much love they can awaken in our soul, a deeper and pure love: the love for the fatherland, for the Banat territory.
Many of the exhibits gathered by Constantin Gruescu over the time have been taken to the museums of Reşiţa, Timişoara, Caransebeş and Iaşi. Exhibition halls were opened, bearing his name and displaying the donated pieces, such as the Constantin Gruescu aesthetic minerals room at Eftimie Murgu University in Resita and that from the University of Padua (the Francesco Griselini donation!).
At the end of your visit to the House of Goodness you should not forget to sign in the impression book of the famous aesthetic miner, Constantin Gruescu, and to buy a small crystal-mine flower as a souvenir.
After a while, you will miss his crystals and you will surely return, in a not too distant future, to visit a real Museum of Aesthetic Mineralogy – a fulfilled dream for the man Constantin Gruescu.
4. THE „CONSTANTIN LUCACI” MUSEUM OF BOCŞA (2012)
SPACE AND LIGHT
STAINLESS STEEL SCULPTURES HOVERING GEOGRAPHICALLY
For each of us – locals or tourists – there is “a point from which all distances begin. The place where you have tried and you have learned to fly. That is the birthplace.”[Toma George Maiorescu, 2009]. With the opening of the museum (June, 2012), Constantin Lucaci – “one of the greatest European sculptors” [Segato G., 2001] – returned to his birthplace, the town of Bocsa, where he was born on 7th of July 1923. On the way from Timisoara to Resita, you should stop in the centre of Bocsa at the “Constantin Lucaci” Museum, where you will float in the imponderability for many unmeasured moments, among the 17 pieces sculpted and donated by the Banat artist.
You will find it surprising that none of the sculptures bear a name. Constantin Lucaci did not name them, offering thus the visitor the joy of discovering them and seeking the revelation of his art of sculpting the light.
“If I gave a title to a work, I would limit the understanding, because the viewer would always turn to what the title says, not what the work says. It’s a new vision. It is very accustomed to offer verbally explanation to what is done in sculpture or painting. We, artists, think in images and not in words. The image must shape you, convince you, and have an affective charge. Of course, it is normal for every visitor to ask – But what does it represent? – It represents everything: fascination, mystery, infinite space, movement, light as essence, etc. That’s why I was appreciated by everyone, including the Vatican priests”, said the artist at the inauguration of the museum on June 5th 2012.
The Bocsa Museum is the second “Constantin Lucaci” museum in the world, the first one was opened in Italy on April 14th 2007, in the San Francesco di Paola Sanctuary, under the name “Racolta Constantin Lucaci”; it is a collection of 37 stainless steel sculptures under the aegis of the Vatican, Master Lucaci being the only Romanian artist who enjoys this privilege from the Holy Pope.
It is mindblowing when, entering the Bocsa museum, you can see for the first time the Constantin Lucaci’s stainless-steel metaphors in the “Space and Light” workshop. You receive clean, vibrant light to your soul, light that comes from cosmos, where there is no measure of earthly time and no space boundaries.
The landscape of the light master’s museum looks like the one from the native garden of plum trees at Bocsa, before sunrise. “Under the moonlight, the plum orchard looked like steel. Lunar landscape with metallic iridescence. “[Sgaverdia D, 2008].
Each piece in the museum realized either in zigzag or in spatial curves, or even stellar shapes in harmonious proportions, darts boldly the surrounding space having an unexpressed, unknown code that people can understand. It is a sculpture that reveals – through the planetary movement of shapes and the unspoilt music of the spheres – a new reality, the reality experienced by man as the aspiration of the escape from gravity, “above the Earth”. Look among the “flying stars and metal explosions” the rising star or the falling star, all enlivened by light and giving the eye a new salvation of the soul through art.
The art of Constantin Lucaci is full of hope and opposes any form of the perishable; not only because he was the first Romanian artist to use stainless steel in sculpture – the 18-8 steel-chromium-nickel combination – one of the discoveries of the twentieth century, but mostly through his thinking:
“All my life I was obsessed by sculpting the light. But not light in the banal sense – the opposite of darkness, but the light as the essence. The light that forms the base of the universe, because all stars are light constructions. I have sought to capture it and give it shape through metaphors. “[Sgaverdia D, 2008].
Among the stainless steel metaphors in the museum you will have the privilege of seeing some of the sculptor’s drawings. Constantin Lucaci is an excellent coal drawer; the artist always emphasizes that “drawing is the grammar of sculpture”.
For all people who cross the threshold of the museum and wonder: who are they for?, the answer of Constantin Lucaci will be that of a true son of Banat: “I come from a world where, in every household, the eldest of the family continues to plant trees in the garden every year, although he knows he will not live long enough to pick their fruits.”
Like any Romanian artist, Constantin Lucaci was more appreciated abroad than in Romania. The sculptor Constantin Lucaci is a Herder Prize winner – a Nobel Prize of the East – awarded in 1984 by the University of Vienna for his entire work. Recognition came after the sculptor opened the Venice Biennale twice (in 1976 and 1980) – the dream of any artist in the world – being an exception to the golden rule, according to which an art creator can only present once in a lifetime a personal exhibition at the biennial. By his works that “float in space”, Constantin Lucaci carries forward the legacy of Constantin Brâncuşi.
5. the kinetic fountain of REŞIŢA (1984)
THE FOURTH LIQUID SYMPHONY
The fourth kinetic fountain, and the most beautiful one, made of stainless steel by the famous Banat sculptor Constantin Lucaci.
the music of falling waters
A delightful congruence between technique and art, and thus the whole spectacle performed by the kinetic fountain has an engineering scenario.
The fountain visualises the harmony between the beauty of the places, the artistic talent of the man of the area, and the science of processing metals.
THE SINGING FOUNTAIN
The artist Constantin Lucaci gave his name to his fountains, and the fountains gave fame to the artist. The sound of the running water seems to chant a song born from the clear lapping of the Mountainous Banat’ rivers, and this is the reason why the people from Banat called it the “singing fountain”.
Each piece of stainless steel has a certain symbolism. The central part represents both a blast furnace and a Kaplan turbine hub. The two side pieces symbolise two Francis turbine rotors.
the rainbow of rejuvenation
At the kinetic fountain one can see the rainbow twice or three times a day, originating from the play between the sun’s rays and the splashes of water as a “perpetual rejuvenation”.
THE SYMBOL OF REŞIŢA
The fountain can suggest anything. It depends only on the person looking at it. It just prones you to dreaming and imagination. It’s a monumental sculpture of light when it is static, and once is set in motion it becomes a “symphony”.
The kinetic fountain became the visual symbol of Resita. It shows that hard work, discipline and the passion for labour and beauty have always been common characteristics of the county seat.
a mirror of beauty and flight
As the light falls on the stainless steel, every moving piece of the fountain becomes a mirror of beauty and flight.
LIGHT AND LIFE PLAY
At night, the old “Fortress of Fire” is reflected in the mirror of the water, becoming the “City of Poets” through the play of lights.
Every day let the splashing water drops refresh your face like the morning dew.
THE oasis of love and faith
The fire of light and the fountain water confront and complete each other, as the water jets have the shape and significance of the flames. But there are other types of flames too, that of the youth from the children’s play and of the faith from the eyes of the elders who are watching over their descendants.
The fountain is a place of rest and chatting when people leave the church, but also a meeting place of lovers, and of the brides and bridegrooms for pictures to be taken with the background of water columns moving in a continuous kinetic motion.
The image of a place remains imprinted in the minds of the inhabitants, but also in the minds of the visitors through a visual symbol by which in time, a locality, a city or even a country is identified, like the most famous symbols in the world: The Eiffel Tower for Paris, the Big Ben for London, The Great Wall for China, the Pyramids for Egypt, the Statue of Liberty for the USA.
The Kinetic Fountain from the centre of the city Resita, with its special beauty and technical creation, became the symbol of the Mountainous Banat’s residence, visualising the harmony between the beauties of the places, the artistic talent of the man of the area and the science of metal processing.
Inaugurated on August 23rd 1984, the kinetic fountain is the work of the sculptor Constantin Lucaci, the most beautiful “liquid symphony” of the 9 monumental fountains erected by the master of light in several cities from Romania: Constanta (1971), Drobeta Turnu Severin (1979), Vaslui (1981), Resita (1984), Braila, with a cascade of three fountains (1988-1992), Giurgiu (2000), Alba Iulia (2007). [Jurma Gh, 2009].
If the sculptures-metaphors cast in stainless steel belonging to the cycle symbolically entitled “Space and Light” gave the artist international recognition as a “sculptor of light” [Segato G., 2001], “Lucaci’s Fountains” made him known to the general public. “The artist gave his name to the fountains, and the fountains gave celebrity to the artist.” [Sgaverdia D., 2008].
Each fountain is unique in its own way and has its own secrets. The kinetic fountain of Constantin Lucaci in the centre of Resita is a “delightful congruence between technique and art.” [Meila M., 2012].
The kinetic fountain in Resita is placed on two water collecting trenchers made from reinforced concrete and plated with ceramic tiles with different diameters and heights, disposed in two planes at different levels from each other. Every piece of stainless steel on each trencher has a certain symbolism. On the large lower trencher it is the central piece which, in its shape, represents both a furnace and a Kaplan turbine hub, the turbines being one of the reference products (along with the steam locomotives) made at UCM Resita. The
7 m central piece provides an impressive vertical water play at a height that can reach 15 m. On the same lower trencher, at the base of the central body, there are two side pieces of Φ5 m, which symbolise two Francis turbine rotors. By spinning them, the water play becomes one that urges the admirer to imagination, dream, music and light.
On the little higher trencher there are two groups of four moving parts, each executing a rotation at 120 degrees, around some empty central axes. The water circulates under pressure through the two axes and leaves through the four pieces, forming a fan of waters, thrown in opposite directions. The pieces actually symbolise the coffer dams used in the construction of hydroelectric power plants.
The synchronous movement of all parts as well as the creation of the water jets is ensured by a system of mechanisms, gears and high pressure pumps, achieved through the own concept of the sculptor Constantin Lucaci, a system arranged in the underground fountain. Functionally, the mechanical and hydraulic actuators ensure the kinetic movement of the wells and the high pressure pumps ensure that “water is pushed through the entire system and thrown upward to the desired height under the conditions of realizing a closed circuit for obtaining a low water consumption” (…), as mentioned by Mircea Popa, the most important man in the construction of this assembly statuary of the new civic centre. [Popa M., 2008].
The history of the Resita fountain has also an invisible part, carried out behind the curtains of the world’s scene of the 80s, when “the Romanians were forced to make great sacrifices in order to pay off the foreign debt.” [Popovici Gh., 2009].
The “Singing Fountain” of Resita was born from the friendship of the artist Constantin Lucaci with a special man of Banat, Trandafir Cocarla. At first, they wanted to erect a 40-meter-high “monument of labour” in the new civic centre of the city. “The semi-figurative project was discussed at different levels and eventually it was not approved. In the end they erected the fountain that offers the nobleness of today’s centre”[Jurma Gh., 2009]
For the work to be executed, it had to be approved by an “inventory number” which, after several interventions, was obtained by the cultural institutions of the time with a minimum amount of investment in the realization of the so-called “labour-dedicated obelisk”. As it was a work of stainless steel, which was imported material, all kinds of strings were pulled for not exceeding the amount, important help being given by Marcu Mihail Deleanu and Cecilia Petrica, culture people and, at the same time, officials of the Local Culture Committee. The execution of the fountain was made in the greatest secret, under the guidance of Master Lucaci, in a sheepfold closed with a 2, 5 m board, belonging to the UCMR’s former steam locomotive factory and far away from curious eyes.
As the sculptor Constantin Lucaci confessed in the discussion with an American architect, the work “did not cost too much. Well, the work was done by patriotic work. Each of the Resita’s factories assigned the best craftsmen; the factory also gave a toothed wheel here, a piece of stainless steel plate there, using consumption bills. I took a sum from which I could live a year, a year and a half, not more. The American said to me: If you had been in America, you would not have had to work for the rest of your life.” [Sgaverdia D, 2008].
The transport of the first piece, which symbolically represented a 5 m Franciscus turbine rotor, created excitement at the exit from the factory, passing an inch away through the gate, thanks to the wisdom of the sculptor who, when designing the pieces, had measured in advance the size of the plant gate.
As everything had to be finished until the great celebration of August 23rd, although those were times when they would say “it could work like this too, so don’t bother“; the works were coordinated in such a way that the arrears of the works of the underground enclosure of the fountain and the two trays would be recovered and when the stainless steel parts were brought, the installation could be done and “gloss” finishing of the surfaces of the metal parts executed by 30 specialists could be performed.
The inauguration was somehow secret too, being masked by the musical-choreographic festivities of the opening of the civic centre. When they saw the explosion of the water at 30 m and the kinetic movement of the artesian fountain, the Reşiţa inhabitants had really the feeling of a real holiday. This holiday was happening after three years of hard work during which the people from Resita succeeded to build the fountain under the “command” of master Lucaci. Because in Resita, the sculptor Constantin Lucaci acquired the technique for a work well-done since childhood , having the sense for total art, for an art show of the city, and not only a museum, considering it as a “testament of humanity and pride” of Banat. As he put it “I learned what great toil means in Resita, discipline and passion for work, and that has brought me everything “. [Sgaverdia D, 2008].
The fountain’s spectacle, as an eruption of beauty and energy, attracts the viewers, urging them to stay for a long time on the benches and squares surrounded by trees, fascinating them with the water music. “My fountains can suggest anything – says the sculptor Lucaci as a modern Renaissance artist. It depends on who watches them. I do nothing but make people dream, and claim for their imagination. “[Sgaverdia D, 2008].
The “Constantin Lucaci” Kinetic Fountain in Resita is a monumental sculpture of light when it is static, and once it is set in motion it becomes the fourth and most beautiful “liquid symphony”, as its waters are swayed by the shiny pieces of stainless steel. The sound of the running water seem to “chant” a song born from the clear ripples of the Mountainous Banat’s rivers, which is why the inhabitants of Banat called it a “singing fountain”. The whole show performed by the kinetic fountain is based on an engineering scenario: ” With the movement of the sculptural forms, with their steel ballet, vertically, horizontally. With the musicality of the falling water. With floating before the kinetic tempest. Even the material which had been permanently chosen – stainless steel – became an important actor that changes his expression according to the vagaries of the weather. Sometimes shining, other times gray. According to the light that falls on it. Every moving surface (…) becomes a mirror of beauty and imagination. [Sgaverdia D, 2008].
We cannot speak of the Resita kinetic fountain of Constantin Lucaci without seeing and feeling “its symbols“. [Jurma Gh., 2009].
Arrived in front of the fountain, let the splashing drops of water drench your face like the morning dew. According to tradition, the water in the fountain symbolizes “a perpetual rejuvenation.” At Resita, even if the sky is cloudless, you can see the rainbow twice or three times a day. It is still one of the “miracles” of Constantin Lucaci’s fountains. Yes, under the effect of the kinetic rain, the rainbow appears among the tiny drops of water crossed by the sun’s rays. It is said that God promised never to send another Flood, and the rainbow reminds us of that promise. As time passed, the trees in the civic centre grew, they surrounded somehow the fountain, and now it resembles to a French or Italian garden in the centre of which the fountain lies – a symbol of Resita. The old “Fire Citadel “can now be seen in the water mirror.”Fire and water confront and complete each other, because the water jets have the shape and the significance of flames. But there are other flames. (…) another hearth was built, a cultural one. Resita became the city with poets. “[Jurma Gh., 2009]. Near the fountain, the oasis of Resita’s poetry was installed. Look for their poems and read them!
The fountain is a place of rest and friendly chats, but also a meeting place for lovers. There is no coincidence, when in weekends during weddings celebrations, you can see pairs of young people, brides and grooms coming from the translated church after the religious service, and taking pictures here, having as background the water crowns moving in a kinetic motion, symbolising the marriage solidity and the youth of the new family.
6. THE REŞIŢA FURNACE AND CABLE RAILWAY
INDUSTRIAL PAST AND TOURISTIC FUTURE
The furnace and the church, face to face with the industrial past of the plant-city
Like in the evolution of the computers, several generations of furnaces were built in Resita. The Resiţa furnace in the TMK area can be regarded today as an “electronic tablet” on which today’s tourist can see the Fire Citadel in the “electronic cloud”.
The furnace of Resita (1961 generation)
THE GEOMETRIC LOCUS OF THE PASSION FOR LABOUR
Turning the Reşiţa Funicular into a “suspended alley” for a high-altitude touristic walk means seeing Resita from above with all its touristic sights: the blast furnace (1961), the welded bridge on Bârzava (1937), the steam locomotive museum (1972), the kinetic fountain (1984) and its picturesque stadium.
The Resita cable railway (1963-1964)
Travelling through Resita on the way to Mount Semenic or to the ” chain of lakes” on the Bârzava River, tourists can stop for a moment in their way to see two “testimonies” of the former Industrial Reşiţa, which will soon become two touristic sights on the “Banat Iron Road” and of the future Open – air Museum of Banat Technique and Industry.
This museum will not be a museum for the blast furnace or a cable railway from the industrial centre of the city, but a gallery of labour and life of “Reşiţa”, at this top location from the Southeast Europe of metallurgy and machine-building carried on for 220 years, from 1771 to 1991.
The shade of the first furnaces built in Resita can be seen near the furnace no. 2 at Resita Montana, which can be seen past the CSR passage, in the premises of today’s TMK Company Resita. This is where the history of the Reşiţa industry started. It happened more than half a century after the expulsion of the Turks from Banat (1716-1718) on the 3rd of July 1771, when the fire was lit in the first two furnaces named Franciscus and Josephus during the reign of Maria Theresa , Empress of the Austrian Empire.
The Resita Furnace no. 2, with 700 cubic feet and 60 m high, can be an electronic tablet for the information-age man, from which cloud computing can be seen by downloading a batch of cast iron, pouring ingots steel or rolling a rail.
As in the evolution of computers, several generations of furnaces were built in Resita, during the main stages of evolution of the Resita plants.
The first generation was the furnaces built in 1771, which operated with charcoal brought from the forests of the Mountainous Banat. It is the stage of the Erarium (1771-1854), during which the Resita’s factories belonged to the Austrian Fiscal Administration, which was pursuing the activity through the mining directorate of Banat with the headquarters in Oraviţa. It is worth noting that the first furnaces in Banat were built at Oraviţa in 1718, at Bocşa in 1719 (Alt Werk) and in 1722 (Neu Werk) and then at Dognecea in 1723. [Kladiva O., 2009] .
The second generation was built during St.E.G. period (1855-1920), when Resita’s factories were “privatised” and taken over by the National Company of the State Railways of Austria (abbreviated St.E. G), an international consortium constituted with French, Austrian, Belgian and English capital. [Farcaş D., 2008]
Thus, in 1893, the three charcoal furnaces were demolished and two new, 17-meter high coal-fired furnaces were built. The gradual replacement of charcoal with anthracite coal in the blast furnaces and kilns led to the salvation of the country’s woods from being cut down, and consequently Caraş-Severin County is still among the most forests -rich counties from the country.
The first Bessemer converters for steel production are put into operation in 1868 in the vicinity of the furnaces, and in 1876 the first Siemens-Martin furnaces are built, also for the production of steel.
After the end of World War I (1914-1918) and the unification of Banat with Romania, the period of UDR (1920-1948) followed – meaning Steel Works and Domains of Resita, in which they renounced permanently to the use of charcoal in the two furnaces, after the first one was upgraded in 1923, and the second one in 1936, both with a capacity of 250 cubic meters. For a short period (1931-1933), that of the world economic crisis, the two furnaces were stopped.
After the Second World War (1939-1945), on June 11th 1948, “the UDR society was nationalised and dismantled. Reşiţa enterprises became for many years Romanian-Soviet companies (sovroms!), for covering war compensation due to USSR. “[Farcas D., 2008].
The third and final generation of furnaces dates back to 1961, when two modern blast furnaces of 700 cubic meters and with a height of 60 m were built at a distance of 40 m from those with 250 cubic meters. It was the CMR period (1954-1962), when there was only one Metallurgic Compound at Resita.
Since 1962, steel is separated from machine-construction, and the CSR (1962-2004) and UCMR (1962-2004) period follows. In 1986, the first process computers are introduced in operating, both at the blast furnaces and also at the Siemens-Martin steelworks.
After the 1989 Revolution, the intention to turn the good in excelent was not always successful, especially in the market economy. After 220 years of “unquenchable fire,” the furnaces were considered “a pile of scrap metal” and on September 13th 1991, the last furnace was finally shut down. Furthermore, Furnace no. 1 was demolished by implosion at the end of 2004. Only Furnace no. 2 remains for becoming a museum piece for the remembrance of the “Fire Citadel“.
The Siderurgic Plant of Resita, after elaborating the first batch in the modern steelworks in 1999, was initially privatised in 2000 by the purchasing of shares by the American company Noble Ventures Inc and then by the “repeated” privatisation, but this time by the TMK Russian company, at the “price of 1 euro” in 2004.
Still in 2004 the Reşiţa Machine Plant became a joint stock company within the Swiss group INET AG.
With 3D scenic images, visitors will be able to experience the unseen iron road from the ore to the steel, as it is told today by the tourist guide. The iron ore was brought from Ocna de Fier, the charcoal from the Lend stands, and the limestone from the Cross Hill and the Doman Valley quarries, while the coke was produced in 1864 from the black coal (anthracite) of the Secu and Doman mines.
The Reşiţa cableway, built between 1963 and 1964, is a “testimony” of the ingeniously thoughtful transport system of limestone from the Doman valley quarry. The imposing structure is like a 3.5 km long bridge, 700 m of this distance crosses the city, marking the border between Reşiţa Montană (on the right bank of Bârzava) and Resita Română (on the left bank of Bârzava).
The line of the cable railway crosses with the railway in the centre, on which the very first industrial machines from Resita have circulated for the first time: the steam locomotives (1872), the hydraulic turbines (1946) and the large naval diesel engines (1977).
Over the Bârzava River, under the cable railway, you will also see the second welded metal bridge, with a 32 m opening, made in Romania in 1937. The first welded bridge was also built in Resita in the 1930s in the Resita district Stavila .
With your eyes on the limestone cableway pillars, you will also hear the story of timber transport systems from the Semenic forests, for example the one from 1783, called “log floating” in the waters of Barzava, in “artificial waves”, and the removal of the logs from the water with the three “rakes”. One of these was in the place where today lies the first hydroelectric plant in Romania, called “Grebla” (Rake), whose beautiful industrial construction can be seen in Lend district. The 38 km between Klaus and Reşiţa-Lend were covered in 6-7 hours. The woods removed from the water were stacked on the bank and let to dry. Then, by burning in the “pile mounds”, the wood was turned into charcoal.
“The transport of wood on the waterway of Barzava was followed by the one performed on the monumental Semenic-Grebla canal system, built between 1902 and 1904, having an important hydropower role.” [Meila M., 2011]
The canal system, built along the main course of the Bârzava River, forms a network of 10 canals running the water on a length of 78 km through 10 tunnels, 5 metal aqueducts and 11 brick ones, water cascades and forced ducts. The work still impresses with its shape, innovation and elegance over the entire 1040m fall between Semenic and the Grebla hydroelectric plant from Resita.
Coming from the mountain, you will see Resita as a “plant-city” settlement. In Reşiţa Montană, are standing face to face, the furnace no. 2 and the “Cathedral” of the inhabitants from Resita, namely the Orthodox Christian church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, accompanied by the Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical-Lutheran Church. You cannot tell if there is a city between the factories or the factories constitute the city itself. From the old “Corso” in Reşiţa only the Workers’ House is missing, being destroyed after the fire occurred on August 15th 2002, on Saint Mary’s Day. It is said that the theatre hall of the Workers’ House, inaugurated in 1936, was one of the most beautiful Banat theatres, and the number of 888 seats suggested the daily division of a day’s worker: 8 hours of work, 8 hours rest and 8 hours of leisure time for recreation.
Beyond the technical testimonies for the industrial cultural tourism, Resita means “a way to work, in respect for labour and craft. (…) There is a morality of labour and a respect for a work well done. Whoever was trained in the “school” of Reşiţa does not conceive to work superficially, or not to confirm his words with his deeds. The trade test becomes a test of humanity. There is a certain reserve in the mentality of the Reşiţa inhabitants, a slowed reaction that does not come from hesitation but, on the contrary, from a confidence and an inner silence. This balance gave him the safety that the presence of each Reşiţa inhabitant was necessary, that no one could take away his profession, and that his work had to be recognised. “[Martin M., 1971]
Being a Resita native means first and foremost that you have been trained here as a human being and as a craftsman, it also means that you are always consumed by the restlessness of the new and the feeling of the safety of “tomorrow” or the certainty to have “a place under the sun “. It is the geometric locus of the passion for work, for labour discipline, for moral beauty, and for the completion of the human stages.
Those who have no traces of fire on their hands cannot prove that they come from Resita. It’s like taking a wild, red, overwhelmingly red apple that you have broken with your hands to quench your hunger and thirst.
It is an Austrian heritage, a Western heritage, in which the German education of those who were sent by the empire to these lands was grafted on the local spirituality of the Romanians and the result was “the Banat pride”.
“The Banat inhabitants do not boast, but proudly say what they have done and what is the obvious. For those around them it seems to be like a praise because they have not managed to do anything comparable to that” says, after the 10 minutes, the famous sculptor of light and stainless steel, Constantin Lucaci. [Sgaverdia D., 2008].
“A successful industry is the one built to manufacture, to produce a skilful work through science, art and passion.” [Lungu I and Popovici Gh., 2010].
Resita is the only place where steam locomotives have been manufactured between 1872 and 1964, out of which 16 pieces can be seen in the open-air museum of the city.
The steel made in Resita has entered (partially, of course) in the construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and of the Anghel Saligny bridge in Cernavoda.
Resita is the producer of the turbines of the Great Power Plant at the Iron Gates.
In order to obtain the “batches” for the blast furnaces, the Romanians from Banat were supplemented with waves of settlers from all nations: the Germans (primarily the Austrians from Styria and Carinthia), the Bohemians, the Slovaks, the Italians, the French and the Spaniards, and last but not least , the Hungarians, Croats and Serbs from the neighbouring countries.
The first wave of colonisation took place between 1718 and 1740, also called the “Carolingian Colonisation”. At the same time, from Oltenia came the “Bufens” used for cutting wood in the forests, for preparating the charcoal and for carrier activities.
During the reign of Empress Maria Theresa, the second wave of colonization took place (1744-1772), called “The Theresian Colonization”.
During the time of Emperor Joseph II, the third wave of colonization (1782-1787) was organised, called the “Josephine Colonization”.
Those who came from over the mountains called the natives “frătuţi / little brother,” and these, in turn named them “Buffens” and later “Venetics.”
The time travel will not end without seeing the retro film of the furnace and the SF film of the cable railway.
One upon a time … there was a furnace, an oven, a mill, a cast of iron, a steel ingot, a locomotive. By imagining the furnace, one can see how it was “filled with iron ore, coals and lime, which came in the wagons on a high scaffold at the top entrance. Using 3D glasses you can make a “zoom” into the hearth of the furnace to see how “the stone cries iron tears “. Finally, the furnace is emptied to the bottom when “molten iron flowed like milk through clay ditches into a large, lined chamber. And in its flow it threw billions of stars, with bright parables filling the hall with magic colours. “[Bureau V.,1982].
Near the furnace one can see the Siemens-Martin furnaces where, by using some pliers, the blast furnace blocks from the furnace were thrown together with the old iron piles and steel ingots coming out of the casting pot. People naked to the waist were watching the melting of the metal by the fire, sweating profoundly, while the slag was blackening the face of the steelworkers. Then the track of steel ingots will be watched down the track to the rolling mill. This is where the “titanic” battle took place between the rollers and the semi-finished products, to “domesticate” them into rails, sheet metal, bars, profiles and wire. Every day, the plant was working in three shifts of 8 hours each starting at 7, 15 and 23 hours. These were the hours when “duda” (the alarm of the plant) issued a short sound for starting the work, after an hour or so before it had called up all the workers to labour with a prolonged sound, keeping alive the “continuous fire” of the birth of steel.
Living in smoke and steel explosions, Reşiţa inhabitants have the delicate science of clean air, trees and plants. At Resita, “whoever works in the plant swallowed more smoke than a locomotive”, and “the one who drank water from Bârzava no longer lives this place.”
In the past, the area was always polluted. Fine dusts, being carried first through the air, slowly returned to the ground, and dust settled on the houses, on the streets, on the clothes. The white shirts could only be worn in the city for a day, after which they needed to be washed. Watching the smoke of the factory towers, the Reşiţa inhabitants could predict the weather. When the winds chased the smoke toward Ţerova, rain was coming. After a rain, the waters would redden the streets.
Turning the Reşiţa Cableway into a “suspended alley” for a touristic path exists only in the locals’ imagination, but it can become a reality in the near future. And, continuing the way to the “Emblem” on the hill, one can arrange a unique touristic stop, as a belvedere place to admire the beautiful panorama of the city.
At Resita, the present has always escaped from the past and becomes future every day.
7. MOUNT SEMENIC AND THE CHAIN OF LAKES
A MOUNTAIN WITH THE NAME OF A FLOWER
The Gozna Peak (1447 m)
The “Semenic” flower
Resorts’s map on Mount Semenic
The Goznuţa ski track
BANAT’S WATER CASTLE
The Semenic Peak (1446 m)
Winter magic on Mount Semenic
The Semenic water springs
The fir trees – cross and relay from the Mount Semenic
BELVEDERE ABOVE THE CLOUDS
“eagles’s Bath” CRYONIVAL LAKE
The Eagles’s Bath Cryonival Lake is located 1.5 km away from the Semenic Resort, between Gozna and Piatra Nedeii.
The waters of the lake, no matter if it is summer or winter, have always the same temperature of 6 ° C, being considered healing waters.
The Eagles’s Bath Cryonival Lake on Mount Semenic
THE GOZNA-CRIVAIA AND BREAZOVA -VĂLIUG LAKES
The Gozna – Crivaia Lake
The water mirror
The Breazova-Văliug Lake
THE VĂLIUG RESORT – DAM HOUSE
THE VĂLIUG - CRIVAIA RESORT
Gasthof Tirol Guesthouse
Hidroconstrucţia Recration Compound
Crivaia Resort – Hotel Claris and Hotel Rândunica
“TREI APE” / THREE WATERS LAKE AND RESORT
SECU LAKE AND RESORT
DOGNECEA water LILIES LAKE – A CORNER OF PARADISE
The Mountainous Banat, between mountain peaks and water beds, offers tourists the true splendour of the nature with which God has blessed these lands.
The Pearl of Mountainous Banat is Mount Semenic, a mountain bearing the name of a flower and a legend. The flower of “semenic” is a good”sister” of the edelweiss flower, but less beautiful, “it is white or pink, very fluffy, and it is made up of a bunch of several small flowers. It can be seen and collected in the summer in August. “[Peia L., 1995].
The legend of the mountain says that in the past, on the plateau of the mountain, they would organise the “Nedei” a traditional feast of the Mountainous Banat shepherds, on the “transhumance road “.”For Istro-Romanians, the word “Sămenni” meant a fair and a religious holiday, something similar to the “nedeia” in the times of the Dacians. This word turned into Semenic under the Slavic influence. (…) The “nedeia” feast originates in the distant past of our people of farmers and shepherds. “[Meila M., 2011].
Hence the name of Piatra Nedeii / The “Nedeia” Stone (1437), the lowest peak of Mount Semenic.
During the “nedei” feast organised on Mount Semenic goods and news were exchanged, and the song and the game called to joy. This is how the “doina” (love song) was born in the Banat’s folklore, perhaps from a slight envy, but also from the fascination of the greatness of the mountain:
„ Oh, Mount, Mount Semenic,
You do not have a care in the world,
Neither for wind nor rain,
Thou do not long for soft lips.”
You should also listen to the beautiful song “The Semenic Waltz” at the local radio station “Radio România Resita”, whose radio wave can be “received” from any place in Mountainous Banat on the frequency of 105.6 MHz.
Mount Semenic is metaphorically named “The Water Castle” of Banat, because “springs and rivers of crystalline water spring from all its sides and flow radially down the valleys like the spits of a wheel.” [Bizera M., 1971].
The most important rivers (Nera, Timis and Bârzava) spring from here. Also from Mount Semenic spring the tributaries to the right of the Belareca River, which flows into Cerna near the baroque-style railway station of the Herculane Baths resort.
Only Caraş springs from the Anina Mountains.
Mount Semenic “mirrors the high forehead of its crests in the glare of the water beds trenching these legendary realms.” [Fabian F.V, 2007].
The beauty of wild-looking landscapes, storage lakes and clear waters of cold springs turn the Mount Semenic in a wonderful oasis for practicing tourism in any season of the year.
Those who want to admire Mount Semenic and the chain of lakes are assisted by the nature that “did not throw deep ravines in the way of the hikers and did not oppose with the adversity of the abysses for those who want to climb the heights. (…) Anyone can get anywhere”. [Bureau V, 1982].
That is why we will try to depict the Semenic resorts from the perspective of the tourist who will be looking at them with new eyes, although he knows that Semenic and Herculane Baths were “outsourced” by private people, strangers, who are not from this place and “feel nothing for Banat“, even with the price of not being better than before 1989.
So a touristic route is proposed, on which, the tourist arrives in the middle of wild nature within only a few steps from the path; and a theme park is suggested where nature completely surrenders to the human. In Banat “man has chosen his places, and the places bound the man.” [Birou V., 1982].
1. Reşiţa – Văliug – Prislop / Mount Semenic– Gărâna – Trei Ape – Slatina Timiş – Caransebeş – Reşiţa.
The starting point is the centre of Resita, from where pleasant and fair trips can be made to Semenic, on the county road Resita – Semenic – Slatina Timiş (DJ 582).
From the centre of Resita town, the road climbs toward Semenic, and after a kilometre it passes under the Resita Cableway and over the Bârzava River. Like most of the Banat rivers, Bârzava springs from the western coast of the Mount Semenic (the spring lies below the Cracul Lung peak). On its 157 km course from the springs to the confluence with Timiş River (on the territory of Serbia), Bârzava River crosses all the forms of Banat’s relief in the succession mountain – hill – plain. Each level has its own picturesque characteristic. In its course to Resita, Bârzava is embanked three times, forming the chain of storage lakes: Gozna-Crivaia, Văliug-Breazova and Secu.
Resita is situated along the river, on its middle course; hence the usual name “Resita, the town on the Bârzava”.
The road continues along the right bank of Bârzava and, after crossing under the passage of the CSR-TMK steel plant, two kilometres away, one can see Furnace no. 2 of Resita and the imposing architecture of the Orthodox Christian Church “The Assumption of the Virgin”, dominating the city by its height and beauty. All Reşiţa inhabitants call it a “cathedral”, although this term defines a prayer edifice with an episcopal rank. From the church towers, the sounds of the four bells are heard all over the city; the sound of the bells was harmonized by Sabin Drăgoi, the remarkable conductor and well-known composer of Banat origin.
After 4.5 km through Reşiţa Montană, you reach the intersection of the two roads, to Semenic, straight ahead, and to Secu Resort, to the left.
The touristic resort Secu. Starting towards Secu, you have to pass through the Lend district, whose denomination comes from the German language (“anlaenden”), and it means the removal of the wood logs with the help of “rakes” from the water, brought downstream on the Bârzava by “log floating”. The retained timber was stacked for drying until its burning in charcoal piles. In the place where one of the rakes lay we can see today the concave silhouette of the first hydropower plant in Romania, with its beautiful industrial architecture, namely the “Rake” plant, put in use in 1905. The water has been channelled on the Main Canal, an ingenious hydro technical system, 14 km long, between Breazova and Lend, arriving at the Water Castle (load chamber) and from there, using three forced ducts, puts into operation the Peltton turbine group, which still produces electricity. Nearby there is the Atlantic recreation compound.
From the outskirts of the city, the road leads through tight serpentines, parallel to the river, through a narrow and deep valley, till we arrive to Lake Secu (6 km away).
The Secu Resort lies on the left bank of the storage lake, between km 8.5 (Brânduşa Guesthouse) and km 12 (Turist Hotel) from the intersection, being the favourite holiday destination of the inhabitants from Resita for vacation and weekend tourism. The storage lake was built in 1963, behind a “nosing-mushroom” type of dam, a model known among the specialists under the name of Noetzli. The “mushroom” has the role of closing the valley, and the “nosing” is the element of strength and stability. The lake stretches over a length of 6 km, with the largest width of 800 m, in front of the White River valley. After filling, it has an area of 105 ha and reaches 25 m deep at the end of the side wall. Of course, these parameters change depending on the degree of filling. This dam is the most recently built of the other three dams on Bârzava, it is situated at the lowest altitude and has only the role of water supply and recreation.
The Secu Resort, at an altitude of 320 m, was declared a touristic resort of local interest on May 1st 1971, grace to the landscape near the lake and the recreational conditions for practicing swimming and fishing and, last but not least, outdoor activities, such as hiking or biking. At the same time, trips can be made along the Bârzavei Valley from the Secu resort to the village, along the narrow trail of the railway line Reşiţa – Secu, on which the first Reşiţa locomotives circulated: Szekul no. 1 (brought from Vienna), Resicza no. 2, Bogsan no. 3 and Hungaria no.4 (the first three locomotives were manufactured in Resita). On this 12 km long railway coal and wood were transported.
The satisfaction can be even greater when everything happens in an eye-catching setting. And because one of the most attractive guesthouses in the resort is called “Brânduşa / The Crocus Flower”, every autumn we need to step carefully on the carpet of the “leaf rain”, in order to bypass a feeble thread trying to make its own way among the fallen leaves:
“A blue flower cup opens from it. Close by there is another blue flower, then another one and another one, more and more. They rise alone or in clusters in fantastic dances. The silent dance of the blue flowers grants a festive aspect to the autumn days. The crocuses have blossomed!” [Meilă M., 2012].
Do not break the crocuses! It would be a shame to pick them, especially because they wither very fast afterwards. In their natural environment they will live for several days, preserving their grace and beauty.
For amateur fishermen, a bay is formed in the elbow of the lake near the former Petricica villa, at the mouth of White River. It is the right place for “big catches,” the lake here having the largest width. When there is a drought, the water level drops and the bay becomes a small marshland with reed beds and young shallows. In Lake Secu there are great chances to catch “water monsters” swimming slowly on the bottom of the water: catfish, walleye, carp, pike, chub, crucian carps, bream etc.
For children and young people, an unpaved road goes to the White River Youth Camp 500 m before entering the resort (km 8). The camp is situated in a beautiful broadleaf and coniferous forest, with 136 accommodation places in 6 brick and stone chalets, with two to eight places in the rooms.
In search of a dream holiday, the camp offers sports grounds, conference rooms, playgrounds and sunbathing lawn, as well as an outdoor disco. You can spend a six-day stay, which includes accommodation and full board.
From the camp, you can hike along mountain paths, practise mountain biking or water sports on Lake Secu and make day trips to the surroundings, to Mount Semenic and to Caraş Gorge.
The Touristic Village Văliug. From the intersection with the Secu Resort, from Resita, the road climbs toward Semenic, passing along the village of Cuptoare (4 km from the intersection). After several dizzying serpentines, the road descends into the valley cut by Bârzava, between the crystalline massif of Semenic and the Doman limestone hills to Văliug.
After 22 km you reach Văliug, a beautiful mountain settlement, located in the Bârzavei Valley, at the foot of Mount Semenic, in a wonderful setting. The village is 2 km long between the two storage lakes: the Gozna Lake upstream and the Breazova Lake downstream.
At the roundabout, the road “forks” into two directions: downhill towards Lake Breazova, and uphill to Semenic and Crivaia.
Following the road in the direction of flow of the Bârzava we reach the Breazova storage lake after 3.5 km. Passing next to the two Crăinicel power plants, at the end of the village, on an unpaved road, you reach the “old lake”. The Breazova dam and lake are part of the unique hydro – technical system built in the years 1901-1904, but there are not “contemporary” with it. The Breazova-Văliug storage lake was built between 1907 and 1909, being the oldest (it has over 100 years!) of the three storage lakes along the Bârzava River.
When it is full, Lake Breazova stretches behind two dams, on a distance of 12 hectares and a length of 2 km. Built of stone, iron and concrete, the two slightly curved dams (120 m radius) have the following dimensions: the small one, beside the road is 31 m long and 12 m high and the long one is 91 m long and 27 m high.
Compared with Lake Gozna, Lake Breazova is less visited, though it is distinguished by a silent beauty. “A cloak of silence woven from the invisible air falls heavily on the shoulders of the hills containing the water of the lake in their dipper (…) Like a delicate scented veil over the sleeping valley the spirit of peace lingers on.” [Meila M., 2012].
One can take walks along the two dams on a 3 m wide canopy equipped with some metal railing on both sides.
At the same time, between the two dams there is a rocky and wooded peninsula, crossed by an almost circular path, with the appearance of a shaded driveway. From here, the view to the valley is delightful. The lake behind the dam is also beautiful, a stretch of land soothed by water through which shadows of fish are gliding superbly. For reasons that are quite hard to comprehend, the fish in Lake Breazova are not very easy to catch, no matter what baits they are lured with.
In was only once, during the Second World War, that the hydro-technical construction of Breazova-Văliug lake near “Cleantu of Serbian” was endangered. It was in 1941, when the Banat communists organisation led by Leontin Sălăjan discussed (but luckily without further effect!) about breaking the dam in order to “sabotage the production of weapons of the Resita’s plants, which were the arm suppliers to the German Army at that time.” [Hromadka G., 1993].
From Breazova power plant, following the course of Bârzava River and passing the lake, hike lovers or bikers can get to the Secu Resort on a paved path.
In Văliug, tourism is a tradition. Even in the interwar period, Văliug had the fame of a climatic resort of local interest, when the first weekend tourists came to enjoy a lawn picnic on the shores of the storage lake.
The founders of Văliug village are 70 Austrian families who reached the foot of Semenic on June 29th 1793, at the confluence of Gozna and Văliugel creeks with the Bârzava River. In honour of the emperor, the village was called Franzdorf. The Germans, alongside the “Bufeni” from Oltenia, were specialized in forestry and coal production. In the beginning, the transport of the charcoal produced in the forest from Văliug to Resita was done with the help of horses. Later, they made use of the “floating transport” on Bârzava and the “flotation” on the hydro- technical system channels.
Today, Văliug, situated at an altitude of 560 m, has become a holiday village for the tourists from the west of Romania, especially from Timişoara.
The touristic resort Văliug-Crivaia. Turning to the right at the roundabout at the centre of Văliug, after a kilometre, you reach the crossroad of the road to Prislop -Semenic where again turn to the right, and after 500 m you reach the Gozna Lake dam. At the crossroads to the lake, the road runs along a creek flowing uphill, defying the laws of gravity. The opposite inclination of the roads’ slope on the “Drăguţa” hill compared to the river bed creats the illusion of “a hill-climbing river“, to the astonishment of the passer-byes.
The Gozna-Crivaia storage lake covers an area of 60 hectares, and has a length of 3 km. The dam was built between 1948 and 1952 and has a height of 48 m starting from the small base of 113 m up to the large base of 184 m of the dam. The lake was filled with water in 1953, storing 10 million cubic meters.
The construction of the dam between the hills of Drăguţa (right) and Stupina (left) is one of the works from the youth building sites of that time, less publicised than the others, especially in comparison with the very mediatised Bumbeşti-Livezeni and Salva-Vişeu railways. People from all the corners of the country gathered then at the foot of Mount Semenic, and everything was “a huge boiling, overthrowing the world and the silence of the woods.” [Bureau V, 1982].
It was the first construction of this kind in Romania, designed and executed exclusively by Romanian specialists, as the lake also had an energetic role for the water supply for the Crăinicel and Grebla hydropower plants.
The lake stretches up the Barzavei valley, bifurcating into affluent valleys. Along the entire length of the lake, the road on the right bank “bends” in successive curves to the end of the lake where “suddenly Bârzava, spry and whispering so far, gets lost in the waters of the lake. It seems like it have turned into stone at the man’s command to gather and rest the waters in the mountain’s palm. “[Meila M., 2012].
Man and nature have accomplished here a place of rest and recreation like only a few are found in the Romania’s mountains.
The Văliug – Crivaia touristic resort stretches on 5 km, from the valley to the wide glade, and the Bârzava River flows at its edge. The 650 m altitude resort changes its image from one year to the next.
The perfect altitude, the pleasant climate, the ozone pure air, all these offer very good conditions for rest and comfort to those who prefer the coolness of the mountain, the shade of the forest and the tranquillity of the lake. The Dam House Pontoon provides the expected comfort of having “mountain and sea” at the same time grace to the beach, bathing and … fun. For rowing lovers, the lake’s wind-protected water mirror gives everyone the chance to compete with the “times” of the Romanian champions. The favourite place for fishermen is the Gând(r)eşti on the left bank of the lake. The greenery belt of the banks, mirrored in the water, borrows an emerald colour and it is “a great source of inspiration” for the painters. Watch the shade of Stupina Hill from the suspended bridge in the summer and notice how it is reflected in the water of the lake and you will “have” an image painted by the vacation houses, hostels and hotels have sprung up “like mushrooms after the rain”, which dressed up the resort in “new clothes” and rejuvenated the four former pontoons: Hydropower, Semenic, CSR-TMK, UCMR (now Aquaris jewelery).
And because the appetite grows in the mountains, other new boarding houses and two new hotels, Claris and The Swallow, invite you to a rest and to try natural-tasting food on Draguta Hill, at the edge of the forest.
From the hill, the bell is heard with its multiple echoes from the small and beautiful Roman Catholic chapel (1862), situated on the Bârzavei River bend, before it flows into the lake. If on the plain the sounds are lost in distances with no return, the voice of the mountain’s bell hits the slope and returns like an echo to the place it came from.
Pleasant and easy trips can be made to Vila Klaus and then to Semenic Trout Farm, at an hour’s drive upstream on the forest road along Bârzava water.
The Klaus Villa. The Klaus Villa Youth Recreation Camp is situated at an altitude of 730 m in the middle of nature, surrounded by fir trees, on the Bîrzava valley, at the foot of Mount Semenic, 5 km away from Lake Gozna. The camp offers 52 places per series, from these 40 places are in the central villa, in rooms with two to eight beds, and 12 places are in 4 wooden cottages, each room containing three beds. The beautiful building of the Klaus Villa was erected in 1853 and rebuilt in today’s Swiss mountain style in the years 1902-1903 by StEG, the owner of Resita’s factories and of the nearby domains. In front of the building, between the road and the river there is a beautiful park with silver trees and benches inviting the passer-byes to have a rest.
The name of the villa derives from the German word “klause” with the Romanian significance of “dam “, reminding everyone that the first Barzava water dam was constructed behind the villa in 1865. The construction was made of stone and beams carved from fir trees with a width of 76 m and a height of 11.5 m. When the storage lake was full, the water stretched over a length of 500 m and accumulated almost 150 thousand m³.
Klaus Lake was used to floating the “small logs” of 1 m size downstream from the Semenic forests to the Reşiţa plants, where a lot of charcoal was needed. When there was enough water accumulated in the lake, the spillway was unlocked with a wide aperture of 8.5 m, forming suddenly an “artificial wave” (hait) that carried the woods prepared in advance.
The 38 miles between the Klaus Dam and Resita were covered by the wood – wave during 6-7 hours. On the bank, workers manoeuvred the wood with grappling irons and spears to avoid blocking the waterway. At the end of the road the water was squeezed through the so-called “rakes” where the “logs” stopped, which, after drying, were burnt in “kiln”, and turned into charcoal, the coal prepared form wood.
After the creation of the Semenic-Grebla Canal System in 1904, they renounced to the man-made wave transport that had intermittently been used during 1865-1905. Becoming useless in time, the dam was dismantled, and nothing reminds of it today, except for the nearby villa that bears its name.
Semenic Trout Farm. After another mile from Klaus Villa one arrives at Semenic Trout Farm, whose “ponds” are fed directly with the water of Barzava River. The Bârzava Trout Farm was founded in 1877, when it had 7 pools and a “hatchery”. For those who are not familiar with the “salmon culture,” some useful information is needed: “Trout is at the forefront of the fish species living in the Carpathian waters. Salmon culture deals with trout breeding for food consumption and waters restocking for sport fishing. The waters must have a constant flow and a temperature between 1 and 20 degrees Celsius and must permanently be oxygenated. “[Meila M., 2012].
When you arrive at Semenic Trout Farm, you should try to identify the trout species known as “indigenous”, “rainbow” and “fountain” in the concrete or earth basins called “ponds”. You will see some smaller basins called “pools” for the juvenile trout. In addition to pools, do not forget to ask the “hosts” about the hatchery incubators called “hatchers” and the bank hollows for shelter called “ovens”. Admire the small waterfalls built for oxygenating the water, spreading it in the shape of a rainbow. And catch the “moment” of trout feeding, which offers an unforgettable show when, after throwing the nutrient into the pools, the water comes to life, and the agitation of the fish makes it seem like it is boiling.
Do not leave without eating a grilled trout and buying at least several pieces to cook them as you please.
After 2 hours of hiking over the mountain, you reach the Comarnic cave, and to the east, if the new cable car is put into operation, you can climb Mount Semenic.
In the past, slightly above the valley of Văliug village, from the main road to Semenic a paved road could be seen that used to branch off, descending along the Gozna creek, still shining its silver waters through the boulders and rocks, cascades and whirlpools; on this road one could reach after a mile of walking the Semenic climbing station of the first cableway to in Romania. The chairlift was put into operation in 1941 and climbed for 658 m, almost 3 km across the deep valleys, through the beech and spruce forests, at the edge of which rich raspberries were embraced by their scented ruby fruits. The road to the station below Piatra Goznei peak (1447 m) lasted almost 30 minutes, and 120 people were transported per hour. Each chair had two seats and was protected only with a small sheet of metal. The chairlift’s chairs did not have cabins; in winter, the passengers protected themselves with blankets, but the discomfort was compensated by the spectacle of nature dressed in a white cloak.
The chairlift was especially useful in winter, when the DJ 582 E access road from Prislop to Semenic was blocked due to the bad weather conditions of blizzard and black ice. The chairlift has no longer been working for nearly 25 years, since 1987.
The mountain lovers are still waiting for the day when the cable car starts functioning again.
Until then, during summer, from the Văliug crossing you can climb to Mount Semenic by car, motorcycle or bicycle using the DJ 582 road to Prislop (9 km). From Prislop you can climb to Semenic touristic resort or descend into the depression where the tourist village of Gărâna and the touristic resort of Trei Ape are situated.
In winter, tourists can ski on the new slope Baraj – Văliug House, inaugurated in 2011. The ski slope has a length of 800 m, with a height gap of 110 m, being provided with a chair lift, nocturnal lighting installation and snow cannon:
Telescaun 2 loc
Moreover, the slopes of Semenic and Văliug were joined by the new Semenic–Văliug slope, having a length of 5800 m, for the tourists who want to descend from the Mount Semenic, from the area of the Mountain Friends Association down to the shore of Lake Văliug.
Until the installation of a cable transport system linking the two resorts, the managers of the slopes have introduced a bus line, where the access is only possible with the ski pass from the ski lift.
All along the slope, from an altitude of 1430 m (on departure from the Semenic) to 610 m (on arrival next to the Dam House), the white tourism lovers are rewarded with wonderful sceneries in which “the colour white reaches its superlative.” [Meilă M., 2012]:
Beside the winter sports and the accommodation / lunch services offered “downhill in Văliug”, certain initiatives should be taken related to the recreation opportunities in all seasons, such as the Bârzava Lakes Festival organized on the pontoon beach of the Dam House on the shores of Lake Gozna. Throughout the three days of the festival, during the day they organise contests of wet T-shirts, photographs, water-bikes, swimming, with numerous prizes, and in the evening we have shows, dancing and surprises.
Semenic Touristic Resort. Starting from Văliug to Semenic, after 2.5 km, you reach the first belvedere spot (bird’s eye view from the parking lot above Văliug), from where you can see the blue eye of Lake Gozna surrounded by beech forests. Here and there, the beech forests makes place to the clearings with meadows, and along the road there are blueberry bushes and clear springs with ice-cold water inviting you to rest under the green cedar .
After 9 km, you can reach Prislop, where the “sons of the forest” invite you to the freshest berries. Only on Mount Semenic you can pick and eat the tastiest blueberries and blackberries. And raspberry has the flavour of a delicacy that lingers on your lips.
From Prislop (1000 m altitude) to the right, after 5 km you reach the “wind farm”, the entrance to Semenic Touristic resort, at an altitude of 1400 m.
It is the “gateway” to the Semenic Plateau, the most difficult in winter, when the blizzard throws snow on the road, forming snow-drift as big as houses.
The resort is located on the undulated plateau of the mountain on an area of 4,000 hectares, where you can find: the Gozna Hotel, the Dusan and Son Hotel, The Central Chalet, the Andra Chalet and the Birta Villas. If in the 1970s the resort could accommodate more than 750 visitors at the same time, today the number of places has been reduced to half. Because nowadays it is considered more modern and more efficient for the accommodation structures to be at the foot of the mountain and not at the top, some of the old buildings are left in the “blow of the wind and wild privatization“. When you look at them, you feel a sad nostalgia combined with a bit of hope that “the second that has just passed is already in the past, and the one that follows the present moment will be the first in the future. Since time is infinite in both directions, most of it is not accessible to our understanding. “[Meila M., 2012].
A future hope is the “Alpine Reşiţa” project, promoted by the Caraş-Severin County Council, through which, in the next years, the transport and accommodation connections between Văliug-Crivaia will be realised, Semenic and Trei Ape resorts and Resita being departure point to certain touristic adventures.
As any place “left behind” can have unseen “opportunities” for future revival, Mount Semenic is a “corner of heaven” for nature lovers as long as human intervention has left no trace, and there are still places of wild beauty.
The Semenic Plateau has the shape of a wave of earth surrounded by forests and crossed by an arched road that creates the sensation of flight toward the three famous peaks: Piatra Goznei (1447m), Semenic (1446m) and Piatra Nedeii (1437m). The peaks rise in the form of agglomerations of edgy gray rocks that emerge from the green carpet of the alpine herbs. From place to place, the meadow is sprinkled with clumps of beech and fir trees arranged in a geometry known only by the enigmatic nature. This is the “Fir Trees Cross” next to the Antenna, near Gozna peak. It is the ground “landmark” for the aviators during the flights over the Banat.
The cross “seen from the plane” is in a celestial harmony with the Orthodox Hermitage “Saint Elijah”, where you can see the most beautiful “iron” icon of St. Elijah the Prophet.
On the mountain three is also the weather station, monitoring the vagaries of the weather. So it has been noted that on average there are 150 days of rain per year on the Mount Semenic, especially in summer, in July and August. The drier months are September and October when there are the best hiking conditions.
On Mount Semenic snow lasts from the end of November till the beginning of April, allowing winter sports to be practiced for almost half a year.
The nickname of Mount Semenic is the “water castle” of the Mountainous Banat. Springs and crystalline water rivers start on all sides. Two streams spring even from the peak of the mountain, forming the Timiş River: the Grădişte brook and the Semenic brook. The two streams meet the Brebu brook in the Three Waters’ reservoir. Nera River springs between Piatra Nedeii and Gozna.
The Bârzava River flows to the west and Mehadica River to the southeast, leading a part of the Semenic waters to the Cerna River, and on the shortest way, to the Danube.
From the north, below Nemanu Mare, springs the Poganis River.
Between Piatra Goznei and Piatra Nedeii, under the Vultures Stone, 1.5 km away from Semenic Resort, there is a small lake formed in one of the depths formed by the snow of the past geological age; it is called the Vultures Bath, and its waters are thought to be healing.
The Vultures Bath mirrors the sky bringing us closer to it. For this closeness, people sought to thank the Good Lord by erecting a 19-meter high metal cross and a bell tower in 1935. The cryonival lake’s water has crystal clarity and, whether it is summer or winter, it has always the same temperature of 60 C. The birds of the high sip strength from it, especially the vultures, from which the name is drawn. It is not known where this power comes from, from the heavens or the depths, but it has become a tradition to do a pilgrimage to Semenic every year on July 20th, for a rest and a prayer at the Vultures Bath. Here, the first church of the Hermitage was built in 1935, a place of worship that burned to the ground. In order to keep the remembrance of the place alive, the believers built another church, which is the current “St. Elijah” Hermitage, right at the top of Mount Semenic.
The tourist who climbs the Semenic or Piatra Goznei Peaks has a magnificent view of the four cardinal points. From the Semenic Peak you can see the panorama of the Gărâna Tourist Village downhill to the northeast, the depression being bordered by the Three Waters storage lake to the east.
To the northwest we can see the valley between the blue shiny waters of two lakes, Gozna and Văliug, and at night, the lights of Resita can be seen on the horizon.
Towards the east, the horizon opens across the Timis Valley like in a parade from north-to-south: Muntele Mic Mountain, Mounts Ţarcu, Gugu and Godeanu.
From Piatra Goznei peak one can see the small mounts Doman and Valea Carasului to the west and from Piatra Nedeii peak one can see the Nera Valley, far away to Almaj, as well as the high peaks that descend to the Cerna Valley.
In summer, the plateau is covered with flower-rich meadows, such as the frail bellflower with bluish-violet petals and the bundle of white–pink coloured dwarf semenic flowers. On the thick and fresh grass you will see sheep herds climbing from the meadows to the mountain in spring, and in autumn climbing down from the mountain to the plain, in a century-old ritual. Only when a tourist approaches is the tranquillity disturbed by the shepherd dogs, true guards of the flocks, and hardened by the wilderness where they live.
For hiking enthusiasts Mount Semenic provides a very high number of touristic routes, either marked or not, on the slopes of the forested land or on the empty plateau, described with much passion by the locals. [Mihai G, 1990], [Negrea Şt., 2004], [Sencu V, 1976], [Terchilă M, 2009].
In winter, the slopes of the mountain, which are not too steep, become ski slopes between the Gozna and Semenic peaks, their number increasing year by year, reaching to 6 tracks in 2011:
3.Crucea de Brazi 1
4.Crucea de Brazi 2
Besides skiing, other winter sports may also be practiced: sleighing and snow bob. The latest fashionable sport is snowboarding, sliding on the snow with a board.
The Association “Friends of the Mountains”, founded in 1977 by a group of tourism lovers from Resita, organizes annually camps for children in order to shed light on the mysteries of skiing and of the beautiful “Snow Feasts”.
On Semenic, all mountain lovers are urged to admire and take photos of unforgettable views. In winter, in the clear days, the distant image of the Ţarcu Mountains is delightful. When the sprawling snow has a reflective icy sheen, the difficulties of transport are forgotten in front of the wonderful landscape. The fir trees covered by the snow surpass in beauty any winter tree adorned by the hand of man during the holidays.
As the wheel of seasons spin and changes, that is how the appearance of Mount Semenic’ forest changes too: “It’s beautiful in autumn when feeling the cold coming, it turns into warm colours. The yellowish or golden, brown or reddish foliage makes the forest appear like polished. Then the waters cool and the leaves fall and rains come and the winter cold spreads. After they have lost the ornament of leaves, the deserted trees contrast with their black and gray colour the white cloth of the snow cover. The mist of the clouds descends from the mountain, filling the valleys with their fluffy curtains. At midday, the wind starts blowing; the mist dissipates, leaving room to the clearness of the fresh mountain air. When, with the arrival of spring the snow melts, everything seems to be rustling in the woods. The new leaves appear shyly, later than in the forests from the hills. Refreshing itself, the forest covers itself with a raw green. The green of May. Nature is wearing new clothes. The weather is warming up in the approaching summer. The summer sun is spreading heat and light slipping through the trees. “[Meila M., 2012].
Then every part of the day is accompanied by another image of the mountain:
“The spectacle of nature begins at dawn, when it comes as justice done to the earth, and the mountain scenery reveals its pure beauty. Sometimes the morning in Semenic is shrouded in fog, but at noon the clearness of the air allows the eyes to gaze far away. Admired from the Mount Semenic at sunset, the sun seems to be sitting on the shoulders of the Anina Mountains. Sunset is taking place in a truly cosmic setting. The evening seems to just descend. “[Meila M., 2012].
“The inclusion of the mountain in the shadow of the dusk happens the other way around than usual. Twilight actually climbs the mountain; the valleys darken first, and the ridges remain the last lightened, as an extension quickly faded of the day. “[Meila M., 2012].
Certain “weather phenomena” are found only on Mount Semenic.
In summer, on Mount Semenic, the weather may change unexpectedly. Grey clouds gather lower and lower, and running on the sky flash lightning and shout with thunder. The forest becomes “a cathedral where the wind blows” [Barbu E., 1984]. The rain falls into the ground, swelling with water, and the air currents fill the “pitchers” of the springs. From their overflow the streams are drinking, and swelling the rivers in the valley. The phenomenon described is not at all rare, because Semenic has the reputation of being one of the rainiest regions in Romania.
Another impressive phenomenon is the “sea of clouds“, when the mountain remains in the clear above a white carpet of clouds and may be seen “from heaven.” The same day, while dark and muddy at the foot of the mountain, it may be serene and lighted by the sun on the high plateau on Gozna Peak. The blanket of clouds seen from above seems unreal, and the fascinated viewer lives for a while in a dream world. The “lucky” tourists who will live such a day will never forget it.
In the forests of Mount Semenic, “every tree has a name, and on every branch there is a singing bird” [Toma George Maiorescu, 1980]. That’s why, for hikers with good physical training, it is a delightful surprise to walk through the unspoiled beech forest, a European rarity, situated not far from the Nera’s spring. The “virgin” forest is included in the reservation called “Nera’s springs”, where hundreds year old trees are protected.
If you take the hike through the forests of Semenic in autumn, before frost, look for a beech tree mushroom picker. You will recognize him by the pole he wears on his shoulders, which ends in a metal blade that scraps the trees to uncover the delicious delicatessen. You will find that work not too easy, because the mushrooms often grow up high, just under the crown of the beech. From place to place, in leafless tree crowns, you will discover the places where the bird nests have been hidden.
From the Mount Semenic, in sunny and serene days, the tourists can see the “green-yellowish” and winding ribbon of the Danube, bordering the south-western part of Banat.
The touristic village of Gărâna. From Reşiţa, through Văliug and till Prislop, you cover 33 km, and then you can go down into the Wolf’s Valley. After 5 km you reach Garana, then Brebu Nou, passing through the touristic resort of Three Waters.
Garana is today a well-known touristic village in the Mountainous Banat “well known” to jazz, folk and rock lovers. It has become known especially through the International Jazz Festival, which has been organised every summer in July since 1997. Through this cultural event, Garana turned from an abandoned traditional village into a picturesque mountain resort.
Garana is a “hearth of history, an oasis of health and recreation” [Fabian F.V., 2002].
The touristic village of Gărâna is situated on the slope next to Wolf’s Valley, the houses being strung together at an altitude of 800 m at the entrance, 1000 m in front of the Roman Catholic Church “St. Theresa de Avilla “(1971) and 1100 m at the top end of the community.
Garana, located northeast of Mount Semenic, is connected with Brebu Nou located on the Brebu Hill, near Three Waters Lake.
The villages of Brebu Nou and Garana were founded almost in the same time, in 1827 and respectively in 1828, by settling the first German colonists in these places (67 families in Garana and 72 families in Brebu Nou). The names of Germans “Pems” come from Bohemia, region situated in the north-west of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Some of them came from the hilly and mountainous parts of Tyrol or the German Alps.
The name of the village of Garana has the meaning of “laceration in the woods” and in German it is called Wolfsberg. For the tourists who have not been in the area, the commune to which Garana belongs bears the name of the other village, its “twin brother”, Brebu Nou. This village is called Weidenthal in German.
The two villages are considered “twins” because they have a common history regarding the life of the inhabitants. 185 years have passed since the German Pems were “settled” here by the Habsburg administration of the time. But only five years after their arrival, on September 14th 1833, due to the very difficult living and working conditions, they were approved to “spread through the country”: “As a result, 268 families, counting also those from Lindenfeld and Sadova, dispersed in the western Banat’ villages, most of them settling in Maureni, their villages remaining desolate, and no smoke ever came out from the chimneys of those deserted houses.” [Fabian F.V, 2002].
After only two years of “wandering through the Banat’ plain,” where life was not a bit easier, a part of the Pems, who had left earlier, returned to the abandoned houses at the foot of Semenic to continue their lives here. “There were 53 families in Garana, and in Brebu Nou another 46 families who resumed their living and their habits, beginning to reanimate the place and its surroundings.” [Fabian F.V, 2002].
In the period that followed, that of the St.E.G, the work of the German Pems in the forest was not at all easy for providing the necessary wood for the production of charcoal. During the week they worked on woodcutting and rafting, and on Saturday they came back home and worked in their own gardens. Proving to be good-natured farmers as well, the German Pems applied the “crop rotation” long before it became a fashion, in order to get the best harvest of potatoes and turnips in their gardens, and in field, oats and rye. The Pem women were very hard-working, and while the men were in the woods, they were performing the hard work in the field, digging and mowing the grass. They were the ones who prepared the flax, separated the cream, prepared the sweet cow cheese, and beat the butter, and then they were travelling dozens of kilometres on foot, with their “load on the back” to Resita, to sell their products and gather additional money, necessary for their living and their household.
Keeping their households in a state of enviable order and cleanliness, the hikers sought accommodation in the Pem owners’ homes. The starting was made by a local old man in 1900, who, as a man with high initiatives, made available his home for the occasional visitors who were coming to Garana to visit the beautiful mountain village.
At “Jacob Bacsi’s” even the leaders of UDR used to spend their holidays (Auschnit and Pop) and, like other tourists, they used to take long rides on horse-drawn sledge or go skiing. In this place the specialities of the place were served, satisfying even the most refined preferences.
World War II led to a regression of the population, many men fell on the front. The second ordeal was the deportation of the Germans in the USSR for the so-called “reconstruction work”, which was actually an extermination labour.
Out of the 250 Pems (118 males and 132 females), only 228 returned home after 2-6 years. Since 1975, more and more went to Germany, culminating with the departure of 1448 persons between 1989 and 1991.
Now, grace to the efforts of the German Democratic Front, the old traditions are revived, including that of the October Kirchweih, an ancient religious and cultural celebration that annually gathers the ex-sons of the village from other countries, but also many Romanians. They return home whenever they have the opportunity; those who did not sell their house set up their households and organise balls and feasts, feeling further at home on this land that attracts them as a magnet.
To reach Garana, the main access road is the Reşiţa – Văliug – Gărâna route, with a length of 38 km. From the Prislop-Three Ape main road the communal road starts, crossing the settlement, climbing the hillside, but as it climbs to the centre of the village of Garana, the slope becomes gentler. Going through the village, you can see the simple old, but very neat houses with the front on the street, clean and whitewashed in the two white and green colours that always gave them a pleasant and uniform look. Among them are the renovated or newly built houses. Here, like in Brebu Nou, the houses have changed their owners and inhabitants from Timisoara and Resita live in them, instead of the emigrants; especially seasonal tourists in love with these mountain places.
While walking through the village, look for the houses that have glazed geraniums in the window in summer, and cucumber jars left in the sun in autumn. Here you will taste fresh traditional products. And at the at the Wheel Mill House (1832) you will find cream, sweet cheese and butter like in the good old days or “like your mothers.”
The area impresses from the very first moments. If a sunrise is caught on the road from Prislop to Three Waters, one shall remark that the air above the valley of the Gradiste stream flowing to the right of the road has a bluish shade and a special fragrance given by the buds and the resin of the fir trees along the slope descending from the peak of Semenic. This air is actually the ozone released by the oxygen in the atmosphere. It is known that the oxygen obtained under certain conditions of temperature and atmospheric pressure, under the influence of ultraviolet rays, can form molecules composed of three oxygen atoms, i.e. ozone. This ozone is a powerful oxidant of the blood, hence its miraculous therapeutic qualities.
Although Garana is situated in a full mountain area at 900 m altitude of 900 m, the touristic village is protected by the surrounding heights, so the summers are pleasant, cool and humid, the temperature situating between 180C and 250C, a quite comfortable one for tourists.
The winters are cold and even frosty, and heating is needed in the houses made of dried beech wood or acacia, crackling at the fireside.
There are 10 boarding houses, one more interesting than the other, with well-chosen and suggestive names for visitors: La Răscruce / At Crossroads, Briza Muntelui / Mountain Breeze , Gotschna, Wolfsberg, Sus în Sat / In the Upper Village, La Scena / At the Stage, etc. The stage of the great festivals is situated in the Wolf Valley and creates an image in which the rustic and the modern take shapes that converge and get integrated in the landscape in a marvellous way.
Near Garana, you can bath in the Grădişte stream or you can find camping sites along the creek. From Garana there are many possibilities for hiking to the three peaks of the Mount Semenic, to the Vultures Bath Lake or to the “St. Elijah” Hermitage.
If Garana is the fertile place of arts meeting, from jazz, folk and rock music to sculpture and painting, Brebu Nou is the starting point for motorcycle enthusiasts participating in the rugged terrain competition Enduromania.
Long walks (5 km) can be made daily between Gărâna and Three Waters.
The touristic resort Three Waters. Only 3 km away from Garana the tourists can find the touristic resort “Three Waters”, situated on the shore of the lake with the same name. Three Water reservoir Lake, whose construction was completed in 1971, is named so because it gathers the waters of three streams: Grădişte, Semenic and Brebu. The Grădişte brook (reinforced settlement!) springs from the northern side of the Semenic Peak and flows through the Garana depression on a distance of 10.5 km to the lake. The second stream, Semenic, springs from the south-east of Semenic Peak, from the place called “At the Fountain”, descends along the “Semenic Backside” and flows into the lake through the bay on the right side of the dam. The third water is the Brebu brook (5.7 km), which passes next to the village of Brebu Nou and flows into the lake forming an empty passage to the left of the dam, besides the road leading to Slatina Timiş.
Three Waters Lake has a depth of 30 m at the dam and stretches 3 km on Gradistea water, 4 km on the Semenic brook and 2 km on the Brebu creek, with an area of 53 hectars. It is the dam from Mount Semenic built at the highest altitude, 850 m.
From the water of the lake, over the dam, the river Timis can be seen. Prior to the construction of the dam, the Grădişte brook was considered to be Timiş, and the streams of Semenic and Brebu were tributaries.
Among the Banat rivers, the largest one is Timis. Its length from the spring to the confluence is 339 km, out of which 241 km are on Romanian territory.
It has the privilege of being the first river to be found on the Romanian territory which flows directly into the Danube River at the confluence from Serbia. Before Timis, the waters of the other rivers reach the Danube through Tisa.
The name of the river is used to “baptise” the plains and the Banat County.
From Three Waters to Teregova, the river Timiş is a sumptuous mountain water which, as it descends, tends to gradually melt away “reminding of the turmoil of the Banat’s anticommunist partisans who, after 1946, fought and resisted in the surroundings of the villages of Teregova, Domaşnea and Cornereva and the slopes of Semenic. [Meila M., 2009].
Vacations and excursions to the Three Waters Resort are particularly enjoyable both due to the charm of nature and the pontoon arrangements for your favourite water sports. Nothing is more soothing than a boat trip through the three bays created at the confluence with the three waters in the lake.
More adrenaline, however, can be brought about by a water bike ride, swimming and water skiing.
It is a favourite place for relaxation, with plenty of fresh air, sun and shade. The young girls can sit by the beach on the pontoon and amateur fishermen cannot miss a fishing trip in the lake’s waters. Hikers can go up Mount Semenic, to the touristic villages of Gărâna and Brebu Nou or to the Timiş Gorges and Waterfalls.
If you do not like accommodation at the “Trei Ape” Hostel with 45 accommodation places, the restaurant and the terrace or the 16 cottages (37 places) of the “Trei Ape / Three Waters” 1 and 2 bungalows, then you can choose to camp in tents in the meadows stretching along the road from Garana to Brebu Nou.
Semenic with its resorts: Văliug-Crivaia, Garana-Brebu Nou and Three Waters are important touristic areas of Mountainous Banat. With the acquisition of the four lakes – Secu, Breazova-Văliug, Gozna-Crivaia and Three Waters – by the Czech CEZ group, new opportunities for recreational development are opened in the mountain resorts, and tourists will take more and more advantage of the beauty of the area.
After the completion of the asphalting works on the entire county road DJ 582 Reşiţa – Prislop – Slatina Timiş, the trip can continue on the route Three Waters – Slatina Timiş (18 km), then on the European road E70 (DN 6) between Slatina Timiş-Caransebeş and finally on the county road DN 58 from Caransebes to Resita (42 km).
Until then, from Resita, tourists can take the route through Bocsa to the lakes of Dognecea (24 km).
Theme Park nr. 1. NATURE’ SPECTACLE:
The Dognecea Water Lilies Lake – A CORNER OF PARADISE
The man of the 21st century is increasingly subjected to psychic pressure, living more in the world of technology, with a coffee in his hand, a phone to his ear, and his eyes focused on a computer monitor or a tablet. This is why the following question arises:
How long will he endure all kinds of hardships that grind his daily life?
… the answer can also be given by another question:
Is there time to recreate our soul and mind in the so distinctive and appealing fragrance of nature?
It is necessary that at least for a day per week to escape from our daily routine and return to nature, without telephone, without television set or without computer, to heal our soul and cure our body and then fortified, to be able to go on.
In the Mountainous Banat “Nature has dosed everything with great care.” [Birou V., 1982]. What describes best the landscape from Caras is the word “therapy”. The Dognecea Water Lily Lake offers the opportunity to relax in the middle of nature in a place that resembles to a “corner of heaven”. Here, watching The Spectacle of Nature, as a tourist you will never feel like leaving. You will feel continuously that everything is free, given by nature. Clean air, quiet, coolness, relaxation, beauty and charm, everything in a perfect harmony to help you relax and forget for at least one day our agitated thoughts.
Touristic therapies begin with breathing pure air, strongly ionized with negative ions, similar to that in a spa resort. Then you can bathe in clear water, sit in the sun and, most of all, enjoy peace. A half-hour walk can be taken along the lake shore; on the surface of the lake white lilies are sparkling with their big white flowers opened in the middle of the green leaves. You will have the image of wild beauty of nature, unaltered by the hand of man. If you are not a fishing fan, look for the mother of pearl shells that you can pick in this lily paradise.
To quench your thirst, you can take a hike to the water spring of Calina, where the Viennese Empresses loved to drink the second best still mineral water after Evian. Also at Calina, you should enter for a prayer in the first wooden church built in Banat. Finally, enjoy your favourite food at the guesthouse „Corner of Paradise”.
8. THE CARAŞ GORGES
THE WILDEST GORGES IN ROMÂNIA
Caraş Valley at Prolaz
Caraş Gorge – a hike