THE JEWEL BETWEEN THE
If the Apple Glade is “Little Switzerland”, the commune of Rusca Montană with the Ruschiţa village enjoys the name ” Banat’s Sinaia “, due to the clean and pure air, the beauty of its valleys and streams, the glades and orchards on the sunny slopes, as well as for the to the hospitality of the locals. The evening and morning breeze, the thousands of water flood traps, the breathing of forests, all these are permanent factors of purification and enrichment of the air, much sought after and breathed by those who come to the Rusca Valley.
But what brought the fame of the place is the Ruschiţa marble quarry.
This hidden “jewel” in the Poiana Rusca Mountains is one of the riches of Mountainous Banat that has unveiled to people and has become a tourist attraction.
Rusca Montana and Ruschiţa are two of the most bewildering places from Banat, where the harwood wealth of nature, the marble, the iron, the lead and the wood are combined superbly with the features of a simple and sincere character of the people who, in the hard struggle for existence, grinding into the earth for an invaluable treasure, have acquired a seemingly strange self-consciousness and a critical spirit developed to satire, with ironies facing those around and even themselves. Therefore, the Rusca native can never be repugnant. The Ruschita marble bears the beauty of the work and the lives of the people here, cold at the first impression, like the white rocks sheltering them, and then you feel them warm and very hospitable just like the surroundings.
Starting from the Rusca Valley upwards, 20 km from Voislova you reach Ruschiţa, the place of the marble in Banat. The paths that climb snaking to the heights of the mountains are either smooth and restful, or indomitable and steep for the hiker, inviting him to uncover the whole grandeur of the surroundings without rushing. The entire area is guarded from all sides by the peaks: Padeş (1380 m), Rusca (1359 m) and Poiana (1190 m).
The marble quarry is located at the confluence of the Raci Creek with the Rusca River at an altitude of nearly 600 m.
“If the nature-loving hiker remains amazed by the marvellous beauty of the marble walls, the mineralogists strive to discover the mysteries of the laws of crystallization from their unparalleledly varied appearance.” [Margineanu D, 2005].
Ruschiţa marble is a crystalline limestone, either of bright white colour, rivalling in beauty with the Carrara marble (from Italy), or pink, with little fine grains, more and more sought after. It was discovered in 1883.
The pathfinder was Johan Bibel senior, who had exploited marbles before, in the Bucova, Bradet (Oraviţa) and Milanovac (Serbia) quarries.
During the Empire, the palaces and villas of Vienna and Budapest were decorated with marble plates and ornaments made of Ruschiţa. A great interest for the marble of Ruschiţa was showed also by the Empress and Queen Elizabeth of Austro-Hungary, many of whose statues being made from this white marble. They can still be seen in Vienna, Salzburg, Budapest, Szeged, Baile Herculane and Caransebeș.
In 1937, following the senior (deceased), Johan Bibel junior became the owner of the quarry, an architect who had worked on the Eiffel Tower construction project in Paris. It is the year when the International Marble Exhibition takes place in Paris, France, where the Ruschita marble finds its true value and a leading place in the world due to its exceptional quality. Today, it is known in almost all countries of the world grace to its superior qualities compared to the Carrara marble. It is harder and more resistant to weathering, being an outdoor marble.
The marble of Ruschita decorates the People’s House in Bucharest (Romania), the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon.
For 64 years (1883 – 1947), while it was the property of the Bibel family, there were extracted almost 70 000 m³ of marble from the Ruschiţa marble quarry, with an annual production average of 1000-1300 m³. What is novelty for today is that the marble transport from Ruschiţa to Voislova was made with the “Big Cart” pulled by 24 traction horses.
The marble quarry at Ruschiţa has become today a tourist attraction, being the largest and most spectacular one from Europe. Take a look at the quarry from the mountain top and you will see that modern mining machines seem like toys in the “inverted bell” of the multistage marble’s exploitation.
Being always aroused during this trip, after the quarry’s visit, the tourists will climb to the 800-meter level, amid the beech and coniferous forests, where they can light even a picnic fire at the “Seven springs”. As it is well known, where there is a valley there is water. The Rusca River is full of trout. With a breathtaking landscape due to the fresh air, the Rusca Valley is an ideal place for a holiday away from the turmoil of civilization, with its two unique sights from Europe: The Ruschita Marble Quarry and The Rusca Montana Tourism Monument, the native place of the great teacher Stefan Velovan.