Lake St Anna, the only volcanic lake in Central Europe, and its pure water

by Victor Grigore, Webphoto.ro

St Anna Lake’s area has a special air purity due to the vast forests surrounding it and the landscape is enchanting at any time. The lake is 30 km away from Baile Tusnad resort, which you can also reach by hiking. Though the region is in the heartland of Romania, this part of Transylvania has an overwhelming Hungarian population, so you’ll be able to taste the traditional gulas soup or the delicious cake named kurtos kalacs.

If you go hiking, beware that the bear population in the woods is numerous so it’s preferable to go in a group. On the road or through the woods you can reach Bixad (10 km away). Just a few kilometers from St Ana Lake there is a reservation called Tinovul Mohos, a camping and a guest-house, but more accommodation facilities you will find in Baile Tusnad, a resort which is on the national road between Brasov (through Sfantu Gheorghe) and Miercurea Ciuc, about 30 km from the latter.

Lake Saint Ana is a geological and landscape reservation in the Ciomat Puturosu mountain and is the only volcanic lake in Central Europe. The lake, situated at an altitude of 950 m, is about 7 m deep. The surface of the lake is about 19,5 hectares. As it does not have any springs, it is entirely made up of rain water. The diameter of volcano’s crater is 1,5 km, 150-350 m high.

The lake, which is almost round, with a diameter of 620 m, can be used for swimming and boats can also be rented. One side of the lake has a beach set up.
The lake was formed on the bottom of an extinct volcano, where rain water was gathered. The water is clean, having almost the same chemical purity as distilled water. Same as the distilled water, is not drinkable, though, as it lacks the mineral substances potable water collects from the soil. Because oxygen is also absent, fish also don’t live in this lake.

Lake Saint Ana is mentioned for the first time in 1349. On the banks there is a Roman Catholic chapel where the dedication ceremony takes place every 26th of July (at this date, the Catholic calendar celebrates Joachim and Anna, the parents of Joan The Baptist, while the Orthodox calendar celebrates St Anna one day later).
Not far from the lake, the flower reservation Tinovul Mohos (Moss Lake), wich is four times the size of the lake we can see today. To access the reservation you need a guide, which you can get for 1 dollar. During summer, when the soil, made up peat coal, is dry, you can take a few steps on it. It feels like stepping on a rug made of cork. During the rest of the year, the coal turns into a swamp or a lake, depending on the rain. This is why you need to be guided, because the swamp can have areas of unknown depth.

The eco club that manages the reservation does a good job preserving it and built a wooden bridge for the entire road over the bog. Some of the rare plants that can only be seen here might not look very spectacular for regular tourists, but the miniature pines are definitely likable. These pines are a sort of bonsai made by nature because of the special soil and cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.
The Lake Moss bog is home to some relic plants such as: the field cane, Eriophorum Vaginatum, sedges, willow, a plant nicknamed the dew of heaven and over 20 varieties of peat moss (Sphagnum). Tinov is mostly covered by pine (pinus sylvestris). Two species of birch can be found here: dwarf birch and downy birch.

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