Borsec (Borszék)

Borsec is situated in the Eastern Carpathians, in the circular basin created by the Calimani, Bistritei, Ceahlau and the Giurgeului Mountains. It can be approached along the Transylvanian circular railway as far as Toplita, then along a small railway. To the Borsec baths 28 km more should be done along National Road 15. It lies 91 km far from Bicaz, 44 km from Deda, 125 km from Miercurea-Ciuc and 186 km from Brasov. The Fagului Peak (1,300 m) and the Chiurezu Mare Peak (1,492 m) can be approached from here. From Ditrau we can reach it through the 870 m high Orotva Peak. The 6 km long Capu Corbului - Borsec railway was built in 1952.

Borsec is one of the most significant spas of Transylvania and one of the atmospheric alpine resorts of Harghita county. It is the northernmost settlement of Szeklerland and of the block of the Magyars of Gheorgheni. It was declared town in 1956. Visitors called it "the queen of mineral waters". The notion of mineral water can still be identified with the name of the town. Borsec owns its development to its peerless abundance in mineral water springs (there are more than 30 springs), the early-started bottling, its country rich in natural rarities and windless climate. From point of view of its economy, its extractive industry (limestone, pitch-coal), wood- and food-processing are also significant. Here is to be find the largest mineral water bottling factory (2 million liter/month), the Apemin Borsec named "Regina Apelor Minerale SA Borsec" (Mineral Water Queen Borsec) in 1992. Bottling started here 200 years ago. Its curative water was already known in the 16th century.

As the northernmost town of Szeklerland, Borsec has a significant touristic role. Settled at 800 m altitude, it is one of the highest lying town of Transylvania. The number of its inhabitants is 3,053 (2,440 Magyars, 598 Romanians, 11 other nationalities (1992). The inhabitants work in the travertine- and coal-mines, in the bottling factory and at the spa. Spared from mass tourism because of its out-of-the-way position, Borsec spa has perhaps the most beautiful surroundings in Transylvania, having excellent endowments for further development: besides its mineral water, the fresh, subalpine climate and the picturesque forests attract the visitors.

Therapeutic values of Borsec

Borsec has become famous for its carbonic and alkaline mineral water springs. Among other values, the mud, the peat saturated with mineral water (11 m average thickness in the Újsáros field) as well as the windless, subalpine climate, the fresh air can be mentioned.

Mineral water springs

The water of around 15 natural springs and 5 springs coming from drilling are used on the area of Upper Borsec lying in a basin of more than 30 km2. The carstic water comes from the infiltration of the Nádas stream and its sidewaters. This area belongs to the post-volcanic mofette-yard of the Calimani Mountains.

The majority of the mineral water springs comes to the surface from the chrystaline dolomites and they fall into the category of the earthy-limy mineral water: Izvorul Principal (230,000 liter/day output), Boldizsár or Madonna spring (spring no. 3, output: 6,600 liter/day), László spring (no. 5., output: 5,100 liter/day), Lázár spring (no. 6.), 'Republic' (75,000 liter/day), Horia, Closca, Crisan, J. Pierre-Curie spring (3,800 liter/day, it contains radium), Kossuth spring (no. 10, witndecreasing output), Petofi spring (no. 11, 900 liter/day).

Springs no. 3, 5, 6 and 10 as well as villas no 51, 53, 56, 50, the Elisée pension, the villas no. 120, 13 and 14, the electric station, the Kaláka Villa appear on the List of Historical Monuments of Harghita county (1992). The 7 springs alley, the Fagul restaurant, the no. 15, 17, 19, 21, 13, 17, 71 villas are registered as protected areas of Harghita county.

The medicine water of the resort are indicated in case of circulatory disease, anaemia, women's disease, disease of the endocrine glands, nervous disease, rickets, renal disease, diabetes, obesity. Main therapeutic facilities: carbonic baths, mofettes, inner treatment mineral water cures, hydrotherapeutic treatment, physio- and electro-therapy, massage, therapeutic gymnastics. There are also dietetic treatment facilities. It can also be used as drinking water (table water).

Deaul Rotund is the natural rarity of Upper Borsec. The thick-benched travertine hill rises above Lower Borsec as a natural wall with picturesque karstic forms at 975 m altitude, on an area of 1.5 km2. The travertine precipitated from the lukewarm limy-carbonic springs was used, among others, in decorating public buildings in Bucharest and Miercurea-Ciuc.

Ice-cave (Pestera de gheata) This grotto was formed in a karstic hole of the Dealul Rotund (in the porous, airy travertine) where the infiltrating water freezes and melts only late in the spring.

The Orthodox Church (next to the baths) was built as a Roman Catholic church in 1911. It is registered among the historical monuments of Harghita county (1992).

Other places of interest: Izvorul Principal the most important mineral water springs of the spa. Groata Ursilor, a small hole formed as a result of the dissolving effect of the water on the area of the Dealul Rotund, Dripstone cave (a small hollow on the area of the Dealul Rotund), Cetatea Bufnitei ('Owlery' - limestone hollow), the Ancient Spring (it used to be a small lake 150 years ago, the first bath was built here and this was the place where the soldiers of the military frontiers stood), 'Three gardens' medicinal marsh (on an area of 9 ha with 15-20 m thick peat-bog, medicinal mud, rare plants, medicinal water containing calcium and magnesium), 'Fairy Forest (the travertine-cone here is explored), The 'Foot-bath' spring is above the travertine mine. As the springs get closed because of the precipitation of the calcic water, the spring-cones change their places.