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Secrets and legends

Chapels and pilgrimages at Lake Saint Anne
Several documents mention the existence of chapels on the shore of Lake Saint Anne. Some write about one, others mention two. There is also controversy on when the chapel was built. Therefore, those who would like to carry out research into this topic, have to be familiar with the entire literature.

Authors generally share the view that in the past as many as 20,000-30,000 people took part in the indulgence day pilgrimages (though this number seems exaggerated). Also, there is no debate on the fact that owing to always-recurring fights and other offences among the pilgrims, in 1786 Ignác Batthány, Bishop of Transylvania, had to put a stop to the pilgrimage. In 1830 Bishop Miklós Kovács permitted the organisation of pilgrimages at the chapel, but he had to ban them again in 1844, due to similar reasons.

Military topographic maps made in the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy show one chapel on the shore of the lake. On the first military maps made by the Austrian Army between 1763-1787 there is only one chapel on the place of today's Saint Anne chapel. The second military topographic survey of Transylvania took place between 1819-1869. This map shows the ruins of a chapel, while a third map – issued after the 1872-1884 survey – shows not only a chapel but also a cemetery on the shore of the lake.

According to the data provided by Vicar András Balázs, the chapel was rebuilt in 1927, and pilgrimages were organised until the end of the Second World War. In 1972 Ferenc Szabó, Vicar of Csíkkozmás, carried out major repairs on the chapel. Other sources claim that the restoration of the building was encouraged by the Minister of Culture, János Fazekas. The works started in 1976 and ended in 1977. The wrought-iron door of the bell tower was designed by Sándor Károly, an artist from Kolozsvár, and was manufactured by the famous blacksmith of Csíkkozmás, Jenő Máté. The bell cast in 1924 was also placed in the belfry.

Saint Anne day pilgrimages have been organised again since 1990.
Between 1990-1999 the AnnART action art festival was held during the Saint Anne Days. It was organised by the artist Imre Baász and his enthusiastic disciples. Only six artists participated in the first edition of the festival, but as it was becoming increasingly popular, the subsequent ten editions hosted 121 artists from 26 countries.

The legends of Lake Saint Anne
There are several legends on how the lake appeared. They tell about two evil brothers who built two palaces for themselves: the elder brother's palace was on the place of Lake Saint Anne, while the younger brother built his one on the top of Mount Büdös. Vying with each other about who can harness more beautiful horses to his chariot, one of them appealed to an extreme solution, and put the most beautiful maids of the region to his carriage. The variants of the legend differ in the number of horses and the number of virgins (4 or 6, respectively 8 or 12), as well as in the way the girls are transformed. Elek Benedek, the great Hungarian folk-tale teller, published several variants of the legend.
The version of the tale presented by Ikefalvi and Vilmos Hankó tells not only about the stolen bell, but also about the love between Gergő, a young Szekler hunter, and the youngest fairy.
The legend of Bálványos Castle is also about a loving couple.
Emese Lénárt studied the legends about the lake and the way these tales appeared in literature.

The hermit of Lake Saint Anne
"Once upon a time there lived a hermit on the shore of Lake Saint Anne who kept praying to the Holy Virgin's parents to help him protect his relatives from trouble. The hermit's prayers were heard, so he offered Lake Saint Anne in the protection of Anne and Joachim." (24 July 2005 issue of Új ember Roman Catholic magazine)

The echo of Lake Saint Anne
Several accounts are known about the echo of Lake Saint Anne. The first writer to mention it is Balázs Orbán, who wrote in 1860: "We, too, sang a hymn asking better future for out fatherland, and were amazed by the echo that came from all around the lake. Any sound, especially that of a gun-shot, runs from cliff to cliff for about fifteen seconds, first more vigorously, then it gradually dies out revolving around the mountain-funnel that surrounds the lake."
"The solemn silence that settles onto the heart of those who step in this valley raises feelings never experienced before..." – Mór Jókai writes – "There is not even a slightest noise to disturb the complete silence of this chosen valley, the surrounding cliffs protecting it from the storm; yet our shouting is so perfectly reproduced by the echo which whirls in this ring of cliffs, raising its pitch with almost and octave before it dies out, as if we were listening to chimes hovering in the air long after the bells ceased to ring."

Whirlpools in Lake Saint Anne
There are rumours that whirlpools make swimming in the lake dangerous. However, in their physical-geographical and ecological synthesis on the lake Zoltán Pál and Attila Plibáth claim that "the currents in the lake are not permanent, their motion being driven by wind. Due to the significant elevation difference between the surface of the lake and the crater-edge, the sun often heats only part of the lake's surface, the other part remaining in shade, resulting in a temperature-difference between the two bodies of water, which is compensated via current formation. This sudden change of water temperature can cause cramping in legs and arms, especially if swimmers get frightened." The writers of the study admit that swimming in the lake is more difficult than usual, because "due to its low mineral-content the density of water is smaller than usual; consequently its buoyancy is also smaller."