Live Cam

View Live Cam

Apply for free newsletter


More video    

The lake and its surroundings

Nearby towns and villages

The Kászon Basin, situated between Mount Répát and the southern extremity of the Csík Mountains, is roughly 10 km long and 5 km wide. The villages that can be found there used to belong to Kászon Seat, the smallest territorial-administrative unit within the seat-system of the Szeklerland. Today the five villages of the former Kászon Seat (Kászonaltíz, Kászonfeltíz, Kászonimpér, Kászonújfalu, Kászonjakabfalva) are part of Kászon Commune. According to the 2002 census, the commune has 2979 inhabitants. Kászon is famous for its specific settlement structure, folk art and vernacular architecture. Trends in the development of the Szekler vernacular architecture such as different changes in the structure and layout of houses can easily be followed in these villages. Apart from dwelling houses, barns and farm-buildings are also of particular interest. A remarkable piece of vernacular architecture is Béla Fogarasi's house in Kászonaltíz, which was built more than 300 years ago. It is considered the oldest Szelker peasant-house situated in its original environment. The house is used in its original form even today, which means that it does not have a chimney for venting smoke out of the attic. These villages are also famous for their traditional loomwork and authentic sewing patterns. Remarkable pieces of traditional handicrafts are on display in the Szekler Ethnographic Museum inaugurated in Kászonaltíz in 2011. The Late Baroque Balássy Mansion in Kászonimpér hosts a children's home run by the Saint Francis Foundation of Déva.

Kozmás Commune
Kozmás Commune is an important settlement in the region of Lower Csík. During the communist period Csíkkozmás and Lázárfalva belonged to Csíkszentmárton. Since 2002 the two villages have been components of a separate commune. According to the 2002 census the population of the commune was 1356 people.
Its most representative building is the Roman Catholic church built in honour of Saints Cosmas and Damian on the place of a Romanesque church. It is a monument, and so are the parish house and the Baroque stone cross in the churchyard built in 1710. In the commune there is also a bath known under the name of Sószékfürdő, which was renovated by the Ars Topia Foundation with the support of the Local Council in 2003.

In September 2011 Sószékfürdő was included in the project targeting the renovation of traditional baths run by the Council of Hargita County in collaboration with the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism, as a result of which the bathhouse was enlarged with a sauna and with places for accommodation.

Tusnád Commune
According to the 2002 census, Tusnád Commune is inhabited by 2114 people, and is made up of three villages: Tusnád (Nagytusnád), Újtusnád and Verebes. The first written document in which Tusnád is mentioned dates back to 1421. The church was built on the place of an old chapel in 1802. Its pulpit and main altar were donated by Miklós Kovács, Bishop of Transylvania, who derived from this village. Tusnád is also mentioned in one of the first documents on potato-cultivation in Csík, issued in 1800. On 11 September 1822 most of the village was destroyed in a fire. It was then when 43 families moved west to the Olt River, and settled along River Mitács, founding a new village called Újtusnád [New Tusnád]. Lots of stone gates, stone houses and stone crosses can be found in these villages. The commune is particularly rich in mineral springs, as well. In 2005, as part of the 'Living Heritage' project run by the Csík Association for Tourism and Nature Conservation together with the Environmental Partnership Foundation, Romania's first mineral water museum was opened in the centre of the commune. The museum was built close to the Bagolyforrás [Owl Spring in English], a mineral spring with a remarkably abundant flow. Travellers often fill their bottles with its water.

Situated in the southern part of Hargita County, Tusnádfürdő is the smallest town in Romania, with a population of 1728 people (according to the 2002 census). The town's first spa was built in 1842. Tusnádfürdő used to be part of Tusnád Commune, but it became a separate village in 1935. The settlement was granted the title of town in 1968, while its big hotels were built in the 1970s. After the fall of the communist regime the spa resort fell into decline, but it has managed to recover. A large number of modern guesthouses, chalets, ski slopes and wellness centres are available for visitors.
The natural environment, the mineral springs with a wide variety of chemical composition, the climate and the beauty of the landscape make Tusnádfürdő an ideal place for curing neurotic disorders, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and endocrinal diseases. The spa town is the venue of the Tusványos Summer Open University. EU-camps were also organised here.
Lake Csukás was artificially created in 1894 by capturing water from the Olt River. In the 1920s it was a much-visited tourist site. After 1948 the spa-resort went under state-management, and a red star was placed in the middle of the lake. In winters it was used as an ice-rink. The lake was privatised again in 2000.

Situated to the south of Mount Csomád, Sepsibükszád is famous for its mineral springs. The hiking trail that leads to Lake Saint Anne also has its starting point in this village. The settlement developed into a village due to the glass-manufactury owned by the Mikó and Mikes families. The glass manufactury was moved here from Mikóújfalu, and operated until 1914. In the second half of the 19th century Sepsibükszád was owned by Count Benedek Mikes, who invested not only in the glass manufactury, but also in the spa situated at the source of River Zsombor. According to the 2002 census, the village has 1811 inhabitants. Its Roman Catholic church was built in honour of the Virgin Mary in 1867. Its Greek Catholic church was erected in 1712. The village has an orthodox church, as well. Count Ármin Mikes's hunting mansion built in 1900 is now used as the village school. Not far from the village, the ruins of Vápa-Castle can be visited.

Bálványosfürdő came into being in 1956 when three spa resorts grew together. The oldest one, situated at Bálványos Pass, was known under the name of Torjai-büdös. The second one, the Csiszár Spa, situated at the foot of the Csoma Ridge, bears the name of its founder, Dénes Csiszár; while the third one, at the foot of Mount Vár, was first referred to as Váradi-Spa, and later as Transylvania-Spa in the literature on balneology.
After the 1989 events the centres of treatment at Várpad and Transylvania Spas ceased their operation. Later, however, they started developing again. The Best Western Hotel, a centre of treatment that meets all modern standards, was built on the ruins of the Torjai-büdös spa.
Another place of interest is Bálványos Castle. It was built in the Middle Ages, in the 11th-12th centuries.

It is situated 8 km from Kézdivásárhely, in the valley of the Torja River. It has been formed as a combination of several formerly separate settlements such as Altorja, Feltorja, Karatna and Volál. Today, apart from Torja village proper, Futásfalva and Bálványosfürdő are also components of Torja Commune. According to the 2002 census, the population of the commune is 3918 people.
The first written document about Torja dates back to 1307. The places of interest in Altorja: the Roman Catholic church and the manor of the Apor family. On the left of Main Street one can see the Neogothic mortuary chapel of the Apors, the so-called Mary-chapel. This is the burial place of Count Lázár Apor (1784-1868), a counsellor in the Transylvanian Court Chancellery and of his grandson, Gábor Apor (1851-1898), Bishop Vilmos Apor's father, who was deputy head of Háromszék County. Another place of interest is the fortified church in Feltorja, in the neighbourhood of which there is a Roman Catholic church built between 1940 and 1942 in honour of Saint Martin of Tours.

Sights, natural treasures, historic sites


Nyerges-Pass is situated between Mount Torja and the Csík Mountains, linking the Háromszék Basin with the Csík Basin. It has been the site of several battles, the most famous being the one fought on 1 August 1849. It was one of the last battles of the 1848-1849 Hungarian Revolution. The 2000-strong Szekler army lead by János Tuzson made an attempt to face the enemy, which was in overwhelming numeric superiority. Only as many as four soldiers from Csík and roughly the same number of soldiers from Háromszék fell in the battle. The monument at Nyerges Pass was built in 1897 by the Hungarians living in Bucharest. Opposite the monument wooden headboards have been erected for the memory of the heroes who died in the battle. However, no written document has recorded the exact burial place of the soldiers. Therefore, nobody knows whether the remains of the heroes lie beneath the headboards. The event is commemorated twice a year: on 15 March and on 1 August.

The Mineral Water Trail
The Mineral Water Trail is the firs greenway in Romania, which can be used both as a footpath and as a bike rout. Its first section was inaugurated on Earth Day, 22 April 2004. Building the Mineral Water Trail was the joint project of the Csík Association for Tourism and Nature Conservation and of the Environmental Partnership Foundation. Between Csíkszereda and Tusnádfürdő the trail runs along the Olt River, through several nature reserves, mineral springs and newly renovated traditional baths.

Sólyomkő (Hawk Cliff in English) is a 824-m-high andesite cliff near Tusnádfürdő. It is the most important view-point in the region from where the young emperor Franz Joseph liked to admire the dramatic scenery. At the top of the cliff one can admire not only the forests of Vártető, the Szurdok or the cones of Mount Csomád; the peak also offers a spectacular view on the 15-km-long Olt gorge and on Lake Csukás. 5.5 ha of this area is declared a nature reserve due to the occurrence of the Hieracium telekianum, an endemic plant-species included in the Romanian red-list of endangered species.

Vártető (Castle Top in English) can be reached following the cart-trail that runs along the watershed line of the Vargyas River, then at Várnyaka the walk continues along the blue stripe hiking trail, which leads up to the mountain top. The castle was built on almost 6 ha, and the total length of its walls amounted to 1000 m. According to Csaba Jánosi it had the largest layout among the castles in Transylvania. The ruins of some bastions and of the walls can be seen even today. Remains of an Iron-Age settlement have also been unearthed here.

Cave Büdös in Torja
Büdös means 'stinking' in Hungarian. The cave is the most active solfatara in Europe emanating gas streams of hydrogen sulphide. The quantity of gas emanated amounts to 3000 m3 a day, according to the data provided by Attila Plibáth. The opening of the cave is situated on the south-eastern slope of Mount Büdös (1143 m), at an altitude of 1052 m. The solfatara can be used for therapeutic purposes. It is particularly recommended for treating old-age bone and vascular diseases, disorders of the peripheral nervous system, rheumatism, skin diseases and eczemas. The Alum Cave, the Bird Cemetery and Cave Gyilkos are situated at the same elevation level. There are mineral springs at the foot of the mountain.

The Buffogó peat bog
Situated on a one-hectare-area in a col between Mount Büdös and Köztető, the bog is rich in naturally occurring carbonated water. It is a proper habitat for plants characteristic of eutrophic bogs. Cave Büdös is a geological reserve, and the Buffogó peat bog is a botanical reserve, both being parts of the Csomád-Bálványos Natura 2000 area.

Bálványos Castle
The ruins of Bálványos Castle are on a 1020 m high mountain top overlooking Bálványosfürdő, from where it can be reached on foot. The walk takes about 45 minutes along a marked footpath. The castle is said to have been the refuge of the rabonbans, ancient Székelys who refused to convert to Christianity. Later the castle was owned by the Apor family. Today only the ruins of the tower and of some bastions remained from the ancient pagan castle. The tower offers a panoramic view on Bálványosfürdő and on the surrounding mountains.

The Eye-Washing Well
It is one of the peculiarities of Torja. The sulphuric water of the well was used for curing different eye-diseases. There is a tradition concerning the way the pieces of moistened cloth spread on the eye were disposed of. People used to hang them on bushes saying: "May the disease remain where this cloth is left".