A short hike to Lake Saint Anne in Transylvania. A place where you can relax and enjoy nature.
Sometime in 2017 I was home in Romania and had a friend take me in a short hike to Lake Saint Anne. A place I’ve heard stories and legends about, but I never visited before. I’m really happy I did, because it was worth it. I decided to shoot this “mini documentary” as I wanted to do a test and see if I could shoot a documentary strictly on a GoPro.
THE HISTORY OF LAKE SAINT ANNE
Lake Saint Anne ( Lacul Sfanta Ana in Romanian ) is the only volcanic lake in Romania located near Tusnad. It’s the only preserved volcanic lake in the entirely southeastern Europe. The lake is located in the volcanic crater of the volcano named Ciomatu Mare of the Eastern Carpathians, located at an altitude of 950 m above sea level. With the shape of a footprint the lake has a surface of 22 hectares, a circumference of 1737 m, an average depth of 6.4 m. The sediment thickness on the bottom is about 4 m.
The lake has no spring, the water of the lake is obtained strictly from precipitations. The water purity approaches of that of distilled water, with only 0.0029 ml mineral. Because of this the lake is known as the lake with no life. Of course there is biological life that adapted to these conditions. In winter, the lake is covered with a layer of ice of up to 1 m.
It’s estimated that the last eruption of the volcano happened about 30,000 – 40,000 years ago. After this last eruption in the volcano crater, the water from the precipitates collapsed and this is how the lake appeared.
THE LEGENDS OF THE LAKE
One of the legends talks about two rival brothers who wanted to stand out at any cost. One of them wanted to show that he has the most beautiful carriage and he attached to it the most beautiful virgins in the village. Because the girls could not pull the very heavy carriage, the man decided to torment them and whip them. One of them named Anne ( Ana ), would have cursed the man who tormented her. A powerful storm started suddenly, killing the man and destroying his castle. In its place would have formed the lake named after the girl who cursed the man.
Another legend tells the story of a girl named Anne ( Ana ), whose parents forced her to marry a man she didn’t love. The girl begged her parents not to marry her, but they didn’t listen because the boy was very rich. It is said that on the night of the wedding, the girl ran away and threw herself in the waters of the lake. Moved by her drama, the locals would have named the lake by the girl’s name.
THE WEATHER PREDICTIONS
In the mountains near Lake Saint Anne, two cracks have formed over time. Locals say that if the air emanating from the cracks smells badly, then it is a sign of a storm. If this doesn’t happen, it’s a sign of beautiful weather. In the mountain there is still post-volcanic activity that is extremely sensitive to changes in the atmosphere. When atmospheric pressure drops, gases such as carbon dioxide and sulfur, rise to the surface and flood the cracks with a pungent odor, signaling that rain is coming.
THINGS TO DO AT LAKE SAINT ANNE
Near the lake there is the Saint Anne Catholic chapel built in 1564 that you can visit. On the entrance of the lake there is also a place organized with benches to rest and enjoy the view. There are also barbecues available in case you want to enjoy one close to the lake.
If you want to take a really close look at the lake, you can rent a little dinghy and have a ride on the lake. For those into photography, you have lots of good angles to take some really nice photos.
Close to the lake there is also an observatory where you can go up and enjoy the view of the lake. Unfortunately because of the vegetation, the view it’s not always so spectacular. A drone would be perfect to take some really good aerial shots of the lake. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed overall.
One thing to be prepared for it’s the wildlife. Remember you are in a forest up in the mountains. Make sure you have your cameras ready, but also be careful. Sometimes the bears are coming close to the lake. It’s a nice view and a great chance to take photos, just don’t get too close. This usually happens when it’s really quiet and there are not too many tourists around. And of course be respectful and don’t leave trash behind you. Swimming in the lake it’s prohibited and usually it’s allowed only for special events.