“Hiking is a nice captivity and freedom at the same time. When one browses through a tourist guide, one shall wander in spirit across mountains, plateaus, noisy streams and find out secrets not available to everyone.”
The Spring of the Mureş and Olt Rivers
Mureş and Olt are two important rivers in Romania, both rising from the heart of the Szekler Land, but reaching the Black Sea on different routes.
According to the well-known legend, Mureş and Olt were sisters, their mother was Tarcău, a fairy (her name has been given to a mountain peak close to the town of Balăn), their father was exiled near the Black Sea. The two sisters were very different: Mureş, the elder sister was more silent, while Olt was more irascible, therefore they were continually quarrelling, to their mother’s great sorrow. One day they decided to go to see their father. Tarcău transformed them into rivers with her magic wand, but they picked a fight and set off on different routes, reuniting only in the lowlands and the Danube took them to their father.
The springs of the two rivers are indeed close to each other, but visiting them separately is also a great opportunity for a trip.
The Mureş river has its spring close to the place of Izvorul Mureşului, which bears its name, on the border of the commune, under the Gretes Peak, this being the tourist spring of the Mureş, which can be easily visited by anyone. The real spring of the river is however at a certain distance, under the peak of the Muntele Negru, 1350 m high. The reward of the excursionists climbing up the steep path is the cooling stream, the fresh-aired clearing, during summer cranberries, raspberries, strawberries.
The spring of the Olt river is found even higher, at 1418 m, to the north from the Muntele Negru peak, on the northern slope of the neighbouring Şipoş Stone, near the picturesque Kovácspéter pass. Kovácspéter was a small Csángó settlement in the past, its memory is still kept by the old farmsteads, but new, modern holiday houses can also be found here. A few hundred meters from the spring stands a small wooden chapel, a parish-feast is organized here every year. From the mountain top, a beautiful view opens to the limestone cliffs of the Hăşmaşul Mare and Öcsém.
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