There are two chapels on the barren hilltop, approx. 5 km away from the town, at 1087 m above sea level, on the Csobot Mountain, and this is The Saint Ann chapel. The chapel on the left, on the side of Piricske, is the chapel of the Roman-Catholic community of the town and above the entrance the engraved inscription of a marble tablet announces its date and reason of construction: “Built out of gratitude by the 700 surviving inhabitants of the commune of Gheorgheni after the plague epidemic of 1633, 1646 and 1677, in the year 1678 A.D., as an eternal memorial.”
The Armenian Catholic chapel on the right was built by the Kövér family for the Armenian community. This chapel became the victim of continuous robberies and destruction starting from 1970, its roof and door were stolen. However, an important donation was made in 2000 for its renovation, therefore it has been suitable to receive the faithful since 2001. A patronal festival is organized here each year, on the 26th of July, the day of Saint Ann. People visit this place on the occasion of Easter’s food blessing and the already traditional torch procession of Great Wednesday before Easter.
But the mountain does not offer great joy to pilgrims, excursionist only, as it is a popular tourist place. From the small square outside the chapels, a beautiful view opens to the town and the other settlements of the depression, respectively to the surrounding mountains: the Gheorgheni and Gurghiu Mountains, the farther peaks of the Călimani Mountains, respectively the Piricske Peak “in the neighbourhood”.
The Piricske Peak
Piricske is a truncated pyramid shaped peak rising 1545 m high on the northern border of the Gheorgheni Depression.
Due to its advantageous geographic location, it served as an observation and defensive post already starting from the 13th century. In the middle of the 13th century, the inhabitants of Gheorgheni set up a permanent guard unit and a warning tree on the peak (tall pine tree, on the top equipped with a box with tar, which they set light to in case of danger, and the large flames announced the whole depression about the advance of the Tartars). Later, in the 17th century, the Piricske pass became important also for economic purposes, as a part of the trade between Moldova and Transylvania took place here. On the top of the mountain there was a permanent guard unit and customs service. During the archeological researches taking place in the summer of 2009, two customs houses were partly opened up.
There is an 8 m tall iron cross on the top of the mountain today, erected in 2004, and there is a visitor’s book in an iron box at its foot, keeping the words of praise of many visitors. From the peak a beautiful view opens to the depression and the surrounding mountains. In clear weather one can also see the Făgăraş Mountains in the south. When looking towards northwest, one can see the peaks of the Călimani Mountains, towards the west the bank of the Mureş river, while towards northeast the Vitos Peak with the ridge of the Ceahlău in the back.
Anyone who visits this place shall understand the words of one of the initiators of the Piricske cross, the late archdeacon István Hajdó, borrowed from Peter the Apostle: “Lord, it’s good that we’re here!”
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