Fri 24 Aug 2012
It’s one of the saddest and most painful blog entries I have written. My trip to Romania took me to a place which could be one of the touristic centers of Europe, rivaling or even pushing into shadows famous spa resorts like Baden-Baden or Karlovy-Vary. Baile Herculane is located in the Valley of the Cerna river, a couple of hours of driving from Timisoara and connected to it by a good road, recently renovated, beautiful and scenic for more than half of it. Its location is spectacular, in a narrow area of gorges surrounded by high peaks, and its thermal and mineral waters were famous since the time of the Roman rule over Dacia in the 2nd and 3rd century BC. During the Austro-Hungarian rule of the area the place became a famous resort, hotels, villas, spa and treatment buildings were built in the European style of the second half of the 19th century. The empress of Austro-Hungaria Elisabeth (Sissy) loved the place, and this is where she met with the queen of Romania Carmen Sylva in the 1880s.
It is so painful to see what this place has become today. The historic center looks deserted, the palaces, villas, hotels, spas are in ruins. Some places even look dangerous to walk near. 23 years after the fall of the Communism nobody seems to have taken responsibility for saving and recovering the buildings of exceptional architectural value and beauty, bringing back to life the touristic activities and putting in motion the huge potential of the place. There are a couple of signs talking about an EC investment, they seem too little, I hope that not too late. This place needs and deserves much more.
I do not know if a blog posting like this one can help. I wish it could. Here are a couple of more articles (in Romanian) that I found on the subject, and a youTube clip.