Green Infrastructure 2014 Working Group 0 - Case Study 1

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Rationale: Why is this case interesting?

Bálványos recreaction area is in Covasna County, in the east of Transylvania, central Romania. It lies at an altitude of almost 800 metres on the southern slopes of the Bodoc Mountains, some 20 kilometres from my home town, Kézdivásárhely. Deep under the mountains volcanic and sedimental rock layers alternate, which made it possible for mineral water springs to break up. Where the mineral water break up the locals created some mineral water pools on open air for medical treatment all over in the zone.

Author's perspective and what you can find there

The present situation is really bed. Although this recreation area has a huge potential of developing, but there is no mach change from my childhood. When I was little I went there a lot, I can say I spent my childhood there, I did know evry forest routs to the spas and to the other interesting zones. The bathing areas got to ruin with time, and the forest routs without sustenancening started to disappears. I think it is really sad that community do not make steps to developing this recreation area to the highest potential.

Historic Three old and then-working spas made Balvanyos Baths what it is today : Torjai-Büdös, Csiszár-fürdő and Várpadi-feredő, which was also known as Transzilvánia-Baths. (The word ’büdös’, which is ’stinky’ in English referred all over Transylvania to the smell of sulfur-hydrogen). After the regime changed in 1989, Csiszár- and Transzilvánia-Baths stopped working. On the ruins of Torjai-Büdös a new, modernized hotel has been built, called Best Western, where the latest methods of healing are being used. The neighborhood The Bálványos Castle is one of the early medieval castles of the area. It is supposed to have been built between the 11th and 12th century. In the 14th century it belonged to the Apor family, they probably received it as a royal gift. It is said that it was in this castle that the family members worshipped their pagan gods secretly and only King Béla could convert them to Christianity. The castle is one with an inside tower and an asymmetrical foundation. A wonderful view opens from its only square shaped tower to the resort. The 20 meters high tower collapsed during the earthquake of 1970 and it was after that that it obtained its mutilated shape. Leaving the tower and walking on one can visit the peak which used to be called ’Alvégszikla’ and is now called ’Ludmilla Peak’. It is the scene of one of the most significant events of the ’Székely’ revolution of 1849. The Smelly cave of Turia is one of the largest volcanic exhalation and it’s the largest place of carbon-dioxide uprush. This place is on the slopes of Smelly Hill. The sulphur gas output is 4000 cubic metres a day, so it surpasses the gas production of Ardenacht in Germany and the gas pouring of Dog Cave in Napoli. The 14 metre long hollow formed not in a natural way, but it was the adit of an old sulphur mine. The cave is always full of gas, its wall in the upper gallery is covered with yellow sulphur coating, which shows the upper level of the gas. In the cave it is fatal to get under the gas level. Even the first breath can be intoxicant. Madártemető ( ’bird cemetery’ ) is nothing else but a collapsed sulfur mine’s hollow in which a lot of carbon dioxide has accumulated. If a bird flies too low and gets under the level of this gas, he will fall down dead into the hollow. The bodies of small mammals and deer have also been found here. Buffogó is on the mountain saddle between the Büdös Mountain and Köztető. It is a swamp rich in sour water springs and rare old plants. The spa is one of several hydrothermal and volcanic features of the region. It lies 10 kilometres from the Santa Ana Volcanic Lake, which is unique in this part of Europe. Bálványos Baths and the his neighborhood is connected by turist routs, which are not so well developed.

Landscape and/or urban context of your case

  • Biogeography, cultural features, overall character, history and dynamics
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Analytical drawings

  • Bálványos recreation area is rounded by a urban and rural location, which could develop and benefit this zone

Green Infrastructure benefits for this site

Environmental benefits This area has potential to create a high quality environment, ensuring that the places in which we live and work are more, sustainable and attractive, Where the natural and built environments can connect. With green infrastructure system it can be created a natural environment with sustainable developments and a really good recreation area in the system. The area has clean air, clean water, there just need a really good planning to keeping it in this way.

Ecological benefits The hole area is a big forest with the native wildlife in it, and the recreation areas with all kinds of mineral waters which are really good for medical treatments. Developing, creating a green infrastructure network it could contribute positively to the conservation of habitats, species and preserve our shared cultural heritage, which enhance the visual value of our landscape.

Social benefits As a social benefits I can imagine a recreation complex for medical treatments, some forest routes for hiking, outdoor class for children to observe the native wild life and native habitats.It would be an area where people can meet, engage and integrate, that help them learn social skills with their peers in a natural environment and stimulate minds, helping them to explore and learn new skills.

Potential for multifunctionality

Green infrastructure has typically multiple functions. What could be achieved for your site in this respect?

Projective drawings

  • How would you like this case to change in the near future? (in 1-2 years)
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  • And how could it look like in 10-15 years?
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Summary and conclusion

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