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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrIn the nature reserve of the Anina Mountains in Southwestern Romania lies one of the most curious waterfalls in the world, the Bigăr Spring. Though it doesn't impress by size or flow, what sets this waterfall apart from others is its peculiar shape - resembling a mushroom tip or a princess' gown - and location; a moss covered extension of a cliff over a small river (Miniş). All these features combined, which directly influence the way water spreads and flows into the river below, and the fact that the waterfall is located exactly on the 45 parallel, being halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, have placed it in the top of the most unique waterfalls in the world.
The Nature ReserveThe nature reserve was founded in 1982 and declared a protected zone. The natural area covers 176 hectares, and is included in the National Park of Cheile Nerei. The reserve comprises of a hill area studded with springs, caves; shafts, gorges; calcareous ravines, valleys; and meadows. The fauna includes the Carpathian bear, lynxes, wolves, foxes, and various birds and fish.
The Bigăr rivulet springs some 200 meters away, from a subterranean river traversing the cave with the same name, ending in the 7 meters high waterfall. The Bigăr spring, cave, rivulet, and waterfall are all close to each other, in topography as well as in legend.
LegendIt is said that long ago, a family of peasants used to live in this very place. Never having children caused them a lot of grief, and compelled them to ask for the advice of a gypsy witch. The witch told the woman that if she drinks the water of the spring, she will bear a child, but should the child be a girl, she must never fall in love, for this will mean her death. Everything happened according to prophecy: the woman drank from the spring and gave birth to a girl, and when the girl reached maidenhood, she fell in love with a lad named Bigăr. In order to prevent her foretold death and make her forget about Bigăr, the girl's father locked her inside the cave, and her screams were heard by the witch who forebode her destiny. She went to the cave and told the girl that she cannot set her free, but she can end her suffering and reunite her with her lover. Thus she turned her hair into a waterfall on which her tears poured, and the wind brought Bigăr to her, who drowned in her tears and thus they have their destinies forever united in the Realm of Found Longing.
VisitingThe visit of the Bigăr cave and waterfall costs €1 ($1.15), and it includes a guide. Some visitors venture all the way down, but that can be dangerous. During winter, if it snows, the waterfall forms a row of icicles around the moss mound, giving it the appearance of a crystal palace - hence the name of the waterfall's avatar, ‘the princess’.
How to Get ThereThe waterfall is located between Anina and Reşiţa . It can be accessed by car, up to the parking lot situated at a certain distance - not to disturb ‘the princess’. The routes you can take vary. If you come from Reşiţa, head to Anina on National Road 58. You will pass through Caraşova, and at the intersection with National Road 57B (DN57B), take a left towards Bozovici. If you come from Caransebeş on E70, from Plugova continue on DN57B towards Bozovici - Anina.
On the national road 57B, between Oraviţa and Bozovici, take the way to Parallel 45 - pay attention to signs; from there, just follow them and you will arrive at the spot. The waterfall is in the same place, just meters away from the road, so you can't miss it.
What Else to VisitTo go up to the spring, you can climb a small forest track that runs along the Bigăr rivulet. At the spring, you cross over a bridge and right after that a small set of stairs leads the way to the cave. Local stories claim that sometimes you can hear the girl's wails if you listen carefully.
If you get to Anina, you have to experience the most spectacular railway in Romania. It connects Anina with Oraviţa on a 33 kilometers long segment, special in its own way because of the scenery comprising of tunnels and viaducts manually shaped in the mountain rock. The segment dates back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the trains feature vintage cars and engine, partly because the railway only allows it so.
If you are willing to travel a bit more, you shouldn't miss Decebal's statue on the Danube . Located 90 kilometers south of Bigăr, the statue is sculpted in a mountain rock, and it represents Decebal, the last king of the Dacians , the people who inhabited Romania before it was conquered by the Romans.
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Author: aelumag. Last updated: Sep 09, 2014