Bear Lake (Lacul Ursu) situated in the town of Sovata, Mures County, Transylvania is one of the most beautiful lakes in Romania. It holds three world records, and it has unique properties which no other lake in the world can boast with. Bear Lake is situated in a health resort, and is a popular attraction for thousands of tourists due to its unique properties.
The lake has been included on the list of natural treasures in Romania, and it is unique in Europe regarding its healing properties for persons suffering from rheumatism. The lake is also is an excellent place for relaxing.
The salt content towards the surface of the lake is lower and the temperature of the water here is between 18-23°C. In the lower layers the salt concentration is higher, and the water is warmer. Three creeks feed into the lake, and the sweet water makes a protective layer on the surface of the lake and creates the thermic effect described above. In order to preserve this effect, bathing is prohibited around lunchtime for two hours. During this time the lake gets a rest, and the sweet water layers settle on the surface of the lake again to keep the salty water below warm.
Bear Lake is so unique that it holds three world records.
1. It is known exactly when it has been formed. The recorded date is May 27, 1875, and it happened as a result of a landslide. The lake is situated at an altitude of 502 m at the side of a 3000 meter deep salt mountain. The surface of the lake is 40,235 m, its maximum depth is 18.10 m, its width is 170 m and its medium salinity is 250 g.
2. The lake is the largest heliothermal lake in the world. The heliothermal phenomenon of the lake has been discovered around the 1900’s and it is due to the stratification of the saline concentration of the water in the lake and the uneven heating of the layers by solar radiation.
3. Bear Lake is the only saltwater lake surrounded by rich vegetation due to the volcanic nature of the soil.
Sovata health resort is also renowned for other spots of touristic interest, such as the salt mountain behind the Red Lake and the Green Lake, the Black Lake, which is the first lake in Sovata, formed in 1710 as a result of the collapse of a salt mine shaft, and the Ghera fountain, which is found in the area where the first salt baths used to be.
Sovata has become a health resort as early as 1884.