Situated in the town with the same name, Ocna Sibiului spa resort is one of the most popular holiday destinations in central Romania. Located just 12 km from Sibiu, it is easily accessible from the A1 motorway or from Sibiu International Airport. The resort is also easily accessible by train, with a train station right in the town.
Ocna Sibiului resort is between hills, having a mild climate, protected from cold air currents and strong winds. Thus, the temperature variations between seasons are small, making the area perfect for relaxation, but also for the prevention and treatment of diseases. All this, of course, benefiting from the exceptional properties of the water and mud in the lakes.
The lakes in the area cover a surface of 35,700 square meters and a water volume of 265,700 cubic meters. The maximum salinity of the water is reached in the depths, in contact with the salt massif, where it measures 320 g/l. This salinity has exceptional curative properties, which can only be found in Ocna Sibiului.
In the resort there are 15 natural lakes, three of them being the saltiest in Europe (Brancoveanu, Red Lake and Black Lake). The deepest lake in Ocna Sibiului is Avram Iancu, which measures 130m. The famous “Bottomless Lake” is declared a monument of nature due to its unique heliothermal phenomenon.
The 13th-century reformed fortress-church, originally a Roman basilica, is built of stone and brick, with very thick buttressed walls, three naves and six bays, a semicircular apse and a massive bell-tower. The south portal preserves a Romanesque bas-relief representing the tree of life flanked by two lions. Having been besieged several times by fire, the church was rebuilt in late Gothic style with some Renaissance elements. In 1569 the church was converted from Roman Catholic to Calvinist Reformed worship.
The Romanian Orthodox Church “Saints Archangels Michael and Gabriel“, is the voivodal foundation of Michael the Brave, who after the battle of Selimbăr in 1599, on his way to Alba Iulia, where in 1600 he will achieve the union of all Romanians in one country, stopped at Ocna Sibiului where he will order and order to build a church. After 1695 the church was rebuilt by the ruler Constantin Brâncoveanu. The church is built in the Brâncovenesc style, in a rectangular plan, with a polygonal apse to the east, with exterior decorations with a semi-cylindrical profile, framed with rows of bricks placed in “zimți” and rectangular friezes, in which original paintings are still preserved. Inside, the church is painted and contains important fragments of Brancoveneque painting as well as the votive painting of 1723, depicting the founding rulers Mihai Viteazul and Constantin Brâncoveanu.
Lakes Horea, Cloșca, Crișan
The Horea, Cloșca, Crișan lakes were formed by the flooding of six undocumented salt pans. On their place, in 1770, were mentioned: the Inner Red Lake, the Outer Red Lake, the Inner Green Lake, the Outer Green Lake, the Women’s Lake, the Free Lake. The maximum depths are: Lake Horea – 44,50 m, Lake Cloșca – 34,55 m, Lake Crișan – 44 m. The salinity at the surface is 69-72 g/l, and at depth, where the water comes into contact with the salt mass, it reaches 330 g/l. Around the lakes there are wooden cabins and platforms for sunbathing, showers, self-service restaurant.
The Horea, Cloșca, Crișan mineral springs, captured in the south-west of Lake Crișan in 1888, come from the water table of the Baths Hill. The water is chloride, bromide, with a temperature of 13°C and mineralization of 14 g/l (Crișan), 6 g/l (Horea), 3 g/l (Cloșca).
Avram Iancu Lake
Lake Avram Iancu (Ocna Pustie) was formed on the site of the “Fodina Maior” (“Grosse Grube”) salt works, exploited in a bell system, through two wells, up to a depth of 160 m. The maximum depth is 128 m (the deepest anthroposaline lake in Romania and among the deepest in Europe); surface salinity – 180-200 g/1; lake surface – 2649 m2.
It is also the most frequented lake by tourists within the complex of natural salt lakes in the resort.