Humankind hasn’t been the best tenant of our planet. As humanity evolved, the Earth started to suffer. Some disasters occurred even though people knew what the outcome of their actions would be, while other disasters happened by mistake. Havoc was created nevertheless. All of these happenings created a new type of tourism, which many call dark tourism. Nuclear thrill-seekers visit the Chernobyl Zone, and many commemorate the red mud tsunami in Devecserv by visiting the city. Geamăna Village in Alba County is also on the list of human-made disasters. What remains today from once-thriving town is a church tower lurking atop of a toxic sludge-lake. This submerged settlement is as eerie as it is beautiful.
When one looks at pictures of the Geamăna Village from over 30 years ago, nothing out of the ordinary stands out. Over 1000 locals had their homes and establishments here. They even had a church located on higher ground, of which you can only see the tower’s roof today. Because of the nearby copper mines in the Roşia Poieni quarry, the villagers were forced to relocate to other regions. This happened when the mining company started to reverse toxic residues from the mines onto their lands. All of this took place knowingly in 1982, during Ceauşescu’s communist presidency. Homes and even cemeteries had to be abandoned under the toxic sludge and water that started to pile up in place of the cheer and vibrant lives.
Visitors call Geamăna a ghost town, but a more appropriate term would be that of a ghost lake. Every drop of water represents a memory of past led lives that were changed irrevocably. The surface of the toxic area covers 360 hectares and is continuously growing due to a pipe that pumps mining tailings into the newly formed lake. Once the biggest copper mine in Europe, Roşia Poieni promised wealth and new jobs. It failed to provide both, bringing only sadness and toxicity to the residents.
You may be wondering why so many choose to visit this part of Romania when the country’s natural untainted beauty is renowned. Much like the never-freezing lake in the Anina Mountains, this devastated area has striking intense colors. From a distance, the vibrant landscape seems to be unicorn heaven. Sometimes visitors can see all of the colors under the sun, and this isn’t due to our brains creating psychedelic visions. Every color you see is an alluring poison, and no forms of life can survive in its grasp. The truth is that we can compare this lake to the aposematic animals. These creatures have bright and intense colors, warning other species of their dangerousness. The lake’s colors, as marvelous as they may seem, offer a warning to us all. These transcending hues have nothing natural about them and must only be admired from afar.
Admiring is what a lot of visitors are doing. The toxic submerged village of Geamăna attracts social influencers who search for the perfect picture background and filmmakers who wish to find inspiration for their apocalyptic scripts. This disaster zone in Alba County has a growing number of dark tourism lovers coming to the region. Dark tourist or not, all eyes are turned with excitement towards the lake, no matter the reason for stopping by.
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