Zizin (Zajzon)

Zajzon, Zaizonium, Zajzendorf, Zizin. Village located at 15 km east of Brașov. In 1880, it had 1336 inhabitants out of whom 996 were Hungarian, 265 Romanian, respectively 6 German, in 2002 it had 2309 inhabitants, out of whom 1317 Romanian, 701 Hungarian and 291 Rroma. In the past, it was the most popular spa town both of the country and Monarchy. With its villas and hotels, it could host 600 persons at a time. After Vâlcele, Borsec and Tușnad, Zizinul was on the fourth place on the preference list of tourists coming to baths. Nowadays, the hotel is demolished, the spring waters are captured and transported with Bucharest vehicles for being sold in the hypermarkets of multinational companies.

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It was a harsh morning. Even if the calendar already exceeded the middle of May for several days, the village was still foggy. Ciucaș Mountains covered with clouds did not show its snowy peaks.

A few persons gathered in the hotel’s restaurant. They arrived yesterday with the tramváj (tram)[1] in Satulung, and from there with the carriage to Zizin. They came to Ciucaș. Besides hiking, they will study the spring vegetation and fauna of the mountains and yes, they will taste a little bit from the early spa life.

The big room, designed for two hundred persons, echoed after this small group sat down to have breakfast. Due to the fog, they had time today for breakfast because they will only visit the baths.

The host, Mrs. Taizs, prepared a truly Csango specialty: there, in the big cast-iron kettle, she was steaming sajomatokány (ramp stew)[2] and polenta, which was already ready.

At the discussion during the breakfast, the actress Blaha Lujza was mentioned. Those from Budapest told how the famous actress enthusiastically promotes the popular baths. Here, on the scene, they wanted to see her message written with chalk on one of the planks of the pavilion wall: “My boys, only sing and don’t forget to sing nicely!”. The people from Brașov were brought to Zizin especially by the personality of Horger Antal. The former professor of school Főreál (Surreal) taught them about the Csango origin from Seven Villages and the Csango stories collected by him lived in the souls of the listeners.

The majestic breakfast was followed by the consumption of mineral water from Zizin, then, the guests stepped in the fog, putting their coats on.

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The resort organization started at the end of 1700, when Brașov became interested in the therapeutic effect of mineral water springs and took them over. From scientific point of view, the spa was examined in 1842 by the balneologist Schnell Péter. The expected results were certified. The mineral waters from Zizin were exceptional for treating catarrhal affections of respiratory organs, for gastric and intestinal affections, for treating anemia and for gynecological treatments. The resort was quickly arranged. The guests were expected with covered basins, alleys, baths, mineral water fountains, cold water fountains, showers, pools with waves and hot water, hotels, restaurants, villas, covered alleys, tennis court, respectively a park with fir trees of 40 yokes, namely the total comfort for the guests.

The doctors of the resort were famous: Dr. Plecker János (Brașov, April 1st 1780 – Zizin, September 3rd 1850), the chairman of the medical commission from Brașov, Dr. Honigberger János Marton (Brașov, March 10th 1795 – Brașov, December 18th 1869), famous Orientalist and traveler in the areas of the Middle and Far East, who was also the family doctor of the King from Lahore.

Coming out of Concordia Hotel (45.6384° N; 25.7747° E; 606 m), the small group visited first the right bank of the river. Strolling around, they looked at the storeyed communal city hall built in 1863, passed by the house with pillars of Dr. Béldi, looked at the impressive houses, with rentable flats of Gingold Károly and Dudás Márton, farmers from Zizin. On their way, they visited the pool and swimming pool built luxuriously and which was supplied by the valve of the mill channel water. They also visited the native house (45.6364° N; 25.7785° E; 611 m) of the famous Csango poet and ethnographer, Zajzoni Rab István (Zizin, February 2nd 1832 –Brașov, May 14th 1862), on their way back visiting also the Evangelical church (45.6353° N; 25.7769° E; 612 m). Only after these, they crossed the decorated bridge to taste from the springs coming out on the left bank. If the dense fog had not blocked the view, then they would have climbed Schwarzenberg[3], turning first to the right. Through the cooling fir tree forests, on the snaky roads with banks, one can reach the top but now neither Ciucaș, nor Zizin valey, Piatra Mare Mountain, Postăvaru Mountain, Piatra Craiului, the mountains surrounding the wide plain of Burzenland, could not be seen.

Walking on the alley covered with a thick shadow, the passed before the beautiful buildings of the mineral thermal baths, then they could see the inscription made by Blaha Lujza[4] below the balcony of musicians. Here was the centre of the spa town, Ferdinand Spring, above which there was a large arch supported by pillars. In order to be able to continue their way and admire the large spa villas of the pharmacist Waldbaum, of orator Greissing, or senator Langer, they drank a lot from the water with high content of acids. Reaching Lajos (Louis) Spring, covered with a decorated roof, they also tasted its water. Due to the high content of manganese, this spring was adequate for treating nervous system diseases. A short walk was next to the cold loboguó (spring)[5], which was emphatically called by the Transylvanian Saxons: Ferencz (Francisc) Spring.

In 1910, this small group of visitors was received by the springs called after emperors and archdukes, but let’s now let this group submerge in the water of the large pool and let’s quickly continue with the history.

Starting with 1912, by an activity with major importance and relentless work, Sipos Jánosné Bereczki Anna (Baciu, January 27th 1850 – Baciu, March 29th 1926), the Matriarch of Csango, bought Zizin baths from Brașov and together with her daughter started the modernization works.

Béla spring was opened then, the water of which was heated and led by the park center to the public bath. An acid alkaline water sprang from Béla spring, thus it could be successfully used for catarrhal diseases of respiratory organs and other catarrhal diseases. The doctor of the spa town became Dr. Adorján Jenő.

After the death of Bereczki Anna, the baths entered in the possession of Tompa family. Not for long because they were taken over from them when the monarchy changed.

Concordia hotel had the same faith. The hotel, which was so important in the social life of Seven Villages, became the office of the pioneer camp that functioned in Tompa mansion, it was also a commercial centre, location for the group offices, then it became a school. The earthquakes from 1977 and 1989 damaged the building, but its biggest enemy was the Communism impassivity. Due to the risk of collapse, the school was closed, from 1990 the building was empty and totally destroyed. The roof collapsed. The rightful owners received back only the walls and brick debris and in 2004 the building was leveled to the ground.

Only the trace of the alley from the water bank and park, surrounded now by barbed wire, and a swinging bridge over Zizin river are left of the old spa town and a forever green fir tree in the yard of the villas evokes the past glory. The resort, village, villas and hotel already became the victims of the new conquest. Our biggest enemy is indifference, carelessness and internal hatred, which has its roots in us and which will turn against us. Because concordia parvae res crescunt, discordia maximae dilabuntur. Small things will also get old with understanding but the bigger ones will also perish due to misunderstanding…

Kovács Lehel István: Térben és időben… Barangolás a Barcaságon
Hétfalusi Magyar Művelődési Társaság, Négyfalu, 2017.
ISBN 978-973-0-25878-3

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[1] Tramváj: city railway, local railway noun Rom.: tramvai. The name of the local railway connecting Brașov and Satulung localities. The secondary line was inaugurated on March 7th 1892 and closed in 1960.

[2] Salamás, sajoma, sajama, sajamás: ramp noun [Plant] {Alliumursinum L.}.

[3] Old name of Muszka-asztal, meaning Black Mountain in Hungarian. The people from Brașov called it like this to remember the visit of Prince Schwarzenberg.

[4] Blaha Lujza (born Reindl Ludovika, Rimaszombat, September 8th 1850 – Budapest, Erzsébetváros, January 18th 1926), Hungarian actress, “people nightingale”. On a plank from the pavilion wall from Zizin, she wrote with chalk: “My boys, only sing and don’t forget to sing nicely!”

[5] Loboguó: spring noun (rather sparkling water).

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