The Ecotouristic Route “Vodița Valley – Duhovna Hill” – Asociaţia Pro-Mehedinţi

THE ECOTOURISTIC ROUTE VODIŢA VALLEY- DUHOVNA HILL

Access to the trail is from DN 70 to Vodita viaduct (about 6 km away from Orsova), is a medium difficulty route that cen be done in 5 hours and is marked with a yellow circle on a wite background.

The route climbs the hill of Duhovnei from where it can be admire the depression view of Bahna-Orsova.

Ecotouristic objectives:

  • Vodita Abbey ruins, the first of foundations held in the Romania south Carpathians area;
  • Testimonials geological events occured hundreds of millions of years: duplication of Getic canvas and Danubian Autochthonous, having as „lubricant” the Severin Parautohtonus;
  • Vodita Valley;
  • Duhovnei Hill , the belvedere point of Bahna-Orşova depression.

Access to the trail is from DN 70, Vodita viaduct (about 6 km away from Orsova), is a medium difficulty route that can be done in 5 hours and is marked with a yellow circle on a white background.

The route climbs the Duhovna hill from where it can be admired the Bahna-Orşova depression view.

The ecotouristic route begins with a holy place, the first monastic settlement in the Ţara Românească (Romanian Country) on the Vodiţa Valley, waves beside Vodiţa River in the Scoruşul Valley and reaches the Danube through the paths on the Duhovna Hill. The route is in shape of horseshoe and begins and ends in front of two near viaducts. Lucky are the ones who travel this route because they enrich themselves with the nature beauties and Romanian belief.

The Vodiţa monastery is one of the oldest orthodox settlements in Ţara Românească, the church being the first of the preserved foundations within the Romanian space under the Carpathians:

  • Vodiţa the I-st (the end of the XIII-th century, the first edifice), whose foundations are discovered due to the diggings on the second church: Vodiţa the II-nd ale, today in ruins;
  • Vodiţa the II-nd: foundation belonging to Vladislav Vlaicu, around the year of 1370, built by the monk Nicodim, St. Antoine being the first patron of the church, gifted with villages and estates in Ţara Românească and Serbia. Later, the Romanian princes “Dan the I-st” and “Mircea cel Bătrân” strengthen these possessions and “Vlad Dracul” adds others to them, including the Danube from the cataracts to Orşova. Around 1535 the monastery is destroyed;
  • Characteristic constructive system in the next period for many churches placed in Romanian space, called Serbian, similarities with south of the Danube churches in the Serbian Morava valley.

Before the “Iron Gates I” Hydro-electric Power Plant was built and the accumulation lake was formed, the Railway station in Vârciorova was placed in front of the Vodiţa Rock and it was inaugurated in 1878 and considered the most beautiful railway station in the south-east of Europe. Today, only the Vodiţa Rock from above tells us about its architecture. Also the Vodiţa Rock, separated from its Serbian “sister” by the Danube’s waters in the geological history of these places, was the lubricant of the two nations.

Before climbing into Vodiţa Valley, the stone dug wall preserves traces of the geological events from hundreds of millions of years ago: the superposition of the Getic Nappe and Danubian Autochthonous having as “lubricant” the SeverinParautochton.

The Vodiţa Valley, as fated to the tourism, is a medicinal herbs paradise. He, who seeks cure for different diseases, may collect with moderation the plants’ flowers and leaves which may have even today miraculous results.

The smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria) is a medicinal herb and a tinctorial one as well. The twigs infusion was used for gargle and the rests for treating the wounds. The leaves were used to colour in yellow and the rind to leather the skins. From the smoke tree rind combined with cochineal, black alder and tartar (deposited on the staves of the red wine and nitric acid receptacles) it was obtained a red colour. From leaves or rid, combined with black dye-wood, nut tree, common marjoram, evergreen oak, copperas and alum it was obtained a shiny black which was used to colour the woollen threads and baizes.

The woolly foxglove is cultivated from medicinal reasons due to the content in glycosides with stronger effects of the leaves.

From elders, the branches are used to make tubes for the country weaving loom and the children make little whistles, money boxes, etc. The inflorescence is used in preparing cooling juice. Its fruits were used to colour in brown, violet-blue and black, while the leaves and rind coloured in yellow. The elder inflorescence tea is good in treating the cough and the affections of the breathing apparatus.

The dark mullein (also called butterbur) contains bitter substances, resins. It is a medicinal herb used even from the oldest times. In the folk medicine it was used to treat the headaches. The dark mullein infusion was used to wash the eyes in order to treat the cataract, against the pains in the feet or other diseases.

Aiming to discover other valleys with healing power, the route turns in an almost right angle to the Scoruşul Valley and then, like a spiral, it climbs into Duhovna hill, from where, if you pay attention, you can admire the Bahna-Orşova depression landscapes.

The path goes on the western side of the Duhovna hill, which is covered with secular woods of filbert. This hill’s woods are protected, being declared a botanic reservation of the Iron Gates Natural Park. In times gone by, it was called the forest with “bones”. The “bones” were trunks (especially oak) fallen to the ground which in time, due to the rain, winds and sun, got white. From distance they looked like big, white bones. If you are lucky and do not desert the path, you may even today see such “bones”.