The Living Fire

Original version
The Living Fire is a natural phenomenon. It is explained by the existence of natural gas which escapes through the crust and in contact with the sun’s heat, it is set alight. On these lands, these flames flickering in the wind can be seen by everyone. Sometimes, they are mighty tall and impressive and other times, they barely flicker, depending on the natural gas pressure inside the Earth’s crust and the weather. Other times, they disappear. During heavy rainfalls, one can see the water sizzling on the places where the gas comes out. All this is happening on a very small area, the size of a room, of 25 square meters. Legend: In a village, some people built a well. Its waters were so cold and refreshing that one sip would cure you of any disease. Those lands, however, were roamed by a terrible beast. This legendary creature, with several heads had big, red eyes that would freeze the very core of you. It would breathe out fire through his nostrils that would burn to ashes the weak, human bodies. A brave man set off to defeat this terrible beast and rode on his horse to fight the creature. Their fight happened near the well with clear, fresh waters. They fought tirelessly for two days and two nights, only stopping to drink from the magic well. The brave man eventually won having pushed the beast further towards the mountain where he cut off its heads which were spitting fire everywhere. It is for this reason, that the place where the beast died, his nostrils are still breathing out fire from under the ground to scare off the locals and show its mighty powers.
Alternative versions
Some people consider it a gift of the nature, there are those who attributes a miraculous character and, according to tradition, it is considered the protector of the animals. Because it looks like a messenger from another world, people come here to make a wish. Over time, this natural wonder is the basis of many legends and stories. Even the Olympics were inspired by the essence of eternity of the eternal fire.
Main characters
Dragon, Brave Man
Connected artistic / architectonic / historical heritage
Location: Buzău County, România Coordonates- 45°32′N 26°34′E45°32′N 26°34′E The Living Fire is situated in Buzău Subcarpathians on the western slope of the Breaza Mountains, located on the left of the Slănicului valley at NNE from the village of Terca in Buzău County, at an altitude of approximately 1030 m. The phenomenon is unique in Europe, but can also be seen in Turkey, the United States and Australia. Historical heritage: Live fires are formed by the gases emanating from the earth, some hydrocarbons that ignite themselves due to friction with the soil. Sunshine helps the phenomenon and the gases burn continuously. Flame height is between 20 and 100 cm and varies with gas pressure. Closed weather extinguishes them, but they reappear as soon as the weather conditions improve and burn constantly, even in the winter. At night the picture is impressive, you can see with your eyes clumps of fire from place to place. Artistic heritage: The Living Fires of Buzau. ”A landscape that could only be dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm.” That’s how a British journalist with The Guardian described the Buzau region after a week bicycle touring through the Buzau Mountains.
Local traditions or historical connections
Traditions, religious symbolism: The living fire also has a strong religious symbolism, being known as an animal protector, but it also has a negative meaning, with high flames signaling the nearness of an earthquake. The show of live fires is magnificent, especially during the night. The mysteries that come out mysteriously from the ground are a warning to the locals in case of earthquake. Historical connection: Over time, this natural wonder is the basis of many legends and stories. Even the Olympics were inspired by the essence of eternity of the eternal fire. Local traditions: Some people consider it a gift of the nature, there are those who attributes a miraculous character and, according to tradition, it is considered the protector of the animals. Because it looks like a messenger from another world, people come here to make a wish. For travelers, the fires are a natural curiosity. For the locals however, they are a source of legends, mystical beliefs, and superstition. Many local traditions have been inspired by these “eternal flames,” some no longer practiced, others still leaving their mark on local pottery or costumes.
Didactical Relevance
Sciences: The Living Fire is a natural phenomenon. It is explained by the existence of natural gas which escapes through the crust and in contact with the sun’s heat, it is set alight. On these lands, these flames flickering in the wind can be seen by everyone. Sometimes, they are mighty tall and impressive and other times, they barely flicker, depending on the natural gas pressure inside the Earth’s crust and the weather. Other times, they disappear. During heavy rainfalls, one can see the water sizzling on the places where the gas comes out. All this is happening on a very small area, the size of a room, of 25 square meters. The flames reach even 30-40 centimeters, depending on the gas pressure and time. The blue flame that marks the site for thousands of years creates even today an outdoor show, both day and night, being visible from kilometers away. Geography: The Living Fire is situated in Buzău Subcarpathians on the western slope of the Breaza Mountains, located on the left of the Slănicului valley at NNE from the village of Terca in Buzău County, at an altitude of approximately 1030 m. The phenomenon is unique in Europe, but can also be seen in Turkey, the United States and Australia. The burning fire or the unfinished fire, as it is said, because it burns without interruption, is as spectacular as it can be explained. The emanations of gas coming out of underground are ignited by the friction with the soil. The wildfires are natural reserves located in Lopatari village, Terca village, Buzau county. The phenomenon is rare but very spectacular, the flames rise up to 30-40 cm that come out of the ground and burn without ceasing regardless of season and weather conditions. Biology: The reserve of the living fire is totally devoid of vegetation, with the exception of a plant that is able to adapt to local conditions, ie Gărdurăriţa, a plant with a whitish appearance. Literature: The Living Fires of Buzau. ”A landscape that could only be dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm.” That’s how a British journalist with The Guardian described the Buzau region. Students can study the connection of the phenomenon with its meaning in literature and poems, especially the legends connections with the Sisyphus myth - He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down when it nears the top, repeating this action for eternity. With the same meaning the Living fire are eternally.
Didactical Activity
Science: - Experiments - students are asked to make experiment that involve fire; through this experiment will find out the importance of oxygen in keeping the fire. - Painting lesson – students will distinguish warm colors from cold colors and will combine two primary colors to get other colors Geography: - Trip for study of the land which surrounds the Living Fires and evaluate the natural phenomenon which is produced. Arts: - Photograph/drawing: students are asked to create a story based on the pictures accompanying the legend of the Living Fire. - Another ending Students are asked to give another ending to the story. - True or false sentences Students are given some sentences which might be true or false. They have to correct them in order to get true sentences according to the legend. History: - people used fire to make weapons; students will learn the history of the fire, as it was discovered it. Literature: - Students are asked to read another story about fire and compare these two story – similarities and differences - Debate on the legend meaning of repeating this action for eternity – the dragons spit flames in comparison with the Sisyphus myth.

Video

Trip to the Live Fires (Focurile Vii)
A natural phenomenon - unique in Europe - Terca village, Lopatari commune, Buzau county, historical region of Wallachia, Romania
Focul Viu din Tinutul Buzaului | The eternal flames of Buzau Land
A fragment from the documentary Land Buzau - Fire, made by DIGI World in collaboration with the Geoparc Tinutul Buzaului team. www.tinutulbuzaului.org

Images

The Living Fire flames
Flame height is between 20 and 100 cm and varies with gas pressure.
The eternal flames of Buzau
The eternal flames of Buzau

PDF version of the legend in national language

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