History at Bolii Cave
Extract from the leaflet presenting the Bolii Cave, author Rizopol Ovidiu.
“Over time, important personalities from the history of human development have visited the Cave of Disease or have been around it:
Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790)
the son of Empress Maria Terezza (1717-1780), a follower of enlightened absolutism in the spirit of which he carried out numerous reforms (the abolition of serfdom, the secularization of some monastic assets, etc.) in 1773 he undertook his first trip to Transylvania (the second in 1783) with the aim of to reorganize the border territory between Transylvania occupied by the Habsburgs and the Romanian Country by drawing up a list of 36 Romanian villages from the south of Hunedoara county (Crivadia, Merisor, Banita, etc.) to create a compact strip of Garanicer villages placed on the Carpathian line.
The travel diary of May 22, 1773 records “After 3 hours of riding from Livadia to Vulcan through the Vulcan pass, change horses, go 4 and a half hours (round trip) on the mountains of the Romanian border, change horses and continue on the Transilvan Jiul then on the Banita valley (Cetatea Bolii-Pestera Jupaneasa), Crivadia returning for a night stop at Livadia after 15 hours on horseback.”
It should be noted, the express mention of the Bolii cave named in the journal Pestera Jupaneasa after the name of the river that runs through it.
Elisee Reclus (1830-1905), famous French geographer.
Long travels (1852-1858) in Europe and America. Between 1854-1858 he visited the Jiului Valley several times, researched the ruins of the Dacian Fortress Banita and the cave, making a detailed description of the area which was published in the monumental work “Nouvell Geographic Universale”, published between 1875-1894 in 19 volumes in France.
Emm de Martonne (1873-1955)
Another famous French geographer, university professor at the Sorbonne, carried out intensive field research in Romania. Between 1898-1899 present in the Jiului Valley in the Petrosani basin, publishing in 1899 the work “On the Evolution of the Jiului Valley” under the auspices of the French Academy of Sciences. In 1919, the Romanian Academy accepted him as an honorary member.
Carol Popp de Szathmary (1812-1888)
Painter, graphic artist considered the first art photographer in Romania. In 1841, he visited the Dacian fortress and the cave, making 3 sketches with the images of the fortress from those times.
Jules Verne (1828-1905)
The famous French writer, whose novels, apart from the spirit of adventure, are distinguished by the visionary dimensions of scientific and technological anticipation. Out of the 63 novels of the “Extraordinary Journeys” cycle, in 5 of them, the action takes place in Romania.
The action in “Castelul din Carpati” takes place in Tara Hategului and Valea Jiului in the land of the two Jiuri, and the castle in the story rises on a lonely peak of the Vulcan pass.
The evidence of those who claim that Jules Verne was in the Transylvanian space where the action of the novel takes place, therefore also in the Jiului Valley, refers to the amazing knowledge for a foreigner that could only be assimilated if he had traveled through those places. The faithful descriptions of what the households in the imaginary village of Werst looked like, of the settlements and the roads, their names, the use of Romanian words as they were pronounced by the locals (corn, brandy, mamaliga, catrinta, zmeu, dragon, baraca, etc.) of customs and legends demonstrate knowledge of Transylvanian folklore. The writer’s correspondence with Ana Margarete Maderspach, local to the small castle in Iscroni, called by the locals “Casa cu Turnuri” located near Petrosani, should be considered.
Those who dispute Jules Verne’s trip to Transylvania, have as their argument the fact that there are no written documents or any kind of information that attests to the passage through these lands.
What do you think? Visit these lands and let your imagination envelop this mystery.
Erwin Rommel (1891-1944)
Appreciated as one of the greatest military leaders of all time, also nicknamed the “Desert Fox” following the military campaigns in North Africa and who was part of the group of conspirators who intended to remove Hitler. In October 1916, the lieutenant of the 2nd company of the Wurttemberg Alpine Battalion was brought to the mountain front in Valea Jiului where the German troops were defending. He walks the route Pui-Baru-Banita-Pestera Bolii, spending the night in an abandoned school in Petrosani.
Neagoe Basarab ( 1512-1521 )
In 1520 in MERISOR, a meeting of a mixed commission takes place following the agreement between the lord of the Romanian Land Neagoe Basarab and the voivode of Transylvania Ioan Zapoya (1510-1526) with the aim of fixing for the first time the border between the two territories, from the water of the Olt to Rusova (Orsova) on the top of the mountains. For Valea Jiului, the border crossed the watershed, so the entire Jiului basin remained, at least at that moment, in Oltenia. Vama Vulcan itself was located on the Tatarului stone, about 2 km east of Merisor.
Petru de Pereny ( 1502-1548 )
The Voivode of Transylvania, in the years 1528-1529, built the Crivadia watchtower-citadel, a circular stone construction, on several levels, with a diameter of 13.5m and which guarded the road entering and exiting the Valley Jiului.”