Sunday, 13 April 2014

"Colour Lakes" in Rudawy Janowickie Mountains

Visiting Lower Silesia, the southern part of Poland, can be a really rewarding experience, especially if you are a true nature freak and like to be surprised at times. The region is very popular and this popularity can surely be attributed to its beautiful wild nature and great heritage. Even though there are many who have in their minds only one powerful association between Silesia and industrial chimneys, I am going to prove today they cannot be much further from the truth. 

Here come Colour Lakes in Rudawy Janowickie Mountains, a complex of three lakes-ponds created in the pits of former German pyrite mines - probably the most beautiful place in Rudawski Landscape Park. In my opinion, truly magical and unique. All in one, spectacular phenomena, freaks of nature and great examples of existing industrial symbiosis. By the way, it is hard to believe how well nature and heavy industry can work together. Or maybe how the nature outwit the industry, I should say.

Usually unusual places come with extraordinary stories behind them. Our story is going back to 18th and 19th centuries when there was pyrite mined here from mica schists. The works continued until 1925; the mines were abandoned and the old pits flooded by the water which resulted in creating a spectacular view: three small lakes: "Purpurowe" (Red),  "Błękitne" (Turquoise) and "Zielone" (Green). Their colours are the result of different chemical compounds present in the waters and they are in fact, some kind of mineral solution. 

First on the educational track, you'll see the biggest of all three, Purple Lake. It is a flooded pit of the oldest (established in 1785) German mine called "Hope". Its deep red yellowish colour owes to iron and copper compounds still present in the water. It is easily recognised by its distinctive smell and high acid pH = 3.1. 

Further up the track is situated smaller Blue Lake positioned in a small pit previously being an open mine called "New Happiness". It is the smallest and shallowest out of all three lakes. Contrary to the Purple Lake its water is clean and odour-free. Due to copper compound water has stunning emerald colour which reminds me of the Caribbean Sea. 

The last on the track, The Green Lake, was established in the mine pit called "Gustav Grube". The work in the copper mine continued until 1902. After leaving, it was flooded by water which resulted in creating a wonderful lake, also called the Black Pond. Unfortunately, viewing the Green Lake is not always possible as in period of drought disappears.

With many thanks to the author of all photographs published in today's post, Zbigniew Rękas, born and bred in Lower Silesia. To see more of his stunning pictures visit his and fotoblog:

Useful information:

*Colour Lakes are situated on the northern slope of Wielka Kopa mountain near the town of Wiesciszowice. 
* to read more about Colour Lakes visit:
* the so called Green Track through Colour Lakes is more than lakes on their own. The area attracts its visitors with tunnels, caves, canyon and majestic wildlife around them. 
* here on the site, it is planned to soon open a natural water reservoir. What a lovely project! Fingers crossed!

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