The Büdös Cave of Torja (Turia)
The Büdös (Stinking) Cave is located on the Bálványos Pass, on the southern side of the Büdös (Puturosu) Mountain at an altitude of 1,052 m. The cavity, nearly 16 m long, is not naturally formed. It is thought to be the remains of medieval sulphur mines, the first 6 m of which are lined, and the further inward sloping cavity is nearly 9 m long.
The cave gives off a foul smell of hydrogen sulphide, which can be stronger or weaker depending on the changing winds; hence also its name. It should be used with caution: the level of precipitated sulphur indicates how far into the gas you can sink. Because of the deadly gas and frequent accidents, a door was added to the cave entrance at the end of the 19th century.
This cave is Europe’s largest natural mofetta, from which around 6,000 m³ of almost pure carbon dioxide gas is released into the air every day. With this, it surpasses its Western European counterpart, the Cave of the Dogs in Naples. In addition to carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and other noble gases – helium, argon, krypton, and radon – are also erupting to the surface. Its natural radon level is 980,0 pCi/l, which is the highest value among all the mofetta and solfatara-type gases in the entire Kelemen-Hargita (Călimani-Harghita) volcanic range. The concentration of negative (2.8x104 ions/ml) and positive (3.3x103 ions/ml) ions, the humidity of the cave air (95%) and the gas yield make the Büdös Cave from Torja a pleasantly lukewarm gas bath and one of the most important natural mofettas in our county.
At the turn of the century, the first Hungarian carbonic acid compressor factory operated with the gas pouring out here.
The water that drips from the ceiling is known to patients as “eye water” and has long been used in folk medicine to cure human eye infections. Indeed, it was possible to detect free sulphuric acid in the dripping water, and thus, as a vitriolic water, it is a world curiosity.
Because of the carbon dioxide in the gases, treatments are held over several days to help in the healing of various circulatory and blood pressure problems, as well as musculoskeletal disorders. Cave treatments are also beneficial for a variety of skin conditions and disorders of the peripheral nervous system, as well as for eczema and allergies.
Breathing in the toxic fumes of the mofetta is very dangerous, leaning under a marked strip in the cave and inhaling the gas can cause death within minutes.
Usage: Approaching the mofetta requires caution; it can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Before entering the dry bath, you should be well rested, and the gas level should be checked. The easiest way to do this is the open flame test: where the flame goes out, you should not bend down anymore. Occasional, single use should not exceed 10 minutes.