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The Bistra River

In every people’s culture, regardless of the moment we’re referring to, water is a fundamental element. Regarded as a source of regeneration, both on a physical and on a spiritual level, water is not missing from any community. The establishing of a settlement is done in direct relation with the existence of a water source; the fertility of the lands and, implicitly, the harvest, depend on water; the religious rituals involve the immersion in water during baptism. We thus see that water is related to the idea of rebirth, purification, baptism, renewal, regeneration.

In the forested area of the Plopiș Mountains, at the arrival of the Slovak colonists, water could be found in abundance. Numerous springs with clear, pure water emerged from deep below the mountains, ready to bring the life, energy, and blessing that the people settling here needed. The Slovak colonists settled their homes in places where sources of running water existed. It is remarkable that there were so many springs there, that each household had one. Over time, due to massive deforestation and the expansion of the population, many of them dried up. Those remaining nowadays flow into Bistra, a river stemming from the central area of the Plopiș Mountains, from under the eastern foot of the Văratec peek (755,9 m), from around the Valea Târnei locality. Initially, it presents itself as a very small mountain stream, however, as it arrives at its mouth, it collects the water of some affluents, eventually reaching a length of 47 km, with a drainage basin of 175 square kilometers. The river crosses the relatively smooth plateau of the Plopiș Mountains mainly on the direction southwest-northeast. From next to the Șinteu locality and until its exit from the crystalline area, Bistra crosses the direction southeast-northwest. In this sector, the gradient is high. It crosses 10 localities: (Șinteu, Pădurea Neagră, Voivozi, Popești, Bistra, Ciutelec, Bogei, Tăuteu, Poiana, Chiribiș) and flows into the Barcău river next to the Petreu locality, being one of the most important affluents of Barcău.

The Bistra river’s name comes from Slavic (bistru=fast), and in the 18th century it was mentioned in other forms as well: Berczecze, Vale Hankritai. Before the massive deforestation of the Plopiș Mountains plateau, the Bistra river had much higher flow rates. Around the Bistra watercourse and its main affluents, a meadow vegetation developed, with characteristic elements: alder, poplar, willow, reeds. In the swift mountain waters, there were fish (especially trout) and crabs.

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