Neglecting the past can be a waste of economic opportunity

A place where Hercules took a bath to recover his strength

Photo by Dorothea OLDANI on Unsplash

Somewhere in the Romanian Carpathian Mountains, there is this place of legend that goes back to the heroic adventures of Hercules, and that carries his name up until this day. And the Romanians never believed in Greek gods.

The legend

Long ago, while he was in search of the Golden Wool, Hercules was sailing up the Danube river. He stopped for a while in the place that today is called Danube Boilers, for supplies.

One of the locals heard about Hercule's arrival and went to find him, and soon he did. The man asked Hercules for help. He told him there is a dragon( Romanian word is Zmeu- translated in English as a kite- and it’s a sort of demon) that terrorizes the village and that needs to be killed.

Hercules agreed to help the village and he went to fight the dragon. He used a local girl as bait. The dragon soon showed up and the fight started. Hercules stroke the demon with his bat, but his skin was so rough that the bat bounced off and smashed the top of a mountain. (Today that mountain is cold Retezat- meaning Cut.)

Even so, the dragon was terrified by Hercule’s strength and ran off. Hercules chased the monster to his lair and killed the beast there.

But the girl got scared off by that godlike fight and went hiding in the mountain. A rock avalanche covered the mountain entrance and trapped the young lady. Hercules heard her screaming and, in order to get her out, he had to use his remaining strength to crack and remove all the rocks. The girl was saved and the hero got exhausted.

The locals were grateful, but Hercules had to return to his ship. On his way, he encountered an old lady. She knew who Hercules was and notice his fatigue. Then she told him that nearby there are springs water in which both old and young men bath in order to magically recover their strength. Hercules believed the old lady and went to bath himself in those water. He came out healthier and stronger than ever before. Since then, the village was called Herculane.

Later in time, the Romans discovered the same place and built baths where all the important men of the empire would travel to heal themselves. The Roman abandon the place around 270 A.D when there were driven away from Dacia (name of old Romania).

Recorded History

In 1718 these baths become a part of the Austrian Empire. In this period of time, Herculane gets turned into a city and gain its full glory. The Austrian revitalized the city and built marvelous buildings that last even this day.

In its glory days, Herculane Baths were appreciated as the most beautiful Balneo- Physiotherapy Recovery Station in whole Europe.

View of the square
The square

Herculane then goes back to the Romanian people and keeps on living well until after the anti-communist revolution in 1989. After that moment the newly installed government of Romania starts ignoring Herculane and everything that great empires have built started decomposing.


Today we know that those waters are not magic, instead, they are filled with minerals and sulfur. These are healthy to our muscles, joints, bone, and maybe even more.

Neptune's Bath, the most beautiful building of Herculane, has reached the point of near collapse. Both the building and the region are so beautiful that got the attention of foreign documentaries that even take a moment to remind about these national treasure in documentaries as Flavours of Romania.

Neptune’s Bath building

Well, the good news is that a team of young entrepreneurs started a project in order to save the build and to restore the whole city back to its full glory. Here’s a link with their activities, and a lot more photos from inside the building:

That magical water that comes from inside the mountains still attracts tourists today. Deep in the forest or just outside the road(click here for imagines) you can still find pools filled with sulfuric water that is free to use any time of the year. It might not recreate the luxury of an empire, but it’s still the same magical water that empowered Hercules.

Coming back to the economic problem

It’s enough to find a place with history and beauty to make a profit out of it. People love stories and places that have a great story behind them, otherwise, the whole tourism industry of Rome will collapse within a day.

Herculane has legends and magic left behind by Hercules, civilization from the Roman and Austrian Empires, and an almost never exhausting resource for human health left on Earth maybe by God.

Why is it not working though?

There are or could be many reasons for that and we are not going to talk about them here because it would take too much space. And besides, those problems are mostly coming from Romanians mentality and they are ours to solve. (we are from Romania)

We think the biggest issue is that no one heard about Herculane. Why? Because once people will start hearing, they will start carrying and maybe start investing in a region with such big potentials.

So help us spread the news. Tell people about Herculane. Tell them about that place where they can swim just as Hercules did so long ago.

I’m only 24 and I’ve been there. That water truly makes you feel lighter on your feet and stronger with your lift.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store