An elderly man with his knee-length trousers bent over the small bubbling gyol and plastic tubs full of water. “I got sores on my legs, no matter how many doctors I went to, no matter what I applied, they don’t go away. Now I will try to soak them in this water,” says the man, who is from Dolni Chiflik.
The spring, better known as the burning water, is 5-6 km from the municipal center and about 50 from Varna. It is located in the Botevo area, next to the main road from Varna – just before the village of Krivini, on a wide turnoff. Around the asphalt is covered with household waste. Although volunteers cleaned up the area only a month and a half ago, the filth still lingers between trees in the forest. The nearest garbage container is about 200 m away. Residents of the area are demanding that the municipality of Dolni Chiflik place one here as well.
A dried-up fountain, two dilapidated pools full of debris and the remains of two walls remind us that life was once alive here. Now the healing water for many makes its way underground, from a catchment at the base of a rock opening. Just by lightly touching a matchstick with the surface, a fire starts.
It was discovered in the early 1950s during drilling for oil and gas, at a depth of about 600 m. It gushes out like a geyser. Studies indicate an increased content of iodine, which accounts for its yellowish color. The presence of methane allows its ignition. It tastes salty and mild, and its temperature is close to that of the human body. This makes it attractive for baths, for treatment and prevention especially of various skin diseases. Her fame spreads quickly. Two swimming pools of the “melt” type – for men and women, and a restaurant are being built. 24-hour security is assigned. Together with the natural features, the area attracts hundreds of tent tourists every year.
“Here at the graduation party, we met the sunrise – recalls the elderly man who came for the water from Dolni Chiflik. – And in 1975, in the barracks, I told how we caught fish on the river and roasted it in the burning water. No one believed me.”
Although it does not taste good because of its saltiness, the water became a real hit after the Chernobyl accident precisely because of its high concentrations of iodine. Some still claim that it is good for internal intake and that a few sips a day help with gastritis and lazy bowels.
“As a child, my feet became inflamed, impaled by the stubble during harvest. They led me to the fountain for three days. My legs calmed down and I started to move,” says 80-year-old Minka from Krivini. The woman keeps in her memory dozens of stories about the healing of children and adults with skin problems. “And now people continue to come, fill tubes and wash on the spot, the woman claims. – Such a miracle should not have been left. The area was nice, it was clean. The water can be brought over the road, a rest station can be made for treatment. It will always be full of people here.”
The spring in the Botevo area is managed and managed by the Municipality of Dolni Chiflik. This was answered by the Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Water to EcoVarna’s inquiry. The water does not fall into protected areas, although in the land of the village of Krivini there are two protected areas under “Natura 2000” – “Kamchiyska planina” and “Kamchiyska and Emenska planina”. The municipal administration states that the land on which the so-called “burning water” is located is private, which practically ties their hands. According to the deputy mayor Lyubomir Vangelov, it is not documented that the water is mineral. Until a few years ago, “hot water” was entirely the responsibility of the state. Then the sale of the forest land was carried out.
A reference in the cadastre shows that the ownership of the land from which the burning water is gushing belongs to the company “Sheri Yu” EOOD. The main activity of the sole proprietorship is logging. Our attempts to contact the company were unsuccessful. The nearest tourist site is the Krivini ethno-complex. From there they stated that they have customers from Varna who come because of the spring. The water is healing, but it is neglected and practically not used, claim the management of the complex.
“And now they stop cars to ask about the source. I guide them. Hopefully someone will take it and restore it,” hopes 84-year-old Petra Kirova. According to official statistics, 89 people live in Krivini. “Most are resettlers who bought houses here. There is no more life in the villages. No… The young people are leaving for the city, and we are leaving.” – a heavy sigh escaped from the chest of the old woman…