Belis – Fantanele


Belis village from Cluj County is particularly renowned for the presentation of the special habitat (between 1.000 and 1.300 meters altitude), the mountain tourist trails in the area, the simplicity of the villages that make up the settlement and through the existance of Fantanele-Belis lake that stretches over a length of about 27 km.

The creation of the huge body of water of about 900 ha was possible by transmuting  the location of Belis settlement about 3 km, where it is today. The entire memory of the place and the stories are kept between the great walls of a church located on the bottom of the reservoir dam-Fantanele Belis. Sometimes, when the lake falls, you can see the walls of the church.


Documentary attestation of the Belis settlement dates from 1369 under the name “Flavia Beles”.

Belis administrative territory is located in the south-west of Cluj, at the interference of two units in the Apuseni Mountains, which are Gilaului Mountains, Mount Vladeasa Mare and Bihor Mountains.

Belis village consists of six smaller villages: Belis, Balcesti, Dealu Botii, Smida, Giurcuta de Sus and Poiana Horea. The residence of the union of the smaller villages is Belis.

Belis flood story

Before finding its grave on a bottom of a lake, the old Belis was nestled on Somesul Cald River,  between mountain hills. A village in a valley, the church in the middle of it, built on a hill, surrounded by wooden houses of the Moti, (this is how inhabitants from Apuseni area are known) could be seen from every corner of the village.

Life was simple for the villagers, closely related to wood forests, to growing animals, family and the church in the center of the village. For them the church was the protector of the village of high winds or snow storms, floods and devastating droughts. ”Moti” thought the church has always been there and as long as they saw it there on the hill, they knew that nothing bad can happen to them.

But in a late autumn, the news spread that Belis would be flooded. Communists had decided to build a dam and the waters of the lake would cover everything, and villagers were to carry their children, homes and animals to move them up the arid coast of Ungur (the Hungarian). That is how the curse began.

One by one, carts pulled by oxen, they started carrying up the hill piece by piece households of Belis. So households were relocated together with the villagers and all.

Finally, in Belis had only remained a few collapsed houses. The soul of the village was preparing to ascend to heaven. And then someone asked: “And the church?”. In great haste, the church was devoid of icons, religious objects and church vestments.

The bells and the roof were also taken up the hill, but nevertheless, the sharp edges of the stone tower still seemed arrogant, undefeated. ”Moti” Church wanted to die there together with the soul of the village.

The last who left the village were the dead. The entire village came down from the Hungarians Coast (Coasta Ungurului) and had invaded the cemetery. Every family has searched to the bones in the graves. The priest held a very a beautiful religious ceremony, then the dead were put in cattle wagons, and climbed the hill. At every crossroad, they stopped and the priest muttered prayers, taking with him a censerwith incense. People looked back silently, frowning, to their past life that would be covered with water.

And so began the building of the huge dam Belis – Fantanele

Location Belis

Belis village is situated at the foot of the Vlădeasa mountain from Apuseni Mountains in the north-west of the county of Cluj, at an altitude of 1.125 m.

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Belis is at a distance of 27 km from the city of Huedin, at 77 km from Cluj-Napoca and at 133 km from Oradea.

At about 3 km, located in a special mountainous area is situated the Belis-Fântânele Lake. The lake stretches on a length of about 27 km, with a total area of 900 ha of water surface.


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