On the train between Cluj and Sighisoara you pass through some great scenery, rolling hills, the Turda gorge (no sniggering), valleys, woods, saxon towns and villages. But you also pass through Copsa Mica. Copsa Mica is everything you might have imagined of industrial Eastern Europe from those images of vast pollution we saw after the revolutions of 89. It’s dominated by these vast empty run down factories and worker dormitories that seem to stretch for miles. Back in the day it was so black that even the white bits were black. No, I’m serious. The snow was black up until 1995. There are are
two satellite photos, here which show how the area looked from above in the 80s and now (after it’s been cleaned up a bit).
Even though the town is no longer black, though, it is still horribly polluted as the second factory there (the blackening one made tyres and dye) made chemicals and filled the ground with dangerous metals, which are still polluting the river and the water table and all vegetables grown there. A lot of people who live there are very very sick (and also very very poor as the factories got closed down). There’s a good overview of the situation at this website