Balánbánya, German: Kupferbergwerk) is a town in
Harghita County, Romania. The northernmost municipality in the
unofficial region of Felcsík, it is also one of Romania's most
important centres for copper mining. Its Romanian name means "blond,"
while the Hungarian and German names reflect the importance of its
The town is ethnically mixed
with a total population of 7,902, of which 5,121 (64,8%) are ethnic
Romanians and 2,724 (34,5%) are Székely Hungarians (2002 census).
There is also a small Roma population. The town is a demographic
anomaly, surrounded by communities with overwhelming Székely
majorities; its majority of ethnic Romanians results from the
Communist policy of sending Moldavian villagers to work in Bălan's
Bălan was the site of iron mining
during the 17th century, but by 1702 the iron stores had been
depleted. The copper deposits were discovered in 1785 by János Opra;
production began in 1803, and by 1853 six mines were operating. From
that period, the village gradually began to develop into a town. Until
1967, Bălan remained part of the commune of
Csíkszentdomokos/Sândominic, finally gaining official town status in
Points of Interest
architectural site is the Roman Catholic church, consecrated in 1869.
Despite the environmental blight of the mining, the surrounding area
is uncommonly beautiful, taking in the nearby mountains of
Nagy-Hagymás and Egyeskõ, the latter a popular hiking
destination. The river Olt, one of Romania's most significant,
originates in the mountains near the town.