Fátyol-vízesés (Veil Falls), a staircase waterfall in Bükk Mountains, a must-see sight among the top natural beauties of Hungary as one of the few waterfalls in the country.
It is usually height and not length that is typically associated with the word 'waterfall', however, Fátyol-vízesés (Veil Falls) is an example for a staircase waterfall of 17 meters long with 18 stairs. The formation of stairs is an interesting phenomenon demonstrating the special interaction of lime and water.
Bükk Mountains is one of the calcareous ranges in the Carpathian Basin. Karst easily develops here resulting in the most beautiful and varied karst formations in Hungary. Water is able to dissolve limestone near cracks in the bedrock. As fractures get bigger a drainage system starts to form underneath. Precipitation of Bükk Plateau seeps deep and travels through an extensive cavern system towards the rim of the mountain. At the foot of the plateau water reappears in the form of several rich springs that feed creeks of the area. Szalajka Spring (and Creek) is one of them.
When rain passes through the atmosphere and top soil it picks up carbon-dioxide, which dissolves in water forming a weak carbonic acid solution. When precipitation finally interacts limestone and seeps through its cracks it is able to solve calcium carbonate, that is limestone. When the underground stream springs up carbon-dioxide is discharged and calcium carbonate starts to precipitate. As a result, creeks deposit layers of calcite on various obstacles, e.g. logs in the creekbed forming tufa terraces.
There are two theories for the name of the waterfall. One suggests that it was named after spraying water the other refers to the light-coloured and jugged tufa terraces.
The waterfall is protected with a fence so it is not observable from close. If you wish to take a closer look at this phenomenon in an intact environment, visit the waterfall where Sebes-víz Creek enters Szinva-völgy (Szinva Valley) in the eastern part of Bükk Mountains. Another option, also unspoiled but much farther, in Mecsek Mountains is the tufa dam in Meleg-Mányi-völgy.
It is advisable to visit Fátyol-vízesés in spring, after snowmelt, when meltwater running off makes it even more picturesque. In summer, depending on rainfall, it may even dry up. In good weather, especially at weekends you may expect numerous visitors.