Romania is very well off salt deposits, the underground mining dating from the Dacian-Roman period. At present, some of the salt mines are equipped with tourists and spa facilities, so that the tourists should enjoy both the view of the impressive galleries and the treatment base that offers many benefits to the sufferers. Appreciated by many tourists for the way it was designed, considered by others to be a contemporary kitsch, Turda Salt Mine does not remain indifferent to anyone.
The historic facts
Traces of some exploits, dating back to the Dacian-Roman period, were discovered in 1862. During a mining work some pyramid-shaped operating rooms were discovered. Although there is no archaeological evidence of salt exploitation, there is a belief that the salt from Turda was used by locals to cover both the domestic and the export needs for centuries. The salt extraction activity is certified in 1271, but it flourished in the 18th century. Unfortunately, in the 19th century it declined due to the low salary of miners. The documents show that the miners received a salary of 12 florins a year, any less than the workers in agriculture. As a result, in 1932, the salt mine closes and it was almost forgotten until the Second World War when the locals used it as a bomb-proof. It is also said that during the communist period, a part of the Franz Joseph Mine was used as a cheese storehouse.
Technical data and tourist facilities
Turda Salt Mine becomes a tourist attraction in 1992. The salt deposit, covering an area of 45 km2, has an average thickness of 250 m. As you enter the salt mine, you can feel the salty air and see the thick salt walls. The access to Rudolf mine can be done in two ways: with a panoramic elevator or the wooden stairs that descend 13 floors. Every time I visited Turda Salt Mine I used the stairs, either because of the crowd at the lift, or because it was out of order. Between the floors, on the wall, the year in which the level was exploited is written in salt, and, for me, the effort was forgotten as I go down or up.
I remember that during one of my visit the guide let us experience the echoes. From the balcony of the Joseph mine, the spoken words have six echoes, due to the shape of the room and the lack of communication with the other rooms. I listened to the story of the „Hall of Appeal,” whose name comes from the fact that the entrance and the exit from the salt mine were made through this small space. The room was the ideal place to count the miners entering and leaving the mine. For a short time, this room had another name, „the Scale of the Rich,” as it was used by the local nobility who participated at the religious service that took place once a week in the mine.
In the salt mine, time passes very quickly, thanks to the football field, the billiards and the table tennis facilities as well as the playgrounds. Your eyes meet the panoramic wheel that brings you closer to the ceiling of the salt mine. From the Rudolf Mine, you can go down to Terezia Mine, where on a lake, with a depth varying between 0.5 and 8 meters, you can go boating. In the middle of the lake, an amphitheater was set up on an island that was created by the residual salt. The sick people are treated in the Gizela Mine with the aerosol therapy. The therapeutic indications of the salt mine refer to repeated respiratory infections, allergic rhinitis, polyps, etc.
In my opinion Turda Salt Mine is a success story thanks to the people who work hard to create a revolutionary design. It is in top 5 of the most visited tourist attraction of Romania, with more than one million tourists a year.
Good to know
- there is no phone signal in the salt mine;
- the average temperature is about 120C;
- food is forbidden in the salt mine;
- the duration of a boat ride is about 10 minutes;
- in the Rudolf mine there is a stand with souvenir and cosmetics that have salt as the main ingredient;
- if you want to visit in an organized group, at every 10th individuals a free entrance is being ensure;
- a free guide is provided at groups with more than 20 people, if you make a reservation in advance;
- the access of animals is forbidden. They can be left for a fee in a special space.