A salt mine in general may sound boring, but Salina Turda in Cluj-Napoca, Romania is really an awesome attraction. Salina Turda is a centuries-old salt mine in Romania that has been converted into an underground tourist attraction where visitors can go boating on an underground lake, attend a concert in a 180-seat amphitheater, and ride a carousel deep within a salt cavern. There is even a museum, and health spa. It has been visited by over 2 million tourists, mostly Romanians, for health reasons and historical value.
Truth to be told, this is a real museum of salt mining in Transylvania.
What really made the mine impressive was that explosives were never used to hollow the mine. It was entirely done by hand or machine. One of the many halls of the mine measures a massive 260 by 130 feet with 160-foot ceilings.
I was awed at the result of mining that carved out over three billion tons of salt.
Their history goes a long way back as they began digging the Turda Salt Mine back in the second century and after the fall of Roman Empire. What? That’s about 2,000 years ago! It was used for everything from a cheese storage center to a bomb shelter in World War II until it was abandoned in 1932.
Then it was reopened for tourists in 1992 becoming a large draw for halotherapy, a treatment for allergies and asthma that uses the ionized air, pressure and humidity of the caves. The health effects of the salt mines were first discovered during a study of miners with improved breathing ability in the Wieliczka Salt Mine, a underground city of salt in Poland.
Therefore, they built different kind of areas where you can do activities that will help you to get cleansed and healthier, such as bowling, rowing, and playing ping pong.
Ever since 1992, the caves attracted a number of high-profile visitors and tourists.
Table Salt and Halotherapy Beneath the Ground
Visiting this massive underground world couldn’t have been any more fun without my friends. There were four of them. One was a Deaf Romanian female, one was a hearing traveler I hit off at the Spot Cosy Hostel who wanted to tag along, and other two came with the Deaf Romanian female.
The place is absolutely huge, starting with a never ending tunnel that leads you to various rooms where you will learn about extracting salt. Be sure to be careful with your steps as you may slip on the polished salt floor.
After a long climb down the tunnel, I arrived at the Franz Josef Gallery, a horizontal passage that was completed in 1870 to cut the costs of the movement of salt to the surface. It was used to store cheese back in 1948-1992.
Then you will find the Josef Mine located next to the Franz Josef Gallery through the balconies carved in salt. This doesn’t really apply to Deaf people, but I was told that this mining point has a powerful sound echo and that’s why it’s called the Echoes Room.
I followed passageways that branched off from the Josef mine, eventually arriving at the Rudolf Mine. I was amazed at the fact that this was the last mine where they exploited salt from. If you headed to the heart of the mine, you will find the year in which the salt was extracted.
From the wooded ledges of the Rudolf Mine, you can see the bottom of the mine where you could see the underground lake (about 0.5-8 meters deep) with one of their prominent features, a panoramic wheel that allows the tourists to see the impressive view of the chamber.
At this point, I had to choose between a long line to the only elevator or a 172-step stairway to the bottom. Obviously, I opted for the stairs because the elevator could hold 8 people at a time, and I didn’t want to wait.
First thing I did when arriving at the bottom was going on the wheel with my friends and it was quite nice for a group of friends. It wouldn’t be ideal for anyone, especially Deaf, to go on alone because it’s pretty long and you can see the whole cave from the bottom and you’d be content by it. So, I’d have to say that it’s lucky that I had company, otherwise I’d have gotten bored of it. I enjoyed the ride regardless, thanks to my friends for making it fun.
You’d be surprised at what you can find at the bottom of the mine because you’ll find mini-bowling, mini-golf, merry-go-round, children’s playground, and billiard tables.
This is an amusement park installed to entertain kids who must spend long hours breathing the air at the bottom of the mine. The constant air temperature virtual lack of allergens, presence of aerosol salt particles, and predominance of positive ions in the air have been found to have a curative effect for patients with severe respiratory conditions, often mainly for kids.
Then I went to one side where I found second observation platform overlooking the Terezia Mine, a bell-shaped mine that is 120 meters deep, which features an underground lake with rowboats. You will need to cross the wooden bridge at the bottom to get to the island of the underground lake.
Other than that, You’ll see many different things like people sleeping in the row boats, riding the wheel, and going crazy on the cycling rides. There’s also the possibility to watch movies or relax in one of the salt rooms, but if you don’t feel like doing anything, staring at the salt on the walls of the mine will do as well.
As I was finished with the salt mine, I went back up the tunnels where I took a deep breath, inhaling and filling my lungs with positively ionized air. I was having a sinus cold at the time, and it felt like my sinus was cured completely through my time there. Not kidding.
With all of the stuff I’ve seen here, do you think I’d recommend you to not come? OF COURSE NOT!
I highly recommend you all to check this out when you’re in Romania! It’ll definitely be worth your time and money!
Visiting the mine will cost you €5 (adult) or €2,50 (children and students). It’s open every day from 9am until 4pm. Be sure to bring a jacket to keep yourself warm as the cave is pretty cold when you go deeper into the mine, especially if you easily get cold. See more?