Salina Turda, The Salt Mine
Today we went to Salina Turda, one of the best and oldest underground riches in the world which is visited by 2 million foreign tourists annually. The Turda Salt Mine is a former salt mine of Romania transformed into a leisure and health center located in the Turda, Transylvania. Also this mine is on the list of historical monuments of the Ministry of Culture.
The oldest document mentioning Turda is from 1271. And in medieval times, salt was seen as one of the most important mines in Transylvania. Sometimes salt was used as currency.
The Turda salt mine, apart from its gigantic size, is relatively simple in history. The explosive materials were never used to dig the mine, so everything was done by hand or with a machine. The exploitation of salt stopped in 1932.
During the Second World War, Salina Turda served as a shelter for the inhabitants of the city. During the communist regime, the barren rock section of the Franz Josef was used as a refining cellar for local cheeses.
The complex was renovated in 2009. Now there are treatment rooms, an amphitheater which is carved in salt with about 200 seats, sports halls, etc. In the interior there are still some of the original tools, dating from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, as well as other works, such as a salt altar, carpentry, etc.
The Rudolf Mine
The Rudolf Mine is 42 meters deep and this is the last reservoir for the collected salt. To go below, you need to descend 13 level below and nowadays there is an elevator shaft to make climbing easier.
The Terezia Mine
The Terezia Mine is the oldest room that can be visited today. The Terezia Mine is located 112 meters further down from Franz Josef Hall. The main attraction is the lake for this part. In the center of the lake there is a 5 meter high island, what is composed of salt waste dumped in here. And it became an island after the flooding. Today, the deepest part of lake is 8 meters and the water is very salty as one fourth of the total volume is made up of salt. Between 1690 and 1880, the salt was collected with a horizontal slicing method in this room.
The Trolley Room
Trolley Room was created in 1881. The year was carved on the vertical axis of the machine. The current machine replaced the smaller trolley which was installed in 1864. No other salt mine in Europe has such a machine which is kept in its original location. The extraction machine is a winch with a vertical axis known as a gepel and has four operating arms called tovel. The machine was drawn by horses therefore all the horses to operate this machine had to work underground in harsh conditions.