The Turda salt mine is certainly the most spectacular mine in the world. This mine was created by human creation – in the depths of Transylvania, digging with the sediment after the evaporation of the sea, which covered the entire region millions of years ago. Now, Turda could cover the need for the entire planet for 60 years, if necessary.
This place is a symbol and a source of prosperity, health and pride for every citizen of Turda.
The first pages of the story of this salt source are thought to have been written during the Roman occupation of Dacia, when the city bore the Latin name Potaissa, along with the beginnings of systematic mining for iron, polymetallic ores, gold, silver and salt in Transylvania. The use of salt in Roman times is probable, but there is no clear evidence of this activity. It is possible that the great medieval and modern exploitation (until the first half of the 20th century) and the collapse of the vaults in the old salt mines, followed by the appearance of salt lakes, destroyed the traces of ancient exploitation. Therefore, we believe that the beginnings of salt extraction, as defined at the moment, are located around 11-13. century.
In 1075, the Hungarian chancellor, in a document referring to Transylvania, also mentioned the boundaries of salt ores “in a fortress called Turda, in a place called Aranias in Hungarian and Aureus in Latin.” At that time, the fortress of Turda had the role of defending these resources, considering itself strategic.
However, the first document that explicitly mentions the existence of salt exploitation in Turda dates from May 1, 1271, and was issued by Hungary. The documents also speak of the importance of the Turda salt mine as the main source of supply in the region. In 1867, mineralogist Johan Friedwaldski declared that “this salt mine is worthy of the greatest admiration and curiosity”, since it is “so famous that it has almost no equal in the whole east”.
The miners were employed for a period of one year, always from January 7. The salary was 12 florins a year.
In its beginnings, this mine was one of the most important in Transylvania, the main source of salt supply in the region. Beginning in 1840, due to social and economic conditions, the exploitation of salt in Turda was reduced, and the role of coordinator of salt exploitation activities was taken over by the Mures salt mine.
After the First World War, salt exploitation became a state monopoly. This, together with a reduction in the productivity of exploitation, led to the closure of mining activities at the Turda Salt Mine in 1932. Sixty years later, this treasure from the depths was reopened to the public as a tourist destination.
Thirteen years ago, Turda entered a comprehensive process of modernization and improvement, and it has been being renovated for the needs of tourism since 2010. The excellent condition of the mining works and the equipment used for the transport of salt have only further helped the modernization works of this place to be carried out so that it becomes an international tourist destination, transforming into a real salt mining museum and adventure park. One of the most prominent pieces of equipment that attracts the attention of tourists is the panoramic wheel, which allows them to study the stalagmites that have been deposited here for more than 1000 years. The mine is descended by a crane which was once transported with and the temperature under the ground never exceeds 12 degrees.
The museum consists of a series of recreational attractions made from restored mine equipment; amphitheater, children’s playroom, sports arena, mini golf course, etc. provide visitors with a variety of mine experiences. Boats for sailing on underground lakes can also be rented. There are a total of three mines here:
- Terezija, at 120m
- Anton, 108m
- Rudolf at 42m underground
This place is also said to be an open-air museum for all the curious who want to experience the events that took place during the Roman occupation of Romania.
Salt used to be the most expensive commercial product because it was extremely difficult to obtain. Today, it is a symbol of “valuable” relationships between people, which last. Salt brings good luck. And in the Turda Salt Mine you can say that you are surrounded by happiness.
The idea to turn a space that has symbolized human suffering and exploitation into a place for relaxation and entertainment for years has been successfully realized, so this mine is certainly the most popular in the world and full of tourists throughout the year.