Monday, February 14, 2011

Salt Mine Therapy at Turda

My seasonal rhinitis is back so I’m dreaming of a salt therapy session in the Salt Mines from Turda.

The Salt Mines are a thirty minutes car ride from Cluj-Napoca and a well trodden part of the tourist trail. The mine has been worked as a source of rock salt since the late 13th century till 1932 when the excavation of salt stopped. Today it represents many centuries of salt exploitation tradition, an underground sanatorium for people suffering from respiratory ailments, a playground for mini-golf, bowling, basketball, table tennis, and snooker and a concert hall with heated seats. A big wheel and a subterranean lake complete this complex of wells, corridors, labyrinths, excavations of all sorts, rooms and even an altar cut out of the salt. Also, there is a geological reservation but visitors access is forbidden there.

You can enter the mine through Franz Joseph gallery, a 917 m transport tunnel, either from the old entrance on Salinelor Street or from Durgaului Street and go directly to the room that echoes echoes echoes...

Two chambers present a collection of authentic devices used to transport salt from the underground galleries. The miners were using wooden carts, chests and special sledges. Fine salt was put into barrels, and large blocks of salt were fashioned as barrel-shaped rolls and rolled on wooden platforms. Horses were also used for assisting miners in transporting salt to the surface. 
In the excavation room, the overhead device for vertical transport of salt has been here from the beginning. Actually, it is the only one in Romania which is in its original location.

After, you can come down the staircase (13 levels) in the Rudolf mine, descending 172 steps or using the panoramic elevator. The year of exploitation is marked at each level. Rudolf mine reaches a maximum depth of 42 m, is 50 m wide and 80 m long and here you can find the playground and the big wheel:-) 
Occasionally, concerts and other artistic events take place in the Salt Mine’s biggest chamber. 

If you want a hardcore experience, you can traverse Rudolf mine on the suspended bridge along the walls at a 42 m altitude from the ground. Of course, only if you do not suffer from vertigo or bathophobia!!!

Terezia mine is the last big chamber that can be visited by tourists. It is impressive!  90 m hight, 87 m diameter and 112 m depth with a salt waterfall and a subterranean lake of 0.5 to 8 m depth.

While resting on the island, in the middle of the lake, I’m always expecting to meet Obi Wan Kenobi or Hans Solo because the place has a strong SF flavor. You may also have a nap and dream of Spock, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Captain Kirk, master Yoda, Darth Veder, Batman or even Joker…use your imagination!
Also, you can rent a boat and adventure on the lake.

There are rumors that Batman continues in the Salt Mines of Turda. Maybe this year you really have a chance to see the dark knight rising from the salt mine:-).  Put a smile on your face and go to visit the salt mine of Turda and if you meet Joker, please, tell him that I think that my jokes are bad :-D



Access: you can get to Turda by bus from the main bus station in Cluj or hitchhiking from Turzii Street.
Program: ever day from 9 AM to 5 PM, last addmitance at 3 PM
Ticket price: 15 RON/adult, 8 RON/child/student/senior citizen

The temperature in the Mine is low (10-12 oC). This is why even in summer, warm clothes should be worn.

There is a sanatorium for those suffering from asthma and allergy situated deep underground in the Salt Mine.


Photos courtesy of Sanziana Craciun and Andrei Vancea.


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