Salina Turda is a salt mine in the Durgău-Valea Sărată area of Turda, the second largest city in Cluj County, Romania. Since its opening to tourists in 1992, Salina Turda has been visited by about two million Romanian and foreign tourists.
Salina Turda was placed by Business Insider at the top of their list of the ten "coolest underground places in the world". Likewise, Salina Turda was once ranked among the "25 hidden gems around the world that are worth the trek".
The first document that speaks explicitly about the existence of a salt mine in Turda dates from 1 May 1271, being issued by the Hungarian chancellery. Documents preserved from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries that refer to the Turda salt mines mention that salines were arranged in Băile Sărate microdepression and on the south-eastern slope of the Valea Sărată. Operating rooms were placed on the sites of current salt lakes from the perimeters mentioned above. In the seventeenth century has begun first salt mining works on the north-western slope of Valea Valea Sărată, evidenced by shafts in the dome of Terezia room. Shortly after, the Sfântul Anton mine was opened, where mining activity continued until the first half of the twentieth century.
Since 1992, Salina Turda has been a halotherapy center and a popular tourist attraction. In 2008, the salt mine was modernized and improved under the program PHARE 2005 ESC large regional/local infrastructure, worth six million euros. It was opened to tourism in January 2010.
The Iosif Mine can be visited through the balconies carved in salt. It is next to the Franz Josef Gallery. This mine is a conical chamber 112 meters deep 67 meters wide at the base. Because of its shape and lack of communication with the other major mining points, this mine has a powerful echo, leading to it being called the "Echoes Room".
The octagonal room hosts a winch called "crivac" or "gepel", rudimentary machinery used to lift salt rocks on the surface. It dates from 1881. This machine replaced another, smaller in size, that was installed in 1864. It is the only machine of this kind in all salt mines in Romania and probably in Europe that keeps in its original location.
It is a conical mine (bell mine). Salt mining in this type of room left behind underground halls of impressive dimensions: 90 m height and 87 m diameter. The depth from the mouth of the shafts to the base of the mine is 112 m. A "cascade of salt", an underground lake, stalactites and salt efflorescences complete the inert equilibrium of the giant bell. The underground lake is between 0.5 and 8 m deep and is extended on about 80 percent of the operating room hearth area. In the center of the lake there is an island formed from residual salt deposited here after 1880, the year when salt mining ended in this room.
Forty-two meters deep, 50 meters wide, and 80 meters long, Rudolf mine is the last place where salt was exploited in Turda. Through the compartment of access, 172 steps lead to the mine hearth. On the walls of each of the 13 "floors" is marked the year when the respective level was exploited. On the north-western ceiling formed over the years salt stalactites, some even three meters long. The panoramic elevator offers tourists an overview of the whole mine.
Gizela mine and technical rooms in the north-eastern extremity of the salt mine are similar to those of Rudolf mine, but much smaller because the salt exploration stopped shortly after the opening of this mine. Currently this mine is equipped as a spa treatment room with natural aerosols.
The underground gallery of this mine constitutes a geological reserve, access to tourists being not allowed in this room. It is 15 m above the transport gallery (Franz Josef gallery). Infiltrations of water on the extraction pit determined the deposition of efflorescences and formation of stalactites, and in the lake that partially covers the hearth of the room formed salt crystals. The room has received the tourist name of Crystal Hall.
Turda salt mine was renovated and it reopened its doors in 2010 after a €5,888,000 investment. The project has been a target of various political groups in the city of Turda. The management of Salina Turda has been changed numerous times due to the political power-plays at city hall. Currently Salina Turda has debts of approximately eight million lei (about €1.77 million).
- "Atractii turistice, Salina Turda" (in Romanian). Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
- "Salina Turda este lăudată de site-ul Institutului Smithsonian: "Este un motiv în plus pentru a vizita România"". Știrile PRO TV (in Romanian). 26 March 2014.
- Carren Jao (13 February 2014). "10 Of The Coolest Underground Places In The World". Business Insider.
- Megan Willett (26 December 2013). "25 Unbelievable Travel Destinations You Never Knew Existed". Business Insider.
- "Scurt istoric". Salina Turda (in Romanian).
- "Salina turistică". Salina Turda (in Romanian).
- "Salina Turda, spectacol pe bani europeni". Salina Turda Scandals (in Romanian).
- "Scandalurile politice au distrus Salina Turda. Cel mai iubit obieciv turistic din Romania are datorii de 2 milioane de euro". Salina Turda Scandals (in Romanian).