Turda Salt Mine – out of this world

Turda Salt Mine is definitely the most beautiful underground place that you can find in Romania. Speaking of which this place has been ranked #1 in a top called 10 Of The Coolest Underground Places In The World made by Business Insider.

Brief useful information:

Sitehttp://salinaturda.eu/?lang=en

AccessOld entrance: str. Salinelor, nr.54BNew entrance: str. Aleea Durgăului, Nr. 7
PricingAdults: 12 RON/person, Children & Students: 10 RON/person
Recommendation: wear warm clothes because the temperature inside is only 9 degrees Celsius no matter the season

We are pretty close to Cluj, so in 2011 when we first heard that this salt mine was modernised and open to the public we decided to go visit. And what a surprise! We didn’t exactly expect to find such an impressive design in a salt mine. We were speechless. Each time we came here, because we came here several times, we entered through the old entrance because our GPS always took us there 😀 So the next time we come here we must go to the new entry because I’ve heard it’s very modern and has a beautiful architecture.

Franz Josef transport gallery

If you enter through the old entrance you’ll be crossing Franz Josef transport gallery which is 900 meters long. The salt tunnel which you’re walking through is spectacular. The side walls and the ceiling are shiny and wavy. This shape of theirs is due to the abrasive salt air that circulates in this tunnel which sculpted the walls in such a way. It’s beautiful! Immediately after you enter you’re surrounded by salt. Everything you touch is salt!

Franz Josef transport gallery
Franz Josef transport gallery

Echoes Room – Iosif Mine

Advancing through the transport gallery, at one point, on the right side there are some indicators which show us the way to the Echoes room. You visit it through the balconies that are set up in the salt. This is a conical room, 87 meters deep and 67 meters wide at the base. The shape of the room and the fact that it’s isolated from other galleries in the mine make it capable of very powerful sound reverberation. It’s living up to its name since if you yell your yell echoes back 8 or 9 times. It’s a very funny place :))

Echos room

The Crivac Room

Going further through the transport gallery you can also visit The Crivac Room. It’s an octagonal room where there is a winch on a vertical axis named crivac or gepel. Horses were used to manoeuvre it and was used to lift the salt from below, from Rudolf mine.

The Crivac
Extraction sketch using the crivac

Rudolf Mine – the underground giant

The main tourist attraction in the Turda salt mine is Rudolf mine. 42 meters deep, 50 meters wide, 80 meters long, Rudolf mine gives you the sensation that you’re part of an alien landscape of gigantic size. This was the last mine room where salt was exploited here at Turda.
You enter this room from above. You’re 42 meters high from the crowds below. If you’re in for a thrill, and we were, you can walk on the suspended balconies that cross this room near the ceiling. It’s pretty scary and you realise that between you and a 42 meter fall are some planks of wood, 3 or 4 cm thick. Adrenaline rush guaranteed! 🙂

Rudolf Mine – the suspended balconies 42 meters high

If you’re not in for the thrill of going on the balconies, you’re in luck. You can go down to the base of the mine where you have a lot of activities waiting for you. For going down you have 2 options: the sporty one and the lazy one. The sporty option means that you have to use the stairs, all 172 stairs that lead to the bottom. At each of the 13 floors the last exploiting year of that floor is written.

last exploit year for each floor in Rudolf Mine

The lazy option means using the panoramic elevator that gets you down to the base. Unfortunately, as you’d expect there’s a queue here. You’ll be waiting 5 – 10 minutes probably but the perspective of this elevator is stunning. It’s a very cool experience. The sides of the elevator are glass and that’s why it’s called a panoramic elevator of course 🙂 You can watch the beautiful lighting hanging from the ceiling and you have the sensation of hovering over this alien world.

Rudolf mine – panoramic elevator
Rudolf Mine – queue at the base for the elevator
Rudolf Mine – the lighting and the salt icicles on the ceiling

Once you reach the bottom of the mine the surprises continue and you start realising that you’re in a world class tourist attraction. This temple of salt makes you feel very small in comparison with the scale of this place.
This salt mine was first introduced as a public tourist attraction back in 2005 and modernisation started with the help of PHARE funds. The work was completed in 2010 and it really is a crown jewel of underground design and architecture.
 
Back to what activities and what you can find here at the bottom of the mine though. One thing is for certain, you won’t get bored. You can play bowling, ping pong, basketball, mini golf, pool. You also have a giant turning wheel with heated seats and next to it an amphitheatre where performances are held.

Rudolf mine – view from the base towards the panoramic elevator and the stair case
Rudolf mine – sports ground
Rudolf mine – amphitheatre
Rudolf mine – ceiling filled with salt icicles (the area beneath them is restricted)
Rudolf mine
Rudolf mine
Rudolf mine – the giant turning wheel

Terezia Mine – the lake in the bell

The second biggest attraction in Turda salt mine is Terezia mine. This mine has a conical shape similar to a church bell. The size of this mine is also impressive and the best thing is that you can see for yourself the magnitude of this mine from a balcony. It’s 112 meters high, 87 meters in diameter at the base. The base of this mine is covered by a lake on 80% of its surface. The depth of this lake varies from 0.5 to 8 meters. In the centre of the lake there’s a small island formed by residual salt resulted from exploiting this mine. It was last exploited in 1880.

Mina Terezia – lacul și insula din mijlocul lui

Looking from above, from the balcony in Rudolf Mine, which is just next to Terezia Mine, you can see the different shades of Gray on the walls of the mine. How beautiful nature is. Also you can see the small island in the middle of the lake with different resting areas which seem like alien bases or something from above 🙂 You can get to the island by taking the stairs or by using the elevators. 

Terezia Mine – perspective from the lake towards the balcony in Rudolf mine

After you reach the bottom of Terezia Mine you cross a futuristic bridge over the lake which leads to the island in the middle. On this island you have quite a few resting places each a more futuristic construction than the other. They’re meant to be used by tourists to only sit and breath the salted air here since it’s good for you lungs and general health.
 
If you’re up to a sportier activity you can rent a boat from here and row round the lake and admire the gigantic mine from a better perspective. You realise how much work and effort was needed in order to extract so much salt in order to leave such a big gap in the ground. If you look up straight you can see the entrance well. That is the penetration point and was used to lift all the salt up back to the surface using the crivac. It is absolutely astonishing!

Terezia Mine – lighting
Terezia Mine – the entrance wells
Terezia Mine – lighting

We are very impressed by this place. It has a certain level of unreal and beauty that you can only grasp once you’re there. You must visit Turda salt mine, especially if you’re near the city of Cluj – Napoca 🙂

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