If you travel deep into the Transylvanian countryside you will find an ancient salt mine that can date itself back over two whole millennia. Yes, it is extremely old. And you would have thought that would mean this salt mine would be extremely dangerous, maybe even prone to a couple of landslides or collapses.
Well, that is where you would be wrong, you see today, Salina Turda has been a popular tourist attraction with hundreds of thousands of visitors coming down its vertical shafts deep into the mine every year. But it is not a historical attraction to show you how we used to mine. Today, visitors flock down to play mini-golf, go bowling or simply row around the underground lake.
This is considered a submerged wonderland in Romania. And it is even considered to have special healing powers with a center to help people with lung problems deep in the mine. This is a place where humans and nature have become blurred. A salt mine is a man-made after all, but here the man-made features have become blurred into the nature of the underground lake. Which is why many tourists consider it to be a place of wonder.
During the 13th century, Salina Turda filled up the treasure chests of the Hungarian kings and the Habsburg emperors. At this time salt was even more valuable than gold, therefore, it sustained the local community for centuries. In 1932, mining activity finally finished. And since then it has had many lives – including being a World War II shelter. Once it was even a huge cheese storage center.
In 1992, after a 6 million euro investment, it reopened as a museum and theme park. There is even an 80 seat amphitheater for concerts set against a backdrop of salt formations and stalactites. Visitors can be treated to halotherapy also by breathing in pure air.
Two vast mines make up the bulk of the theme park, an attraction that even includes a Ferris wheel and a spa. An amazing showcase of what Romanian architects can do when collaborating.