The Turda Salt Mines

Remember those salt pools I wrote about two posts ago? Well, those are right beside/above the famous Turda Salt Mine. It’s really an incredible thing to see. So first of all, there is the old mine, caverns, and all the old paraphernalia that goes along with that, then there’s the medical facility (it turns out that salt air is actually really good for people, especially children), and then, surprise, there’s an amusement park at the bottom of the whole thing. We weren’t really too sure what to expect, but figured it would not be in our near future to see another salt mine if we did not take advantage of this one, so in we went!

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This is the entrance near the salt pools, which is also the entrance that medical visitors/patients use to access the facility. It’s the door we used to exit. (Oops, did I give away the end of the story? In this case, it’s the middle that’s the best part!)

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This is the tourist entrance, and the one we used to get in.

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This is one of the passages they used to take out the mined salt. We thought it was interesting how the walls were both so smooth, but also “growing” salt again. The further in we got, the colder it was. They had warned us to bring a sweater, but that was tough for us to believe, since we had been sweating through a heat wave outside!

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Soon we proceeded through series of historical chambers. This one, as you can see, was the Echo Chamber.

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We had to wait for a crowd of kids to finish hollering before we could give it a try ourselves. So fun!

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This is an example of some of the machinery they used to extract the salt. This first one is a horse-powered extractor, and the second photo shows remnants of one of the rail cars they used to take the salt to the entrance.

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I don’t remember the name of this chapel, but it was a chapel nonetheless.

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Finally we made it to the balcony overlooking the main chamber — wow! They have used the available space and turned it, as I mentioned before, into an amusement park. Not only have they artistically lit it with interesting lamps, but they have filled it with almost every activity you can think of!

The round thing you can see at the bottom of this next photo is where you store your street shoes while you’re bowling (yep, there are bowling lanes)…

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… Then, of course there are paddle boats you can rent, though you have to wear a hard hat, in case any of the accumulating salt-icicles fall from the roof.

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As we descended the stairs, we noticed that there is also a basketball court, table tennis, a kids’ play area, a cafe, a small auditorium, a couple of pool tables…

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… And even a ferris wheel! (This is the steadiest photo we got of ourselves while we were on it…)

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We had a great time exploring and playing in the salt mine. Of course there was an elevator to get back to the top. But we’ve taken the Rory Vaden “Take the Stairs” movement to heart…
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And anyways, climbing the stairs back up gave us an opportunity to appreciate all the hard work that had gone into this mine. It was so neat — you could even see how the miners had marked the intervals steadily as they got deeper and deeper. In this photo, I’m showing you the distance between what they mined between 1890 to 1895 — wow!

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Here are the final stats (Earl counted):

Turda Salt Mine (1864) – all wooden stairs/framing
– 42 down to viewing area
– 167 down to recreation area from the south Entrance (the one we came in)
– 116 down to water/boats
– 107 back up to the North Entrance (from the recreation area)
– south entrance tunnel length 280m

Here is a brief description we found at the end, and specifically concerning the Franz Josef Chamber, which is the main one that now houses the amusement park.

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Finally, a photo looking back down the last few stairs, showcasing the smooth, undulating ceiling the placard above describes. Incredible. Really, we are so happy we took the time to explore this place!

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