Salt Mines

If you ever secretly wondered what it would be like to live like the dwarves in the mines of Moria, the dwarven underground city beneath the Misty Mountains in Lord of the Rings, you can find the opportunity of fulfilling this wish in Romania!
Going into salt mines is also very good for your health, especially if you have a respiratory disorder. The salt mine has a microclimate which is free of atmospheric pollutants that helps your body retain minerals and strengthens your immune system.

Slănic Prahova Salt Mine. This mine is the biggest salt mine from Eastern Europe, measuring over 50,000 m2. It is located at a depth of over 200m. It is unique in Romanian and in Europe, through its dimensions; the salt mine is made out of 14 rooms, in the shape of a trapezium and has an opening at the base of 32 m, a 14 m tray, and a height of 45 m. The excavated space is 2.9 million m3.

The access in the mine is done with two elevators which carry the visitors between the underground levels and the surface, through a difference in elevation of about 200 m. There are tunnels which carry the air inside the mines and the inside temperature is about 12°C throughout the year. The air in the mine is rich with sodium ions, which have prophylactic and beneficial effects in all respiratory deficiencies and diseases. Other natural places which have curative properties are The Old Salt Mine (Unirea), which is now a sanatorium for the treatment of rheumatic diseases in a salty air microclimate, at about 200 m deep. You can also find playgrounds for the kids, a sports field, a room with pool tables and a buffet. You also have the opportunity of taking warm mineral water baths in tubs, cold baths in the lake, warm mud therapies. Slănic also has mineral water springs and lakes Baia Baciului, Baia Roșie, Baia Porcilor, Lacul Verde, with a high salt content.

Turda Salt Mine is one of most renowned salt mines in Romania and has drawn the attention of many well-known international publications which included it on the list of spectacular destinations. Business Insider and the Smithsonian wrote about it and Jared Leto, lead singer of the American band 30 seconds to Mars and Oscar winner of 2014, visited it and was impressed by this ‘cave of wonders’. This salt mine is thousands of years old and is probably the most interesting underground world in Romania. Once you descend in the galleries of the salt mine, you can admire an actual town, with souvenir shops, playgrounds for children and other facilities, including a wheel and a salt roof which is 13 stories tall. The most amazing surprise we find is however the underground lake, where an artificial island was built; it even has a small port where you can rent boats from.

Praid Salt Mine from Harghita county is one of the most popular salt mines of the country, receiving 400,000 tourists annually. It contains a leisure centre at a depth of 120 m which has a constant temperature of about 16°C throughout the year and has activities for all members of the family. You can also visit a small church which was built inside in 1993. You can travel in the heart of the salt mountain by taking the bus, through a 1.5 km long tunnel, then into the actual salt mine by descending 300 steep steps at the end of which you will be amazed to see an actual underground town. Similarly to the other mentioned salt mines, this one has therapeutic properties and treatment facilities which you can benefit from. Additionally, you can enjoy a visit to the museum of salt within the mine, a library and a wine gallery.

Ocnele Mari Salt Mine is located in Vâlcea county in Ocnele Mari town. It is the second largest mine of the country, measuring over 20,000 m2. Due to the water containing high concentrations of chlorine, iodine and sodium and well due to the therapeutic mud formed over the massif, at the beginning of the 1800, the first treatment establishments were constructed in this town.

Cacica Salt Mine is one of the oldest salt mines in Europe containing salt which was recrystallized from brine and is unique because its galleries were dug by hand. Workers exploited and took out the salt by hand as well, they didn’t use any coaches, because the only access point are the fir steps, mineralized by the brine which entered the wood in time. You can find the chapel of St. Varvara, the protectors of miners, the dancing hall, which was used to organize balls in the past and is now a football pitch, as well as a salt lake of about 2 m deep. The beauty of this place is enhanced by the fact that it was only created using a chisel and a hammer.