When in Cluj, we took a day trip to Turda. (Giggle). Turda was a quick 40 minute bus ride (once we found the right bus stop). We stopped in Turda long enough to cross the street and hop into a taxi to head to Salina Turda
Salina Turda is an ancient salt mine ( began in 1600s), that is now a tourist attraction. The walls are all variegated salt (beautifully so!)
We walked through an angled mine shaft, then horizontally under ground for a bit, until we found the elevator to the big mine shaft. From the top- you can look into the done (this dome has a lake at the bottom from infiltrated rain water):
There was a giant turning wheel, where (before electricity) horses turned the wheels to pull the slat to the surface. You can see where the horses hooves dug a track in the salt. Yes, the ground in the mine was a fine salt dust.
We hopped into a small elevator to the bottom of the mine. There was a ferris wheel, mini-golf, pool, ping pong and a small playground! The ferris wheel looks like the pyramid on the back of the US $1 bill (insert your Illuminati conspiracy theory here).
One level lower was the original mine that had filled with water. There is an island you walk to, and you can rent a boat to row around in perhaps the saltiest lake around:
If the structures were not on this island, I imagine that this is where Gollum lived… Or perhaps the cursed island where Harry and Dumbledore had to row to to destroy one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes.
We had one added bonus to our trip… The day after our visit, Eurovision was going to record a concert *inside* the salt mine!!! There was an entire stage, and we got to hear a number of the acts rehearsing their songs (the acoustics were really loud, but nice!). As we were entering the mine (down salt encrusted stairs), Katherine was following a woman in stiletto heels, and she thought to herself “who in their right mind would come to a salt mine in heels?!” It was one of the performers 🙂
We decided to walk up the mine style stairs up (rather than wait for the elevator), an it was cool – there were markers on how deep the mine was at different years. Generally – every 5 years meant the mine was dug another 5-10 feet deep (it was a very broad mine being dug by hand!)
I think what really made this trip SUPER fun was the Eurovision excitement. It would have been beautiful to see, and the boat paddle is something I’ll never forget, but having a ‘rock concert’ in the rock salt mine was pretty unforgettable.