Deep under Transylvania’s soil, an ancient salt mine has been transformed into an underground wonderland
There’s a gem hidden in the caverns of legendary Transylvania, Romania – an ancient salt mine turned into a hauntingly beautiful amusement park.
Visitors descend 400 feet down an old (renovated) elevator shaft into a dark, sparkly salt cave.
Massive crystal walls protrude around the pit of the cave, where a salt island in the middle of a salt lake hosts an underground carnival of sorts, complete with Ferris wheel, mini golf and paddle boats.
The subterranean theme park also offers billiards, table tennis and a bowling alley.
The Turda Salt Mine’s website claims it is the “world’s most spectacular natural underground formation, shaped by people.”
The 33-story salt walls are as smooth as marble in places and decorated with icicle-like stalactites in others. Some of the stalactites are over 10-feet long!
The massive crystal cavern is the result of humans carving out 3 billion tons of salt over the last millennia or so.
Salt was first extracted from the area under the Roman Empire, between 800 and 600 BC, with the first historical mention of a “mine” in 1075 AD. Iron, gold and silver were also mined from Salina Turda.
It was mined continuously through the Middle Ages until 1932, when it was closed because the salt mining industry had become monopolized by the state.
During WWII, the mine was used as a bomb shelter. In the 1950s, it became a cheese warehouse. In 1992, it was opened as a tourist destination and halotherapy health spa. In 2010, after a €6,000,000 renovation, it reopened as an amusement park.
The salt was deposited in the region after the evaporation of the sea that covered the entire region millions of years ago. Now, the salt from Turda Salt Mine could cover the salt requirement for the entire Planet for 60 years, if it were necessary, the theme park’s website says.