Turda Salt Mine

Turda's salt deposit (Romanian: Salina Turda, Hungarian: Torda Sóbánya) has been known and exploited by ancient times, but it was put into systematic operation of the deposit, by underground mining work, during the Roman conquest in Dacia. The salt was exploited in rooms of 17-34m depth and 10-12m width, disposed one near the other an separated by a safety consolidation. This system ensured a massive extraction of the salt, but it worked only in those areas where the salt was exploited near the surface. Salt was continuously extracted during the 6th and 9th century, along with other very useful minerals.

The Salt Customs in Turda are mentioned for the first time in 1075 a.d. During the 13th century, Turda Salt Mine is mentioned in official documents at the 1st of May 1271, when the mine was offered to the Transylvanian leaders of the Catholic Church. These and the bishop of Transylvania subsequently, would get privileges for using the salt from the mine in Turda. Salt Rooms where built in order to better coordinate the extraction, transportation and storage. According to a report made up by the royal inspectors Paulus Bornemisza and Georgius Wernher in 1552, the main salt room was that in Turda and the salt was extracted form both, "the large" and "the small" mine. As for its quality people would say that salt "is good and solid" (Latin: sal ipse bonus et solidus).

Towards the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century, the mining in Transylvania revigorate due to some initiatives of the Royal Court in Vienna meant to encourage the economy of the province. The salt was exploited in the same mines that worked previously, but those in Turda were still the most important. The mineralogist Johann Fridwaldszky in his Mineralogia Magnus Principatus Transilvaniae, published in 1767, stated that "the mines in Turda worth being visited". After a detailed presentation of the bell-shaped mining system as well as the evacuation by vertical transporter, the author relates that the mines in Turda have five important wells: the first one is called "the upper one", the second is "the low one", the third called "Cojocnean", the fourth called "St. Terezia" and the fifth called "Sf. Anton".

The Salt Mine from Turda, known as one of the most important in Transylvania, started to fall into decay after 1840, due to the growing competition with the salt mine in Ocna Mureş. The building of a new transportation gallery (Franz Jozef gallery), 916.65m long, was decided in 1853, in order to facilitate the salt transportation to the surface. At the same time, the Terezia well was modernized by adding two side rooms to it: Ghizela and Rudolf, the latest running the extraction of the salt. Throughout that time, prisoners were never used as workers (Latin: inncisoresm salium). Tha salt was brought to the surface by other workers (Latin: famuli). They used a vertical mechanical transporter. The mines were lighted by candles and tallow rush lights. Explosives were never used for exploitation nor mechanical equipment for cutting the salt. Turda Salt Mine ceased its activity in 1932. During the World War II the mine was used as an anti-aircraft shelter.

The microclimate is characterized by yearly variations of the temperature between 11-12 0C, an average humidity of 80%, the air pressure is between 747-752 mm Hg and the air's moving speed between 0.02-0.7 m/sec. All these factors, the lack of pathogen bacterium and a moderate ionization of the air have their contribution to the well-known benefic effect over the breathing apparatus. The mine entered the touristic circuit in 1992. The mine hosts a Contemporary Art Museum, is used also for classical music concerts, exhibitions and, of course, as an important treatment base.