Day trip to Turda region

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Salina Turda
Salina Turda by Cristian Bortes under Creative Commons license
Salina Turda
Salina Turda by Steve Sanjoseweb under Creative Commons license
Salina Turda
Salina Turda by Codrin Bucur under Creative Commons license
Salina Turda
Salina Turda by Daniela Constantinescu under Creative Commons license
Salina Turda
Salina Turda by Catalin Budusan under Creative Commons license

The Dacian settlement Turdava, renamed Potaissa by the Romans and known today as Turda, one of the major cities of Cluj County, is the kind of place that has a little bit of everything for everyone in terms of tourist attractions. Still, while some might prefer an urban tour of museums and churches, whereas others might chose a trip through the Turda Gorges or an exploration of the nearby landscapes, almost everyone is bound to want to make a stop at the Turda Salt Mine Complex –“Salina Turda” – which the magazine Business Insider declared the most beautiful underground place in the world.

As the name indicates, the Turda Salt Mine is a complex of underground mines located in the north-eastern part of the city, inside a salt deposit that extends over about 45 square kilometers. It functioned as an actual mining operation between the XI and XX centuries, continuing a tradition of extracting salt for which records exist as early as from the I century A.D. Mining operations stopped completely in 1932, but the mine was reopened in 1992 as health resort and tourist attraction. In this new capacity, it has become a truly spectacular destination, especially after the recent investments, completed in 2010. As it stands today, the former salt mine turned resort boasts several sports grounds – including a bowling alley, tennis table facilities, a miniature golf course, and billiards tables – an amphitheater with a capacity of 180 people, complete with heated cushions, a playground, a 20 m high Ferris wheel, an underground lake with boats for rent, as well as various treatment chambers and former mines open for visitation.

The curative properties of the air inside the Turda Salt Mine are due to the fact that it maintains a constant micro-climate that is beneficial to the prevention and even treatment of various conditions: a temperature that is always in the 11-12 degrees Celsius range, humidity between 73% and 83%, and an almost still mass of air rich in ions and with zero allergens or pollutants, all of which strongly promote the health of the respiratory system. The high quality of the air makes this salt mine particularly helpful for people with chronic respiratory conditions and ailments acquired while working in toxic environments, as well as children and teenagers, and just about anyone with an athletic disposition, as the increased oxygenation of the air allows for a more efficient breathing during sport activities.

In addition to providing numerous options for leisure activities in a very healthy and comfortable environment, the salt mine can also be visited as a natural museum of salt mining, as many of the galleries, shafts, and rooms of the mine have been made available for visitation, bathed in light so as to allow everyone to admire the salt walls and salt stalagmites in all their glory. One particularly interesting room is the Iosif Mine, also known as Hall of Echoes, which, due to its shape and lack of major communications with other mining works, enjoys impressive acoustics. Other points of interest include the old pieces of equipment used to extract salt more than a century ago, which were left in place and now stand as genuine exhibits in this nature-made but man-improved museum.

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