Turda Salt Mine

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The Salt Mine is at the forefront of various popularity statistics.  

Documents attest that in the Roman times the exploitation of salt at the Torda Salt Mine was made out of caverns dug from above. These vaults in the old mines collapsed, followed by the appearance of salt lakes, where the locals and tourists go out for bathing even in the present days. The hill top with salt-water lakes is called Dörgő.

Another attraction is the underground mine. In modern times (1800s) salt mining was still active in the József (Iosif), Terézia (Terezia), Antal (Anton), Gizella (Gizela) and Rudolf galleries and mines. These are giant conical rooms, formed by the layered extraction of salt. By the 1830s the Terézia and Szent Antal stulms faced deflation. In 1891, from the deeps of the mine, 23000 cubic meters of halite were brought to surface, the salt being sold in Transylvania and Hungary. Part of the permanent staff’s salary was paid in baize; this is why these miners were named the baize salt cutters. The temporary workers were called guest (stranger/alien) salt cutters. The mines and galleries were run by chamberlains and two “quintal-officers”. The working process was supervised by the salt cutting deacons; the temporary workers were under the supervision of captains. The miners were summoned every day by the taka. They occupied their positions near the machines, prayed, got their new commands, and after fetching the tools, headed down the mine for 8 dark hours. The pickax was for cutting the salt, the slapper, for hitting the ax. In addition, the workers carried an iron picket, shovel, sledge, candle-holder, and barrow.

The halite was cut in 40-50 kg blocks. These were the tulkó. A worker was able to cut 16-17 blocks in 8 hours. Every worker marked the block with his own sign. Some other sources say that a worker was able to cut 10-15 quintals of salt  in 9-10 hours. With the help of the barrow the blocks were transported in the middle of the mine. 10 by 10, the blocks were put in trappings (impedimenta). With the help of lifters, rotated by horsed horses the salt was emptied in wagons and delivered to the surface on the rails.

The heyday of the Torda Salt Mine was the second half of the 1800s. Between 1851 and 1860, 92034 tons of salt were exploited here. With the first half of the 1900s this quantity gradually decreased, until 1936, when the mine was closed.

The 920 m tunnel, leading to the galleries, was built in 1854. This is how the Karolina (Carolina), József (Iosif), Gizella (Gizela), Rudolf, Terézia (Terezia) mines became accessible for visitors as well. During WWII the mines provided shelter for the population of Torda. In 1909 the mine was renovated and was opened for visitors. The mine became a perfect alternative location for art events. Between 2008 and 2010 the mine was renovated again, major improvements (neon lightning, and elevators, boating lake, concert and wedding halls) were made, in order to attract as many tourists as possible. The Mine is an imposing miracle of a work well done by the hands of nature and men. 

  • 3.8 Cleanness

  • 3.3 Protected

  • 4.5 Accessibility

  • 4 Spectacular

  • 2.8 Untouched

(Based on 10 opinion )

Suggested by

Keszeg Vilmos

Ethnographer, professor