Turda Salt Mine – the man-made underground constellation

It really is hard to imagine what it will be like when you go underground to Turda Salt Mine. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures, you’ve been inspired to tackle the subject, but they are all bits and pieces. The place is so big that it is really hard to capture the hole thing in one picture: it is on different levels and huge heights, so no picture or movie can do it justice.

With a little imagination you can spend an entire day in this place, it is even recommended. The salty air is good for all kind of respiratory health problems. They have all kinds of facilities to keep you and your kids busy – a football/baseball field, mini gulf course, several ping pong tables, places to rent equipment, a roller coaster, a large amphitheater, a lake with boats, 10 floors of stairs that you are recommended to use as you go in and out. So this people really want to make you loose a sweat in here, but it is for your own good. Despite the healthy benefits, there is a benefit for the eyes. It is truly an art installation made from light in this re-purposed m

This mine had different purposes in time. It started as a salt exploitation during the roman period. As you know salt was important for Romans, it was a currency, people used to be paid in salt. During its lifetime it was a storage for food and cheese due to controlled temperature and antiseptic properties of salt, but i was also a deposit for bombs during WW2.

Three billion tons of dislocated salt, has left behind a space to be filled by human imagination. From a very pragmatic purpose of excavating salt to a very artsy perspective over the underground world.

I don’t any other place below the earth where human hand can do a better job than nature, except this marvelous place where humans have overtake nature by creating this underground constellation.

Once you go inside you will be reborn under the zodiac sign of salt and light – in a way the two essential elements of life.

As you go in the passage takes you from a man made structure, to a salty and curved ceiling.

Then you reach the first mining rooms, and the traditional area, where everything is kept as it was. Most fascinating here is how the salt took over everything in its way. Wood, metal, string, doesn’t matter, the salt gradually cover it in a cauliflower-like coating.

From here you have to go 13 floors down. Each floor has a balcony and you see gradually how the lights unfolds before your eyes. I recommend taking the stairs down and up. will give you plenty photo spots and time to take in the view and the salty air.

You have reached the playful level, as I told you in the beginning of the article. Enjoy the time here, spear at least 2 hours of your time and pick your sport of choice. And then sit and admire the natural elements: the gradient of the salt, the noodle-like stalactites coming from the ceiling and forming a chandelier

From here there is another layer down to Terezia Mine, where you reach the underground lake and the wood houses shaped like hedgehog. You go down and you cross a bridge reaching the island in the middle of the lake. From here you can rent a boat and paddle around. This gives you time to reflect about some facts: you are 70 meters below the surface, paddling in a boat, at the light of futuristic fixtures with structure that belong to a sci-fi movie. Take a deep breath and keep moving around, take pictures and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

Next would be to climb the 13 floors up. There is an elevator, but it is always crowded and it will deprive you of the full experience.

Preparing to go:

  • I recommend to go weekdays and when there no public holiday. It is after all the most visited place in Romania. To really enjoy this it and to take it in (so to speak), you need some room.
  • dress warmly because underground temperature is constant around 10 degrees. Especially if you want to spend more time. You have a lot of means to get warn, but don;t count only on that (paddle boat, 13 floors of stairs, ping pong, and many others).
  • prices are:
    • adult admission 30 RON (6 euro)
    • child admission 15 RON (3 euro)
    • parking 5 RON (1 euro)
    • 20 minute boat 15 RON (3 euro)
    • 30 minutes ping pong 10 RON (2 euro)

Turda Salt Mine is a unique experience from anything you have known or seen before. It is really hard to share the feeling of the deep, wide underground emptiness filled with floating lighting. It is an experience you have to make for yourself, with time and patience, one breath at a time.

If you find yourself not resisting the temptation to put Turda Salt Mine on your next trip, then consider the following:

  • Apuseni Mountains
  • Rosia Montana
  • Detunata Goala
  • Pisoaia Waterfall
  • Transuroaia Road
  • Brides’ Veil Waterfall
  • Bear Cave
  • Rusty Pit
  • Ice Cave from Scarisoara
  • Rimetea Village
  • Turda Gorges

See our Toura itinerary in Apuseni Mountains including Turda Salt Mine and the above landmarks :

Muddy Volcanoes – a view from the moon

Buzau area is packed with strange phenomena due to the meeting of tectonic plates and volcanic and earthquake activity. Some of the most interesting things happening here are the muddy “volcano”.

There are several points of exits for the gas from 3000 meters, and this forms what we call muddy volcanoes.

Like magmatic volcanoes, the water volcanoes are earth-shapers, and in a way destructive, but in a more artistic manner. Both type of volcano come from the depth of the earth, but one carry lava and other carry gas and what comes into its way up (mud and water). It is oddly satisfying to watch these volcanic inoffensive replicas, it is like watching a deadly event, but being completely safe. The only difference is that it is not red and heated, but the bubbly, the explosions, the drainage of the clay-ish water is a spectacle you rarely get to see this close. It’s like a playground or a simulation where you get to participate, without special training or heavy protection gear. Participating in this communication between 2 worlds, the deep, mysterious underground, sending messages of gas composition, water and oil mixture, and, the upper world with its superstitions. It is not surprising that this place is considered a representation of hell on earth due to the underground materials send to to the surface and the desolated look created by the harden mud that is not suitable for life and due to the boiling effect of the mud created by the pressurized gas coming to the surface.

In between lavish and luxurious vegetation lies the sterile land of the muddy volcanoes with rising peaks of active cones or pools. Each time you visit this place it is a new and distinct landform. Each new explosion creates a new wave of mud going gravitational wise by the law of physics, each drop of water from rain, each pale of wind and even each step of humans and animals leave a fingerprint on this very fragile and ephemeral landscape. Nothing will be like before, your glimpse is an irreversible moment in time. The artists that work with clay designs a different sculpture each moment.

The fresh fluid mud goes down on the path like a river or decides to take a new direction and cover the harden and cracked old mud creating a new shape.

Because of the lifeless landscape with its fifty shades of gray everywhere you look, with mounds and mud river, with tiles formed where the mud has harden, it has given the resembles to the moon landscape.

There are 3 main “volcanic areas” all situated near Berca, Buzau:

  • Paclele Mari
  • Paclele Mici
  • Paclele Beciu

They are all different and unique in their own way.

Paclele mari (Big) is the more touristic one. I find that the cones are higher and the hole landscape is more interesting here as the river bed can be a few meters high. This is the place you get the most lunar feeling from all, but despite their names (big), they are not the biggest. Even if it is hard to evaluate the criteria for the biggest, this area does not have the biggest activity, does not have the most of volcanoes and does not have the largest ones. In fact Paclele Mici – the small one – have all the above. To get to them you will leave you car and climb the hill that is protecting the area form the eye. You are welcomed in the area by a 2 meters diameter volcano boiling in its black and white theme. From here the exploration begins, all up and down to see what is coming up next, what surprise has nature reserved for you.

I cannot decide on my favorite. I like the Paclele Mici because it is truly impressive, but the Paclele from Beciu are so isolated and raw that made the experience remarkable.

Few recommendations:

  • don’t go when it is raining or after heavy rain period, the area is closed, and even if it wouldn’t be it would be impossible to move because the mud gets very slippery;
  • accept the fact that there is a chance to get your shoes dirty, or even lose some. We stepped on a very soft area in Paclele from Beciu and the shoe was stucked in the mud. Remember to check before you step.

It is one of the most rewarding experience and you should add it to your visit in Romania. It can be done in one day from Bucharest and you can even add some more points of interest in the area: trovants from Ulmet, Living fire from Terca, salt plateau from Meledic, amber museum from COlti, cave settlements from Alunis. Or you can go from here to Brasov by car, and the route is far better tahnValea Prahovei option and you can pass by Siriu Lake with its blue waters. We created an itinerary to visit the 3 muddy Volcanoes near Berca, Buzau on Toura:

This photogenic set is the perfect location for your instagramable desires.