Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda)


Turda
Natural Attractions
Transylvania
    Turda
    Transylvania Natural Attractions
    Transylvania


 



 
Salina Turda – www.videoguide.ro

 

 

Salina Turda – zona Turda Nouă – Durgău – Valea Sărată – CEL MAI FRUMOS LOC SUBTERAN DIN LUME potrivit postului de televiziune CNN, Salina Turda este un veritabil muzeu al mineritului în sare dar și o bază de agrement și tratament, având o stare excelentă de conservare a lucrărilor miniere și a utilajelor folosite fiind unul din principalele obiective turistice din Transilvania. Printr-un amplu proces de modernizare în mină au fost amenajate un lift panoramic, o pistă de mini golf, două piste de mini bowling, un teren de sport și un amfiteatru unde sunt organizate diverse evenimente. De asemenea în incintă se funcționează și un carusel care oferă o imagine panoramică asupra Minei Rudolf iar în Mina Terezia a fost amenajat un lac subteran ce oferă posibilități pentru o plimbare cu barca la 112 metri în adâncul muntelui de sare. Mina Ghizela a fost amenajată pentru a deservi exclusiv activități de tratament balnear.
 
Zăcământul de sare a fost cunoscut și exploatat încă din cele mai vechi timpuri, dovezi arheologice existând din perioada pre romană (50 î. Ch. – 106 d. Ch.) dar exploatarea sistematică a resurselor începe în perioada ocupației romane (106 – 274 d. Ch.). Sarea este exploatată de romani în camere piramidale de 17 – 34 metri adâncime și 10 – 12 metri lățime. Prima atestare documentară a salinei a fost emisă de cancelaria maghiară în anul 1075. Exploatarea sării a fost sistată definitiv în anul 1932 din cauza dotării tehnice primitive, a randamentului scăzut și a concurenței altor saline din Transilvania. După închidere salina a intrat într-o perioadă de uitare până în timpul celui de-al doilea război mondial când a fost utilizată ca adăpost pentru populația orașului. După anul 1950 primii 500 de metri ai galeriei de transport Franz Josef au fost utilizați ca depozit de brânzeturi.
 
Salina Turda a fost redeschisă pentru public în anul 1992 în scop turistic și curativ iar din 2010 după o investiție majoră salina a căpătat o înfățișare nouă și o funcționalitate extinsă. Accesul în Salina Turda se face prin intrarea veche din str. Salinelor, nr. 54 B, și prin intrarea nouă prin str. Aleea Durgăului, nr. 7.

Turda Salt Mine – A real museum of salt mining in Transylvania

 

The deposit of salt formations from the Transylvanian plateau took place in middle Bandenian-Wielician period. The absolute age attributed to the salt deposits from Transylvania is 13.6 – 13.4 million years. The salt sedimentation took place in isolated marine basins, in warm and wet climate, with vague tendencies towards dryness, on grounds of an active subsidence. The subsequent tectonic evolution of the basin determined the formation of long folds N-S orientated, lying in the West and respectively, East of Transylvanian Plateau, on the axis of which the salt is concentrated in diamond-shaped seeds.

 

The salt deposit of Turda belongs to the western front which developed from Maramures, in the North, up to Sibiu in the South. To the same front belong the deposits at Ocna Dej, Sic, Cojocna, Valea Florilor and Ocna Mures. Laying in the north-eastern part of the town the deposit covers an area of about 45 square kilometers while the average thickness of the layer of salt is around 250 meters. In the axial area of the fold average salt thickness frequently goes to over 1200 meters. The salt from Turda is a mono-mineral rock, consisting of mineral halide (NaCl) whose proportion surpasses 99%.The insoluble elements, mainly formed of CaSo4 do not surpass 0.7%. The geologic reserve supply is of 37,750 million tons. The terrigene formations at the surface are between 0.5 m and 20 -25 m thick. The salt coming to surface as a consequence of the erosion of the sterile rocks by Flower Valley and Salty Valley at the deposit’s surface made it know from very old times.

 

The continual exploitation of the salt deposit, in the beginning through surface mining and later in the depth, started during the Roman occupation in Dacia, having a substantial economic function in the development of Potaissa. The start of the exploitation by the Romans can be spotted in the micro-plateau of the Salty Spas. The Roman exploitations were rectangular in shape, in a quarry with upturned steps. The extracted salt was conveyed on inclined planes placed at one of the quarry’s ends. At 12-15 m depth the location was abandoned, because of the water accumulation on the quarry’s floor and of the difficulty in conveying the extracted salt. It is assumed that the present swimming pool-The Roman Lake –could be a location for the salt exploitation of the previously described type. Traces of Roman exploitation in the depths were found in Salty Valley, precisely on the north-western slope when in 1867, the main gallery of Ghizela mine unexpectedly gave on to some underground former mining work of which there had been no awareness when the gallery was in project phase. The exploitation compartments were pyramid-shaped, placed next to each other and separated by wattle. When the compartments reached depths ranging between 17 and 24 meters the exploitation was abandoned, to be continued in a new location. This exploitation system ensured not only small expenses but also a massive exploitation of the salt.

 

After the Romans withdrawal, up to the 11th century, there are no certain proofs of the salt exploitation being continued. It has been assumed that the local population continued the exploitation both for covering the internal needs and with a view to exporting it in the neighboring countries where there was want. In the first document (of which there is knowledge) recording information about Transylvania, issued by the Hungarian Chancellary in 1075, there is mention of the salt mines’ customs “in the citadel called Turda” in the place called “Aranyas” in Hungarian and “Aureus” in Latin. The quoted document does not mention the the existence of an exploitation in Turda, but establishment of salt customhouse “on the way of Aries and Mures” can be an argument in favor of the existence of an exploitation in function. As royal city, Turda might have had a role of defense for the neighboring salt mines. During the 13th century there was official mention of the salt mine in Turda .Thus, on 1st may 1271 “the salt mine in Turda” was being offered to the Head of the Catholic Church of Transylvania.

 

After a time of progress between the end of the 14th century and the middle of 16th century there came a time of decrease in the mining rhythm in Transylvania. To get an accurate record of the condition of the salt exploitation the royalty sent inspectors to the Transylvanian mines. In a report made in the spring of 1552 royal inspectors Paulus Bornemisza and Georgius Wernher made reference to the quality of the salt, to the method of exploitation as well as to the number and quality of the workers. In the same document the salt mine of Turda is referred to as the most important in Transylvania and the main “salt customhouse”(a form of coordination of the salt exploitation) was in Turda because its administrator (appointed by the King) controlled the other administrators.

 

The installing of the Habsburgs at the end of the 17th century and the growing demands of the society contributed to an increase in importance of the mining industry. The salt mines started being administrated directly by the Imperial Court. The effects started to be felt in Turda as elsewhere. The exploitation compartments situated where the Salty Spas are and those on the south-eastern slope of the Salty Valley were gradually abandoned while other areas of exploitation were being looked for and new mines were opened. In 1690 the first mining operations started in the perimeter of the actual salt mine, materialized in the wells from the compartment called “Theresa” (Terezia). Not long afterwards mine “St. Anthony” (Anton) was opened.

 

Highly valuable information about the exploitation of the Turda Salt Mines dates back the second half of the 19th century, from the year 1867,when mineralogist Johann Fridwaldszky’s work entitled “MINEROLOGIA  MAGNI PRINCIPATUS TRANSILVANIAE” was published in  Cluj. The author mentions entering those mines from the wish to be able to reveal to the reader the real essence of these salt mines (quod lectori meo veram salis fodiniarum iconem exhibere valeam) and “because these mines deserve the highest admiration and curiosity (fodinae maxima admiratione et curiosa inquistione dignae sunt).”This mine” says Fridwaldszky,”is reported to be so famous that it almost has no rival in the whole East”. After a detailed presentation of the way the mine was built(in the shape of a bell – i.e. cone –shaped), as well as the special care for avoiding the water and the salt convenience, this is how Fridwaldszky  presents the condition of the mines and miners in Turda:”The mines in Turda have five important wells, out of which the first is called the upper well, the second one-the lower well, the third one called ‘Clujeana’, the forth one-“Theresa “,and the fifth one “St.Anthony”. The diameter of the upper well’s floor is about 90 meters and the height is about 110 meters. The salt in this well is clear and only rarely mixed with earth it is cut through by 87 workers aided by 18 unqualified workers. The lower well’s diameter is 72 meters and its height is 106 meters.

 

The quality of the salt is as good as the upper well. In what concerns the third well, this one has a diameter of 80 meters and a height of 118 meters. There are 63 workers here and 12 unqualified ones. The mixture of salt with earth diminishes every day so that soon there will be only clear salt. In the well called Terezia there are 30 workers and 15 unqualified ones, it is 52 meters long in diameter and 70 meters height. The most recent well – St. Anthony – has almost the same dimensions as the others. The author mentions also the existence of a bigger and older mine which was closed on 19th June 1762 because there was a danger of collapse.

 

Only three years from Fridwaldszky, the problem of the salt exploitation in Transylvania is resumed by J.E. von Fichtel in the work entitled “Contributions to the mineral history of Transylvania in 1780”. Among the graphic annexes to the work there is “The plan of Transylvanian salt mine from Turda” which ”which mentions five wells called from the north to south, the upper mine, ”Joseph”, ”Anthony” (Iosif, Terezia, Anton) and “Clujeana”. It is worth noting that three cone-shaped exploitations which are part of the Turda Salt Mine are mentioned in Fichtel’s work with the actual name. On the same plan, on the south-eastern side of the Salty Valley are included two lakes, which could be, according to their position on the plan the lakes known today as “The Mine Lake” and “The Round Lake” from the area of “Durgau-Valea Sarata”, the latter being but abandoned exploitation compartments which had collapsed because of salt dissolving in the roof and filled with the water coming from snows and rains.

 

The Turda Salt Mine which was from its very beginning one of the most important in Transylvania, started to decline after 1840 because of the ever bigger competition from the salt mine in Ocna Mures, gradually  coming to be but a reserve to the latter. Up to 1862 salt mine was extracted in Turda from the three old wells of “Joseph”, “Theresa” and “Anthony”. During this year the salt exploitation in the “Anthony” well, where extraction had reached the depth of 108 meters, was stopped because of a high infiltration of clay in the deposit. The biggest problem which the Salt Customhouse in the Turda was confronted with during this time consisted in the transportation of salt from the “mouth” of the wells in Salty Valley to the storehouses in Turda Noua, the way begin rather abrupt. To make transportation easier and to cut the expenses, in 1853 was decided the building of a conveyance gallery which was to start from Turda Noua. This gallery, called Franz Joseph, reached the length of 780 m in 1870, being furthered to 137 m till the end of century. Along with the diggings for the conveyance gallery,”Terezia” well also modernized ,it being provided with two more side compartments-“Rudolph” and “Ghizela”,extraction being concentrated in “Rudolph “mine though.

 

In the first year of 20th century the extraction depth of this mine reached 38 meters, the extraction floor of the mine having reached 80 meters in length and 50 meters in width. After the modernization of “Theresa” well no other mine openings were made. Through the opening of the mine sectors ”Rudolph” and “Ghizela “as well as through the building of the conveyance gallery ”Franz Joseph” for the evacuation of the extracted salt, both production and transport were resolved for some good time onwards. Nevertheless, productivity remained low due the extraction technology and the technical equipment unchanged for centuries. In Turda Mines the salt was extracted manually with pick-axes, hammers, chisels and steel wedges. The attempts to using explosive materials did not lead to the expected results (the result was very much finer salt). This is why they were soon abandoned.

 

After the First World War the salt exploitation became state monopoly, so the private firms had no right of concession or exploitation of mineral in Romania. The importance of the exploitation in Ocna Dej and Ocna Mures increased due to the highly productive technology implemented in these mines .Even through the opening of the “Solvay” factory of chemicals and the requirements of the army in the First World War led to a rise in production with the Turda Salt Mine, after 1918 the decline became steady, ending in the closing of the mine in 1932. Prisoners were never used as workforce in Turda Salt Mine, and nowhere in Transylvania. The salt was exploited by free people who were hired for one year, their work contract being signed on January 7.A salt cutter received 12 florins a year. All of them, as a group, received a barrel of wine, an ox and 100 loaves of bread on the four major celebrations (Christmas, Easter, Ascension Day, All Saints Day). Sometimes the ox was sold back for 4 florins and a loaf of bread for two florins. A closer look at the historic documents reveals the fact that the pay for a day-laborer in agriculture was bigger than a salt miner’s. Through centuries the hard labor and the low wages made the miners in the salt exploitation join the laborers in other mines for protests.

 

After its closing in 1932 the salt mine was forgotten till the 2nd World War, when it was reopened and used as an antiaircraft shelter. Up to the year 1992,when the salt mine was opened to the public, getting the status of touristic site, the first 500 meters of Franz Joseph conveyance gallery had been used for quite a long time, as a warehouse for cheese storage. Today Turda Salt Mine is real history museum of Salt exploitation. The excellent condition of the mining compartments and the equipment used for salt transportation, as well as the care with which the mine was prepared for touristic use, have turned it into a place of mingled history and legend. The growing number of tourists coming from all over the world to visit the mine is a confirmation of its historical and touristic value.

 

Franz Josef Gallery

 

Was built between1853 – 1870, it is a horizontal gallery made to cut the costs of salt conveyance to the surface. When it was finished it was 780 meters long, but till the end of the 19th century it was furthered by 137 meters reaching the length of 917 meters. The sterile area (dug in the earth) is 526 meters long and it is strengthened with a 40cm thick stone wall. On the left side of the wall is marked the length of it. The electrical system was installed in 1910. In 1948 – 1992 it was used as a cheese storage room. During this time the water and waste pipes were installed.

 

Josef Mine – Echoes Room

 

The Josef Mine can be visited through the balconies carved in salt and it is located next to the Franz Josef Gallery. This mine is a conical chamber of 112 meters deep with 67 meters at the base. A description of this mine from 1853 reads: “… mine where you first dropped in a basket, the ropes may have a depth of 50 fathoms. It has a perfectly shaped loaf belonging, which the mouth is lined up at a timber below begins to open and keeps expanding until the bell, leave the salt flat plate with a diameter of about 30 fathoms ….” (Hetilap, 1853, p. 275). Because its shape and lack of communications with the other major mining points this mine has a powerful sound echo reason why it is also called “Echoes Room”.

 

The Crivac Room

 

The octagonal room hosts a winch called “crivac” or “gepel”. The “Crivac” was exploited by horse power and served for the vertical transport of the salt from the Rudolf mine. On the crivac is marked the date that it was built in-1881. This machine replaced another, smaller size crivac, what was installed in 1864. It is the only machine of its kind in Romania and probably Europe. It is unique because it is in its original shape and location.

 

The Extraction Well Room

 

This room hosts a mining shaft through which the salt from the Rudolf Mine was transported vertically. The pulley tower shaft was mounted in 1864.The pulleys have a diameter of 3 m and are functioning even today.

 

The Appeal Room

 

The Sanctuary (Altar) in a niche carved into the salt in the eastern wall of the hall call, is the altar, place of worship of salt cutters and place reviving hope and faith for better times.

 

The staircase of  rich people

 

The staircase of rich people lying in the middle of the room was located in the gateway to the mines Rudolf and Theresa before the completion of the transport gallery. Painstakingly cut parallel streaks on the walls of salt cutters hammers exhausting labor testify strangers who have labored here over the centuries.

 

Rudolf Mine

 

The Rudolf Mine is 42 meters deep, 50 meters wide and 80 meters long. The Rudolf Mine is the last mine from Turda where salt was exploited from. 172 steps lead to the heart of this magnificent Mine. Heading to the heart of the mine, on the walls is carved the year in which the salt was exploited. On the N-W side of the sealing salt stalactites can be admired that formed through the years. They grow about 2 cm / year and when they reach the length of about 3 meters, due to their own weight, they break. The panoramic lift offers tourists a whole picture of the Rudolf Mine.

 

Theresa Mine

 

It is a cone shaped mine (mini bell). The exploitation of salt from this type of chamber leaves the underworld with an impressive view. This mine is 120 meters deep. The salt cascade, the underground lake and a bloom of salt stalactites help in the decoration of this huge underground bell. The underground lake is between 0.5 and 8 m deep. In the center of the lake there is a 5 m high island, what is composed of salt waste dumped in here since 1880, date when mining was stopped in this room.

 

Preabataj

 

This area is a geological reservation. Tourists have no access to this room. It is situated 15 m above the transport gallery (Franz Joseph Gallery). The water infiltrations formed salt crystals and stalactites. In the lake from the bottom of the mine amazing salt crystals can be admired. This is the reason why on touristic language this room is called “The room of crystals”.

 

Gizela Mine 

 

The Gizela Mine and the technical rooms, adjacent to her, are similar to the Rudolf Mine, but much smaller because the salt exploration stopped shortly after the opening of this mine. Currently this mine is equipped as a spa treatment room with natural aerosols.

 

Anton Mine 

 

This mine is 108 m deep and the salt extraction was discontinued in this room in 1862 due to the fact that the salt had a high level of clay. It is an isolated room with no connections to the other galleries from the Salt Mine from Turda.

 

Source: www.salinaturda.eu

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