6. Cluj-Napoca: Turda Salt Mine and Medieval Mining Centre
Today’s journey is going to take us to some of Transylvania’s most enchanting impressive underground treasures, to the Salt Mine of Turda and the medieval mining centre of Rimetea. Prepare yourselves for a great journey filled with lovely traditions, exciting stories, and breathtaking landscapes.
Turda is located only 35 kilometres from Cluj and has held a very important role in Transylvanian history. It was the city where the “religious peace” was signed, where five Catholic and Reformed confessions were welcomed, Transylvania becoming one of the most tolerant states in Europe.
The city lies at the foot of the Western Carpathians, perhaps the most spectacular mountains in Romania. Because of the limestone soil composition, the landscape is extremely spectacular, deep caves, wild gorges, and fast-flowing rivers can often be found here. Close to Turda, we will hike through the “Cheile Turzii” Natural Park, home of several rare species of animals and plants. After approximately one hour, we will reach the other side of the mountains and our buses will pick us up and drive us back to the city.
Leaving the beautiful landscape of the Apuseni Mountains behind, we will return to Turda. In the Middle Ages, the city was very rich due to the local salt mines. Ever since Roman times, these mines have been exploited, the salt produced here being taken to Rome. During the Austrian domination, the mines became critical for the Transylvanian industry, large amounts of money being invested here. Starting with 2007 and benefiting from massive investments, the salt mine was transformed into an interesting museum and concert centre. We will go hundreds of meters below sea level, admire the large galleries and get the chance to find out more about this amazing place.
In the afternoon we will depart from Turda and drive to one of Transylvania’s best-kept secrets: the small village of Rimetea. It was built by German and Hungarian miners in the 13th century and had, until the industrial revolution of the 19th century, a leading role in the Transylvanian economy. After that the village was almost deserted, leaving the beautiful houses, watermills and the whole village panorama unchanged.
In the evening we will return to Cluj.