The Praid Salt Mine (Salina Praid) is a very important objective to visit both in terms of tourism and from a therapeutic standpoint.
The saline is found in Ardeal, in an area so called “Salt land (Ținutul sării)”. This name was for the first time in sec XVIII and came after the existing salt ore in the area.
The most known deposits in Romania where the salt has been exploited within the salt mines or it is still being exploited, are: the ones from Ocnele Mari (Great Salt Mines) – Ocnita (Vâlcea County), Slanic Prahova (Prahova County), Târgu Ocna (Ocna Trade, Bacău County), Cacica (Suceava County), Ocna Dej (Dej Prison, Cluj County), Praid (Harghita County) and Ocna Sibiului (Sibiu’s Prison, Sibiu County).
Able for tourists to visit are salines Cacica, Ocna Dej(Dej Prison), Târgu Ocna (Ocna Trade), Praid, Slanic Prahova and Turda.
Opened for treatment there are the salines Praid, Slanic Prahova and Turda saline (Salina Turda), they also provide specialized medical staff.
The Praid town spreads around “Dealului Sării (Salt Hill, +576m)” which shelters the greatest salt deposit in the country. The salt deposit reaches the depth of 2,7 – 3 km underground. The geological age of the salt deposits in Transilvania is about 20-22 million years.
History: According to archeological data the beginnings of the Praid Salt Mine has been mentioned since Daco – Romans period.
After the year 1000 the mining and marketing rights were taken by the Székely and Saxons.
In 1714 the salt exploitation is managed by the Habsburg administration.
The salt mine from Praid is structured in mine galleries for the entrance/exit, Gheorghe Doja Mine, Joseph Mine (opened since 1762), The parallel Mine (opened in 1864), the Inferior Horizons Mine. The parallel Mine is one of the greatest underground artificial cavity – 100m long, 40m large, 96m deep. It was exploited between 1864 and 1969.
The recovery treatments in the Praid Salt Mine started in 1960 in the Gheorghe Doja Mine. They continued in 1980 in the Horizon 50 Gallery, at 120 m depth from the 0m altitude which is at the mine gallery entrance.
The access in Praid town
- (from Cluj – 176km) > Turda > Ludus > Târgu Mureș > Praid;
- (from Brașov – 166km) > Rupea > Vânători > Corund > Praid.
The salt mine is at 7 km from the tourist resort Sovata and Bear Lake (Lacul Ursu). Ticket prices:
- single entrance visit > for adult 25lei; for children 15lei;
- minimum five days subscription (season tickets) > for adult 12lei/day; for children 8lei;
You may take pictures – there is no extra fee for that.
Enters to the Praid Salt Mine schedule: 8:00; 8:30; 9:00; 9:00; 10:00; 10:30; 11:00; 11:20; 11:50; 12:20; 12:50; 13:20; 13:50; 14:20; 14:50
Exits from the Praid Salt Mine schedule: 9:10; 9:40; 10:10; 10:40; 11:10; 11:30; 12:00; 12:30; 13:00; 13:30; 14:00; 14:30; 15:00; 15:30; 16:00
In order to visit the Praid salt mine you have to get to the Praid town center. You may leave the car at one of the paid parking lots nearby the saline. You may purchase the tickets at about 100m from the mine entrance. You will see a bus near the tickets office. That is the bus which provides access to the underground galleries. The distance traversed by bus is 1250m and the altitude difference of -71m (from the entrance elevation).
When going out the bus you will see the saline entrance. Here are mounted the saline tickets checker machines.
You will have to move down a ladder of about 24m.
The door from the end of the ladder leads you to the treatment base and to the visiting area. The saline was arranged on a surface of 9400mp over seven exploitation rooms. There are spetacular halls which impress the visitors expecially with their large dimensions. An interesting thing, when you watch the walls and the ceiling you will see the structures of the salt domes.
Underground there are 15.6 grades so be carefull what are you wearing when you enter the salt mine.
What can you do in the Praid salt mine? Beside visiting the salt mine, the interior design allows you to:
- watch movies within the cinema inside the saline
- experience the adventure park trail arranged also inside the mine
- play ping-pong or billiard
- you may also practice – there are many children who come to practice
- visit the mining museum. You could watch many photos and representations about how the salt was mined from the vertical wells. Also, there are many tools exposed, tools that were used in different times when salt was exploited.
Useful information about Praid salt mine visiting:
- inside you have internet access and phone signal;
- there is a chapel where you can meditate;
- for the people with disabilities or for the mothers with kids there are specials rooms for resting, seating benches and restrooms.
- there is a medical center/office
- across the saline you will find many booths where you could buy souvenirs made from salt.
- inside the salt mine you are not allowed to smoke or to consume alcoholic beverages.
- you also are forbidden to take pets inside.
Towards the exit you could stop at the winery restaurant. You can admire the Saint Varvara’s statue (the protector of the miners) and read her legend.
From therapeutic point of view, after much research it is noticed that the underground treatment at the Praid Salt Mine is a simple and efficient method which help improving the patients suffering from diseases of the respiratory tract. On the treatment many spend 2, 3 or 4 hours/day inside the salt mine depending on the person. The treatment period for adults is of 16 to18 days and for the children is of 10 to 12 days.
The micro-climate of the Praid saline creates favorable conditions for the salt therapy, so the salt mine is more and more used. The physical – chemical characteristics which allow this thing are: the purity of the air, constant humidity and temperature of the air, the air speed, concentration of the CO2 in the saline, the negative ionization and the amount of ozone.
Housing: it can be done in the town Praid. Almost to every household you may find an accommodation unit. The prices are accessible to small: between 50lei and 100lei/night.
The things we enjoyed: the beauty and the impressive size of the underground hollow; the wide range of activities during the visit; the museum.
Things we didn’t like:
- the lack of the organization of the parking lots near the saline, there is no system to manage it;
- the lacking of marks of the ticket office outside;
- the lack of the interior organization of the playgrounds, the recreational area, or the trading area.
- The access to the point of view towards the Joseph Mine (Mina Iosif) is poorly marked though it is perhaps the most spectacular view of the whole visit!
We encourage you to visit Praid Salt Mine outside the tourist season. In summer the number of visitors can reach up to 2500-3000 persons / day
What can you visit in the area: Sovata Resort (Sațiunea Sovata) and the Bear Lake (Lacul Ursu), the Salt Mountain (Muntele de Sare) of Praid, Ceramics Center in the Corund village. You can visit including local artisans, Straw Hat’s Museum of Crişeni.