|Location:||Praid. 5km from Sovata, Harghita County.|
Mine Tour: All year Mon-Sat 9-14, Sun 10-13.
Buses start when 25 persons gather.
Speleotherapy: All year Mon-Sat 7:45-9. Mine closes 14.
Mine Tour: Adults RON 10, Children (3-18) RON 5, Children (0-2) free.
Speleotherapy: Adults RON 6, Children (3-18) RON 3, Children (0-2) free.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|2nd cty AD||Romans exploited the salt.|
|1558||Prince Ioan Sigismund II introduced the use of fisc.|
|1567||first written recordings of mining at Praid.|
|1762||Jozsef Mine opened under the supervision of the Austrian engineer Frendl.|
|1787||Praid becomes property of the Treasury of Vienna, systematic mining established.|
|early 1960s||first speleotherapy opened in Gh. Doja mine.|
|1980||speleotherapy moved to 50th floor, 120m below ground.|
|1993||underground oecumenical chapel consecrated.|
Dealul Sarii (salt hill, 567m asl) is composed of salt, a deposit which is 2000m thick and estimated to consist of 3 Billion tons of salt. The surface of the salt is eroded by rain water and shows halo karst phenomena.
The county Harghita - commonly known as Salt Zone - is located in the eastern part of the Transilvanian basin, at the southern feet of the Gheorgheni Mountains. This area has salt deposits, which reach the surface and were mined over millennia. Oldest mining traces were found from the Roman, but salt mining was especially important during the Middle Ages.
A specialty was the Szekler salt, which meant the right to mine salt three times a year without any restriction or tax. Szekler (in Hungarian Szekely) were ethnically Hungarians who lived in the northern-central regions of Transylvania as pastoralists. They enjoyed exemption from taxation in return for military service. It was an important right for them, but it was abandoned in 1558 by Prince Ioan Sigismund II. Discontent rose and in culminated 1562 in the Szekler Rising. But they were defeated and the tax exemtion was cancelled.
Praid is the natural centre of the Szekely Salt Country. This salt mine is used for various activities, but the most important is speleotherapy. As a result the number of visitors is really high and the infrastructure is impressive. There are underground playgrounds for children, a buffet, billiard-tables and an oecumenical chapel. The mine has about 2,500 to 3,000 visitor per day, during the summer months June to August about 230,000 visitors are counted.
The speleotherapy, or better halotherapy, is based on the special climate of the mine. The warm, dry, and absolutely clean air is ideal for patients with lung diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis and allergies. The management gives additional positive aspects like a bigger pressure than on the surface and highly ionized air. This is a typical holistic therapy which is generally not accepted by allopathic doctors, but it is very polular in many communistic countries. A complete treatment takes 18 days, with daily visits to the mine, but it is said to have a verifiable positive effect from three to four visits on.
The salt is also used for other purposes. For example there is a salt water swimmming pool, which is for wellness and relaxation, rheuma treatment, and skin deseases. The water is 36°C warm, which limits the healthy bathing time to 30 minutes. Typically a treatment consists of 10-14 warm baths of 10 to 30 minutes. One of the pools is open air, the others are inside, but the bath is open only during Summer.
The mine also offers regular mine tours. The visitors are driven into the mine by bus, tours start as soon as the number of 25 visitors is reached, which is rather often with about 2,500 visitors daily. The tours include an underground mining museum, which shows salt minerals, mining tools, and folk art objects. It explains the mining technology and the salt transport. There are also art exhibitions, were sculptures cut out of the salt are shown. Beneath the chapel and the beer garden, there is even an internet cafe.