May 10

TARGU OCNA – A PINCH OF SALT IN THE HEART OF THE CARPATHIANS (TÂRGU OCNA)

Targu Ocna is placed on the eastern slope of the Eastern Carpathians, in the historical region of Moldova, in Bacau county, on a picturesque lowland at the confluence of two rivers: Trotus and its affluent, Slanic. The landscape is rugged, with heights which variate between 400m – 600m.

http://www.salrom.ro/

http://www.salrom.ro/

Nature has been generous with this region. Natural riches are varied and important: forests, orchards, vineyards, rivers, farmland and major deposits of coal, salt, construction materials and mineral waters.

The gorges and ghats created by Trotus River and its affluents have built pathways between Moldova and Transylvania, which boosted the exchange of goods and development of the area throughout time.

http://www.marisano.ro/

http://www.marisano.ro/

The history of these places provides the resort with significant beauty and mystery. The settlement flourished in close connection with the intensification of the exploitation of salt.

In parallel with the exploitation, processing and marketing of salt, the “Salt” Targu Ocna, in recent years has been developed as a trendy touristic activity that has medical benefices as well.

At Targu Ocna tourism services have been diversified in later years by arranging of a modern recreation complex, inaugurated in the summer of 2010. At the surface, the location has a swimming pool with salt water, showers, medical consulting room, terrace, shop and free wireless internet.

bacauairport.ro

bacauairport.ro

For a pleasant ambient the visitors can enjoy spending time sunbathing on chaises provided with parasols, playing table tennis and basketball on specifically arranged sports fields for tennis, volleyball and even a bowling alley. Sports equipment can be rented on the spot. There is also a module and a barbecue where different food products can be consumed.

The natural environment adds charm to the formula needed for an unforgettable day and the salt water lake and the waterfall complete the fascinating landscape with their presence.

And within the immense underground voids, the labyrinth of thousand meters galleries, the locals have created a modern touristic base which gives you the impression of a “city in the deep”.

Since the resort has plenty of opportunities for the entire family, children could not be ignored; there are plenty of playgrounds equipped with swings, slides and seesaws. Inflatable slides are the favorite place for the youngest visitors. Slot machines constitute attraction for tourists of all ages and connoisseurs can enjoy a game of pool.

In the underground there is room for gymnastics and a medical consulting room. Respiratory problems are currently treated by specialized personnel.

http://www.tgocna.ro/

http://www.tgocna.ro/

Inside the mine, there is also a food kiosk, a terrace and souvenir shop, so there are plenty to do and you will have a great time and a wonderful experience.

In 1992, at the initiative of the unity employees in the heart of the salt massif, the first underground Orthodox Church in Europe has been built; the church is dedicated to Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners. In front of the altar is the iconostasis which consists of 24 icons. On both sides of the altar, there are placed icons of Holy Martyr Barbara and Holy Paraskevi, the patron of Moldova.

The iconostasis, the Throne of the Divine King and the beautiful chandelier illuminating the church have been skillfully manufactured by the miners and artisans of great talent and carefulness, dedicating a piece of their soul to eternity.

ghidulturistic.ro

ghidulturistic.ro

Within the complex, there is a newly built “Museum of Salt” where you will find information about the genesis, evolution exploitation and processing of the creation of salt and its therapeutic virtues and you can admire the interesting exhibits that recall the past.

This natural wonder, the salt, so necessary for our daily existence is considered the “white gold of the Earth”, and the “slice” of health and relaxation that visitors will gain by visiting the underground are offer generously to those who know how to value these natural blessings.

Targu Ocna offers a unique experience where you can relax with the entire family, improve your health and knowledge and, last but not least, you will get acquainted to the traditional Moldavian hospitality.

http://www.orthphoto.net/

http://www.orthphoto.net/

There are plenty more tourist attractions on the perimeter of Targu Ocna; the beautifulOrthodox Church of Saint Barbara, the leisure and touristic base, located in the salt mine on the 9th level underneath the surface, Magura Ocnei Monastery, the church of the former Raducanu Monastery, Magura Park and plenty of historical memorial places and ancients architectural monuments, such as Tescanu Rosetti Cultural Centre – a spot dedicated to the memory of the famous composer George Enescu.

As for accommodation, you have a luxurious hotel and plenty of idyllic pensions that will offer you all the conditions that you need for a perfect holiday.

Jul 24

Wieliczka Salt Mine (Mina de Sare Wieliczka)

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is situated in the southern part of Poland, in the town of Wieliczka – this explains the name given to the mine.

This specific salt mine bears a historical significance due to the fact that it is the single mine in the world to have been working continuously ever since the medieval times. The structure of the mine is definitely impressive in the sense that it is layered on 9 levels, covering a surface of nearly 300 km and a depth of 327 m. The space is accurately organized so as to reveal the entire mining procedure, with all the developing stages, as these have evolved throughout time.

http://forum.xcitefun.net

These characteristics of the site have led the Wieliczka Salt Mine to be included on the first list of Cultural and Natural Heritage developed by UNESCO, on the 8th of September 1978.

It is common knowledge that salt was the engine to stir the economy of the state. In fact, during the period of the Kingdom of Poland, salt was a medium of payment, legally recognized by the state. This goes to show the importance attached to this mineral.

As the time went by and as new technological developments emerged, the site began to be exploited extensively. Unfortunately, this also led to the instability of the salt mine, especially since the workers did not take the necessary precautions to ensure the firmness of the salt walls. The result was that the exploitation work was concluded in 1996.

http://www.kuriositas.com

But the Wieliczka Salt Mine was arranged so as to meet various purposes: touristic, cultural and well-being.

What attracts tourists to this site are the numerous statuettes, as well as the chapel, which have been carved in the salt rocks. The original statues were actually crafted by miners, but they were later on improved by the hands of capable artists which have transformed them into beautiful sculpture. It is no wonder that more than one million visitors come to Wieliczka Salt Mine on a yearly basis.

At present this is the most visited site in the country due to the artistic representations encountered within the underground chambers. The place is definitely exploited to the fullest, for touristic purposes this time. There are numerous events held here, such classical music concerts. The salt rocks chambers have great acoustics so you can only imagine the sound quality of the orchestras performing in the mine.

http://www.hotelraider.com

There are temporary exhibitions held at Wieliczka Salt Mine and the items on display are the works of art of renowned artists such as Richard Horowitz and Jerzy Skolimowski. This goes to prove just how appreciated this site is if artists from different corners of the world come to Poland in order to present their work in this unique “gallery.”

Tourists might also be attracted by the matchless experiences that the mine has to offer, such as the opportunity to do bungee jumping in the salt chambers. Performing the extreme sport is in itself an act of courage because you are supposed to plunge into the abyss. While you will normally plummet from a bridge, dam or tall building, even a crane, the underground bungee jumping is definitely a new experience, one that you are bound to remember for the rest of your life.

http://www.esvomeeting2012.org

There was also the possibility to surf on an underground lake. The European champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz got to undertake this mission when he visited the salt mine. The event was televised and it featured various celebrities. But none other except Kusznierewicz managed to ride the wave which was artificially created with the help of a huge blower.

As you can see, the mine performs several roles: that of a museum and a recreational facility. In order to gain access into the mine you will have to purchase a ticket. The price varies, depending if you visit the mine on your own or as part of a group.

Visiting hours:

April, 1st – October, 31st: 7.30 a.m. – 7.30 p.m.

 November, 2nd – March, 31st : 8.00 a.m.- 5.00 p.m.