A theme park inside a 2,000-year-old Transylvanian salt mine is like playing on another planet

Transylvania Salt Mine. (Courtesy Richard John Seymour)

Transylvania Salt Mine. (Courtesy Richard John Seymour)

Each year, thousands of visitors descend into Salina Turda, a Transylvanian salt mine dating over 2,000 years. In its lifetime the salt mine has had many uses, storing the coffers of Hungarian kings and Habsburg emperors, providing shelter during World War II, and even operating as a cheese storage center.

In 1992, Salina Turda reopened as a visitor attraction, and after 16 years and $6.5 million of investments, has transformed into a museum and theme park. British photographer Richard John Seymour, documented this subterranean destination.

Salt Mine Bridge. (Courtesy Richard John Seymour)

Salina Turda’s attractions include ferris wheels, spa treatment facilities, recreational sports, boat tours, and an 80-seat amphitheater, all backdropped with stalactites and salt formations, captured in Seymour’s photographs. In the chambers, visitors inhale the salt mine’s purifying air, and spa guests are treated with halotherapy.

Salt Mine Activities. (Courtesy Richard John Seymour)

Salt Mine Activities. (Courtesy Richard John Seymour)

Salina Turda’s biggest mine is the bell-shaped Theresa, reaching approximately 300 feet and containing a salted lake. As Seymour’s photographs show, the theme park provides small boat tours of the meteoric waters.

Seymour said, “I am often drawn to contradiction in my work, where the heroic, idealistic, or epic meets mundane reality. Salina Turda embodies this idea particularly well. It is an undeniably beautiful historic monument of engineering and human endeavor, but it is now used as a theme park with ping pong tables, bowling, and boat rides.”

Richard John Seymour’s photographs will be on exhibition at the London Art Fair from January 20–24.

Salt Mine Tunnel. (Courtesy Richard John Seymour)

Salt Mine Tunnel. (Courtesy Richard John Seymour)

For more of Richard John Seymour work visit his website here.

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