Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Spaces, a digital publication exploring new ways to live and work.
Deep in the Transylvanian countryside lies an ancient salt mine dating back over two millennia.
Today Salina Turda has become an unlikely tourist attraction, with thousands of visitors descending its vertical shafts each year to play mini-golf, go bowling and row around its underground lake. This submerged wonderland even has a healing center for people with lung conditions.
British photographer Richard John Seymour recently traveled to Salina Turda in his quest to document human-altered landscapes. “Photographing this space was a challenge due to its sheer scale. Humans are put into perspective and the difference between nature and man-made features is blurred.”
Salina Turda filled the coffers of Hungarian kings and Habsburg emperors – especially during the 13th century, when salt was more valuable than gold – and sustained the local community for centuries.
Since mining activity ceased in 1932, it has had many lives. It was used as a shelter in World War II and has even served time as a cheese storage center. Salina Turda reopened as a visitor attraction in 1992, bolstered by €6 million investment 16 years later, which cemented its adaptive reuse as a museum and theme park.