Cacica is a village in Northen Romania, Suceava county, in the region called Bucovina. It is not far from the major Bucovina's attractions (the painted monasteries).Situated 18km away from Gura Humorului, the Cacica salt mine represents an important tourist attraction of the region.
The access road is pretty good with only a few minor tricky parts.In the village lives also an important Polish community (more than 20% of the population).
Cacica has an impressive history, for a small village. Because it is located at the boundary between the mountains and hills regions, the climate made possible the formation of salt deposits many thousands years ago.The name of "Cacica" has its origins in the Polish "kaczika", meaning "duck", because there used to be many lakes with wild ducks in the region.
The salt extraction was not a mystery in these regions even from the prehistoric ages (many primitive objects used for salt extraction were found by archaeologists).
Cacica Salt Mine is one of the oldest exploitations of salt recrystallized from brine from Europe.Salt extraction dates back from the period of Cris culture from early Neolithic (5th millennium, before Christ).
Begun by the order of Empress Maria Theresa, the salt mine was manually dug out and opened in 1791.The salt mine is open to tourist visits. The ticket costs 10 Lei (around 2.5 €) for an adult.
The temperature inside the mine is a constant 10°C.
In the first room, 25-29 meters deep, a Roman-Catholic chapel was built in 1806 from the initiative of the Polish priest Jakub Bogdanowicz. It’s called the Church St. Barbara (Varvara), and was a praying site for all the miners who worked there, and even today service is held. To reach the chapel, you have to go down a ladder with almost 200 steps.
The orthodox chapel situated 35 meters deep was built in a gallery dug directly into the salt.
Sculptures carved in the salty rock were created by young artists. The sculptures have religious themes, some being similar models with the ones from Wieliczka salt mine near Krakow.
On the right side there is the icon of St. Daniel the Hermit
Adam and Eve, biblical scene.
Further below, more steps… and another gallery (35 meters deep) that leads to a small salty lake manually dug by miners. The Brine Lake is located 42m underground, its dimensions being 10 x 6m and 1,5 - 2,5 m deep. The saturated brine in which salt crystals formed throughout time can be seen in the poor light.
There is a wooden raft on the lake, which used to carry guests invited at the parties organized in the Ball Room.King Carol I had a row on this raft in 1902.
The young people who were about to get married publicly confirmed their intentions with a row on the lake.
Next comes the Ball room, or festivities room.
The dimensions on the hall are 24x12x6 m. It is manually sculptured and the dowels, which once supported the lightening chandeliers can be seen on the ceiling.
There are 8200 galleries that were all manually dug out, reinforced with wood and in a perfect condition today.
In 1886 the underground transport facilities were modernized. At that time the mine was one of the modern mines of Europe. The productions of salt in 1886 was of around 5500 tones.
At the bottom of the mine there is a sport field with a wooden floor used for volleyball, football or handball.
The giant salt mountain in Cacica can provide enough salt for the entire Europe for the next 400 years!
This is great place to spent a few days in relaxation and cure at the salt mine which treats a lot of pulmonary and rheumatism diseases.