Tuzluca Salt Mines – Tuzluca, Turkey - Atlas Obscura

Tuzluca Salt Mines

Tuzluca, Turkey

A former salt mine is now a cool picnic spot for families and asthmatics. 


On the outskirts of Tuzluca are the Tuz Mağarası, or the Tuzluca Salt Caves. Operating officially since 1923 but known since medieval times, the mines descend 885 feet underground, although the tourist section remains on ground level. Only very recently opened to the public, the trundling trucks still transport salt from the active parts of the mine to the dinner tables of thousands of Turks.  

The entry hallway is narrow and slightly anatomical, with colored lights and a boardwalk to lead you safely into the belly of the beast. Once inside, the space is large but welcoming, with atmospheric lighting around the base of the open halls. There are picnic tables set around the walls of the multi-chambered interior, inviting people to come and set up camp for a family excursion, rather than just a passing visit.

Besides the large space with its many nooks and crannies, there is a separate, elevated room at the back of the cave. Here, seats allow visitors to rest and look up at colored lights highlighting the unusual salt formations.

Publicity for the mines touts the possibility of the advantages of salt air for asthma sufferers and people with weak lungs. Whether or not this is founded in medical fact, the dark coolness makes a welcome respite from the summer heat.

Know Before You Go

The site is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with an entrance fee of 20 Turkish Lira per car.

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May 28, 2024

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