Soledar (Salt-mine)

Oktyabrska St. 11

Mines can be safe. The unique mines of Soledar prove this suggestion. In their depths, salt is mined and tours are given through the caverns.

Historians claim that the shallow Perm Sea was here 270 million years ago. Over time, the sun dried it out, and the salt from its waters accumulated on the ground in huge white layers, which gradually disappeared under the many-meter-thick layer of soil. Mining started here in the 19th century and soon, the Donets region turned into the main source of table salt not only for Ukraine, but for other European countries, too. This salt is unique, because it has no impurities; its reserves will last for at least two thousand years.

Today, the depleted parts of the mine are designed to accommodate visitors. It is truly a unique underground world; each person who goes down 300 meters to visit the mine feels like she has been transported into a magical fairytale. Numerous of the mine’s galleries, halls, and labyrinths are decorated with fancy reliefs, church paintings, and figures, all created out of salt crystals by skilled craftsmen and professional sculptors. These are guardians of the underground world - dwarves, and the kind Shubin, the protector of Donets Basin's miners. There is a superstition that if you kiss him in the nose and make a wish, it is sure to come true. The colorful lighting, reflected by the shining crystals, intensifies the mines’ charm.

The main hall of the salt-mine strikes with its impressive size. Here, you can play a soccer match: there is a real goal in the corner, and the pure, soft salt serves as the turf. Or, you can celebrate New Years’ in any season: the salt hangar is decorated with six-meter high decorated pine tree, which has remained green, although it has stood here for several years already. Or, you can listen to a concert of symphonic orchestra. The salt-mines of Soledar are famous for their excellent acoustics, and symphonic orchestra of Donets Basin under the direction of Austrian conductor Kurt Schmidt has already performed here twice. Amazed by the excellent sound, the musician admitted that there are just two or three theaters in the world that can compete with the Soledar mines’ acoustics.

Visiting the salt galleries is not only fascinating and educational, but also good for one’s health. This is because the air, saturated with salt, has a therapeutic effect. Even after an hour and a half tour, you can already feel your health improving! This peculiarity of the Soledar mines is used for medical purposes. A speleosanatorium, in which people with asthma, allergies and thyroid gland condition are being helped, has been created here.

Important! The temperature in the mines is 14-15 degrees Celsius (57-60 Fahrenheit) all year around; therefore, you may want to bring warm clothes and comfortable footwear when taking the tour.

Getting here. You may also get to Soledar from Donetsk (100km, 2 hours) or Artemivsk (13 km, 20 minutes). The cities are connected with taxis and buses.

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