Slanic Prahova is a spa with a population of just over 7000 people, situated 400 m above sea level, that is important for its salt mines. It was developed as a resort, with warm saline baths, from 1885, and is still a centre for the treatment of varied diseases.
There are records of salt mining from 1685, but the two mines that can be visited date from the twentieth century. At the Mihai mine, opened in 1912, salt was extracted from six chambers up to 66 m high, that form a celebrated international venue for flying model aircraft.
The Urimea mine, some 40 m below the Mihai workings, was begun in 1938 and worked with explosives between 1943 and 1970, when some 2.6 million cubic metres of rock salt were extracted. There are 14 chambers up to 54 m high, which have been put to other uses since the mine closed. One of the chambers, the Genesis Hall, contains salt sculptures of scenes and figures from Romanian history, including the Emperor Trajan and Decabel, the Dacian king. Elsewhere are underground football and handball pitches, a running track and a small museum. Two chambers, 210 m below the surface, are used as an in-patient sanitorium for the treatment of respiratory diseases in a saline microclimate. Two other chambers, 208 m below the surface, are occupied by an ultra-low background radiation laboratory of the University of Bucharest.
Both mines were damaged by flooding in 1994, but were drained and re-opened in 1998. The museum illustrating the history of salt mining and processing and of the spa, opened in May 2003 in an early eighteenth century house that was formerly the residence of a salt taxation official.
The Salt Mountain near the town surrounds a karst saline lake, the ‘Bride’s Grotto’, some 32 m deep. Salt continues to be extracted from modern workings.