The Reconstruction of "The Salt Road"-A Means to Develop and Promote the Saline Health Tourism in Transylvania

By Cianga, Nicolae; Oprea, Marius G. et al. | Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends, July 2010 | Go to article overview
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The Reconstruction of "The Salt Road"-A Means to Develop and Promote the Saline Health Tourism in Transylvania


Cianga, Nicolae, Oprea, Marius G., Costea, Daniel, Giurgiu, Laura, Cianga, Iulia, Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends


Introduction

The idea of creating tourist thematic routes in Transylvania is not an innovative one, as it has already been applied on the Wine Road or more recently the Spring Mineral Water Road, in the eastern part of the region. Thus in relation with the most recent scientific research in the salt health tourism, based on solid arguments, there is a great necessity to create a path that could interconnect the former salt exploitations and the sodium chloride mineral waters, a tourism route between the two paths.

A first example of a tourist road is the recent created bicycle route that goes from Sangeorgiu de Mures over the Hills of Niraj and gets to Sovata and then Praid. This road has been furnished with the help of the county council and a local tourist association.

The necessity of these roads consists firstly in creating links between the wellness resorts and the tourist planning with salt waters, which for now are being developed isolated, but especially for promoting the local wellness tourism.

At this we can add the landscape component, the one of geomorphologic sites on salt, of a particular tourist attraction, resulting both from the salt microforms of relief (the exokarst on salt) but mostly from impressive and spectacular underground voids, and in terms of exploitation procedures, some of them dating back in Ancient Rome, others from Middle Age or modern period till nowadays. Following the diversification of tourist motivation, nodal components, the salt exploitations and spa centers on salt, would turn into real centers of polarization and accommodation, along the "roads", but also in diffusion centers in their adjacent areas, with a direct consequence on learning more about other attractive objectives of this area.

Thus, for this study were taken into consideration the two tourist routes with settlements of the former salt mining activity and salt water resulting in five points of interest in the Somes basin (Figa, Ocna Dejului, Sic, Someseni, Cojocna), and 6 in the Mures basin (Ideciu de Jos, Jabenita, Sangeorgiu de Mures, Sovata, Praid, Ocna Sibiului and Miercurea Sibiului).

The development premises of a touristic road- "The Salt Roads"

Salt, an essential mineral element for human life, was exploited since ancient times with different purposes, like the first most important one, the physiological one, needed for a perfect functioning of any living organism, or as an additive to our own food diet, as a supplement to domestic animals' diet, as a very good preservative for meat, bacon, cheese, vegetables, fruits, animal skin, as a wound disinfectant or as a health remedy against different diseases like rheumatic ones, respiratory failure, stomach disorders, some dermatological and gynecological problems and so on and so forth. All these applications turned it into one of the most important consuming and trading products since ancient times till nowadays.

The Historical Premises

Transylvania, having one of the most important salt deposits in Europe, represented over time the main source of supply for adjacent regions, where there was a total lack of resources, like the Tisa Plain, the south Danube area and the Balkans. This situation turned Transylvania into the most important and available source of salt the entire transit being made through the so called "roads of salt".

The archaeological remains show us that rock salt has been exploited since the main traces of prehistory and its exploitation has been found in the Bronze and Iron Age in Ocna Muresului, Figa and Sasarm (Bistrita-Nasaud county) and Valea Florilor, Ocna Dejului and Turda (Cluj county) different wooden tools made especially for exploitation like spades, shovels, "troughs", chisels and small hammers made of ash wood provided with a metal head (Hollmann & Ciugudean 2005).

In ancient Greek-Roman world (first millennium BC- mid first millennium AD), according to ancient authors, epigraphic and archaeological monuments, salt mining industry becomes a real sophisticated technology with numerous professional branches, where there were involved both free people hired by the state and many slaves.

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