Opal mines have new underground circuit for visitors

About 14,000 tourists visited last year.

(Source: TASR)

There is a new underground tour for visitors to the oldest opal mines in the world, located in the Slanské mountains under Prešov. As well as the opal mines, there are many attractions to discover in the region. Check our Spectacular Slovakia travel guide.

A helping hand in the heart of Europe offers for you Slovakia travel guide. A helping hand in the heart of Europe offers for you Slovakia travel guide. (Source: )

Until now, visitors were able to explore only about 700 metres of the 36 kilometres of underground tunnels but recently, another 300 metres have been added for tourists, informed marketing manager of the Slovak Opal Mines Iveta Adamová.

During the guided tour, visitors can see a demonstration of mining activities, become familiar with drainage techniques and view an underground stream. They can also check out the space where the miners would take a break. Other attractions include a magical children's world and an underground compass.

“This season, with the renewed circuit, visitors will walk about one kilometre,” Adamová said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “The tour takes about an hour and the new circuit is 300 metres longer compared to the original one.”

Cleaning first

Make the new space accessible was not a simple matter.

“We had to clear out the new circuit,” explained Jozef Čurík, manager of the mining museum, as quoted by TASR. “It took us about three months. We did this during the coronavirus epidemic, which was in a sense advantageous for us because mine had to be closed anyway.”

By making the new parts accessible, they wanted to show different ways of mining. “Here we can show horizontal transport in a mine as well as vertical transport which happens at the beginning. The water regime is also interesting. When it rains, water flows down into these spaces. There are four dead-end galleries filled with water. If miners wanted to work there, they had to get the water out,” Čurík explained, as quoted by TASR.

The basic tunnel circuit has new wooden markers, a demonstration of mining tools and methods of underground transport and drainage. There are also old photos showing the mine at the height of its fame in the Jozef gallery.

Slovakia travel guide: A helping hand in the heart of Europe. Read more 

Special tour for adrenaline lovers

Last year, about 14,000 tourists visited the opal mines. “We believe that there will be more of them every year,” Adamová said for TASR. “Tourists from all around the world come here. Last year, we had visitors from Africa - Ghana and America,” she said.

Those who are looking for a mining attraction or an attraction linked to precious opals can find all they desire here, she added.

For adrenaline lovers, who would like to see more of the mines, there are guided five-hour adrenaline tours that cover several kilometres. However, these have to be booked in advance.

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