Mines that have been used and depleted are often left abandoned. However, what if we were to turn these abandoned mines into unique places where we can enjoy anything from museums to bike parks and more. Here’s a look at five old mines from around the world that have been renovated quite creatively.
1. Turda Salt Mine, Romania
This salt mine was opened way back in the 17th century and remained operational until the early 1930s. During the Second World War, the mine was used as a bomb shelter. After the war ended, it was used as a place for storage by cheesemakers. In 1992, the government decided to turn the old mine into a theme park. Decades later, what used to be a salt mine is presently a beautiful park that has sports fields, an amphitheater, a lake with some boats, and a mini-golf course. There is even a Ferris wheel in the converted mine park.
2. Silesian Museum, Poland
The Silesian Museum in the Polish town of Katowice used to be a coal mine. Built in the 18th century, the mine turned the place into an industrial powerhouse. Around a quarter-million people visit the place every year. The museum exhibits not only works of art from famous painters but also coal miners. In addition to the museum, the mine also houses a hall that is 2 football fields long and a meeting space.
“It’s amazing. I used to work here, with a shovel, with a hammer, and so on. And now my works are here in this museum, in this mine (Kopalny)… It was kind of like turning myself off from the stress, from work. It’s important that it doesn’t disappear, that it’s not forgotten. But something remains after my colleagues and after me,” an ex-employee of the mine said, as reported by Euro News.
3. Mines and Meadows, United States
This one was a limestone mine that began operations in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania in the 1800s. Today, the mine has been converted into a tour for all-terrain vehicle (ATV) enthusiasts that will take them into the deepest parts of the mine, with routes that are only lit by the vehicle’s headlights. In some places, the ceiling is so low that a person can easily touch it while seated on the vehicle. The tour has been planned in such a way that the rider gets a good idea of how tough and harrowing working in this mine used to be.
4. Yanahara Iron Mine, Japan
An iron ore mine in the Japanese town of Yanahara has been turned into an underground racing track. Since the oxygen levels are low this deep in the earth, the facility actually mimics the conditions that can be found during high-altitude racing. As such, the underground racing track has proven to be an attractive option for athletes who want to push their bodies to the maximum limit and make it capable of racing in environments higher or lower than they are accustomed to.
5. Louisville Mega Cavern, Kentucky
This facility is located in an expansive underground cavern that spans over 4 million square feet. This once used to be a limestone mine that was also categorized as a bomb shelter for local citizens during the Cuban Missile Crisis. At present, the entire space has been converted into an adventure experience complete with zip lines, aerial ropes, bike parks, and so on. The place also offers space for warehousing purposes.