World unique: Slovak opal mines also offer diving opportunities
Nature8. June 2018
Slovak Opal Mines
Opal has been mined in Slovakia since 1597 and the opal mines on our territory are the oldest in the world and the only opal mines on our continent. They are located near Prešov between the villages Zlatá Baňa and Červenica.
Our ancestors were the most skilled miners with the best techniques as early as the 18th century. The results of their work with that possibilities amaze us today. Proof of this in Slovakia are mining towns and villages, which are famous for mining activities. The techniques of the Slovaks were copied all over the world.
The most valuable type of opal occurs only near Dubník in Slovakia
There are several types of opals in the world. For example, a dairy that is white as milk or hialite is transparent. The most precious species, however, is an expensive opal, which is characterized by its iridescent coloring only occurs in Europe on Dubník. The value and weight of expensive opal is determined in carats. One carat equals 200 milligrams. Today, opal is valued more than gold. The worked piece of expensive opal with excellent coloring and grinding is worth roughly like a diamond of excellent quality.
It is interesting that in 1775 the largest opal in the world, called Harlequin, was found in these mines. It weighed 594 grams (some sources mention as much as 607 grams) and rated it at 700,000 Dutch guilders. Today it is housed in the Natural History Museum in Vienna.
Until the 19th century, Slovak opal mines were the only locality in the world where this semi-precious stone was mined. The mines were closed in 1922, when the mining of expensive opal was canceled. Finally, mining was resumed in 2012 and in 2015 the mine was opened to visitors.
During the tour, visitors will learn more about working in the mine, the history of opal mining and the local underground rarities. They have the opportunity to see samples of opals, various minerals, mining lamps, trolleys and tools used by miners 100 years ago. People in wheelchairs can also reach the basic circuit. The second part is intended for a practical demonstration of mining and the third is a rest area. At present, 1.2 km old mining corridors are open to the public and the tour takes about 45 – 60 min.
Possibility of diving
Mining corridors have a total of about 24 km and 17 horizons, of which 5 are flooded. Nowadays, professional technical diving is also used in this place, which is used by divers from all over the world. Underwater, they can see a number of corridors, flooded staircases, rails and the like. It is a unique experience for life. Of course you need to have a diving license.
You can see what diving in Slovak Opal mines looks like in the following video:
Entrance to Opal mines
A trip to opal mines can be combined with a visit of Košice. There you can see the Cathedral of St. Elizabeth, the historic center, the zoo and the forest rail. Then you can go to Presov, where the main attraction is Neptune Fountain or Wine Museum, where you can also order a tasting. If you have more time, between Kosice and Cervenice is very famous Herliansky geyser.
The opal mine tour can be ordered at www.slovakiaopal.sk or by email email@example.com, or by phone +421 948 450 321, +421 918 500 741.
1 – 5 visitors: 1 entry: 50,00 €
6 – 10 visitors: 1 entry: 90,00 €
11 – 15 visitors: 1 entry: 130,00 €
15 – 20 visitors: 1 entry: 150,00 €
Monday – Sunday: 9.30, 11.00, 12.30, 14.00, 15.30
We recommend that you check the information on the Opal Mines website. Discounted admissions also offer various discount portals.
In case you would like to share your experience from the Opal Mine visit, I will be pleased if you send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.