Although humidity is critical in the Crystal Caves, dissolving and destroying the sharp-edged crystals, water can also make the rock salt grow. 

Today, when modern mining technology puts salt on our tables virtually free of charge, it's hard for us to imagine how difficult to obtain, and therefore how valuable, this mineral used to be. 

Legend has it that when Princess Kinga of Hungary was to marry Duke Boleslav of Cracow, her father King Bela gave her a saltmine for her dowry. Before leaving Hungary, Kinga threw her engagement ring into the mine. 

Earth, fire, water…  What made men risk their lives to wrestle with this humble rock that tasted of their sweat?  The salt of the earth. OK, it was a job, guaranteed by Royal Charter, what's more, to pass for ever from father to son. But there's more to it than that.



If we're really going to get to the bottom of things, we have to go back 20 million years to the Miocene era, when the Carpathians were being formed. Geological evidence suggests that there was a sea here at that time, a sea which evaporated leaving a wealth of mineral deposits, including common or garden sodium chloride.