July 19, 2015

1756 ROMANIA (Suceava) - The Cacica salt mine

Located in the village with the same name, in Bukovina, at the eastern foot of the Obcina Mare (Great Ridge), the Cacica salt mine is one of the oldest exploitation of salt recrystallized from brine in Europe, unique because its galleries were dug by hand, without any machines. For the exploitation and extraction of salt weren't used trolleys, the only way of access in underground being the fir stairs, mineralized by the brine that went into the wood. The galleries reach to 44m depth, to Grota Piticilor (the Elves Grotto) and to Sala de bal (Ballroom), also dug by hand, without machines.

Salt deposit was discovered in 1780, just six years after Bukovina was annexed by the Habsburg Empire, and in 1791 was opened the salt mine, with which occasion were brought miners and technicians from different provinces of the empire, most of them Roman Catholics Poles from Galicia. Whereas in Cacica there wasn't a Roman Catholic place of worship, in 1806 was dug in the massive of salt a large chapel (25m long, 9m wide and 7m high.) dedicated to Saint Barbara (the patron of the miners).

The miners gathered daily before descending into the mine to the icon depicting Saint Barbara, to pray for her to ask God to protect them during their work, and after finishing their work to thank her. Once, the Mass was daily celebrated here, of which attended all the miners, be they Catholics, Greek Catholics or Orthodox. In nowadays, on 4 December each year (on St. Barbara feast), descend in chapel the priests of the above-mentioned three confession to celebrate a Tedeum, and children have a show in traditional costumes of the three ethnic groups.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting Common Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis L.), is part of the first series Flora of Romania - Fauna flowers (I), about which I wrote here.

Comuna Cacica, Suceava (rom) - Wikipedia
Capela "Sfânta Varvara" (rom) - Wikipedia

Sender: Marius Vasiliu (direct swap)
Sent from Gura Humorului (Suceava / Romania), on 05.05.2012
Photo: Marius Vasiliu

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