The Salt Cave (Tuz Mağarası) in the state of Çankırı in central Turkey is one of the most important landmarks of the state due to its cultural, touristic, medical and economic importance.
The area of the cave is 18,000 square meters and is 150 meters below the surface of the earth. It is known to the residents of the region as the “Underground Salt City.”
The reason it is called the City of Salt is because it contains large reserves of salt that meet Turkey’s need for 400 years, making it economically valuable.
According to researchers, the process of extracting salt from the cave has been continuing since the time of the Hittites, and here its historical importance is highlighted due to the value of salt as a monetary value in ancient civilizations.
From a cultural standpoint, the cave includes many mummified animals, skeletons, works and artifacts.
The mayor of Çankırı Hakki Esen indicated their intention to organize cultural events and activities and introduce the cave as a destination for medical tourism.
According to Esen, the Salt Cave carries the true meaning of the term “alternative tourism” in Turkey and the world.
The municipality organized its first event in the cave in 2019 under the name “TuzFest.”
He confirmed that the number of visitors to the cave reached 50,000 in 2019, and the number is increasing as they continue to introduce the cave and organize tourism and cultural events and facilities there.
During the 14-day TozFest 2023 festival, one million visitors visited the cave.
Esen said: “Salt has value in history and wars broke out over it. It is used in 14 sectors. We know the importance of this cave from the value of salt in history, and we are working to make the cave a center of attraction for tourists for the state of Çankırı.”
Among the facilities that the Çankırı municipality intends to establish in the cave are a hospital center, a place to display the state’s products and foods, and a conference hall.
The mayor indicated that their goal was to reach the number of visitors to the cave to one million visitors per year. He noted that this goal was achieved in a short period, and their current goal is two million visitors per year.
He said: “The cave has economic importance. We want the salt to be associated with the name of Çankırı. We say that our salt, which is rich in mineral materials, is present on every table. The cave has great importance in developing our city economically, socially and culturally and making it known internationally.”