Slovak Opal Mines

Region: Region Prešov (Prešovský kraj)
District: Prešov
City / Municipality: Červenica
Latitude:48° 54' 12.20256" / 48.9033896
Longitude:21° 27' 33.73056" / 21.4593696
Slovak Opal Mines Slovak Opal Mines are the oldest opal mines in the world and the only one in Europe. They are located in Eastern Slovakia in the Slanské Hills (Slanské vrchy) mountains, in Region Prešov (Prešovský kraj), above the village of Červenica.

Mines were known in the entire world since the end of the 16th century because of the opal mined here. First written mention about the village Červenica specifically mentioning opal mines is from 1409. It is possible that opal was mined here since the roman era. Slovak opal was a firm favourite of Napoleon’s family. Empress Joséphine wore the most famous piece called "Fire of Troy". The largest opal found was called "Harlequin", mined in 1775 and valued at 700 000 Dutch guilders. Today it is displayed in the Museum of Natural History in Vienna.

Slovak Opal Mines were the only mined deposit of opal worldwide until the discovery of deposits in Mexico and Australia in the 19th century. Mining operations were suspended indefinitely after the creation of Czechoslovakia because of bad financial situation. Surface mining of precious opal was restored on tailings pile Viliam in 2012 called Monika. Mining work has a length of 32 km on 17 levels, 5 of which are flooded and open for professional technical diving.

Slovak opal is a certified geographical name of precious opal mined from deposits in Slanské vrchy (Slanské hills) in eastern Slovakia. It is the only precious opal in Europe and Asia. From a mineralogical point of view it is the most precious type of opal – Opal AG. Slovak opal is used in goldsmithing and jewel-making.

At present, the underground of Slovak Opal Mines is open to the public through tunnel Jozef, the mine can be visited around the year. At the exhibition of Slovak Opal Mines visitors will know the history of opal mines, the way of mining and the only Slovak gem - Slovak Opal. The entrance to the tunnel Jozef (Joseph) is a national cultural monument.

Underground is characteristic by interplay of colours of many minerals and labyrinth of corridors, which have been mostly hand-cut over the decades. The fantastic experience of the walking tour enhances the erudite interpretation of the guide. Professional technical diving is also possible on the lowest floors.

For those who are looking for adrenaline, we offer an underground FREE LINE entry, which includes finding of opal in underground mines, a separate crossing between the horizonts of Jozef (Joseph) and Viliam according to the light signs only, and many other surprises.

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