Slovak Opal Mines

Slovak Opal Mines

Daylight investigations - Region 2: Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Samuel Stašík

Academy of Fine arts and Design (AFAD / VŠVU)


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The aim of the project is to bring sunlight to the Slovak Opal Mines, which are the oldest in the world, with the help of boreholes and a system of mirrors. I was inspired by a text by John Ronald Reul Tolkien, where he poetically describes his astonishment at the beauty of underground caves through the figure of the dwarf Gimli. It describes how Glittering Caves will plant an unforgettable experience in the hearts of everyone who has visited them.„… And lights, Legolas! We should make lights, such lights as they once shone in Khazad-Dûm; and when we wished to drive away the night that had lain there since the gills were made; and when we longed for rest, we let the night return. „This would require boreholes, no more than half a meter wide, into which the constellation of mirrors on the surface would reflect sun‘s rays.The project therefore interferes with the current state of the mines only minimally; just enough to reveal their beauty in new light.The current program of excursions does not change the project, but thanks to the system that brings light to the bottom, a certain colonnade will be added to the surface, which will be loosely connected to the nature trail leading to the historical parts of the mine, which are located above it.The project has the potential to help (already very powerful) experience of visiting a world so unique such as our opal mines. The principles applied in this project can also be applied to other underground spaces.