Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kimberley – The Big Hole

Day 364
39 993 km since the beginning of journey

This morning the journey continued towards Kimberley, because there is the Big Hole, the most famous and the deepest hand-escavated hole in the search for diamonds.

So it looks like, the city of Kimberley is in the distance and the Big Hole is really huge.

The mining of diamonds began in 1871 and all together 2,722 kg of diamonds have been found in Kimberley.

Some statistics on the spot.

But much less is known that the Kimberley Big Hole is not really the greatest, because in 2005 it turned out that the Jagersfontein Mine is even bigger but not deeper (201m).

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The main entrance.

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Inside. Shops, cafes. The benches with hutch-wheels

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Fire trailer of 1892. Fire truck cannot be said as the vehicle was moved by horsepower.

Famous diamonds

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Cullinan I. Made from the world's largest diamond weighing 3,106 carats, or was then 621 grams, and was found in Cullinan mine in 1905. The diamond was cut into nine pieces, weighing 530 carats. Cullinan I itself is 530 carats or 106 grams. The story is worth reading in Wikipedia

Next there was a chance to take an elevator down to the mine.

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More than a minute full of crash and roar and then the doors opened and mine tunnels were in front of us.

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Description of miners workday on an illuminated stand. The working day in the hot mine began at 6 am and ended at 6 pm.

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And going forward one reached finally back to the museum halls, so that the elevator went down for 5 meters, and all the mine was staged. But nevertheless interesting and faithfully done.

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A longer stand with the descriptions of how the diamonds form in the hundreds of kilometres of inside the earth and how they reach the ground with volcanic eruptions.

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A century-old Kimberley settlement

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Summary of the visit - the ticket was 75 rand (7.5 EUR), and to take the time it would last at least 2-3 hours.

And there were two places where taking pictures was not allowed – the cinema and the exhibition hall.

At the cinema hall there was a 17-minute movie about the history of diamond mining in Kimberley - "Diamonds and Destiny", which takes back to the year of 1867, when the children found a shiny rock that turned out to be diamond. The film shows how this discovery changed the history of the whole region.

And in the middle of the house there was a huge display of genuine diamonds in the safe - "Diamond Rear Display". More than 3,000 precious stones behind the glass.

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 And here are genuine diamonds at a shop.

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