Advertisement

Ukraine recreates famous lost salt mine in Minecraft 'to tell the world about their history and struggle for freedom'

 Minesalt trailer still - exterior view of Soledar salt mine in Minecraft.
Minesalt trailer still - exterior view of Soledar salt mine in Minecraft.

As part of Ukraine's ongoing effort to combat Russian disinformation and memorialize its own history, the United24 charity has teamed up with Minecraft creator Endorah for Minesalt, a recreation of 16 real-world locations from the town of Soledar, at one time home to the largest salt production facility in Europe.

Soledar was the focal point of a months-long battle following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which ultimately ended with the town's occupation by Russian forces in January 2023. It was almost entirely destroyed in the fighting, and what's left is cut off from the rest of the world, which is one of the reasons United24 chose the project.

"As the city is under temporary occupation, Minesalt is the only way to explore the incredible beauty of these salt mines and commemorate the historical and monumental elements of this place," United24 coordinator Yaroslava Gres said. "It preserves its memory, paying tribute to the people who have worked there generation after generation."

Because access to Soledar's archives were also lost to the invasion, the Minesalt team interviewed miners and "made new archives from their memories, personal photos, and videos" in order to assist with development. They also enlisted the help of Stepan Bandrivskyi, a 10-year veteran of the Soledar salt mines, to ensure the Minecraft recreations are as accurate as possible.

I've never been there myself, but based on the comparison photos I'd say they came pretty close to the mark.

Image 1 of 8

Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft
Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft

Image 2 of 8

Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft
Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft

Image 3 of 8

Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft
Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft

Image 4 of 8

Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft
Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft

Image 5 of 8

Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft
Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft

Image 6 of 8

Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft
Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft

Image 7 of 8

Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft
Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft

Image 8 of 8

Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft
Minesalt screenshot - a recreation of the Soledar salit mines in Minecraft

The trip through the Soledar salt mines will include interactions with "famous Ukrainians and world celebrities" including Richard Branson, Misha Collins, Scott Kelly, and Katheryn Winnick, who will reveal more about the history of the town and its famous mines.

Image 1 of 8

Minesalt - Richard Branson
Minesalt - Richard Branson

Image 2 of 8

Minesalt - Ivanna Sakhhno
Minesalt - Ivanna Sakhhno

Image 3 of 8

Minesalt - Paul Nurse
Minesalt - Paul Nurse

Image 4 of 8

Minesalt - Oleksandr Zinchenko
Minesalt - Oleksandr Zinchenko

Image 5 of 8

Minesalt - Scott Kelly
Minesalt - Scott Kelly

Image 6 of 8

Minesalt - Misha Collins
Minesalt - Misha Collins

Image 7 of 8

Minesalt - Katheryn Winnick
Minesalt - Katheryn Winnick

Image 8 of 8

Minesalt - Oleksandr Usyk
Minesalt - Oleksandr Usyk

But it's not just a sightseeing tour: Players who collect "crystals" in the fastest time and then answer a three-question quiz (hope you were paying attention) will be eligible to win an Xbox Series X console, packs of "Soledarity Ukrainian Rock-Solid Strength" salt, and Twitch gift cards.

Twitch streamer Tubbo took a run at the title not long after Minesalt went live—unfortunately, he wasn't quite able to secure a place in the top 24:

As well as commemorating its history and bolstering awareness of the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Minesalt project also supports a fundraising campaign that aims to rebuild the Velyka Kostromka School, which was destroyed by a Russian cruise missile in October 2022.

Minesalt is available now—details and full instructions for accessing the game are available at u24.gov.ua.