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
(Image credit: United24)

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.

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. 

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

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.