The Wieliczka Salt Mine was inscribed on the first UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage list in 1978.
The mine has 2391 chambers, which leads to 245 corridors hollowed out on 9 levels.
Only 2% of the entire mine is open to visitors
Licking salt walls is completely safe, salt kills bacteria 😛
The depth of the mine is so large that it could fit: the Eiffel Tower, 2x Cheops pyramid, and 5 Sydney operas
Wieliczka salt is no longer mined for industrial purposes. The deposits are mainly used for making souvenirs. Salt is obtained during ongoing security work.
Wieliczka was the set for the cult film by Machulski – Sexmission. Some of the scenes from the film were shot in the Margielnik Chamber
In the mine, in 2006, Miss World elections were held. But that’s not all, because a lot of sports events were organized underground: dance tournaments, boxing and MMA gala, football tournament, bungee jumping, windsurfing (you don’t believe it) and even … balloon flight, which was entered in the record book Guinness. To break the record, the pilot had to lift the balloon to a height of 213 cm and keep it in the air for 4 minutes.
Underground Savoir Vivre – how to behave in a mine
At the beginning of the tourist route you will be trained in the principles of safety and ethics that prevails underground. The rules are very simple, so respect the mining culture and be an exemplary vacationer.
The basic rule at the mine is about welcome. Instead of “good morning” always say “God bless you.” Every time you meet a miner, give him a cheerful call. Religion is very important in the mining environment. There are so many chapels and holy paintings on the road for a reason. Miner’s work is associated with a high risk, which is why every miner prays for health before starting his work.
The mine cannot be visited on my own and I will tell you honestly that by analyzing our route and the number of corridors we have overcome, I would not decide to explore alone. It is very easy to get lost and unknown fears come to the ground: p. Do not sell the guide and watch over the group, respect his work and the responsibility he takes – Salt Mine tour from Krakow
The last advice is more about preparation than labels. Take warm and comfortable clothes with you. The tourist route is definitely more “available” than the mining route, but underground is just as cold, and the ground is not suitable for shoes with heels or flip flops 😛 You will have to climb 380 stairs from the start (there will be 800 of them during the trip).
In the Janowice chamber, you will learn about the famous legend about the creation of the mine. Salt was discovered in the 13th century, and according to legend, it happened thanks to Kinga, the daughter of the Hungarian king Bela IV, who wanted to give salt to her future subjects. On this occasion, the king gave her a mine in the Maramuresz region, Princess threw her engagement ring into her shaft, which was found in a lump of salt in a small village near Krakow (Wieliczka). In this way Kinga brought salt to Poland.
The chamber of Casimir the Great is a huge space where you will learn the details of the difficult work of animals. It is here that you will find an unusual device – a horse treadmill from the 18th century, which used the power of horses to transport large lumps of salt called snowmen. The machine’s lifting capacity reached up to 2 tons.
Next we go to the Pieskowa Skała Chamber, where we will have to work a bit again. This is where the old machine is located – a manual cross, which transported salt to higher levels. The guide will let you feel the miner’s work firsthand, it’s worth volunteering because you pay for hard work with salt.
We go to the nail of the program of the Chapel of St. Kinga, the most photographed chamber in which attention, every Sunday, you can come to mass 🙂 The chamber is unique! And it’s not just hanging chandeliers. Notice the wonderful reliefs carved in the walls of the chamber. The authors of the works were miners (often self-taught) who spent many days making the place resemble an underground temple. As befits a salt mine, all elements of the Chapel are made of salt, including the altar and the pulpit.
Interesting fact – a lot of wooden elements are painted white. This is because it is dark underground (no discovery: P). White elements were supposed to light up the rooms. Make the room seem bigger and brighter.
Lil Upper Chamber – this is the interactive part, where 5D cinema awaits you, with a short film about the history of the mine, which very nicely organizes the information previously heard. Additionally, you will find 20 interactive exhibitions that explain life and work underground in a cool way.
Józef Piłsudski’s chamber – another named after the guest visiting the mine. It is quite unusual, because there is a 10m water tunnel connecting to the second twin chamber. The tunnel was built in the 1830s and was a tourist attraction. It was possible to swim the raft from one chamber to another. As a result of a tragic accident, this attraction was abandoned.
The last chapel and the penultimate room that I want to describe to you – Chapel of St. John. Once the most important religious site of the mine, where the largest services were held. The palm of priority is now taken over by the Chapel of St. Kinga. This is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Wooden elements, stained glass windows in artificial windows and a majestic chandelier appealed to us
Mountain. Watching the chapel, man forgot that he was underground.