Going deeper underground

There are many old mines that can be visited in Germany, especially in the Harz mountains. But the salt mine in Wieliczka close to Kraków, Poland stands out in different dimensions. At first the vast size has to be named; it is somehow like a city under the earth – with a restaurant, a museum and different shops. You can walk around down there for hours.

The second thing are the numerous figures carved out of rock salt (instead of wood, because it is less dangerous within a mine). You’ll find different statues depicting important people and workers doing their assignments; religious decorations and fairy tale statues. Most impressive is the huge cathedral showing different scenes from the bible (including a version of Leonardos “The Last Supper”) and also containing a statue of pope John Paul II carved out of salt.

And as a third dimension: the vast number of visitors roaming this site. At the entrance you’ll have to join a group of up to 35 people sorted by language. Then you walk on an endless number of stairs to the first level. At the end of the tour and after a lot of walking you’ll be at level three out of seven – and you can imagine how deep this mine has been driven. The way up is done by elevator, so don’t be scared. 🙂

The legend says, that Princess Kinga from Hungary was about to marry the Prince of Kraków. And as a gift she asked for a salt mine for the Polish people – since salt was very prizeworthy and Poland didn’t have an own source. She threw her engagement ring into an Hungarian salt mine and when being close to Kraków she pointed at a place where workers started to dig – finding rock salt and … her engagement ring.

In fact people discovered pretty early that the springs coming from the mountain were salty – and they started to produce salt by evaporation. Later on they digged down and the royal mine in Wieliczka became a main source for wealth in Poland. The workers had to work only eight hours a day and were payed in salt. And the techniques used down there were pretty progressive.

Kopalnia Soli “Wieliczka”
Daniłowicza 10
32-020 Wieliczka


Loading map...


One Reply to “Going deeper underground”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.