A salty gem
Wieliczka Salt Mine is located near Krakow. Salt mining has been carried out here continuously since the 13th century. The mine is 327m deep. The length of the corridors here reaches up to 300 km. During the tour you can visit a depth of up to 134m (3rd floor of 9). Today, salt is no longer mined here for safety reasons. The mine is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Entrance to the mine
We were ordered for the mine right between the first groups early in the morning. It was our only luck, because there is literally a „head on head“. The mine is entered through the main building, which is dominated by the mining tower, one of many in the city of Wieliczka.
We're going down
First we have a trip underground. We have to overcome an infinite number of stairs, fortunately only downwards.
Salt wherever you look
We descended to a depth of 64 meters underground. We will spend about three hours here. During the tour we will continue to descend to a depth of 130 m. Along the way we encounter salt at every step – we walk on it, the walls are salty, even the local statues are carved from salt.
Demonstration of mining
We get acquainted with historical methods of mining. The salt was mined in cylinders to make it easier to transport. It was first pulled out by hand, with the help of horses (who were behaved and stabled underground all their lives), or with the help of machines (janitors).
Chapel of Saint King
The largest and most impressive space is undoubtedly the Chapel of St. King. We were lucky that there was no group in front of us or behind us, so we could enjoy the acoustics of this place.
The decoration of the chapel is the work of one of the local workers. This worker was so gifted that he was then accepted to an art school. All reliefs and sculptures are carved directly into the salt rock.
There are also many salt lakes in the mine. The salt concentration here is so high that one would not dive at all. On the contrary, in order to be able to dive, he would have to weigh several tens of pounds of weight.
Not all areas of the mine are stable enough to do without massive logs.
We are 130 meters underground. There is a huge restaurant, toilets, several souvenir shops and a mobile signal. I'm calling my dad home. If we weren't amazed before, we are now.
We're going out
Fortunately, we don't have to go back to the surface up the stairs, but we are taken out by a cage lift. The question is, what would be worse. The elevator has several cages on top of each other, very cramped and the ride is not pleasant, but it is an experience. We are satisfied, we feel fine. Three hours in the underground of the salt mine are said to be spent a week by the sea :)
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