Wieliczka Salt Mine

 

Not far away (few kilometers) from Krakow, going to the east, there's a town famous for its impressive salt mine - Wieliczka. It is easy to reach as the road is very well signed. There's a lot of paid parking-spaces situated near the mine, which assures of popularity of this place.

Szyb Daniłowicza

 

Specially for the tourists, there's 'Daniłowicz Shaft' available. Its touristic route leads through 20 chambers connected by 2-kilometer long galleries. Individual tourists are not obliged to book the tickets; also, there's a possibility to buy the permission to photograph, which entitles to take pictures on the visited touristic route.

Komora Janowice - Œw. Kinga, patronka solnych górników Sightseeing begins in the 'Chamber of Mikołaj Kopernik', where you can see the impressive monument of this outstanding astronomer. In the next room - St. Anton’s Chapel - everything is made of salt. Baroque chapel is drilled in the block of green salt and is ornamented with numerous statuettes of saints and the pulpit hewn in the salt.

Right next to it situated is the 'Janowice Chamber' ornamented with figures showing the scene of salt discovery. A miner handing the first block of salt with an engagement ring inside, to St. Kinga. The guide tells the legend of how St. Kinga became a patron of salt miners.

Another magical place on the route of our journey is called 'Komora Spalona' (Burnt Chamber). What is shown here, is the process of disposal of methane accumulating in the mine. Using fire-brands stuck on long poles, miners burnt the dangerous gas down. They were called penitents. Wykorzystanie koni do transportu soli

In the 'Sielec Chamber' you can see figures presenting how salt was being transported. These human shapes of miners are very realistic. Shown here is the transport of output not only by miners alone, but also using horses as the tractive force.

Moving forward there's a slightly different kind of exhibition, which is the model of neolithic salt-works and first farmers's village. Next we stop in the 'Chamber of Kazimierz Wielki' where exhibited is the king's bust carved naturally in salt. You can also see salt idols here (which are the blocks of salt shaped like cylinders) and the salt treadmill.

Podszybie Kunegunda - rzeŸby krasnoludków One of the most interesting places in Wieliczka mine is the 'Pieskowa Skała Chamber' that leads to the lower level of the mine. While walking down the wooden stairs it seems as if nothing had changed here since hundreds of years. The figures placed around illustrate how miners excavated salt using simple tools. Of course, miners were assisted by brownies, whose figures hewn in the salt are shown in 'Kunegunda Shaft Station'.

 

The next stop of our route is St. Cross's Chapel. From here it is no longer far away to the most amazing chamber of the mine. Kaplica Œw. Kingi At first we can look at it from above and then we go down through the stairs. This place is outstanding not only for its impressive size, but also for numerous sculptures and bas-reliefs made of salt. The altar is also made of salt. The biblical scenes are hewn in the walls all aroun the chapel. Masses and wedding ceremonies are still held in this magical place.

 

 

Ahead we walk into the 'Chamber of Erazm Barącz'. There's a salt lake inside. Pomnik przedstawiajšcy cieœli-górników  

The salt lake is situated also in 'Weimar Chamber'. It illuminates with the light that droops and after a while lights up again showing the strict beauty of salt walls as well as the size of the chamber. Next on the route is the 'Chamber of Jozef Piłsudski', in which you can admire the salt monument of the Marshal of Poland. Then the route leads through galleries to the place where two machines used for dragging trolleys with salt are placed.

We walk through the 'Chamber of Stanisław Staszic' and we reach the sculpture representing the treasurer - the good spirit of the mine who protected the miners working in the underground and kept them safe.

Now we walk through the 'Chamber of Witold Budryk' that has been arranged into a restaurant, Pochylnia Prinzingera and for a moment we stop in the 'Warszawa Chamber' that is used as the spectacle and sport event hall. 'Wisła Chamber' filled with the souvenir shops is the last chamber on the touristic route of the mine.

We walk down the stairs through the 'Pinziger Ramp' and then through numerous passages. Finally we reach the 'Daniłowicz Shaft's Shaft Station' where we await the lift. The last part of the trip - going back to the surface with the lift - is not less an attraction than the ones before.

The whole journey through the Wieliczka Salt – Mine lasts for about two hours and it really is an incredible attraction.

 

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