Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On the Wieliczka Salt Mine

Another excursion that one could take while visiting Krakow is the salt mine. Deemed one of the largest in the world, the salt mine in Wieliczka is now not in function any more, in the sense that there is no more salt mining. Today, it is one of the most visited tourist location in Poland - having been listed as one of the UNESCO Heritage alongside Krakow old town, Auswitch & Birkenau Concentration Camp and the Warsaw historical area (LOL, the other  UNESCO heritage that I went to in Poland).

I thought it was very well maintained. Very touristy in that sense. But at least being that, it is pretty safe.

The Wieliczka salt mine reaches a depth of 327 metres (1,073 ft) and is over 287 kilometres (178 mi) long. The rock salt is naturally gray in various shades, resembling unpolished granite rather than the white or crystalline look that many visitors may expect. During World War II, the shafts were used by the occupying Germans as an ad-hoc facility for various war-related industries. The mine features an underground lake; and the new exhibits on the history of salt mining, as well as a 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) touring route (less than 2% of the length of the mine's passages) that includes historic statues and mythical figures carved out of rock salt in distant past. More recent sculptures have been fashioned by contemporary artists. The Wieliczka mine is often referred to as "the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland." In 1978 it was placed on the original UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites. Even the crystals of the chandeliers are made from rock salt that has been dissolved and reconstituted to achieve a clear, glass-like appearance. It also houses a private rehabilitation and wellness complex. Also the Wieliczka was one of World 12 Tourism rankings. - Wikipedia

The entrance to the salt mine
 The salt mine is very tourist friendly

Reenactment of the legend of Kinga and her diamond ring found in the salt mine

Horses were used to draw carriage inside the salt mine
The Last Supper carved out of salt
Chandelier made out of salt

The underground lake, concentration of the saltwater is so high that it is believed one could not drown in the lake.

The underground chapel

1 Jujus:

Twilight Man said...

Wow! This is interesting to know that they could carve out chandeliers! One blogger went there and posted 1-2 photos only. Thanks for sharing so much.