Wieliczka Salt Mine, Southern Poland


Wieliczka  is a town (2006 population: 19,128) in southern Poland. The town was founded in 1290 by Duke Premislas II of Poland. Besides a salt mine, here is an idyllic country town.

The town of Wieliczka The town of WieliczkaPark in Wieliczka with church in background and Town Centre of Wieliczka.

Wieliczka Salt Mine, located in the town of Wieliczka in southern Poland, was built in the 13th century, produced table salt continuously until 2007, as one of the world’s oldest salt mines still in operation. From its beginning and throughout its existence, the Royal mine was run by the Żupy krakowskie Salt Mines, believed to be the world’s 14th-oldest company. Commercial mining was discontinued in 1996 due to low salt prices and mine flooding. Wieliczka Salt MineWieliczka Salt MineWieliczka Salt MineThis woman was my guid of the mine. I thougt that she was young but she was a housewif and had two children.

The mine’s attractions include dozens of statues and an entire chapel that has been carved out of the rock salt by the miners. The oldest sculptures are augmented by the new carvings by actual artists. About 1.2 million people visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine annually. Wieliczka Salt MineWieliczka Salt MineWieliczka Salt MineWieliczka Salt MineWieliczka Salt MineWieliczka Salt MineWieliczka Salt MineWieliczka Salt MineWieliczka Salt Mine

There is a chapel. There is a reception room that is used for private functions such as weddings and celebrations. There is a chamber with walls carved by miners to resemble wood, as in the wooden churches built in earlier centuries. Wieliczka Salt MineWieliczka Salt Mine

A wooden staircase with 378 steps provides access to the 64 metres (210 ft) level of the mine. There is a 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) tour of the mine’s corridors, chapels, statues and lake, 135 metres (443 ft) underground. An elevator provides access to the surface. The elevator holds 36 people (nine per car) and takes some 30 seconds to reach the surface.

Always Mine!

Always Mine!
No more Vacation!
Term of Light this Day begun!
Failless as the fair rotation
Of the Seasons and the Sun.

Old the Grace, but new the Subjects—
Old, indeed, the East,
Yet upon His Purple Programme
Every Dawn, is first.

Emily Dickinson

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